2016 Nissan RogueEnlarge Photo
It's a frequent complaint from car shoppers: all the affordable electric cars are small hatchbacks or sedans, but I want an SUV.
Indeed, there's only one all-electric crossover utility vehicle on the market—the Tesla Model X—and that will run you $80,000 or more.
Now it appears that Nissan has plans to solve that problem.
According to the British magazine Autocar, Nissan may be planning all-electric versions of the next Juke and Rogue (which is sold in some markets as the Qashqai).
The Rogue compact crossover was last redesigned for the 2014 model year, so it should be replaced with a new design in 2020 or so.
The Juke subcompact hatchback, which can be ordered with all-wheel drive to turn it into a sort of sporty mini-crossover, is already seven model years old and due for replacement quite soon.
2015 Nissan JukeEnlarge Photo
According to Nissan's Gareth Dunsmore, the company will combine its crossovers and its electric-car technology "in the future," which likely means after the next-generation Leaf is launched as a 2018 model.
That new Leaf has just been confirmed to offer a range of 200 miles or more from a 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack, though the Leaf lineup may include lower-cost versions with lesser ranges as well.
While the Leaf is built on a dedicated electric-car platform (using some architectural elements of other small Nissan vehicles), Dunsmore says, "the next step is a platform fit for EVs from Day One."
CHECK OUT: Nissan's 60-kWh, 200-Mile Battery Pack: What We Know So Far (Nov 2015)
Given the wide range of vehicles built from common underpinnings, that indicates that future Nissan small sedans, hatchbacks, and crossover SUVs could all have the capability of offering battery-electric versions as well as conventional gasoline power.
Whether those vehicles would be part of a Leaf family—just as Toyota has done in North America for the Prius lineup—or appear identical to existing models like the Juke and Rogue remains unclear at this point.
In 2012, Toyota expanded its Prius lineup to include not only the traditional Liftback but also the Prius Plug-In Hybrid (now the Prius Prime), the subcompact Prius C hatchback, and the larger Prius V wagon.
2016 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Nissan has sold more electric cars than any other brand in the world, including Tesla, though the Silicon Valley carmaker almost certainly wins on public attention and column inches.
But as Nissan gears up to launch the next Leaf with its new and larger battery pack, the company will clearly want to spread the costs of that development across more vehicles than the 250,000 or so Leafs it will have built by the end of this year.
With public demand for SUVs of many different sizes surging not only in North America but globally, an all-electric crossover utility vehicle would seem to be a no-brainer.
Even General Motors is pitching its Chevrolet Bolt EV as a "crossover" despite its complete lack of all-wheel drive.
What the public wants, the public usually gets, sooner or later. That means we're expecting to see all-electric Nissan crossovers sometime before 2020.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]