2015 Nissan LEAF Soldiers On Without Increase In Range, No Change In Efficiency


Despite wider reports to the contrary, the US Nissan LEAF marches into 2015 virtually unchanged.  Just as our exclusive update on the 2015 MY LEAF specs from last month foretold.

There’s none of the next-generation tech or chemistry tweaks found in the 2015 LEAF.  If there’s been a chemistry tweak for 2015, it goes unnoticed in EPA testing as the range and efficiency of the 2015 LEAF remains unchanged compared to the 2014 LEAF.

There are some changes for Model Year 2015 though, such as the addition of Morningsky Blue as a color choice and the deletion of Blue Ocean.  For more Model Year 2015 changes to the LEAF, refer to our previous post  here.

The 2015 LEAF is in production now, but sadly those BIG changes some have been waiting for will not come with the 2015 Model year.

2015 Nissan LEAF Spec Sheet (Canada)

2015 Nissan LEAF Spec Sheet (Canada)

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47 Comments on "2015 Nissan LEAF Soldiers On Without Increase In Range, No Change In Efficiency"

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I never understood why people were so certain that 2015 would be the breakthrough year. The car is only in its 5th model year. Most cars go through 5-6 years before anything major happens. To make matters worse, Nissan considers the 2013 to be a “second generation”, so this is really only the 3rd model year of this generation. Nissan has invested a lot of time and money to get this generation of battery to full scale production. They will want to wring out as many years of returns as possible before overhauling again. Note also they don’t have any serious competition pushing them. Nissan can already sell every Leaf they produce. From a business perspective, it makes much more sense to keep producing the product they have invested in until they can’t sell it anymore. Until they are truly demand limited, there is no reason to switch (see also Chevy extending the life of their Cruze platform). Overall, Nissan is making the right BUSINESS decisions to keep the Leaf strong and profitable. I’m thrilled that they are doing so, rather than getting caught up in the green-washing that seems to be rampant with other automakers (particularly Ford to my… Read more »

Happy hippies. I love it. I also appreciate that Nissan jumped into EVs without reservation. While the LEAF isn’t perfect, it’s backed by a company that is committed to EVs.

The LEAF is on my short list now that B-mode is available in the “S” grade.

+ cruise control

Brian, I agree with most of your analysis but would stop short of praising Nissan too much.

More than anything else, in the US they are benefiting from the competition dragging its feet. It’s like the old joke about the backpackers, the tiger and the sneakers.

In Europe however, that’s not the case anymore. German automakers are stepping up to the plate. In the EU the i3:Leaf price gap is not nearly as big as here, plus VW offers two affordable models. And then there’s the Mitsubishi Outlander. It is a fair assumption that sometime during 2014 the Leaf will lose its leadership in the overall European market. And then it will have to drag through all of 2015 unchanged.

Here in the US, what I’d like to see now from them is a huge push to make L3 chargers ubiquitous along highways. It is a topic for another post – but since they plan to have ~100k limited-range Leafs on US roads for quite a few years, a reliable quick-charge system is essential for them to maintain brand value for their used Leafs. That means a dual L3 every ~10 miles along corridors with potentially high Leaf traffic.

Now I’m interested to hear the joke!

“You can’t outrun the tiger with those sneakers”

“I don’t have to outrun the tiger – I just have to outrun you”


And given that some idiots like Fiat are actually hanging back and taunting the tiger, Nissan doesn’t even have to put its sneakers on…

This is a disappointment, but not a surprise given the Canadian news last month.

The glimmer of hope is that the 2015 is being announced and built so darn early. When that happens with a car that’s unchanged from the year before that is an indicator that this is the last model year for the current generation. By building the 2015 early this will give them a chance to build up a good supply glut of 2015s to compensate for shutting down the factory for a couple months to re-tool for the 2016s. By cutting over to 2015 now Nissan is assuring that the coming supply glut will be mostly 2015s, not a mix of 2014s and 2015s (which creates a perception problem and also requires extra discounting on the prior model year).

The LEAF is a great vehicle for city commuting and general use for many people, but until the range is extended past 150 miles the hold outs will continue.

Nissan does need to make a significant investment in the installation of the L3 DCQC EVSE units like Elon Musk has done for Tesla. Atlanta is the fastest selling market for EV’s and tops the list in LEAF sales for sure, but the few L3 units available and public charging stations are getting much too crowded and people are beginning to fight over charger abusers of remaining connected to the L3 units for longer than 30 minutes when they should realise that from 80-100% charges at the same speed as L2 charging.

Once Nissan offers EV’s with much higher range of 150+ there will be more purchased so as long as the pricing stays within reason.

+3 on that.

