EPA Says the 2018 Nissan Leaf Goes the Extra Mile - Literally

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
epa says the 2018 nissan leaf goes the extra mile literally

What a difference a mile makes. Or does it? In the case of the 2018 Nissan Leaf, the second-generation model’s newly enlarged driving range might not sway a single buyer or suddenly place the model ahead of a close challenger, but any improvement in an EV’s travel radius is worthy of a celebration at the company’s HQ.

If you haven’t heard the news, the 2018 Leaf’s range now stands at 151 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s just-released official rating. What was it before? Well, Nissan estimated 150 miles. Hardly shocking, but it’s nonetheless good news as the automaker waits for next year’s arrival of a longer-ranged, more competitive model.

It’s worth noting that the 2011 Leaf, the first real mainstream EV on the U.S. market, stayed close to home out of pure necessity. With a paltry range of 73 miles, long road trips were something a Leaf owner could only dream of. Subsequent versions grew in range, but only to 84 miles. The biggest leap in the first-gen model’s lifespan came after an optional 30 kWh battery joined the line in 2016, pushing range to 107 miles.

The 2018 model makes use of a 40 kWh battery pack, pushing its horizons further. Interestingly, the model’s overall efficiency (112 MPGe) is less than that of the old 24 kWh models (114 MPGe), likely due to added weight.

Despite the upgrades, the Leaf lags the segment’s headline grabbers. Chevrolet’s Bolt travels 238 miles between charges, and the yet-unreleased Tesla Model 3 in base form carries a 220-mile rating. Neither rival, of course, can top the Nissan’s hidden perk: value. A base Leaf S carries a pre-delivery MSRP of $29,990 before the federal tax credit, making it thousands of dollars cheaper than a Tesla or Chevy.

Next year, a 60 kWh Leaf variant shows up to properly challenge these fresh-faced models. Expect a range of over 200 miles. The long-legged Leaf’s appearance comes not a moment too soon, as the model dropped U.S. buyers every year since its 2014 high water mark, finishing 2017 with 11,230 units sold — almost a third of its former volume.

2018 Leafs are currently arriving on dealer lots.

[Image: Nissan]

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3 of 27 comments
  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on Jan 31, 2018

    Look at the proboscis on that thing, 151 mile range to boot? Why must the virtuous suffer so?

  • Robbie Robbie on Feb 01, 2018

    When I drove an older Leaf - 2012 or 2013 - I thought it was quite comfortable and quiet in city driving, but on the freeway, it had a lot of road noise and didn't handle well. Do you guys share this experience, and is this the same for new Leafs?

    • Glwillia Glwillia on Feb 02, 2018

      I have a 2014 Leaf, and that's my experience as well. It's great around town, especially in Seattle traffic, but relatively unstable and loud above about 65mph. Then again, the range is limited enough (and the battery capacity drops fast enough at freeway speeds) you won't be spending much time at all on the freeway in it. Doesn't bother me, I have an E39 for road trips/long freeway trips.

  • Redapple2 C2 is the best. C3 next. Then C7 (looking at you jimII).
  • Jeff S Vulpine--True the CAFE rules are for ICE.
  • Gray I grew up in the era of Panther and Fox platforms. If only they developed a good looking two door Conti. The four doors became a cult in their own right. And kept the 351W as a top line option.
  • Vulpine ABSOLUTELY YES!!! Bring back the TRUE compact trucks. The demand for them is far higher than the OEMs want to admit.
  • Brn More likely, with Google having troubles, the money tree isn't as ripe as it once was and cutbacks are needed.I hope the overall industry continues to evolve. When I get the the point I can't easily drive, I would still appreciate the independence that autonomous vehicles can bring.