Nissan's next electric vehicle could feature all-wheel drive and have more than 300 horsepower on tap.
The Japanese automaker has installed its next-generation electric powertrain in a Leaf-based prototype, which features front and rear-mounted electric motors, giving it all-wheel drive. Together, the electric motors are good for as much as 304 horsepower and 501 lb-ft of torque. An "all-wheel control system" also ensures power is properly distributed between the motors, similar to a mechanical differential on a conventional internal combustion engine car, improving traction in the wet or snow.
While Nissan did not say if this powertrain would appear in the next-generation Leaf, the automaker confirmed it previews a next-generation electric vehicle of some sort.
"Soon, Nissan will launch a next-generation EV that will be a true breakthrough," said Nissan's senior vice president for research and development, Takao Asami. "The new electric-drive four-wheel-control technology now being developed integrates Nissan's electric propulsion and 4WD control technologies with our chassis control technology to achieve a huge leap in acceleration, cornering and braking performance, on par with the latest sports cars."
In addition to the next-generation electric powertrain, the Nissan Leaf prototype also features slightly raised suspension - a potential sign that Nissan is preparing an electric crossover. This seems likely, as Nissan just debuted an electric crossover at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Inside, the prototype has a dash-mounted 12.3-inch display, as well, which relays real-time powertrain information to the driver, such as power distribution and battery life. You can expect Nissan's next-generation EVs to feature a similarly large digital display with such driving information features.
It's not clear when Nissan plans to debut its next-generation of electric vehicles, though we wouldn't be surprised to see the company make an announcement sometime in 2020 or early 2021.