Nissan Leaf Range Upgrade Remains a Mystery of Our Time

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.

Speaking at the second-gen Leaf’s Tokyo unveiling, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa promised a range of more than 300 miles, Automotive News reports.

Holy cow, the casual listener might think. The top-drawer Leaf can lap the Bolt and Model 3! Tap the brakes (or lift off the e-Pedal), son. Japan’s testing cycle assigns vastly superior ranges to electric vehicles, meaning that figure stands to receive quite a haircut on the EPA cycle. A Nissan spokesperson later told Automotive News that U.S. Leafs won’t reach 300 miles, though hypermilers might hit that distance before going dark.

The last word on the issue comes from Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s executive vice president of sales and marketing. Schillaci told the trade journal that a 2019 Leaf with 60 kWh battery will exceed 225 miles on the EPA cycle, but wouldn’t pin down an exact estimate. Even if the 225 figure stands, that’s better than a base Model 3’s 220 miles. However, the Bolt’s 238-mile range seems like a tantalizing figure to beat, assuming Nissan engineers have the ability.

Still, range isn’t everything with the Leaf. For its upcoming marketing campaign, Nissan is reportedly planning to drop the tired “save the planet”/”this uses no gas” template and focus instead on value-for-money. Apparently, buyers know what an electric car is. Besides the one-pedal driving experience offered by the brand’s e-Pedal, the 2018 Leaf arrives with Nissan’s ProPilot semi-autonomous driving technology — both highly marketable bits of kit.

The 2018 Leaf goes on sale in a (very) truck- and SUV-hungry America in early 2018.

[Image: Nissan]

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