2016 Renault Zoe electric car
The 2011 Nissan Leaf was the first mass-priced modern electric car when it launched in December 2010.
Nissan has since sold close to a quarter of a million Leafs, and together with its alliance partner Renault it has now sold more than 350,000 all-electric vehicles.
But the Leaf is still with us, albeit with a slightly longer range, whereas the Chevy Volt was replaced last year and a slew of new electric models has since arrived.
Many eyes at the moment are on the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, the first 200-plus-mile mass-priced electric car.
And we know almost nothing about the upcoming second-generation Nissan Leaf other than that it's imminent.
But now news has emerged that it won't be just the Leaf that carries the torch for Nissan in future electric-car sales.
2016 Nissan Leaf
As well as an all-electric version of the next-generation Rogue compact crossover, first mentioned last year, Nissan may also offer a subcompact electric car that shares underpinnings with the next generation of Renault Zoe.
The report comes from the British magazine Auto Express, which attributes the suggestion to Gareth Dunsmore, the executive in charge of Nissan electric vehicles for Europe.
The B-segment Zoe electric model is Europe's best-selling electric car, though because Renault cars aren't sold in North America, it's largely unknown by many readers.
Launched two years after the Leaf, which is also sold in Europe, the Zoe is a smaller five-door hatchback developed specifically for Europe.
Like the Leaf, its volumes have been lower than expected, so sharing the underpinnings of the next-generation Zoe with a Nissan counterpart would bring additional volume to the factory in Flins, France, where it's assembled.
Auto Express notes that Roel de Vries, executive vice president for product at Nissan, said that its next step for electric cars would be "in another volume sector."
Renault delivers 50,000th Zoe electric car
With cars the size of the Renault Zoe a huge segment in Europe, a Nissan entry in that size would be the logical next step for the Japanese maker.
For almost a decade under CEO Carlos Ghosn, the company has expressed desires to be the pioneer in battery-electric vehicles, just as Toyota has been for hybrid vehicles.
An expanded range of electric cars would follow the Toyota playbook in some ways, just as that company expanded its Prius lineup in the U.S. to four models from the initial single model.
Still, any such new subcompact electric car seems unlikely to be sold in North America, or at least in the U.S.
Instead, the market is much more likely to respond to a mass-priced all-electric crossover utility vehicle—perhaps just like the rumored electric version of the next Nissan Rogue.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]