here's another article:
There's a point there. It is inescapable fact that Nissan can't come up with anything that can compete with the Chevy Bolt EV for the range and price. The market is headed there at the moment. The demand for Chevy Volt has also been on the increase, while the price decreases, so Nissan must have sensed something in GM's profit margins for the hybrid.It isn't taking a step backwards, it is a great idea. No, brilliant idea. If you can sell a series hybrid like the Note e-Power for about $16,000, and sell say 5 times as many of those as you do the Nissan Leaf. Suddenly all your electric powertrain components get cheaper because they are shared with your "gas" cars and you are producing 6 times as many as with just the EV. Your power inverters and your electric motors all get cheaper. The manufacturer is able to sell the car cheaper as it has a small battery and no on board charger (chargers are expensive). To be fair, the components aren't identical to the Leaf, but an idea like this does allow sharing and production cost decreases.
The engine is 80 hp so it will not have the issues that the i3 has. This is as much power as the engine in the Gen 1 Volt.
To me, doubling the efficiency of a compact car without increasing the price is pretty good.