The newly-arrived Nissan Leaf Plus comes with an upgraded 62kWh battery with a range of 226 miles. It’s competing with the Hyundai Kona (258 e-miles), the Kia Niro (239 e-miles), and the Chevy Bolt (259 e-miles), to name a few.
While the Bolt leads the range wars in its segment, it underachieves when it fast charges. With a DC fast charger, Bolt takes 2 hours to charge up. Leaf and Leaf Plus get to 80% charged in just 45 minutes. With a Level 2 charger, the Leaf Plus takes longer to charge than the Bolt. Bolt offers less cargo space than the Leaf Plus and interior noise is worse in the Bolt. Leaf Plus gives you more legroom up front, Bolt gives you more legroom in back. Leaf’s climate control drains the battery more slowly than Bolt. Leaf’s exterior camera in not HD; Bolt’s camera is HD. Bolt gives you a more powerful battery and better range, but price-wise, Leaf Plus pencils out slightly better.
There was a time when the Leaf didn’t need to worry about comparisons like this. For years it dominated the market, amassing sales of more than 500,000 units. But these days it has many competitors, in particular, the Tesla Model 3, with sales round 700,000 units and climbing.
The Leaf Plus EV comes in 3 trims: S PLUS ($38,270 MSRP), SV PLUS ($40,520 MSRP) and SL PLUS ($43,970- MSRP).
The Leaf Plus’s MSRP is considerably dropped by government incentives, which include a Federal tax credit of $7500. The EV is eligible for HOV stickers in California.
Says motorweek.org: “A much needed addition to the lineup, the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus not only keeps the Leaf competitive with newer EVs, but gives buyers an additional choice. Whether you’re looking for commuting frugality, or the ability to explore a little more, and go farther on a charge; the Leaf, just as it always has, truly delivers on the EV dream.”
The greater capacity of the 62kWh Leaf batteries is derived from more energy-dense cells that fit in the same underfloor volume of previous models, thus preserving interior space. The floor-mounted battery pack creates a low center of gravity for a great ride and smooth handling, helping the Nissan Leaf Plus corner with minimal body roll.
For the Eco-conscious, there are many things to like about the Leaf. 60% of the plastic on the Leaf's interior is already recycled material – much of it comes from used water bottles. At the end of the Leaf's lifespan, 99% of the 3375-pound vehicle weight is recyclable and can be transformed back into water bottles or other Leafs.
Key Leaf features include: a 110 kW AC synchronous electric motor, an e-Pedal, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Apple CarPlay integration, Android Auto, 17" x 6.5" Machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels, Nissan Door to Door Navigation with Premium Traffic, NissanConnect EV with Services powered by SiriusXM with trial access, Intelligent Cruise Control, and a 50 kW Quick Charge Port.
Insideevs.com reviewer Gary Lieber uses bullet points to highlight the Leaf Plus positives:
• Top notch reliability, fit, and finish. • Excellent ergonomics and cabin comfort and engineering (LEAFs have been using heat pumps for HVAC for seven years, while Tesla is just discovering them).
• The LEAF is a mid-sized car with more interior and cargo space than almost every one of its competitors.
• The 2020 LEAFs traction battery and thermal management is completely redesigned with new chemistry and battery management that puts its reliability and durability on par with any other BEV on the market today. It also has the best durability warranty.
• The LEAF has a competitive real-world range with BEVs costing thousands of dollars more.
Every Nissan LEAF is backed by a New Vehicle Limited Warranty providing: 36 month/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) basic coverage; 60-month/60,000-mile (whichever occurs first) powertrain and electric vehicle system coverage; and 96-month/100,000-mile (whichever occurs first) Lithium-Ion Battery coverage. Nissan’s confidence doesn’t stop at the battery warranty. The Electric Vehicle (EV) System coverage includes, but is not limited to, the following items: Motor, Inverter unit, VCM, Reduction gear, DC/DC converter, Onboard charger, Onboard charger connector, and Trickle charge cable.
Are the Leaf and Leaf Plus good cars to drive? Both founders of CURRENT EV leased Leafs for 3 years and loved them! So from CURRENT EV’s point of view, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Says carbuzz.com reviewer Gerhard Horn: “It's easy to forget what the Nissan Leaf did for electric cars. Many see the Tesla Model S as the turning point for EVs, and it's hard to disagree with that, but it's worth remembering that Nissan built the first EV aimed at normal people, and it worked. In the 11 years since it was first launched, a bunch of new EVs have entered the market. With the exception of the Mini SE, all of them come with a premium price tag. All of them are more interesting than the Leaf, for various reasons, be that a nicer interior, funky exterior, sporty handling, or a giant touchscreen interface. But the Leaf remains the people's EV, retailing at a price a large portion of the population can afford, especially in a post-COVID world. The Leaf doesn't pretend to be anything other than a no-nonsense practical hatch with space for five and a big trunk. It's comfortable rather than sporty, even though it has the ability to be brisk in a straight line. It's also generously equipped across the range, and not just with luxury items, but safety kit as well.”
After kick-starting the mass market EV race in 2010 and becoming the top-selling electric vehicle in the world (based on cumulative sales data from Dec 2010 thru Dec 2017), the re-imagined Leaf’s improved technology, streamlined looks, extended range and compelling price-to-range ratio provide great value for customers looking for a mid-range priced EV.
REVISED MAY 2021
There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV. CURRENT provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.