Introduced this week in Las Vegas, the new Nissan LEAF PLUS is Nissan’s affordable long-range EV solution.
The Nissan LEAF PLUS (e+ in the United States) is the next step in Nissan’s electric vehicle development and gives the Japanese automaker the weapon it needs to compete with a new generation of electric vehicles that offer more range without dramatically increasing the price.
For the longest time the Nissan LEAF was the oddball of the automotive world, relying mostly on the fact that it was fully electric in order to stand out.
Other automakers began to take notice, however. Suddenly, the Nissan LEAF had some tough competition in the form of the Chevrolet Bolt and more recently the Hyundai Kona EV, two electric vehicles with more than twice the all-electric range of the first-generation Nissan LEAF.
These models weren’t around when Nissan began developing the new Nissan LEAF. When it came out with 242 kilometers of range, it should have been the range champion in its segment. Unfortunately, it trailed the Bolt by over 140 kilometers. That’s too much of a difference in a time when consumers are starting to look at EVs more and more.
What’s new about the Nissan LEAF PLUS?
It’s essentially a new version of the 2019 Nissan LEAF with a new powertrain, more power, and longer range. A 62-kWh battery pack translates into 363 kilometers of range, 51% more than the current LEAF and its 40-kWh battery pack.
That gives it the range that it needs to contend with some other long-range electric vehicles.
The larger battery leads to more power and better acceleration on the road. The 160-kWh battery of the LEAF PLUS has 45% more power than the current model and 250 pound-feet of torque. This enables faster passing as well with the LEAF PLUS having a 13% quicker sprint from 50 km/h to 80 km/h.
It’s not clear what impact this will have on charging times. According to Nissan you can charge the Nissan LEAF PLUS on an available 70-kW Quick Charging system in the same time it takes the current LEAF to charge on a 50-kW charger which requires 40 minutes to get 80% range.
No mention of how long it would take on a 240V outlet, but expect around 9 hours while the current LEAF does it in 7.5 hours.
The rest of the car is the same as the current LEAF in terms of interior and exterior design. It’s slightly higher than the current LEAF because of the larger battery pack, but you would have to have both cars next to each other to notice it.
What’s the Nissan LEAF PLUS’ price?
The LEAF Plus will be offered in three trims: S PLUS, SV PLUS and SL PLUS. Nissan says pricing will be announced closer to launch, but we expect a starting price of around $45,000. The current LEAF starts at $36,798.
When will it be released?
The new Nissan LEAF PLUS arrives in the spring in North America.
What other electric cars should you check out if you’re interested in the Nissan LEAF PLUS.
The Chevrolet Bolt is the most direct competitor as are the upcoming Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV. The Tesla Model 3 is priced in the same ballpark and offers slightly more range so you’ll want to check that out as well.
What do we think about it?
We are big fans of the Nissan LEAF. It won our comparison test against the Bolt and Volkswagen e-golf, and the only problem we had with was that it didn’t offer more range.
With the new Nissan LEAF PLUS, Nissan solves that problem. The only thing left to confirm is pricing, but if it’s under $50,000 like we think it will be, Nissan will have a winner on its hands.