Keith, can you share a specific story about Atlanta-area “L3 blues” (or “reds”, if it involves charge rage)?

I want to write a post soon about the need to seriously beef up the L3 network.

What is B-mode?

Short for “Braking”, to engage a stronger regenerative braking. My iMiev has that as a selection on the “transmission” and was one of the reasons I chose it over the Leaf back in 2012. Next time around, the Leaf will definitely be on my list since any Tesla will probably still be out of my price range.

But there is still no affordable electric car that actually works in cold climates. The Leaf either needs different battery chemistry, or more likely, an active battery thermal management system. Until then, the closest thing to an affordable, cold-climate electric car is the Volt.

Did you mean hot climates? AFAIK, the LEAF battery pack performs outstanding in cold climates and experiences none of the permanent degradation seen in the hot areas.

There was originally issues with cabin heating efficiency, but they addressed those with a heat pump, heated seats, and heated steering wheel. Other than that, its cold weather energy efficiency is only lower in proportion to all vehicles (higher air density, higher rolling resistance, etc.).

I live in the mentioned hot climate, so maybe I missed something.

Define “works in a cold climate”. I live in upstate NY, and while it’s not Canada, it certainly gets cold here in the winter. The car “works” fantastically well in the winter – never had trouble starting, it has good clearance for getting through snow, yet low center of gravity for stability. The heated seats/steering wheel are wonderful as well.

The only problem is loss of range in the cold. That will always happen with an EV (it happens to an ICEV too, btw). I have a 2012 Leaf (no heat pump), and get about 1/2 the range in the winter as in the summer. This, by the way, gives the car about the same range as the Volt nominally has (before it kicks on the engine). The Volt, on the other hand, cannot operate as a pure EV in extreme cold; it will turn on the engine due to temperature.

If the winter range doesn’t work for you, then sure the Volt will be the closest thing for you. But that doesn’t mean the car “doesn’t work”.

If you cut the range in half, that is 40 miles when new. The battery is only guaranteed to about 70% of that, which cuts it down to 28 miles expected after a few years. If you want to go somewhere that you can’t charge, you can only go half that distance. So in cold weather, you can only safely go on a 14 mile (each way) trip once the battery has worn out for a few years. I count that as not working in cold weather.

Cold weather is a challenge for sure. I think 50% is a bit low. I never saw below about 40 miles estimated range in winter in the iMiev, which is 65% of the EPA range of 62. And last winter was BRUTAL, here in PA.

So, are there limits – yes. Does any consumer want to be told there are limits? No, of course not. Just like a child doesn’t want to be told you can’t have ice cream for dinner and donuts for breakfast every day. But adults generally understand that there are benefits to living within limits – however we understand them to be “imposed”.

Even so, it still works for me. Thanks to the magic of carwings, I know that I rarely drive more than 25 miles in a day, less so in the winter than the summer.

Also, the range hit isn’t 50% with the newer Leafs. I’m saying that I get 35-40 miles out of my two-year-old Leaf while driving mostly highway at 72mph with the heater set to 63F. That’s with outside temperatures in the teens.

I count that as not working in cold weather.

The rest of the world counts that as “extremely short range in cold weather”.

Also, it is not a pony.

I drive 120km a day without any difficulty. I arrive home with usually more than half a charge left and I don’t shy away from using the heated seats or regular cabin heating.

It’s funny how so many folks ripped on Ford for not changing the FFE’s capabilities for the past year or two. Yet Nissan rips a page out of Ford’s playbook and does absolutely nothing for 2015 and the sentiment is “so what”?

I’m just sayin’…

My point was quite the opposite. It seems to me that the prevailing attitude towards Nissan is “how could you let us down!”

As for Ford, I have certainly not ripped on them for not updating the Focus EV. There are plenty of other things to complain about there 😉

No one expects anything out of Ford’s outsourced kludge.

Yet people are sometimes upset at GM for not having an increase in range yet, despite a 2011 rollout as well, and a mid-model refresh including a 3 mile range boost in 2013.

Agreed that Nissan will probably aim for 2016 as well, especially now that it seems the Volt will have increased range at that time too.

I think the 3 mile range boost began in the Volt was the “2012.5” model. If I recall, KDAWG got one of these.

Yes, very late 2012.5 was the switchover.

More like 2012.95 *grin*

Crap. Battery size on cars is going to be like RAM size on computers. OEMs are unwilling to give you any more than they think they can get away with.

We really do need a direct payment for the $7500 tax credit, and to increase it to $10k. I won’t be satisfied that we can pull back on that until we’re spending $4 billion on it, like we are spending on damned oil&gas subsidies. That’s 400,000 EV units. Until we reach that point, we really actually do need for the government to indirectly give away batteries, basically totally fund the industry, like I said, with higher and more direct credit.

