By on January 9, 2019

Image: Nissan

Ignoring next week’s North American International Auto Show, Nissan instead chose the high-tech confines of Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show to reveal its latest Leaf. And it’s a Leaf that’s finally able to play with the big boys.

Called the Leaf e+, but carrying the Leaf Plus name when it goes on sale in the U.S. and Canada, this Leaf variant boasts more battery — 62 kWh of it. With all of that additional stored energy comes the ability to expand your horizons.

Currently, Nissan’s second-generation Leaf carries a 40 kWh battery capable of propelling the vehicle some 151 miles, according to EPA specs. Upgrading to a Leaf Plus, which American buyers should be able to do come spring, extends the driving range to approximately 226 miles.

This places the hatch ahead of the still-theoretical base Tesla Model 3 (220 miles) and places it in the running among lower-priced EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles) and Hyundai Kona EV (258 miles). Kia’s Niro EV (239 miles) and upcoming 2020 Soul EV (200-plus miles) are other long-ranged considerations.

Image: Nissan

While the new-for-2018 Leaf improved on its predecessor’s range of 107 miles, buyers wanted the option to upgrade. Nissan didn’t wait long to grant their wish. By keeping the original battery pack in the model line, the automaker can still market the Leaf as a value-packed offering with something for everyone. For 2019, a base Leaf S stickers for $30,885 after destination but before a $7,500 federal tax credit.

In a statement, Nissan said the “Plus” moniker will appear alongside the same trim range seen on the lower-ranged model. Thus, you’ll have a choice of S Plus, SV Plus, and SL Plus.

Sliding into a Plus model nets a driver more than just range, too. A larger, 160 kW motor generates 215 horsepower, up from 147 hp in non-Plus models, while torque rises from 236 lb-ft to 250 lb-ft. According to Nissan, passing acceleration (50 to 75 mph) is 13 percent quicker, and the top speed rises 10 percent. Green driving needn’t be sluggish — and it certainly once was (an early first-gen Leaf in Eco mode was the slowest vehicle I ever drove).

Image: Nissan

Like other Leafs, the Leaf Plus arrives with e-Pedal technology, allowing drivers to brake just by lifting their foot off the accelerator.

While Nissan wasn’t stingy with the new Leaf Plus’ specs, it did leave one set of figures out of its reveal: the price. Expect to hear more about that closer to the spring on-sale date, but a premium of at least a few thousand seems likely.

[Images: Nissan]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

22 Comments on “Nissan Unveils a Leaf That Goes the Distance...”

  • avatar

    Given that a Nissan Leaf SL already pushes $45,000 here in Canada, I can’t see a flood of people rushing out to spend $50,000+ on one with more range. It’s still a glorified compact hatchback and people who spend that kind of dough want to go home in a nice compact SUV.

  • avatar

    … yeah, if I really cared about Spending Less Money On Fuel, I’d still get a Prius.

    Especially once Nissan sells enough to lose the Free Money Tax Credit.

    • 0 avatar


      I agree. But for some people it works- $ wise. Fed and state freebies sometimes make it a semi FREE car.

      My next door neighbor is on his THIRD one on lease.

    • 0 avatar

      Except if you get a Prius you’ll have a bigger problem on your hands, namely looking at it.

      • 0 avatar

        After yer done puking you wonder to yourself how something like that could come out of the mind of a human being…Then you watch Pokemon and then it starts to make sense.

    • 0 avatar

      If you are regularly driving 200 miles, then I think the Prius would be a better bet. Thus low-end electrics should probably keep with low-end distances. On the other hand, there’s little effort involved in shoving in a bigger battery, so you might as well at least have that as an option for some additional sales that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      News flash: Many/most EV buyers are not buying EVs to save the world, virtue signal, or save money on fuel.

  • avatar

    The big question is possibly answered by omission: will this version have proper thermal management? Most likely no.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Right not a word from Nissan on that key feature. If they’re just slamming a bigger air-cooled battery in there, that’s a huge miss.

      • 0 avatar

        Even worse, the battery is the same physical size, so the cells are more tightly packed. There are other issues. For one, chaedemo used to be the dominant charging standard. That’s no longer the case and could be an issue. That could further exacerbate the charging network issues. A Model 3 is only maybe $5k more and you might be able to find a used one for the same price as the Leaf. There’s also Model 3 leasing once Tesla needs to goose sales a bit. Then, there’s the Tesla vs. Nissan depreciation. What’s a Model 3 going to be worth after 3 or 4 years vs. a Leaf?

  • avatar

    I’ve looked at buying a first gen Leaf for the grandson to drive to high school.
    But they’re really short on range in their old age and the Nissan offered “refurbished” battery pack is about what a low end gas powered beater car costs.

  • avatar

    6″ of lift and it’ll sell like Popsockets.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Prius-the only new car that comes from the factory already looking like it’s been in an accident……

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That’s a major upgrade from the now-base model, especially in terms of horsepower. Hopefully this powerful variant has a liquid-cooled battery, and not an air-cooled one. I would also like to see Nissan move away from the CHAdeMO standard, and toward the SAE program that nearly everyone else uses.

    • 0 avatar

      No liquid cooling. While I haven’t had an issue with my 1.5 Leaf in the Northeast, there could be issues with throttling back charging rates when the battery is hot which could be a real issue with a 60 kWh battery to fill. They’ve added more active fans, so there is some improvement. Not sure if they’ve added cabin air to help heat/cool it. That was a rumor.

      CCS has definitely won the charging standards war. Tesla has even added a CCS port in addition to the supercharger port to its European Model 3s. I’d love to see that on US Teslas. You could charge anywhere.

  • avatar

    It will be a great buy as a used car. Otherwise – why bother if you can buy superior Tesla apr. for the same money.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    As I predicted, EVs will be helped along by ICE cars being regulated out of existence. Check out the Audi A6 review in CD. Thanks in part to a turbo, 48 V hybrid system and stop/start, this glorified Passat is close to 80 large. Might as well say “screw it, I’lll go with an EV.”

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • Mike-NB2: This is a beautiful car. Because it isn’t a truck (CUV, SUV, etc) it won’t sell well in North...
  • Jo Borrás: I feel like “yes”.
  • kcflyer: Seems like a lot of car for 19 grand. Congrats twotone.
  • VWGolfGuy: Ugly rear end. Vehicle style will not age well.
  • EBFlex: Hopefully FaceBook and Twitter follow suit.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber