Nissan Starts Building First EV for China that's Based on the Leaf

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【Summary】Nissan started production of a new electric vehicle called the Sylphy that’s based on the Leaf and is specifically built for China.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Oct 08, 2018 9:00 AM PT
Nissan Starts Building First EV for China that's Based on the Leaf

With China leading the way forward for electric vehicles, automakers are quickly adjusting to beefing up their electric-car lineup in the country. No one wants to be left behind as the country continues to ban gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles and transitions to battery-operated machines. Nissan becomes one of the first major automakers to start building a Chinese-only EV. 

According to Electrek, Nissan started production of the Sylphy, which is based on the all-electric Leaf, earlier this week. This isn't the first time we've seen the electric sedan, as the Japanese automaker revealed the vehicle at the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year. At the time, Nissan called it the Sylphy ZE for Zero Emission, but it looks like the automaker has dropped the "ZE" portion from the official name.

New Sylphy Utilizes Leaf's Electric Powertrain

Just as Nissan stated at the auto show, the Sylphy will have a range of 210 miles on a single charge, which is 60 miles more than the new Leaf that's available in the United States. The differentiation comes from Nissan's utilization of its larger battery pack, which will supposedly provide the Leaf with a range of 220 miles in the U.S. when it becomes available for the 2019 model year. It could also boil down to the way China tests its vehicles, which differs drastically from the way the EPA does its testing. 

The new Sylphy utilizes the same platform as the Leaf and the same powertrain, as well. The sedan, though, has a stretched wheelbase to provide passengers in the rear with more space, which is something that consumers in China prioritize. The extra space also allowed Nissan's engineers to place the vehicle's batteries under the body to ensure there's an abundant amount of cargo space. 

"China is already the world's largest automotive market," said Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa. "But China isn't just a leader in terms of market size: It stands at the forefront of the development of the industry itself. The market is now evolving extremely quickly, especially in the areas of electrification and connectivity. In fact, China is expected to lead the world in the adoption and spread of EVs in the coming years." 

More EVs Are Coming

Saikawa also added that the Japanese automaker looks to launch an additional four electric vehicles in China by 2019. The vehicles will be sold under some of the automaker's other brand names and under its own moniker, as well.

The Sylphy, which is the first electric vehicle only for China from the brand, will be built at Nissan's factory in Huadu, which is shared with Dongfeng motors. In addition to announcing that production of the Sylphy had started, Nissan stated that its partnership with Dongfeng motors has accounted for approximately 10 million cars since things kicked off. 

Confusingly, Nissan sells a regular, gasoline-powered Sylphy in other parts of the world that we call the Sentra in the United States. With that in mind, it's unlikely that we'll see an electric variant of the Sentra in America. The vehicle would make the Leaf obsolete, since it would probably use the same batteries, and wouldn't really have any major upsides over the battery-powered hatchback. 

For Chinese consumers, Electrek claims that that the electric Sylphy starts at 166,000 yuan, which comes out to $24,300 USD. 

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