The next-generation Nissan Leaf will leave its city-sized footprint behind for something bigger. Its replacement will be a larger SUV, and Automotive News Europe is reporting that the company’s Chill-Out concept from 2021 will preview the EV’s revamped design.
The Chill-Out concept is a vast departure from the Leaf’s current styling. It debuted with smooth sheet metal and simple lines. The coupe-like greenhouse gave it a sporty aesthetic enhanced by the big wheels pushed to the outer corners. The bold V-motion grille was nowhere to be found, but the black frontal insert and lights retained the shape.
The back mimics the front end with a black inserts housing the taillights – two vertical and three horizontal units – and the Nissan word branding. It also had a bumper appliqué for some added contrast.
One place where the concept will ultimately differ from the production model is the interior. The Chill-Out concept was all about relaxing thanks to autonomy, with the model lacking traditional controls and a large display dominating the minimalistic dash. That future is still several years away.
When the Leaf’s successor does arrive, Nissan won’t build it in America. Sources told Automotive News that the automaker plans to ship production from North America to England. It’s unclear if the company plans to export the model to other markets, but such a move would mean it will lose eligibility for the US’s $7,500 federal tax credit.
Leaf sales have hovered around 10,000 for the last several years but are down nearly 35 percent through the first nine months of the year. 2023 could be one of the model’s worst sales years since its launch, with just 5,804 sold so far, but that is just proof that the automaker needs to give the model a thorough overhaul.
The EV landscape has changed a lot since Nissan introduced the Leaf for the 2011 model year. It arrived with up to just 100 miles of range and glacial charging times, and there are many more options today. A few years ago, Chevrolet revamped the Bolt, one of the Leaf’s competitors, introducing the higher-riding Bolt EUV to increase its popularity among crossover-crazed consumers.
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