By on January 28, 2019

Image: Nissan

First off, we could debate whether a true “stripper” vehicle even exists in this era of generous standard content; arguably, my Chevrolet Cruze L doesn’t even make the cut — though one peek at the headliner material suggests otherwise. But I digress…

Certainly, the upcoming Nissan Leaf Plus is not the starting point of the Leaf line, but the new 62 kWh variant, with its larger battery and additional grunt, does include a modest “S” trim. And it seems the cheaper version of the long-range electric hatch packs a range advantage over its pricier siblings. (Read More…)

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. (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2018

With governments everywhere attempting to reduce powerplant emissions while simultaneously moving the teeming masses out of ICE vehicles and into electric cars, an energy brick wall quickly approaches. You’re faced with a situation where more people are drawing more power from the grid, but — for environmental or financial reasons — generating more power is out of the question.

In Germany, one solution is to get those EV drivers to stop what they’re doing and plug back into the grid, allowing the contents of their just-filled batteries to flow back into the plug it came from. Goodbye, brownouts. Possibly. If the solution seems odd and potentially self-defeating, it is, but the country’s government just approved the Nissan Leaf for exactly this use. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2018

2018 Nissan LEAF SL

Nissan did Leaf fans a favor when it upped the model’s driving range to 151 miles for 2018, a healthy increase from the previous generation’s 107 miles. Still, 151 miles falls well short of the industry’s nice-sounding gold standard of 200 miles — the figure to beat (or at least reach) for most automakers. With range like the new Leaf’s, long-distance travel remains complicated, inconvenient, and perhaps even impossible.

It’s no secret that Nissan plans to offer an upgraded battery next year, but just how much extra cash you’ll need for that 60 kWh model remained a mystery. Until now. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2018

Nissan unveiled the Leaf Nismo EV this week, with sales commencing in Japan at the end of the month. This is a big surprise for the Western automotive media, as few of us truly believed it was possible. While rumors suggested the existence of such a vehicle, we presumed it would either not happen or manifest as a pathetic appearance package on a vehicle entirely consumed with efficiency.

We were wrong. Nissan actually retuned the Leaf’s computer for improved acceleration and gave it a bunch of meaningful performance upgrades. (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2018

2018 Nissan LEAF SL

Many years ago, back when full-on electric cars were rare oddities, I drove an early first-generation Nissan Leaf in power-sapping Eco mode. It was, to this day, the slowest vehicle I have ever driven. The driver of a 1980s Tercel with a three-speed automatic could have handed me my ass in a stoplight drag race.

That was then, and this is now. The second-gen Leaf, which bowed for 2018, offers buyers 142 horsepower and a generous helping of low-end electric grunt to go with their 151 miles of range. But there’s another beast arriving for 2019 that should satisfy those looking for more miles and more horses. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2018

2017 Chevrolet Volt - Image: Chevrolet

Jason writes:

Dear Sajeev,

This isn’t so much a Piston Slap question, but rather a “what would Sajeev do (WWSD)?”

My father recently approached me and said that he and my mother are interested in getting a pre-owned electric to replace one of their aging cars. My father drives a 2009 Hyundai Sonata GLS (w/ popular pkg) with 65k on the odometer and my mother drives a 2008 Honda Civic EX Sedan with 85k. Both cars are close in age and miles, however, the Honda bests the Hyundai in resale value, hands down. Whatever they end up selling, my dad will keep to drive as an everyday car and my mom will get the electric. My dad is adamant about selling the Hyundai due to some shortcomings like the interior build quality (dashboard makes noises during hot climate) and the fuel tank has an odd evaporation issue where it forces the car not fill properly. However, I’m more for selling the Civic because the Sonata overall is a quieter and plush car for someone his age. In the past, he has complained the Civic is too low and I see him struggle to get in and out of my stock ILX. It’s a tough decision for us because both cars were purchased brand new and if you saw them today, you’d think they qualify as certified pre-owned vehicles.

The second question is the car they intend to purchase. My mom really likes the look and shape of the Nissan Leaf, but I introduced the Chevy Volt as an alternative and she approves. Both are completely different from one another but are a few thousands a part on the certified pre-owned market. My mother has a few years left until retirement and commutes (30 miles round-trip) for work, so both cars will suit her current and future lifestyle.

I know it might sound crazy to you (and readers) to sell any Asian car in such prime of their lives to get an electric car, but my parents are aging and at the end of the day, it’s whatever makes them happy that matters to me. So which makes more sense, selling the Sonata or Civic? Leaf or Volt? Or are we crazy and just keep the set up as is?

(Read More…)

By on February 17, 2018

2018 Nissan Leaf

After becoming something close to a joke over the past couple of years, the once-groundbreaking Nissan Leaf enters 2018 with a new skin, larger battery, and enhanced range. Next year brings an optional battery upgrade, finally giving the five-door EV a range capable of challenging Tesla and General Motors.

