2018 Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt: How Do They Compare?

1 month ago by Steven Loveday 132

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Should you wait to buy the all-new Nissan LEAF, get a Chevrolet Bolt today, or hop on the Tesla Model 3 reservation list?

Let’s just pretend for a moment that all three cars are actually available and pricing is not the focal point. Don’t worry, we’ll address detailed pricing and availability concerns at the end of the post. However, we could go on all day about which is available now versus later and which costs more and whether or not the federal EV rebate will play a role, and by how much depending on estimated sales and dates and unknowns.

Pricing and availability are surely paramount, but it has played such a key role in all of the pieces we have read about this topic — as well as creating a noticeable amount of bias — that we’re going to steer clear of that for just a wee bit. Bear with us, as we have no way of knowing each and every person’s current life situation, and we don’t really care to know when you’re in the market for a car, how much money you make, how close you live to the Tesla factory, what your previous car was, whether or not you have a bias toward or against any of the three automakers, etc., etc.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

We’re pretty confident that no one wants to read another post pointing out such parameters as; if you live in Europe, count out the Model 3 for now. The Chevrolet Bolt is a good choice in America for now, to get you through until you can get a base Model 3 no one has actually seen. The Nissan LEAF is a great value, but you need to wait for the longer range model. Or heck, forego any of this and just go buy a used Model S. Tesla’s rebate may expire on this date, or perhaps this date, and if Bolt sales accelerate, GM will lose its rebate on such and such a date.

2018 Nissan LEAF

No! We all know by now that there are many timeline factors, including those that affect vehicle range, cost, and inevitably, the potential to secure some rebate money. In the end, the decision is yours.

You can then use this guide as a frame of reference and factor in your situation and priorities to make the choice that best suits you. You may decide that the best choice for you is not one that is readily available in your area and/or doesn’t fit your budget. Much like any decision, you will have to choose if you want to wait and crunch some numbers or put some extra cash away, or you may have to move down the list to your second or third choice. This is really no different than any car purchase, right? Well …

Also, bear in mind that Tesla makes these type of posts extremely difficult, since the company is not at all transparent ahead of a launch. Most information comes from leaks or guesses. The automaker has yet to even allow reservation holders an opportunity to drive the Model 3. Nissan has already announced a test drive tour, which will begin next month, ahead of the car’s official release, and you should be able to pop into any Chevrolet dealer and hop in a Bolt, that is if the dealership has one available that’s charged. We spoke with one dealership recently that has no ability to charge the vehicles, another dealer told us that they won’t be getting any Bolts since they can’t charge them and have no EV-trained salespeople, but there’s a competing dealership down the road with both needs covered.

So, let’s move on to the meat and potatoes.


These initial categories provide primarily measurable, clear-cut, and widely accepted information:


INFOTAINMENT

Chevrolet Bolt EV Infotainment

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: 10.2-inch touch-screen, 8-inch digital driver information cluster, AppleCarPlay, Android Auto

Tesla Model 3: 15-inch touch-screen, Tesla proprietary infotainment

2018 Nissan LEAF: 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

*This category is very subjective. If we simply say bigger is better, the Model 3 would win. However, Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto are incredibly popular today. Users can use their own phone, their own apps, and the interface that they prefer. It also supports Google Maps (as long as you’re using an Andriod device), which is arguably unparalleled when compared to any other mapping interface. Additionally, the “no physical knobs or buttons” issue is a substantial tipping point. People are tactile and appreciate being able to reach for something. The vast majority of reputable car reviews criticize vehicles that rely on only a touchscreen for operations. With that being said, and based on a plethora of positive reviews, we’ve chosen our champion to be the balance between bigger, intuitive, and highly functional. If you have a different opinion, feel free to change the winner of this category as you tally up the overall winner.

Champion: Bolt

CARGO CAPACITY

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: 16.9 cubic feet (somehow listed as 56.6 with the rear seats folded down)

Tesla Model 3: 15 cubic feet

2018 Nissan LEAF: 23.6 cubic feet (30 with the rear seats folded down)

Champion: LEAF…its just math

*If you only plan to use the Bolt without passengers in the rear seats, an argument can be made that it has more cargo capacity than the LEAF.

