2016 Nissan LEAF Listed #1 Among 12 Best Bargain Electric Cars

OCT 26 2015 BY MARK KANE 53

nissan tweet

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

The 2016 Nissan LEAF found itself as #1 on the ArtOfGears‘s list of The 12 Best Bargain Electric Cars.

The new LEAF’s MSRP starts at $29,010 and if someone needs more than 84 miles (135 km) of EPA range, for about $5,000 more the 30 kWh version will be good for 107 miles (172 km).

“You’ve got to hand it to Nissan. For a car company that makes the 600 HP Nismo GT-R they also make one of the most docile vehicles known to mankind in the Nissan Leaf. In production for five years now, Nissan has officially called the Leaf a successful mass-production venture. Taking one out on the road, like all EV’s you’ll be impressed by how quiet it is. Probably the only time you’ll hear much whine is when you’re aggressively pushing the Leaf’s motors up to highway speed. Handling characteristics are comfortable and predictable. Around town you’ll appreciate its quick acceleration but you may be wishing for more power on the highway.”

“Outside the 2016 Nissan Leaf is definitely conservatively styled. There are two large headlights marking the front end with a charging port where the grill normally would be. With seating for five and a generous 24 cubic feet of cargo space, a quick get away to the countryside of range to spare just might be in the books.

When an electric vehicle reaches its second generation, you know people are buying them and that car company is doing something right. Hat tip to you Nissan for breaking ground with EV’s and listening to your customers.”

Other models on the list are:

#2 – Fiat 500e
#3 – Ford Focus Electric
#4 – Kia Soul EV
#5 – Mitsubishi i-MiEV
#6 – smart ED
#7 – Volkswagen e-Golf
#8 – Chevrolet Spark EV
#9 – BMW i3
#10 – Chevrolet Volt (2016)
#11 – Hyundai Sonata PHEV
#12 – Ford Fusion Energi

Also of interest: Here is one of our charts (from the “Compare EVs” page) listing all the plug-in cars currently available in the US just as a point of reference for pricing (and AER):

Plug-in Cars Range & Price (U.S.) Comparison (October 2015)

Plug-in Cars Range & Price (U.S.) Comparison (October 2015)

Source: ArtOfGears

Categories: Nissan


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53 Comments on "2016 Nissan LEAF Listed #1 Among 12 Best Bargain Electric Cars"

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There aren’t more than about 12 electric cars available for under $40,000 anyway.. so the list is pretty inclusive.

This list shrinks when EVs not available for sale in more than 10 states are removed.

ie: Not so much of a bargain if the vehicle you’re looking for can not be purchased in your state!

Thought that the model X could get more money back from the TAX since it is heavy enough!

Incentive != depreciation

Crazy list, IMHO. The Volt should be up near the top due to price and practicality.

The Spark EV should be up higher due to its low price and great performance.

Its funny that the Fiat 500e is so high up their considering that they CEO tells you not to buy it! I think it should be knocked down a bit due to the lack of any DC-fast charging.

The Ford Focus Electric should be knocked down also for the reason of no DC-fast-Charging and its short range. But I guess it might be a decent deal due to the price cuts.

The new Volt isn’t available in all 50 states, which (like the Spark EV and Fiat 500e) should knock it down a few spots. Once it’s available in all 50 states, it should be closer to the top of the list.

I am surprised the eGolf rated so low — it’s nearly identical spec-wise to the base model LEAF.

Likewise, I’m surprised the i-MiEV rates so high. It’s a decent car, but doesn’t meet what most Americans want in a car.

The graph (blue bars) runs from left to right in declining order of all-electric range.
The Volt seems to be in the correct place.

The green blobs show the price. They fall wherever they fall given the above premise.

So they are rating it as if it were a pure electric car with a 53 mile range. That explains the stupid ranking. GIGO.

The plot you refer to has nothing to do with the sorted order of the article. The picture down below is added by insideevs.com just for reference (price/range).

Is the 2016 even out yet?


Around here, a 2012 i Miev SE is the best bargain by far. A half dozen with CHADEMO, within its driving range of me for $9k, under 10K miles, and in warranty. If only I was still commuting. 🙁

For less than half the cost of conversion parts, I could buy two, pull out the back seats, put the second battery pack and charger in parallel with the first, and have an $18K 100 mile range EV!