Now that it has a competitive vehicle positioned as a value pick in a growing segment, Nissan wants everyone to get a chance to buy one, no matter where they live. It may have shied away from sales targets in the U.S., but Nissan’s not dialing back its global ambitions. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2018

2018 Nissan Leaf

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. (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2017

Nissan LEAF GT

We drove the new 2018 Nissan Leaf in California earlier this month, finding it to be an effective foil to the Prius Primes and Chevy Bolts of the world. With far more mainstream styling than its predecessor, the Leaf stands a good chance of hooking customers who would have never considered the old model.

Now, we’ve learned the company will bring a Leaf GT concept to the Tokyo Auto Salon in early January, a Japanese event most easily described as a fantastic mashup of CES and SEMA.

(Read More…)

By on October 3, 2017

nismo-leaf

Nissan appears to be considering adorning the Leaf with a NISMO nameplate and appearance. Unveiled on Monday at Nissan’s Futures 3.0 event, the stock 2018 model provides improved performance, range, and less nerdy looks. However, Nissan wants further improve the Leaf’s image with a NISMO-trimmed variant.

Oh goodie.

While we get that economy models can morph into fun-to-drive little darlings, we also scrunched our noses at Toyota’s performance-enhanced GR Prius last month. Not every car can be the next GTI and, if automakers would like to build something that could be, they’ll have to provide us with more than a bodykit and a set of custom wheels.  (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2017

2018 Nissan LEAF, Image: Nissan

A week after the unveiling of the second-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf, we know for sure that value, value, value! is the upgraded model’s strongest selling point.

No longer offering a paltry 107 miles of range, the new Leaf sports a just-good-enough 150 miles of driving distance, or so Nissan believes. Of course, knowing that Chevrolet’s Bolt and Tesla’s Model 3 offer significantly better range, the Leaf’s priced to sell. For $29,990 plus delivery, and minus a $7,500 tax credit, Nissan figures the base S model is enough to tempt cost-conscious EV buyers who don’t want it all.

But there’s a longer-ranged Leaf in the works. For 2019, buyers can opt for a stepped-up 60 kWh battery, but just how far a so-equipped Leaf can drive on a single charge differs depending on the Nissan exec doing the talking. (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2017

Image: North America Map, Drive Electric Week Events

Since 2011, National Drive Electric Week has taken place in venues across the United States, some Canadian locations, and at select international venues. This year, it runs from Saturday, September 9th through Sunday, September 17th.

There are 262 event locations for 2017, so there’s probably an event not far away, assuming you’re electrically inclined.

(Read More…)

By on September 8, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: ChevroletYou can forget the GM EV1 and the Toyota RAV4 EV. The car that truly attempted to bring electric cars into the mainstream was the 2011 Nissan Leaf.

It didn’t. U.S. Leaf sales, never reaching any great heights, plunged after its fourth full model year, falling by more than half between 2014 and 2016.

There’s a thoroughly updated second-gen Nissan Leaf on its way, destined to hit U.S. dealers early in 2018. But during the first-gen Leaf’s tenure, the Nissan was joined by a broad array of electric cars, from a handful of Teslas to the Chevrolet Bolt, Volkswagen e-Golf, Kia Soul EV, BMW i3, and Hyundai Ioniq, and all of these cars together have combined to quintuple U.S. electric vehicle market share over the last half-decade.

Only 0.1 percent of the new vehicles sold in America in 2012 were pure EVs. That figure has risen, very slowly, to 0.5 percent through the first eight months of 2017 while the number of available nameplates has more than doubled.

Perspective? Ford grew its F-Series’ share of the overall U.S. new vehicle market from 4.5 percent to 5.1 percent during the same period. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2017

2018 Nissan LEAF, Image: Nissan

Back in December of 2010, if anyone can remember that hazy, long-ago time, an oddly shaped five-door rolled out of the minds of Japanese executives and onto U.S. dealer lots. Unlike its fledgling electric forebears, the 2011 Nissan Leaf promised practical gas-free transportation for the whole family, bolstered by a warranty from an established automaker and 73 miles of EPA-approved driving range.

The industry had just taken a big step. However, the Leaf, despite racking up an impressive model-life sales total, soon found itself leapfrogged by competitors with greater range and more conventional styling. By the time 2017 rolled around, the Leaf’s 107-mile range and now-dated body stood in stark contrast to sleeker models delivering 200 miles of driving from every turn at the plug.

Nissan wants to change that. For 2018, the second-generation Leaf arrives with greater — but not class-leading — range, a new body (with a familiar profile), and a lower entry price. The automaker clearly feels there’s thrifty EV buyers capable of saying “no” to the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt. (Read More…)

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