Tesla Model 3

Acceleration was always going to be the Tesla Model 3 going away

ACCELERATION

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: 200 horsepower/266 pound-feet of torque, 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds, top speed – 93 mph

Tesla Model 3: Horsepower and torque are undisclosed but estimates aim at 300+ for each, 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, top speed – 130 mph

2018 Nissan LEAF: 147 horsepower/236 pound-feet of torque, 0-60 mph in 8 seconds per MotorTrend (via Teslarati), top speed unknown

Champion: Model 3

RIDE AND HANDLING

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: GM recently hosted an official Bolt EV Autocross event to prove the EV’s prowess. InsideEVs attended the event and we were pleasantly surprised. The car provides a smooth ride and feels safe and solid. It handles much better than one might expect due to the low center of gravity.

Tesla Model 3: Our ride in the Model 3 proved that it delivers a smooth ride while being considerably agile. Tesla creates vehicles with sporty driving dynamics in mind and the Model 3 is surely no exception.

2018 Nissan LEAF: We can only expect that the LEAF will provide confident handling and a smooth ride. First drive reviews lean toward the vehicle being exactly as one might expect and even a noticeable upgrade from the first-generation vehicle. Its cabin is ultra-quiet, ride quality is coddling, and it handles well, but don’t expect it to be an Autocross favorite.

Champion: Model 3

Chevy Bolt EV – offering you 238 miles at a decent MSRP today

RANGE PER CHARGE (MILES)

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: 238 (no long-range model)

Tesla Model 3: 220 (310 for long-range model)

2018 Nissan LEAF: 150 (200+ anticipated for long-range/SL model)

Champion: Bolt

*Of course, if you intend to buy a non-base model, the winner of this category would change to the Model 3.

A shot of the Bolt EV’s battery pack from a pre-release test drive we attended in California (InsideEVs/George B)

BATTERY

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: 60 kWh

Tesla Model 3: ~55 kWh (Long-Range ~75-80 kWh)

2018 Nissan LEAF: 40 kWh (Long-Range/SL ~60 kWh)

Champion: Bolt 

*As far as base products are concerned, the Bolt holds the title. Tesla isn’t providing official battery information for the Model 3. However, if the above estimates are correct, the Long-Range Model 3 gives you more kWh hours per dollar spent than the other vehicles, regardless of configuration.

Hard to top the Tesla Supercharging Network and its EV abilities

CHARGING

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: Level 2 – Up to 25 miles per hour / Level 3 – Up to 90 miles per half  hour

Tesla Model 3: Level 2 – Up to 30 miles per hour / Level 3 – Up to 130 miles per half hour (standard battery)

2018 Nissan LEAF: Level 2 – Up to 22 miles per hour / Level 3 – Up to 88 miles per half hour

Champion: Model 3

*Update:  It’s very important to note that fast charging is not standard in the Bolt, or on the LEAF (in some areas/countries)

CHARGING NETWORK

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: No dedicated network

Tesla Model 3: Tesla Supercharger network (pay per use), Tesla destination charger network

2018 Nissan LEAF: No dedicated network

Champion: Model 3

VEHICLE WARRANTY

Bolt: 3 years/36,000 miles

Model 3: 4 years/50,000 miles

LEAF: 3 years/36,000 miles

Champion: Model 3

BATTERY WARRANTY

Bolt: 8 years/100,000 miles

Model 3: Standard model – 8 years/100,000 miles, Long Range model – 8 years/120,000 miles

LEAF: 8 years/100,000 miles

Champion: Tie


Now let’s move on to the not-so-clear-cut categories:


EFFICIENCY

2017 Chevrolet Bolt:  119 MPGe

Tesla Model 3: 126 MPGe (assumed from an EPA certification summary)

2018 Nissan LEAF: NA (it’s too soon to have this information from Nissan or the EPA)

Champion: Model 3 

*In the event that the 2018 Nissan LEAF is more efficient, this information could change. The current 2017 LEAF is less efficient than the Bolt.

SAFETY

Bolt: IIHS Top Safety Pick (Overal Good in all crash tests and Superior for front crash protection with optional equipment Headlights – Poor. Child Seat Anchors/LATCH – Marginal)

Model 3: Not yet tested

LEAF: Not yet tested

Champion: Inconclusive

*Neither the Model 3 or the new LEAF have prior models that can be used as a fair comparison. The Model 3 is an all-new car, and the 2018 LEAF is fully redesigned. Historically, Tesla has outstanding safety crash test ratings, but there have been some bumps in the road due to lack of consistent automatic emergency braking in Autopilot 2.0, and lower scores on the small overlap front test. First-generation LEAF’s haven’t fared as well overall, primarily due to low scores in the same overlap front test.

