Nissan returns to the EV trail

It’s been an even decade since Nissan introduced the Leaf, its pioneering all-electric passenger hatchback, to the North American market. That was a start, and it’s been strongly successful, with more than half a million copies of the Leaf finding buyers in the ensuing 10 years. Nissan is now beginning to undertake a historic product revamp, with plans underway to roll out 10 new models over the next 20 months. Here’s one of them, and it squarely continues Nissan’s growing focus on non-hydrocarbon propulsion. The all-new Nissan Ariya – the name reminds one of a Whitesnake tune – will join the Leaf in Nissan’s lineup as an all-electric crossover. Nissan predicts that the 2021 Ariya, in the form of its long-range two-wheel-drive model, will allow drivers to cover up to 300 miles without having to recharge the batteries.

Introduced last week, the Ariya roughly matches the gasoline-fueled Rogue crossover in dimensions and capacity. It will be offered with and without all-wheel drive, and its suite of driver-assist electronics will include Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist 2.0 autonomous-driving software, plus voice-recognizing Amazon Alexa cloud-based voice-command service, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Ariya’s lines represent something of a departure from recent Nissan styling practice involving spikes and angles (think the Nissan Juke and Maxima, to name a pair). The Ariya will use electric motors singly or in pairs, depending on powertrain option, with up to 290 kW of output. When it goes on sale here late next year, the starting MSRP is expected to be around $40,000.

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