Nissan has confirmed plans to reveal a new model at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with a teaser suggesting it'll be the long-range Leaf electric vehicle.
The Leaf E-Plus, as it's likely to be badged, will pack a 60kWh battery and is expected to offer around 360km - up 120km on the 40kWh model touching down locally in April next year.
It's also expected to offer better thermal management than the regular Leaf's battery, opening the door for faster charging and better repeat acceleration.
Reports have suggested the car will cost US$35,400 when it launches, putting it head-to-head with the Chevrolet Bolt and entry-level Tesla Model 3.
Elon Musk promised a US$35k electric vehicle for the masses with the Model 3 but, even as production ramps up, only high-spec cars are being delivered at the moment.
In May, Musk said shipping the minimum-cost Model 3 would "cause Tesla to lose money and die".
"A larger capacity battery lends itself towards two things. One is obvious, more range.
"The other one, which is maybe a little less obvious, but equally as true, is additional horsepower and output," Brian Maragno, director of electric vehicle marketing for Nissan North America, said earlier this year.
Utility vehicles have edged out sedans and some luxury cars this year when it comes to Canadian car buyer preferences. AutoTRADER.ca's annual top 10 most searched vehicles list for 2018 reveals a shift from premium sedans to sturdy SUVs.
"For the fourth year in a row, the perennial Ford F-150 has retained the #1 spot on the list, but this year, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 have climbed into top positions as Canadian favourites, claiming spot #7 and #10 respectively," said Michael Bettencourt, Managing Editor, autoTRADER.ca. "As a result, sedans appear to be taking a back seat in 2018's top 10 list compared to previous years."
The news aligns with manufacturer plans to trim sedan models from their lineup. This includes OEMs like Ford, and to an extent General Motors, who recently announced the upcoming 2019 closure of its Oshawa assembly plant. The plant is responsible for the production of certain sedan models, among others.
An annual holiday light vehicle study form Desrosiers Automotive Consultants' also reveals that SUVs are a top vehicle preference for Canadians.
2018 Top 10 Most Searched Vehicles in Canada
1. Ford F-150 2. Ford Mustang 3. Honda Civic 4. BMW 3 Series 5. Jeep Wrangler 6. Mercedes-Benz C-Class 7. Honda CR-V 8. Porsche 911 9. Chevrolet Corvette 10. Toyota RAV4
Data from the report also indicates that Quebecers have a preference for practicality, as the #1 most searched vehicle in the province was the Honda Civic. The Toyota RAV4 and Corolla also made the list, displacing vehicles like the Porsche 911 and Jeep Grand Cherokee that appeared as #5 and #9, respectively, on the 2017 list.
Ontario car buyers showed a preference for classics with the Ford Mustang taking the #1 spot as the most searched vehicle in the province. The BMW 3 Series was bumped down to second place this year. The Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911 also made the list.
In the Maritimes and Prairie provinces, utility vehicles took the lead over luxury. Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet are the top three car brands in these regions. The only luxury model to make the list was the BMW 3 Series, and only for the Maritimes and Manitoba.
In the Territories and Manitoba, the list of most searched vehicles included primarily SUVs and trucks. This was especially the case for the Territories.
"This year's search data and the future trends we have identified are all pointing to the fact that we are slowly approaching a tipping point in our industry," said Bettencourt. "We're witnessing a significant shift in consumer preference, as cars that were once a staple for one generation, are no longer for another. This will have a direct impact both economically and culturally, affecting the automotive industry and beyond."
A pickup truck took a familiar spot as the No. 1 most-searched vehicle on autoTRADER.ca's annual list, but moves by utility vehicles illustrate the growing "love affair" Canada has with the segment.
And that comes as Canadians are losing a bit of interest in sedans, minvians and some (but not all) luxury models.
According to autoTRADER.ca's annual top 10 most-searched vehicles list released Thursday, the Ford F-150 was the most popular search on the site.
"For the fourth year in a row, the perennial Ford F-150 has retained the No. 1 spot on the list, but this year, the Honda CR-V and Toyota Rav4 have climbed into top positions as Canadian favourites, claiming spot No. 7 and No. 10 respectively," autoTRADER.ca managing editor Michael Bettencourt said in a news release.
"As a result, sedans appear to be taking a back seat in 2018's top 10 list compared to previous years," Bettencourt said.
Overall, there were three utility vehicles represented on the list (the Jeep Wrangler at No. 5 joined the CR-V and Rav4). But perhaps more telling was this nugget: Each of the lists for individual provinces saw an SUV crack this list, the company said. And this has never happened before.
Not to be usurped by utilities, though, three sports cars made the top 10 national list: Ford Mustang at No. 2, Porsche 911 at No. 8 and the Chevrolet Corvette at No. 9.
Illustrating a shift away from minivans and sedans, the analysis points out in trends to watch for 2019 that minivan search interest was at 2.58 percent; there was an average of 11 percent year-over-year decline in used and new listings of minivans; and there was an average 15 percent decline in new-car sedan listings.
The company notes that "the absence of some of our favourite sedans from the list, alongside the fall of the minivan, further reinforce a car-buying future dominated by SUVs and subcompact crossovers."
And though the BMW M Series exited the top 10 list, the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class remained. Citing Bettencourt, the company added in its trends to watch analysis that "while most Canadians in 2018 opted for utility, general interest in luxury car brands remained steady - a key indicator that strong opportunity lies ahead in the mid-level luxury category, particularly as it pertains to SUVs."
VW says the next generation of gasoline-engined cars will be its last
Volkswagen expects the era of the combustion car to fade away after it rolls out its next-generation gasoline and diesel cars beginning in 2026.
Traditional automakers are under increasing pressure from regulators to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to combat climate change, prompting Volkswagen to pursue a radical shift to electric vehicles.
"Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren't CO2-neutral," Michael Jost, strategy chief for Volkswagen's namesake brand, said Tuesday at an industry conference near the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.
"We're gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum."
The world's largest automaker has started to introduce its first wave of electric cars, including next year's Porsche Taycan. The rollout across its stable of 12 automotive brands is forecast to comprise about 15 million vehicles, as the company earmarks $50 billion over the next five years to spend on its transformation to self-driving, electric cars.
Production of the VW brand's I.D. Neo hatchback will start in 12 months in Germany, followed by other models from the I.D. line assembled at two sites in China as of 2020. VW plans to launch fully or partly electric versions across its lineup of more than 300 cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes by 2030.
VW will continue to modify its combustion engine technology after the new platform is introduced next decade. After 2050, there may still be some gasoline and diesel models in regions where there is insufficient charging infrastructure, according to Jost
Problems with diesel pollution in cities can be resolved with cleaner engines, but the much bigger threat in the long run is CO2 emissions, which contribute to global warming, the VW executive said.
The German manufacturer is "fully committed" to the goals outlined in the Paris climate accord, which calls for accelerating the rollout of vehicles that lower or eliminate harmful emissions, he said at an industry conference organized by daily Handelsblatt.
The gradual exit of combustion engines marks a sea change for Volkswagen, which became the poster child of car pollution after it admitted to cheating on emissions tests in a scandal involving 11 million vehicles worldwide.
"Yes, we have a clear responsibility here," Jost said. "We made mistakes."