SAFETY TECHNOLOGY:

Bolt: Standard rearview camera, Teen Driver system, Base LT with 0ptional $495 Driver Confidence package (blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, lane change alerts, and rear cross traffic alert). Upgrading to the Premier gives you all the latter features as standard plus the optional $495 Driver Confidence II package which also requires the $485 Infotainment package (forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and low-speed emergency automatic braking, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams).

Model 3: Standard backup camera, automatic emergency braking (as long as the updates work and it’s turned on), lane keep assist (part of $5,000 Autopilot upgrade), adaptive cruise control (part of $5,000 Autopilot upgrade).

LEAF: Standard rearview camera, intelligent lane intervention, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, and intelligent around view monitor with moving object detection. All-new $2,200 ProPILOT assist (single lane intelligent driving assistant with adaptive cruise control and other features).

Champion: Inconclusive

*It looks like you may get more standard safety features for your money with the new LEAF than the other vehicles. Additionally, the ProPilot is only a $2,200 upcharge, which keeps the LEAF’s starting price still below the Bolt and Model 3. Tesla generally has the most advanced safety features, but many come with the Autopilot system, which is expensive and still undergoing a neverending incremental update process. You can get most features on the Bolt if you pay for them, but there is no available adaptive cruise control or high-speed emergency braking.

INTERIOR QUALITY AND SEAT COMFORT

2017 Chevrolet Bolt: The Bolt is a non-luxury vehicle and has been regularly criticized in widespread automotive media for its marginal seat comfort and lackluster interior.

Tesla Model 3: The Model 3 is hit or miss due to its minimalistic interior design. Although, it is a luxury-based offering, with a modern, stylish, and upscale interior. Its interior was designed to compete with the likes of European compact luxury sedans. Most available drive reviews refer to Model 3 seating as spacious and comfortable.

2018 Nissan LEAF: The LEAF is a budget-oriented, non-luxury offering. Like the Bolt, it’s not touted for its top-notch interior quality, but that’s not why LEAF owners buy it. It’s significantly roomy and comfortable.

Champion: Inconclusive

*Picking an overall winner for this category would be basing it on a matter of preference. Additionally, aside from the Bolt, there is very little official information on which to base a viable opinion.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

Chevrolet Bolt: LT $36,620, Premier $40,905 (both trims and all options/packages available nationwide)

Tesla Model 3: Base $35,000 (available at a later date), Long-Range $44,000 (currently available for order – delivery depends on multiple variables and could take as long as 12-18 months or more)

Nissan LEAF: $29,990 (Early 2018), SL $36,200 (Available at a later date – estimated for early 2019)

Champion: Nissan LEAF

OVERALL WINNER:

The Tesla Model 3 snags the most categories, although it’s still the vehicle we know the least about. If you don’t need a long-range car, the 2018 Nissan LEAF is a compelling offering and you should be able to get one soon. If you won’t be in the market for a car for about a year, the long-range (SL) LEAF likely prices out right around the competitors’ base prices.

The Chevrolet Bolt has a heck of a lot going for it (excellent interior tech, long range, versatility, safety, impressive driving dynamics, decent predicted reliability, and immediate availability) … it really should be selling much better.

In Conclusion …

As you can see, comparing these cars is a difficult process. There’s still not clear-cut information in several areas and there are a few important categories we were unable to cover, like passenger volume and reliability. Ultimately, the choice is yours based on your priorities, timeline, and cash flow. These are all really outstanding vehicles for so many reasons, but those reasons differ. None of the three is a bad car by any means, however, only one may be the best car for you. Let us know which you choose, and please use the comment section to provide any information that we may have missed. May the force be with you.

Editor’s Choices – Purely subjective

Eric Loveday – If it’s not a hatchback, I’m not interested. So, the Tesla Model 3 is out. It’s LEAF or Bolt then. I’m totally drawn to small cars with strong acceleration, so the Chevy Bolt is my choice.

