Maybe it’s a coincidence, but the same week the Chevy Bolt EV was in the news, both BMW and Nissan teased information about new electric vehicles in their respective pipelines. As the race for longer-range vehicles and autopilot technology in the EV segment commences, these major players are jockeying for position at auto shows and in the press.
Most people agree it will take affordable long-range models for electric cars to take off in the mainstream, but GM’s Chevy Bolt is the only concept we’ve seen that showcases the formula in reality. In an October 20 press release, we learned how LG Corp helped GM accelerate its concept by providing components to power the drivetrain and manage charging. In fact, LG will handle nearly the entire electrical operation of the Bolt EV. The partnership allowed the General to get the jump on the competition, which also includes Tesla with the Model 3.
According to recent reports, a few automakers established in the space may join GM soon enough. Harald Kruger, the chief executive of BMW, told German publication Handelsblatt (per Green Car Reports) that the electric i3 will appear with a longer-range model as early as 2016. Whether that surpasses the 2016 Nissan Leaf’s range of 107 miles or gets closer to the Bolt’s bar remains to be seen. Kruger also dropped hints of an all-new EV that slotted between the i3 and i8 plug-in supercar.
Not to be outdone, Nissan flashed the image of an electric concept it is taking to the Tokyo Auto Show at the end of October. With Nissan’s mention of an EV exceeding 200 miles of range in the near future still fresh in the minds of many, it’s worth speculating this concept could be a preview.
Nissan offered an impossibly small amount of information with its shadowy, blue-tinged photo, saying only it was “the future vision of car intelligence and electrification.” With the headline, “Together we ride to Tokyo,” we at least know we have a new concept on our hands to discuss by November.
Even before the reveal, we can see a snub-nose front end that is reminiscent of the Leaf while a futuristic profile and large concept wheels round out the picture. If Nissan was to have a larger battery capable of long distances inside that Tokyo-bound car, the race for the first mass-market EV would be in full swing.
Until then, we know we have one official contender in the Bolt EV and at least two improved models in the 2016 Leaf and future i3 promised by BMW’s top executive. By the time Tesla comes through with the Model 3, the field may be much more crowded. That’s a good thing for consumers and electric car makers alike.