At This Point, Nissan Is Just Daring Me Not To Buy A Leaf

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Nissan announced Thursday that the 2016 Leaf would run more than 100 miles on a single charge in SV and SL trim, increasing its range by 25 percent over last year. The base S model will keep the 24 kWh battery that manages more than 80 miles on a charge.

For the dozens and dozens of 2015 Leafs wilting on lots around the Denver metro area — where a combination of tax credits and cash back from the manufacturer makes the Leaf the least-expensive new car in America — I can hear them calling. And after Nissan sweetened its own deal this month with no interest for 72 months, it’s getting louder.

Let’s get down to brass tacks here: not since Cash for Clunkers can I remember a new car being so affordable. In 2009, I was a fledgling newspaper journalist who didn’t make enough to pay attention so I missed that boat.

Six years later, and I’m still not the Sultan of Brunei, but even I can do the math:

$29,010 — Base price

-$7,500 — Federal tax credit

-$5,200 — Colorado tax credit

-$5,000 — NMAC finance credit

– No interest for 72 months

– Free charging for two years

= $11,310 before you factor in dealer desperation to move a year-old electric car off their lot while gasoline is at a historically low price.

Beyond the increase in range, not much has changed for the Leaf from 2015. It still has four wheels (five if you count the steering wheel) and some seats. The Leaf faces an uphill battle after Chevrolet announced that its 2016 (nay, 2017) Volt would increase its all-electric range to 53 miles, and the 2016 Toyota Prius will reportedly go 34 miles on electrons alone.

Basically, what I’m saying is I have a date at a Nissan dealer later today.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Sep 10, 2015

    How easy is an EV to repair after an accident? Say a t-bone on the passenger side by someone running a stale red. Say EV needs to see the rack for unbending $12 K in OEM parts. Does the insurance industry handle claims on EVs any different?

    • JPWhite JPWhite on Sep 11, 2015

      I was unfortunate enough to have collided with a deer when my LEAF was just 4 months old. Did $7,500 worth of damage to the front end. The only accommodation I had to make for repairs was to choose a shop that had experience with aluminum repair/painting. Since 2013 the LEAF's have been all steel, so any shop should be able to repair a LEAF. There are considerations for isolating the traction battery before doing any bodywork but that's all laid out in the repair manual and takes just a few minutes to pull the isolation switch/plug. There are guidelines for measuring the door sill temperature when the car is in the paint booth. The upper limit is 140F and most shops don't run their booths that hot anyway.

  • Tifighter Tifighter on Sep 11, 2015

    I've had one for 15 months now, and it is an exceptional commuter. Quiet, rides well, good seats, and a generally nice feature set. Best "tank" has been 104 miles with about 10% battery remaining. But this was in summer with warm weather. Here in the PNW, the charging infrastructure is pretty good, although I rarely use it since I can just charge overnight at home. The actual running costs, needless to say, are low. I have the same OBDII monitoring software mentioned above, and have yet to see any degradation in 13k miles. Worth noting that the 2013 and later have modified battery chemistry to better deal with heat, with a further (some say bigger) upgrade for 2015+ models. Given the 2016 models now have a longer battery warranty with the same chemistry as the 2015, I'd say Nissan has some confidence that the improvements are working in the real world. So if a great deal could be worked on a 15, it could be a no-brainer.

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.