Steve Loveday – As the post says, picking a winner is difficult right now due to “loose ends”. Fortunately, I won’t be in the market for a new EV for about three years. At that point, if Tesla has worked out all the bugs and there is not a newer/better rival, the Tesla Model 3 has my attention.

Domenick Yoney – I like the dynamics of a nicely balanced rear-wheel drive vehicle, though all-wheel-drive is also perfectly acceptable with its added traction and potential for increased efficiency. I see the Tesla Model 3 as the “driver’s car” of this trio, and so with that, and its clean, modern interior, tech package, and Supercharger network, it’s really unbeatable.

Jay Cole – all three EVs are fine choices (AKA smart enough to not pick a winner)

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132 responses to "2018 Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt: How Do They Compare?"

  1. bro1999 says:

    If you take price out of the equation, the ’18 Leaf is pretty much a non-contender. That’s pretty much all it has going for it.

    1. Domenick Yoney says:

      The Leaf’s interior is much nicer than the Bolt’s, so it also has that going for it.

      1. Rick says:

        But not as luxurious as the M3, so it still loses there. Also, its touch screen is small. But it does have the best cargo capacity, so price isn’t the only positive.

        1. Dan says:

          The touchscreen only controls is beyond foolish; the M3 will be a dangerous car because of it. Too much looking at the screen and not enough at the road. Now when (if) it gets full autonomy….

          1. pjwood1 says:

            +1 with emphasis on autonomy’s “IF”.

            AVs have had nothing but big setbacks, in 2017. Uber? Level 4 has been abandoned. Nobody has level 5, and level 3 is being blamed (by NTSB) for Joshua Brown’s death. LIDAR, thermal sensors, radar, cameras and parking sensors may intuitively hold the key, but Elon now knows this isn’t a parachute you make on the way down.

            1. Confused says:

              Tesla does not make a level 3 vehicle.

            2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              “…level 3 is being blamed (by NTSB) for Joshua Brown’s death.”

              Gosh yes, the entire movement toward autonomous vehicles should be brought to a screeching halt because an early version of Tesla’s Autopilot didn’t prevent this one person from being killed in an auto accident. /sarcasm

              This is every bit as foolish as the old argument that you shouldn’t wear a seat belt because you might be trapped in a car if it jams… ignoring the reality that you’re far, far safer with the seat belt on than with it off.

              Fortunately, the NHTSA and other safety regulatory agencies don’t operate on this “Perfect driving out the good” attitude. Unlike you, they understand that the goal should be saving as many lives as possible, starting as soon as possible… not trying for an impossible level of perfection which can never be reached.

              “The thing to keep in mind is that self-driving cars don’t have to be perfect to change the world. They just have to be better than human beings.” — Deepak Ahuja, CFO of Tesla Inc.

          2. Windbourne says:

            yes, the MS/X with their touch screen have proven to be major dangers on the road with nearly everybody dead due to those.

            Gads.
            Im guessing that you are part of the flat earth society.

      2. Viking79 says:

        The Bolt EV is not that bad, it has a fairly decent soft touch dash and some neat textured material on the dash as well. I sat in the base LT, and even the textile seating was decent. I would put it maybe at $25k gasser territory, but not as bad as I expected based on reviews either.

        1. Mark C says:

          Agree with your assessment. I saw one at the NDEW event in Huntsville, AL, climbed in it front & back and was pleasantly surprised. Materials were nice enough, seats looked and sat okay and the red color was awesome!

          I have no cargo capacity requirements to speak of, so I didn’t look as if to visualize what I could carry.

    2. Lawrence says:

      Since for most people money is finite, one cannot take price out of the equation.

      1. stuart22 says:

        You get what you pay for. The LEAF’s range falls far short of either the M3 or Bolt, so yes – taking price out of the equation exposes the LEAF as not being in the same class as the other two.

        And with an EV, range matters.

  2. Viking79 says:

    How does the Leaf measure cargo capacity? Looking at it beside a Bolt EV, and it does not look like it is 50% larger in the back. Do they measure it with the tailgate up or something? 🙂

    Has someone done a comparison using standard luggage or something (like how many pieces of carry on luggage fit?).

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      The leaf has more space behind the seats. So if you need to carry 5 people + cargo the leaf is a no brainer.

      But without back seat passengers, folding down the back seats gives the Bolt significantly more cargo space than the Leaf. I managed to fit a small recliner in my Bolt on one occasion and a large, long desk on another by folding down the seats.

