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Nissan will replace the Leaf hatchback with a new all-electric small SUV model in around 2025, according to UK publication Autocar.
The Japanese carmaker confirmed back in July that it would produce a new electric crossover at its Sunderland, UK plant, with production capacity of 100,000 units, as part of a £1 billion investment into its English operation.
Nissan Europe chief Guillaume Cartier confirmed with the publication that the Leaf will be replaced by a new electric crossover that will be based on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s CMF-EV platform.
This modular platform will underpin the larger Nissan Ariya SUV, the recently revealed Renault Megane E-Tech and more models from the various alliance brands.
It is unclear what the shift from hatchback to crossover for the Leaf replacement means for the Australian market and Nissan Australia did not comment on the matter.
In a statement, Nissan Europe said more details about the new model will be released closer to its European launch, but there are no further details at this stage.
Little else is known about the new crossover at this point, including the name, but it could take the shape of the vehicle in the teaser image accompanying the July announcement.
The new electric crossover will join the Ariya mid-size SUV in Nissan’s increasingly electrified line-up. The Ariya, revealed mid-last year, is being considered for an Australian launch, but it’s yet to be officially locked in.
The current Leaf arrived in Australia in mid-2019, almost two years after its Japanese launch. Nissan has since added the Leaf e+ with a bigger battery and more driving range to the line-up.
The original Leaf that lobbed in 2012 was, for some time, the best-selling EV in the world, until the Tesla Model 3 toppled it in 2019.
Nissan has previously announced its plans to go carbon neutral by 2050 and for all new Nissan model lines to have some form of electrification by the early 2030s.
With the Ariya expected to eventually make it Down Under, the next electrified Nissan model to hit Australian showrooms will be the Qashqai e-Power in 2022. Nissan’s e-Power system differs from series hybrids in that it uses a small petrol engine to charge its lithium-ion battery. It doesn’t need to be plugged in and it offers the same acceleration and take-off characteristics as an EV.
So far this year Nissan has sold 318 examples of the Leaf, marking a 9.3 per cent increase over the same period last year. Nissan Australia says the new Leaf e+ makes up about half of the model’s overall sales.
Like so many models available in Australia, Leaf supply has been impacted by global supply chain issues and local trading conditions resulting from the pandemic.