That chart is WRONG. It lists the LEAF as having a range of 107 miles for a price of $29K. The $29K only buys you the 83 mile range version.

Chart title: All Electric Range (EPA) & Price (After Tax Credit)

More like 150 miles 😉

Keep dreaming. No way are you going to improve the i-Miev’s efficiency enough to get 150 miles out of 32kWh (2x its battery).

I beg to differ with that. On my first day with my used 12 imiev, i got 75 miles per charge on the Nj Turnpike coming home from the dealer. On day two and actually trying, i got 93 miles on a charge. Its not as good as either of my Leafs, but it shocked the hell out of me! I dont see any reason why an imiev with a 32kwh pack couldnt get 150 miles per charge. My 2008 Mini E with a 35 kwh pach had no problem getting 147.3 miles per charge and it was a lot heavier. And i remember reading that only 28kwh of the pack was usuable. My 2015 Leaf gets around 105 miles per charge, im expectring to get around 135 mpc when i can finally buy a 2016 30kw Leaf.

I get 3kW/4kW when driving SparkEV at flat ground at 30mph. With 17kWh of 19kWh usable, I’d get almost 130 miles range. With 30kWh battery (27kWh usable?), it’d get 200 miles range! Hmm. Maybe I should move to NJ and their slow traffic. 😉

It is the perfect state for EVs. Its relatively flat, and there’s always traffic. I live in South Jersey which is basically a suburb of philly. Not to be confused with North Jersey which is basically New York City. We have hoagies and cheesesteaks and pork roll. And we don’t talk funny like people from North Jersey. And “down the shore” is wildwood, cape may, and atlantic city. Not the place up north where the Jersey Shore tv show idiots from long island go. My range at 55mph is around 86-90 miles per charge in the Leaf. I know because the White Marsh park and ride in Maryland is exactly 86 miles south from my house. And ive been there many times on my way to Washington DC. And i have to go at least 55mph because its all highway.

When I’m talking about range, I’m referring to EPA-like conditions, not what a hypermiler can get out of the car under ideal conditions. The i-Miev is rated at 62 miles. Double that and you get 124 miles. With the extra weight, it’s probably under 120. Respectable, but still a far cry from 150.

Im not a hypermiler. Im talking about getting 75 miles on my very first day with the imiev on the NJ turnpike going between 55-60 mph the whole time. I would have gone exactly 55 but with no cruise control on the imiev its kinda hard. I dont know where they get the epa ratings, i can pull my jetski trailer and still get the epa rating. The national normal speed limit is 55 mph, not 70 or 80 mph. Gas cars are rated for mpg at 55 mpg not 70 weaving traffic. And anything in my state pulling a trailer is limited to 55mph this includes 55 mph. If you wanna talk hypermiling, i can get the imiev over a 100 mpc and the Leaf 130 miles.

Brian, have you ever driven a Leaf or imiev from 100% to turtle? Believe me, i was quite surprised drived my used imiev home from the dealer on the turnpike. I had a chademo charger all lined up at the 60 mile mark. But i blew right by it as i was still good on juice. I had totally expected it to run out at 62 miles or even sooner as i was going 55-60 mph with very light traffic. Totally blew my mind that i could go the whole 75 miles home. Don’t believe everything you read. The epa test isnt even a real world driving test. Its on a chassis dyno, look it up. I can just tell you what my real world range is. There are plenty of times ive got less than epa. Like when it was 1 degree fahrenheit and snowing. Barely made it 30 miles that day

I will admit I have never turtled my Leaf. I have turtled my sunfish, but that’s a much more fun experience 😉 Anyway, I have used Leaf Spy. From all I have read online and on the app, there is about the same amount of energy from LBW to VLBW as from VLBW to turtle. Roughly 1.5kWh. I’ve gotten it down to VLBW several times, and LBW many more. I typically get about 3.7 miles/kWh in fair weather, as low as 2 miles/kWh in cold weather with heat, and as high as 4.5 when hypermiling and annoying the crap out of everyone else on the road. So my typical 3.7 miles / kWh * 21 kWh usable = 78 miles on a NEW battery. In upstate NY, the highway speed limits are 65 MPH, not 55. Out west, many roads’ speed limits are 75MPH or higher. And in most places, the traffic flows well above the speed limit. Anyway, whether you agree with the EPA numbers or not , they are a standard by which we can compare cars. And people who drive their EVs like any other car seem to get at or slightly worse than the EPA numbers.

