In an interview with Carlos Ghosn, the Tokyo Business Channel got the Nissan CEO to admit that the automaker is working on a 250+ mile electric car battery. Just when this battery will be ready, Ghosn isn’t saying, but it’s readily apparent that Tesla is starting to influence design decisions at major automakers.

Why do I say this? Because Nissan, like a lot of other automakers, launched a short-range electric car (the LEAF) because they wrongly believed nobody would pay a premium price for a longer range EV. Nissan has been asking customers how much extra they would pay for more driving range in their EVs, and while there are rumors Nissan might be getting out of the battery business, that’s appearing less likely to be the case.

Indeed as recently as last year, Nissan was caught testing a 48 kWh battery pack on a LEAF, which is double the size of the current production LEAF. With a new model pegged to debut next year, more range is almost certainly in the cards…the question is, how much? 150 miles seems to be the most reasonable guess, but could Nissan roll out a 200+ mile option for the next-gen LEAF?

A few days ago I would have said no. But now? Maybe Ghosn wants to beat the Tesla Model III to market with an affordable, 200+ mile EV. Maybe he’s talking about the far future. Or maybe, just maybe, Nissan has learned a few lessons from Tesla’s success and is ready to take Elon Musk up on the challenge of building great electric cars.

via The Daily Kanban