Nissan unveiled the long awaited next generation Nissan Leaf last night in Japan. The new Leaf has been completely redesigned, sporting a more agressive, and less bug-like, look.
Rumors turned out to be true, as the car starts at $29,990 and has a range 150 miles. The car will be available in early 2018. The new Leaf has a 40 kWh battery, but a larger 60 kWh battery due in 2019 with an estimated 220 mile range, on par with the base Tesla Model 3.
Nissan is offering many new features, though most of them require upgrades. In the base model you will not get Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or even a quick charging port. For those you will spend $32,490 plus whatever the Technology Package costs. To get 360º Around View, Blind Spot monitoring, Leather seating and upgraded audio, you'll spend at least $36,200.
There is no word yet on pricing for ProPilot, Nissan's answer to Tesla's Autopilot. Currently, the system seems to work almost as well as Autopilot version 1, except that it does not include the ability to change lanes. One cool feature that seemed to be a direct jab at Tesla was the ability to prevent unintended acceleration caused by hitting the wrong pedal. It detects objects as well as pedestrians and stops the car if you accidentally hit the accelerator.
The accelerator includes what Nissan calls E-Pedal one pedal driving, which allows you to come to a complete stop, even on a hill, without hitting the brake, using a combination of aggressive regenerative and friction braking.
The new Leaf is slightly quicker, dropping the 0-60 time from 10.3 seconds down to about 8.9 seconds. For reference, the Chevy Bolt has a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, while the base Model 3 has a 0-60 of 5.5 seconds.
This car is not competing with Tesla. In fact, until the 60 kWh battery is available, it is not even competing with the Chevy Bolt. For now, it's competing with its old self, as well as the Hyundai Ioniq. On paper, it blows it out of the water, with more range and more available upgrades. I would even go so far as to say it's still a better value than the Chevy Bolt, despite the range shortcomings. Neither are built for long distance driving, though the Bolt's 240 mile range at least lets you take a 4 hour drive without stopping. But Nissan giving this car the ability to drive itself within a lane on the highway, and park itself on its own means it's a much better car than the Bolt. ProPilot has not been given a price yet, but will be "less than Tesla's Autopilot" which is $5000. even if it's $4000, a fully loaded Leaf would still be cheaper than a fully loaded Chevy Bolt, which maxes out around $44,000.
Also of note, it looks like a NISMO treatment is coming to the new Leaf, which means we will see a quicker Leaf. Will it beat the base Chevy Bolt or Model 3 0-60 times though?