The problem is they don’t offer an OPTION for more. Let people willing to pay more, get more.

So. No battery breakthrough? Carry on.

So when are we going to see the 48 kwh Leaf??

Same year as Gen 2 Volt?

The Leaf is a good little car. I agree with Brian that Nissan really did make an effort to, not only give us an affordable EV, but to make it so they could make somewhat of a profit on the car. The inverter/motor/gearbox is the ultimate in simplicity. The battery lacks a cooling system, but that was Nissans decision to keep the cost down.

Who knows, Nissan might come out a winner by making the no battery cooling system gamble. Perhaps we WILL see a battery chemistry that has the heat tolerance required.

Some of the rumored improvements for the Leaf are probably not quite ready to commit to production just yet. It would not be a good idea to hype a bunch of improvements that do not live up to those expectations. Just because we get excited over successful beta testing does not mean a company is going to push forward the final product any faster than what they are comfortable.

So it looks like 2016 is going to be the year of big changes.. I think everyone is coming out with new products around that time. Volt, Leaf, Tesla, etc. I am not sure whether Toyota will bring out the new PiP in 2015 or 2016.

I doubt it. More like 2017. Tesla is delaying the Model X. The Gen III will almost definitely see a delay as well.

Also, Nissan intends to introduce the next generation in 2017: http://insideevs.com/nissan-provides-details-next-generation-leaf-luxury-infiniti-ev-back-track-2017-debut/

I guess there’s a possibility for a slight increase in range for 2016, but I highly doubt it. I think it’s more likely they will try to stretch the current design until 2017 and get the best return on investment they can. Then, just as the competition gets serious, they take a significant leap forward with the next generation Leaf.

I’m surprised the Leaf MPGe is so high. It seems like, kWh for kWh, the Volt can go further, yet has only 98MPGe. Maybe it’s just the way the LEAF’s battery gauge is setup?

A more efficient charger maybe? Remember, MPGe is wall-to-wheels and the Leaf does have a 6kW charger. Perhaps there is less overhead.

The leaf has shortcomings, but Nissan effectively has no competition in their class. You’ll notice that the improvements they have planned basically coincide with the common perception that Tesla will enter their market segment in 2017. Until then, if Nissan is slowing technology revamps and increasing their profit margins on the car, thats a good thing (see the Fiat stupidity elsewhere here).

What we need is real competition. There is no substitute for it.

[What we need is real competition. There is no substitute for it.]

I could not agree more! Well said.

Are you sure you want real competition? Once the $7500+ subsidies expire, then we will see “real” competition.

How about a mid year model refresh with a higher range pack as an option?

How about a performance model for people who want a “hot hatch”?

It’s equally important for the EV mfgs to rapidly support and advocate recharging infastructure improvments in ALL major cities etc. It amazes me that there is not more of a L2 & L3 charing stations presence in the outlying communities surrounding ATL, where there’s lots of money, jobs, fancy homes and destination travel. The fact that EVERY mall in GA doesn’t have multi-station hook-ups for all types of EV’s amazes me. Look at Tesla’s model for development and roll-out of their Supercharging stations…
A great idea and forward thinking plan to support their car sales. Also, side note – in another 5+ years Tesla will have a $40k smaller family-ish sedan, simlar in size to a current 3 series BMW….already being worked on.

In the Seattle area there are lots of L2s in shopping areas and other public locations, and they are mostly deserted.

At least at this stage, L2s make sense at home and at work or other commute destinations.

It’s the L3s that are critical now. There are way too few of them, and as Leafs age and their batteries gradually degrades, L3s will be the main way of maintaining their usability.

Why did Nissan do a survey on how much buyers would be willing to pay for a larger battery if they are not going to sell it? I doubt the survey convinced them there would be no buyers.

Because they move sloooooooow

Nissan will need some hefty incentives to keep selling the unchanged Leaf. The early adopters are now ready for a second EV and are looking for more range, better styling and more power. Nissan isnt the only game in town anymore. They need to break out the A game.

I would have expected announcement of the new new heat tolerant battery in the 2015 model. No extra range when new, but extra range when it gets old.

Maybe they are keeping that under wraps until the 2014 inventory is sold.

How long do you think before all the 2014 is sold off? Many have been waiting a looooooong time for this HOT battery! Being in Dallas, all the stars are align for us to go electric. $2500 state + $7500 Fed, I would have the i3 right now if it is not such a long delay.

There are BMW dealers with BEV i3 sitting on the lot available right now. Take a look around and you will find one. You won’t get a discount but you will get a new i3!