Mainstream automakers that have been building electric cars are getting the message that they're on the wrong road.
As Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and others have churned out low-range, and sometimes uninspiring electric hatchbacks, they've seen the success Tesla has had in building desirable, sleek, high-performance—even expensive—electric cars.
Now, mainstream automakers are standing up and taking notice.
Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept, 2017 Tokyo Motor Show
The latest automaker working on upping its electric-car game seems to be Nissan, which just introduced the Nissan Leaf Nismo. Nismo is Nissan's performance brand and has been used on sports cars such as the GT-R and the 370Z.
For the Leaf Nismo, Nissan has upgraded the suspension and added stickier tires, as well as adjusted the electric power steering and the motor controller to deliver sportier responses.
Beyond that, it's a standard Leaf with a bi-plane spoiler (which Nissan says adds downforce without increasing aerodynamic drag), a custom grille and front bumper, and side skirts. The interior is upgraded with a carbon dash insert, red accents on the dash vents, and a red-accented, Alcantara wrapped sport steering wheel.
The Nismo will have the same 147 horsepower and 40-kwh battery pack as the standard Leaf. It's exclusive to Japan for now.
Nissan has been promoting the Leaf in Japan with new versions including the Nismo and the convertible Leaf Open Car concept it showed in May.