Nissan released its remastered Leaf during an event on the Las Vegas Strip on Tuesday. The automaker claims the new Nissan Leaf offers a 150-mile range on a full charge, compared to 107 miles offered by its predecessor. The car will be available in the United States, Canada and Europe next year.
Nissan’s silent journey to global leader
Amid all the fanfare about Tesla, Nissan has quietly become the maker of the world’s best-selling electric vehicle. Since 2010, Nissan has sold approximately 300,000 electric vehicles, notes CNET.
Electric car advocate Chelsea Sexton said, “What everyone points towards Tesla for aspiration, Nissan has done for accessibility for EVs.”
Nissan was awarded the titles for the 2011 European Car of the Year, the 2011 World Car of the Year and the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Japan, notes Wired. With the new Nissan Leaf, the company is looking to increase its lead by offering the car in 60 markets globally. The extended range of the Leaf is undoubtedly an improvement, but it still lags the Chevy Bolt’s 238 miles and Tesla’s 220 miles.
However, on the price point, both the Bolt and the Model 3 are more expensive than the Leaf. The Bolt EV settles for about $38,000 before taxes licenses, rebates and incentives. The Tesla Model 3 costs around $42,400 for the smaller battery model and goes up to $57,700 for the bigger one. The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, starts at $29,900.
“The Leaf is again a viable EV consideration, especially at that price. You can get more range with a Model 3 or a Bolt EV, but you have to pay more money,” said Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer.
How the new Nissan Leaf compares to others
The new Nissan Leaf offers an edgy and dynamic look with impressive aerodynamic designing and style. Everything about the car, from its looks to the drive, makes the driving experience luxurious, the company said. Nissan retained its signature boomerang-shaped lamps and V-motion flow on the front. Further, the Japanese automaker has preserved the EV look of the car, keeping the flash surface grille in clear blue and the rear bumper in blue.
The new Nissan Leaf sports ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous technology and an “e-pedal,” which allows the driver to start, accelerate, stop and decelerate using just their right foot.
According to analysts, potential customers who may take an interest in the new Nissan Leaf might be new to the EV market entirely, or they may be considering switching to the brand. These customers might have also considered buying a Toyota Prius or other plug-in BEV or even a hybrid. Analysts also feel that prospective new owners could be current Leaf owners who want to upgrade to a car with more mileage at the same price. Another set of customers could be potential Model 3 owners who are low on the waiting list.
Although electric vehicles have been growing in popularity, they are still far behind conventional gas-guzzling automobiles. In 2016, plug-in electric battery cars had a tiny share of the market at just 0.5% of U.S. auto sales, according to automotive analysis firm Edmunds. In 2017, this percentage is expected to edge up to about 0.6%.