This racing Nissan Leaf is a glimpse into the future

Nissan engineers have just made a prototype Nissan Leaf – and it has a huge double the battery capacity of the standard model. The hacked Nissan Leaf was prepared outside work hours by engineers in Nissan’s Innovation team, and was originally designed to enter a local race called the ECOseries. As you’d expect from a race called the ECOseries, efficiency rather than speed is the name of the game, so Nissan engineers gave the Leaf 48kWh of battery power – twice that of the normal car.

Although it might not like an all-conquering racing car, the prototype Nissan’s economy was enough to win the race, and means it can theoretically hit just under 240 miles before needing a charge. 

The normal Leaf stores its batteries low in its chassis, but in the prototype Leaf the Nissan engineers have had to get creative. The result? Opening the hacked Leaf’s boot reveals an additional set of batteries – essentially where the extra 2kWh comes from.

This version of the Nissan Leaf is a prototype that will never be released on the roads, but it does point to the future of EVs. As Gareth Dunsmore, director of electric vehicles for Nissan Europe, says: “[The Leaf is] a useful exercise in thinking outside the box, something our engineers and designers do on a daily basis.”

As battery technology moves forward, companies such as Nissan, Tesla and Chevrolet are already working towards electric cars that have all the pros of an EV, but also include the mega range to deal with an electric car. Reports are already suggesting Nissan is preparing a 60kWh Leaf for release, and when it’s out, it will do battle with the similarly priced Tesla Model 3.

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