I don’t think you should put so much trust in EPA. Quoting someone from forum, “EPA number is like Mystery meat”. ie, we don’t know how it’s made.


Fair enough. I have turtled my Leafs and my Imiev a handful of times. There’s only a mile or two left after turtle. Only once did i totally kill the leaf, that was in a competition. I agree, ive turtled my Waveblaster and my Spark alot more and thats more fun. As long as the water temp is warm enough! My average in my Leaf is 4.5 miles per kwh so admittly i drive slower than most. Very few 65 zones around here and too much traffic to do it. And its as flat as a table here.

If you want a 100 mile $18k Ev, you can just buy a 2015 Leaf S. After the $5k rebate from Nissan, the $7500 rebate from the fed credit, and the almost $3k discount from the dealer, i bought my brand new 2015 Leaf for $17,698. And they gave me 0% for 72 months!! Oh yeah, no sales tax in my state on new or used EVs.

I bought a 2012 imiev with 10,000 miles on it and chademo for less than $8k and couldn’t be happier. Its not the car my Leaf is, but couldnt be happier with it for what i paid. You cant get much for $8k anymore, not even a decent motorcycle. But you can get a fully functioning EV with heated seats, ac, and all the other bells and whistles for cheap as long as you dont mind riding around in an imiev. I certainly dont.

Actually, the i-Miev would have been my first choice of EV, if it had had more range. The rest are too big, and overloaded with worthless gadgets.

The imiev with the seats folded down can carry a suprisingly large amount of cargo. Way more than my Leaf. I do miss having a center armrest and cruise control but its not bad for under $8k. We take the Leaf on longer trips anyway though.

Did you get one with Chademo? How quick is fast charge?

About 30 mins from fully empty to 80%. Same as my Leaf, maybe a little quicker as the pack is much smaller.

Are you sure it’s 30 min from empty to 80% for iMiEV? That seems extremely slow. I had expected 15 min or less for 80% and 20 min to 100%. Is iMiEV missing thermal management like Leaf? If so, ugh…

It may be faster, i think ive only quick charged it one time just to make sure it works. The imiev does run the air conditioning and direct it into the pack whenever you quick charge it. So in that respect its a little better than the Leaf. Time to 80% might be very quick but from 80 to 100% takes forever! I usually stop charging the Leaf at 80% because after that the chademo is barely faster than a 6.6 level two. But thats the whole idea of quick charging, charge to 80% and get back on the highway to the next charger. I only chademo as a novelty when its free. The only time i “need” it is when i make the yearly trip out to Penn State in the Spring. Then i use one on the way out in Harrisburg.

The i-MiEv normally spends 19 to 21 minutes on 50 kW CHAdeMO from a low SOC. My slowest EVer DCFC session was 23 minutes, I think due to a station that was running hot after several consecutive LEAFings… The iMiEV air-conditions its pack during DCFC, another way it is more compatible with repeated fast charges.

Ken, leaf takes forever from 80% to full, but not thermal managed cars. I waited for many leaf charging at 2kW using DCFC at 95% while SparkEV does 9kW at 99%. I suspect iMiev would be much, much quicker, though it would be nice to have more experimental info.

Jay, is that 19-21 min to 80% or 100%?

Excellent and very realistic description of the Leaf, except for “Outside the 2016 Nissan Leaf is definitely conservatively styled.”

Haha, several million auto journalists, bloggers and yappers would beg to differ 🙂

How do we know what kind of bargain the Sonata PHEV is if we don’t have a MSRP from Hyundai yet?

OEMs have to submit/release numbers to the EPA (and get the Monroney sticker) before they can be sold – but not the price.

Hyundai has submitted the numbers to the EPA, but have decided (for some reason) to wait until the car actually arrives (~Nov) to give out pricing. It is a bit odd…but not without precedent.

Hyundai Sonata PHEV Gets Up To 27 Miles Of Electric Range, According To EPA

Maybe someone knows already.

Leaf being #1 is understandable due to SparkEV limited availability, but Fix It Again, Tony 500e being #2? Complete nonsense! My ranking is much more relevant if you’re in area with DCFC (CA, OR).