      1. Viking79 says:

        I realize the leaf has more room behind the back seats, but looking at the two side by side at a drive electric week event, and the space was not that different, besides how the leaf weirdly sticks out in the lower back. It didn’t look like 8 cubic feet difference. Why I was asking if someone had done a practical test.

        1. Viking79 says:

          I am referring to older leaf, but still should be comparable for space.

      2. Vexar says:

        One thing I dislike intensely is the cargo volume trick goes to the tallest interior. I mean, yes, volume is volume, but who packs higher than line of sight out the rear window if they can avoid it?
        What is the cargo space of the Bolt with five passengers?

        1. WadeTyhon says:

          With 5 passengers is 16.9. Not counting under the front seats and little nooks and cranny storage spaces all over the vehicle.

          And actually in the Bolt it is quite easy to pack it to the top since it has the rear view mirror camera.

        2. Viking79 says:

          It is nice to be able to put large items in the back of a hatchback, even if you don’t usually use that volume. This is why I like hatchbacks so much. The Bolt EV is not a car that needs a lot of cargo volume with 5 people, but I imagine it is comparable to the Model 3. What use case do you need to take 5 people with cargo in a compact hatch? If this is a regular occurrence, a van would be desirable.

          1. Leo says:

            What use case is 4 or 5 people + cargo? Every single family in the world.

            For us, the Leaf works as a family car although it is a bit smaller than our old gas car (Elantra Touring). The Bolt does not work, since a normal stroller doesn’t fit in the back. Simple as that. In almost all other ways, the Bolt is better, but that is a critical flaw that makes it not work for a lot of people.

            1. Viking79 says:

              The key point is that it only has 240 miles range, it is an around town runabout where you generally don’t need 5 people -plus cargo- It will easily fit a stroller, just not a huge stroller. Again, fits with the around town runabout. If you have a 5 person family and drive on trips frequently, try a minivan.

            2. Marcel Guldemond says:

              I agree. Although my family’s past the stroller stage, our stroller would have fit in our 2017 Leaf, but not in a Bolt. And it’s not as easy as just get a smaller stroller, those are useless in the snow, and we used ours everyday for 5 years. And I don’t see how you could do a family grocery trip with the Bolt. You don’t want to stack your groceries vertically, you’d squish them all. Or they would fall out when you open the hatch. You’d have to use the back seat, which I suppose is ok, but if you have car seats in the back seat, then you’re again inconvenienced.

    2. bro1999 says:

      Cargo capacity specs can be rather meaningless. Automakers are basically free to use whatever measurement standard they choose…or just make up their own numbers using their own standard. It’s not like the EPA fuel economy numbers where there are established standards everyone must abide by. Same goes for CD numbers.

      A 20 cubic foot rating from Nissan may actually be less than a 16 cubic foot rating from another manufacturer, but more than a 21 cubic foot rating by another manufacturer. Only true way to properly compare cargo capacity is in person.

      https://www.google.com/search?q=cargo+capacity+ratings&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

        1. Don Zenga says:

          Interesting article on interior space of the car.

          Why not they seal the car, fill it with water, measure the liters taken and just convert it to cubit foot. That’s the best and simplest test and can give the precious measure. Steps should be taken to wrap the seats with plastic cover so that it does not absorb any space.

          1. Confused says:

            They did that on Top Gear. Cars leak quite a bit….plus you would be measuring unusable space like under the seats.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Yeah, re a test where you “seal” a car and fill it with water to measure the cargo volume: calling that a “simple” test could only be said by someone who’s never actually tried to do that. And someone who doesn’t have any idea how many holes and cracks a passenger car’s cabin has.

          2. arne-nl says:

            What a practical thought!
            /s

            Wouldn’t using pingpong balls be easier?

            (You’d have to apply a correction factor accounting for the empty space between the balls, but that is easy math).

    3. Steven Loveday says:

      The LEAF is nearly 13 inches longer than the Bolt and has a 4-inch longer wheelbase. They are about the same width. The Bolt is about 2 inches taller. So you can carry a lot in the LEAF with passengers in tow (this is why many refer to it as a midsize). However, the LEAF has 30 cubic feet with the seats folded down and the Bolt offers 56.6 with the seats folded down.

