Tokyo show suggests more Nissan LEAF models

A pair of concepts unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show suggest that the Nissan LEAF electric car is set to grow into a family.

The iMx electric crossover, and the LEAF NISMO performance concept, are both widely predicted to evolve into production models in the near future.

The electric platform that underpins the latest LEAF is also used, in updated form for the iMx, a four-seater crossover model. It offers all-wheel-drive thanks to the two electric motors, one on each axle, producing a total output of around 430hp with 700Nm of torque.

A compact platform allows a completely flat floor, translating to generous interior space, and Nissan adds that the low centre of gravity of the electric powertrain will make the iMx an impressive vehicle to drive. However when occupants don’t want to drive the concept will be able to take over with its in-built ProPilot autonomous system.

Nissan iMx The Car Expert
Flat floor of iMx means lots of space inside.

The car’s battery can be charged conventionally or wirelessly and will also serve as a power source, able to pass power to the grid. It is also claimed to offer a driving range of more than 370 miles.

Nissan is not currently revealing any future additional LEAF models, though personnel from the brand have suggested that an Electric Vehicle (EV) crossover model is in their plans. The styling of the iMx is very close to the latest production LEAF.

There are also currently no clues as to any performance upgrades that will accompany the forthcoming NISMO version of the LEAF, set to launch in the near future as the brand seeks to make its EV standard bearer appeal to more image-conscious buyers.

This process has become easier because the latest LEAF production model is both lower and wider than its predecessor, and the NISMO Concept on show in Tokyo includes the more aggressive body additions and styling that characterise models in the sporty sub-brand.

In a further move to strengthen its EV image, Nissan will effectively replace sister brand Renault in the all-electric FIA Formula E single-seater championship for the 2018-19 season. And the brand has also unveiled a future EV safety measure at the show – ‘Canto’.

Derived from the Latin for “I sing,” Canto is described as the future sound of Nissan’s electric vehicles. It will vary in tone and pitch depending on whether the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating or coasting, and will allow pedestrians to hear the normally virtually silent EVs approaching them.

Nissan LEAF NISMO The Car Expert
NISMO concept version of LEAF previews production model on the way.

Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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