The Fiat is way better than the Spark EV. Cheaper (their lease prices are crazy inexpensive), better looking, nicer handling and acceleration, more storage room (it fit my 60 inch tv in it just fine). Have you ever test-driven one? I test drove the Spark and Volt and hated their cheap feel and ho-hum “sport mode”. If fast-charging is important to you (and I don’t understand why it would be for a sub-100 mile range city car), then it is not the car for you. But four hours to completely charge is not my idea of a big deal unless you were trying to road trip with the thing for some reason (they provide 36 days of free rentals with the lease)

I did try out a 500e. It is cramped, especially the back. Someone 5’4″ was hitting her head when sitting in the back, not so on SparkEV. Even getting dogs in and out of the back was troublesome, especially with doggie barrier.

You wouldn’t understand fast charging until you have one. I know, because I had no idea either. SparkEV has replaced my gas car, even for 300 miles per day trips to LA/OC/SD.

Until early this month, SparkEV lease was $139/mo with 0 down. With $2500 rebate, that works out to $78/mo lease. Best I found for Fiat was $99/mo + $2999 – $2500, which is still much more expensive than SparkEV.

Why would I get more expensive, less versatile, slower in 0-60, cramped, slow charging “city” car when I can get SparkEV that’s better in all respects? You’re letting your emotion get in the way.

On paper the Spark sounds like a better deal. Believe me, I was fooled into thinking that too when I was shopping around. But in the real world, the Spark doesn’t compare that favorably. Chevy dealerships are awful because of the way the company forces them to compete against each other. Good luck getting the advertised lease prices. I went to 4 chevy dealerships, and they gave me prices that varied dramatically and were nowhere near close to the deals they advertise in the newspaper. Both Fiat dealerships I went to immediately gave me the exact same price that was advertised. And the acceleration on the Spark is significantly different that the Fiat. While the Fiat zips up to 50mph really, really quickly and then accelerates moderately after that, the Spark does the opposite and accelerates really slowly until it gets to a high speed. I find the Spark’s acceleration to be dreadful. I will concede that the Spark is better for road trips, but that doesn’t mean it is good at road trips. I don’t even understand why you would buy a car that has crappy performance in the city just so that you could drive it between cities… Read more »

$78 lease deal for SparkEV was from factory. When I went to the dealer, that’s all they offered, which was good but also sucked since I couldn’t haggle for more goodies.

I don’t know which dealers would try to cheat you out of factory deal, but you should definitely complain to Chevy factory; those dealers need to go out of business. It seems Chevy (GM?) takes dealer survey very seriously since the bailouts.

500e 0-30 is quicker, but I wouldn’t say it’s quicker to 50. I mean, that leaves SparkEV to beat 500e with over one second going from 50 to 60 (7.2 2015 SparkEV vs 8.5 500e)? That doesn’t make sense. But I haven’t tesed; maybe 500e is that slow?

If all you drive is 30 mph, not over 80 miles, no adult or tall kids or dogs, less efficient, rich enough to pay 30% more for “bug eye” car, then yeah, 500e is better. Good for you.

When (if?) you ever get real EV (EV with DCFC) in the future, you will look back on this discussion and fondly remember how you were trying to defend an overpriced, underperforming toy against SparkEV.

Any EV with DCFC is no longer “city car”. If you assume 1 hour of driving and 30 min of charging, you can drive over 1000 miles per day. It’s strictly theoretical for now due to lack of fast chargers in remote areas, but it’s coming.


That chart is not realistic. It lists the range of the SV/SL model but the price of the S model (with 24kwh pack). If they want to be accurate with the graph they should have moved the price dot up to $34.5K

As the editor pointed out earlier, the chart is titled price after tax credit. So its accurate as to what we are paying. Nobody pays sticker price on an electric car, we pay at least $7500 less. A Tesla isnt 70k, its 62,500 plus destination. A Leaf S isnt $29k, its really only $21,500.

Glad to see what we already knew confirmed… we love our 2 LEAFs.

I’m just happy that it’s possible to create a list like this. A lot has changed in the last 10 years…


It’s exciting to see a list that long of plug-ins. But remember that this list actually only applied to CA and maybe OR. For the vast majority of the US, let alone the world, the list is much MUCH shorter. So even though the cars exist, in many cases the manufacturers wish that they didn’t.

Thats good and all but its still ugly!

Dark tinted windows help LOL