      1. Viking79 says:

        This is clearly why there is an issue with the measurements. The leaf has longer back doors, so I imagine most of the extra length is in that weird bumper that sticks out the back and 4 inches in the middle. We really need someone to do a practical test on the two to see if the discrepancy is real or not. Again, looking at the rear end of the two at a drive electric event the leaf didn’t look that much bigger in the rear, a bit longer at the bottom, but the slope of the hatch will limit practical space.

      2. Astros says:

        I get that the Bolt frees up more space than the Leaf when you fold down the seats, but it doesn’t make sense to me that the Bolt gains 40 cubic feet and the Leaf only 7. That 30 cubic feet for the Leaf with the seats down is not a useful comparison!

        1. Tim Miser says:

          With the water volume test, the volume would be the same whether the seats are up or folded down.

      3. theflew says:

        I think the big difference in size is the Bolt is more of a purpose built EV. The Leaf is 13 inches longer but passenger space is within an inch of the Bolt either +/-. So it does give the Leaf more cargo space (seats up), but the rest of the length is wasted in overhangs.

  3. ??? says:

    So you compare size of screens but not dimensions of the cars? Seriously…

  4. Spoonman. says:

    Any rumors of what the 2018 Bolt will be like?

    1. bro1999 says:

      VERY similar to the 2017. SSSSHHH, it’s a secret

    2. Hugh says:

      If they make the front seats more comfortable I will consider a 2018 Bolt.

      I would like them to make it a bit larger but I don’t think that will happen.

      1. Confused says:

        This for me. Plus, the dash is laid out ugli. And it’s a Chevy.

    3. WadeTyhon says:

      I think 2018 or 2019 Bolt will have Supercruise.

      But I have no source for that whatsoever other than the Bolt was supposed to launch at the same time as the CT6 with supercruise… but the feature was delayed for a year.

      The lack of ACC (despite seemingly having all the necessary hardware) leads me to believe that Supercruise was intended and is coming soon.

      1. Bacardi says:

        The CT6 ICE is the only CT6 that’s getting supercruise, GM said CT6 PHEV’s battery and the supercruise hardware took up too much truck space…

        If the Bolt PERHAPS it could fit beneath that false floor…

        The big question is, why keep it a secret? Why not reveal now?

        1. WadeT says:

          If I’m right then it would have been a big exciting reveal before the launch of the Bolt.

          Now it can be a big exciting reveal for the 2018 model to get back in the conversation following the Model 3 rollout. The 2018 Bolt is the only 2018 MY not revealed for GM yet.

          Or it could be a big exciting reveal for the 2019 model as a “sure, the tax rebate is gone… but we dropped the price and added Supercruise!”

          Just depends on how much bang they could get for their buck.

          But my thinking here is 50% speculation, 50% fantasy.

          1. Mint says:

            Well, if it’s happening soon, they lost my business by not announcing it.

            I put a deposit on a 2018 Leaf primarily because it has ProPilot (other reasons too), but if the 2018 Bolt had SuperCruise, I probably would’ve payed extra and chosen the Bolt instead.

      2. theflew says:

        ACC and supercruise are two very different things. The current Bolt has all the hardware for ACC. It even has a follow distance setting.

        Supercruise on the other hand is level 2 autonomous driving.

  5. Tesla4theWin says:

    You should have mentioned the Leaf doesn’t have liquid cooling and thus battery degration will likely be much worse than the Tesla and Bolt.

    1. William says:

      The Battery Degradation in the Nissan Leaf will probably be closer to “somewhat worse” than your estimate of “much worse”. I am only basing this off my own personal experience of using Leaf Spy Pro for two years/ 30k mi. in a 2013 Leaf (24 kWh), and 1 year/11k mi. in a 2016 Leaf (30 kWh).

      The New (2016-17) Leaf 30 kWh batteries (Lizzard Packs) are showing much less deterioration/degradation over time in my own personal use case. The moderate climate in Los Angles, Ca, is NOT a High Heat/Humidity environment however.

      1. Dan says:

        We’ll see how degradation goes once the extended range of the current 40 and future 60kw battery packs come into play. Driving at freeway speeds for an extended time and then trying to DC quick charge will stress the battery more than was generally likely with previous versions of the Leaf. Running and charging within the two red steps because you have no other practical choice. I blame that on the manufacturer. Active thermal management is the Leaf’s most obvious lack.

