The biggest complaint about the Nissan Leaf is its relatively low 150-mile range. At half the range of most Teslas and significantly lower than the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt, the Leaf was forced to compete with other features, including lower pricing. This Spring, the new 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus (also called the E+) will hit showrooms, boasting a much-improved range as well as more power.
The new E+ will utilize a 168 kWh motor powered by a 62.0 kWh battery pack that delivers 214 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. This moves it dramatically up to a 226-mile range, making it comparable to the Bolt. They also added a next-generation charging system.
Another change that’s going to entice EV buyers is that it’s a drastic improvement in appearance. It isn’t just good looking for an electric vehicle. It’s a good looking vehicle, period. It’s still not great; few will look at it and say, “wow,” but at least fewer people will say “yuck.”
Making the ProPILOT system standard was a great move to add increased highway safety and convenience to the other standard safety features like e-Pedal and automatic emergency braking. All of this coincides with w an improved infotainment system that includes an upgraded 8.0-inch screen instead of the standard 7.0-inch screen.
Unfortunately for Nissan, they’re likely going to continue playing the price game to make sales. Noticeable add-ons such as a folding rear armrest or soft-touch interior plastic will make it less comfortable than other vehicles priced over $30,000. They went the cheap route wherever they could in order to stay below the $37,000 mark. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but expect it to be somewhere around $36,000 so it can be slightly cheaper than its competitors.
If Nissan can demonstrate lower maintenance costs and improved longevity, its range may not be an issue. Otherwise, they’re going to have to play the lowest price game, making it a likely failure when the Tesla Model 3 arrives.