Nissan introduced the first mass-market, battery-powered electric vehicle in the U.S. — the Leaf — nearly a decade ago. But despite that head start, the Japanese automaker has been lapped by rivals with EVs that boast longer range and more power.
Hoping to catch up, Nissan is preparing to launch a second EV in the U.S., a crossover with greater range and power than the Leaf, as well as updated technologies.
The EV, expected to arrive in the U.S. in the second half of 2021, would be one of eight battery-powered models Nissan is planning globally in the next few years.
At a dealer meeting last month, Nissan gave its U.S. retailers their first look at the EV, which is being developed on a new platform.
According to dealers who saw the vehicle, the five-seater has a 300-mile range and can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds.
The crossover is described as a compact, and has the exterior proportions of a compact Rogue but the interior space of a midsize Murano, according to the dealers.
Nissan declined to share details of the planned model.
Nissan's second EV will launch into a market that is getting more crowded as several automakers, including Jaguar, Audi and Tesla, are moving aggressively into electric crossovers, while Ford and General Motors have vowed to step up their EV offerings.
Analysts believe the electric crossover segment is likely to keep growing for the next few years.
Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant Research, said a crossover EV is the right move for Nissan.
"The market is more likely to want an electric crossover in 2021 than it is in 2019," Abuelsamid said.