      2. Tim Miser says:

        I don’t know, I just don’t trust Nissan after suffering the battery loss with my 2012 Leaf and still no TMS and just trusting that it will be better.

        1. Knarf says:

          The Nissan degradation issue was resolved a long time ago and impacted their early gen cells. They are on their gen 4 cells now. Essentially, there is no issue to address here.

    2. Quebec 100% EV says:

      YES, this is a MAJOR issue that i’m surprised the article didn’t even address: BATTERY DURABILITY.

      Nissan stubbornly decided to keep the “sealed oven” concept that has been proven to lead to much more rapid degradation over time, especially when fast-charged twice in a row in the heat (which is exactly what you do on long summer roadtrips!).

      For the 2019 SL/e+ 60kwh version they will finally be going with LG cells and hopefully a liquid cooled BMS from LG will come with that… but for now Nissan Leaf is a total NO GO for me.

  6. L'amata says:

    Next to Model3 It’s the Leaf Hands Down ,..1000 times better than that tiny bolt…

    1. Viking79 says:

      The Bolt EV is pretty similar size to the Leaf.

      1. justanotherguy50 says:

        The Bolt may be “tiny” on the outside, but it sure makes good use of the space on the inside. The seats are thin & the roof is high. Much more space than you’d expect.

    2. SparkEV says:

      “Tiny” is actually a very positive attribute. Frankly, the enormous size of Tesla 3 is a huge drawback to me. If not for towing ability, which they still haven’t officially announced, I’d take something else, non EV or used Bolt.

      1. David Cary says:

        Keep telling your self that….

        The vast majority of the car buying population wants to look big and be big. Looking big is most important.

        Big feels safe.

        I get an attraction for a smaller car but driving in the US, I’ll take the more efficient 3 any day. The US varies of course and I live in an area of large lanes and large parking spots.

        1. SparkEV says:

          I already have 7 passenger van and a truck that can haul semi trailer. Most people will look to EV as primary car while still having large gasser as back up. For that, EV being small is a plus due to easier parking.

        2. Tim Miser says:

          Then why does the US sell so many compact hatch backs?

          1. David Cary says:

            So many?

            The parking thing is regional.

            Real market predictors – Camry sells more than Corolla. Have you seen the recent vintage Odyssey. F-150 is still sales king.

            Tiny might work for you and a few other people, but numbers don’t lie.

            Spark – having multiple vehicles is NOT the answer. Renting yes.

            Look – I wish everyone commuted in a Spark EV. Traffic would be fantastic. But people are irrational.

            1. David Cary says:

              Sorry Tim. Should have realize the /sarc. Need more coffee

      2. William says:

        Used Bolt may be hard to find for 6 or more months, unless you don’t want/need DC Fastcharge. Once Tesla has Shipped a few 100 k Model 3s in NA, then I expect the preowned low mileage 2017 Bolts to start to trickle into the resale inventory.

        1. Asak says:

          I’d say we’re still about 2 years away from significant used Bolt inventory. Most leases are 36 months. Few people are going to walk away from a lease early, or sell their 1 year old car, just to get a Model 3. Sure there are some people where money is no object, but not very many.

      3. justanotherguy50 says:

        The size of the Model 3 also puts me off. Bigger car equals more trouble fitting into parking spaces, squeezing by cars that are turning & just simply navigating tight spaces.

        I don’t want a boat, I want a nimble ninja.

        The Model 3 is just so big & the cargo space so small…

        1. Rich says:

          Just so readers don’t get the wrong impression, the Tesla Model 3 is 2″ longer than a Toyota Corolla.

          1. justanotherguy50 says:

            Don’t forget the Model 3 is also 3 inches wider than a Toyota Corolla.

            Compared to the Bolt, the Model 3 is a whopping 21 inches longer.

    3. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Haters got to hate.

      The tradition of GM haters are being carried on here for sure.

      1. Kdawg says:

        And I’m guessing this one also doesn’t own a a plug-in, yet feels the need to troll them, which is also a common theme.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          Maybe he was one of the EV1 owners…
          When it comes to GM, finding reasons to dislike them is not that hard.

          1. Kdawg says:

            No one owned an EV1

            When you’re a hater, hating comes natural.

  7. SparkEV says:

    Is DCFC standard equipment on Leaf? It used to be (maybe still is) $1200 option on base model.

    1. bro1999 says:

      Definitely not the cheapest ‘S’ trim. 6.6 kW onboard charger is not even standard on the S, but rather 3.3.

      1. Astros says:

        That’s not true. The 2018 Leaf comes with 6.6kW charging for all models. You do have to pay $1590 on the base S trim to get the Quick charge port (and a Turbocord equivalent).

        1. bro1999 says:

          Why did Nissan quote 3.3 kW charge times in the ’18 Leaf unveil then?

        2. bro1999 says:

          Straight from nissanusa.com

          “Faster estimated charge time based with 240-volt charging dock and 6.6 kW onboard charger, which is standard on all trims except S. Charge times may vary.”

          1. William says:

            Good catch, I was wondering the same thing. Curious that Nissan would go backwards in the L2 charging rate on the base model Leaf, starting at 3.3 kW. Doesn’t make any sense whatsoever for the New Lackluster Leaf.

            1. bro1999 says:

              IMO, sticking in the 3.3 kW onboard charger is worse than GM making the Bolt’s DCFC port optional. AND the CHAdeMO port is still optional on the ’18 Leaf.

              And the fact that the quickcharge option on the ’18 Leaf costs $1,500 extra!

              1. SparkEV says:

                Isn’t it interesting that there were/are so many negative comments about Bolt’s DCFC being $750 option, yet hardly anyone pointed out Leaf’s DCFC option cost even more? Even this article explicitly points out that Bolt’s DCFC is an option, but not a peep about Leaf being even more expensive option. ModernMarvelFan has a point about GM haters, or maybe it’s pro Leaf bias.

                1. MTN Ranger says:

                  Yes, the article should be corrected to list the optional DCFC on the Leaf. Otherwise it is misleading.

                  1. Jay Cole says:

                    Heeh, you guys…not everything has to go to a conspiracy (no one even picked the LEAF, lol).

                    I think it was probably just overlooked because in many regions DCFC is standard on the LEAF and/or just because its new…but I can’t speak for the author of the piece. Anywhoo, we updated it to mention the Bolt AND LEAF have additional costs for DC fasting charging, (=

                    sidenote: I actually smiled reading this part of the thread as I was going through some threads this morning and had already noted earlier that someone mentioned a Bolt bias (on a Bolt-specific story), and twice a Tesla bias…so we got all three now with a LEAF-bias. Not sure if they all cancel out or not…but I thought it was amusing nonetheless.

                    1. MTN Ranger says:

                      Oh, BTW, the max speed of the 2018 Leaf is 87MPH according to Motortrend and some others.

                    2. HVACman says:

                      Bolt, Leaf, Tesla – the editors are pretty even in those matters, but I always detect a decided “black” color bias in at least one senior editor’s comments;)

                    3. SparkEV says:

                      Actually Jay, you picked Leaf (along with other two). “no one even picked the LEAF” Rational choice would be Tesla 3 and Bolt but not Leaf. Unbiased would’ve picked SparkEV. 😉

                    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                      Jay Cole said:

                      “…someone mentioned a Bolt bias (on a Bolt-specific story), and twice a Tesla bias…so we got all three now with a LEAF-bias.”

                      Bias, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. 😉

              2. Asak says:

                I agree. A 3.3 kW charger is just abysmal. It’s so slow that you almost do just as well with a wall plug.

                I wouldn’t even consider an EV with less than a 6.6 kW charger. That means the base Leaf S is really not as cheap as it looks.

            2. Confused says:

              3.3 has always been the charger for the base Leaf. It mattered less on the originals but is really bad for the new one. Nissan is phoning their EV in.

              2013 Leaf SL owner.

        3. Jeff Songster says:

          Definitely correct about on board AC charger being 6.6kWh. But the cord you get is better than a Turbocord in that it operates at 6.6kWh on 240v. The original US cord only did about 1.75kWh at 120v. Big improvement. I personally see us moving to standard 240 volt outlets Using cordset EVSEs in our garages as Tesla has done this all along with their HighPower option for more… Now you can simply have electrician install proper rated outlet and use the cord that comes with LEAF also. Should save users money. I’m guessing for thrifty folks the Clipper Creek units would still save them money over the included ones for the base model car. Why everyone doesn’t want a DCQC port is beyond me however… Should be included.

          1. unlucky says:

            The Turbocord doesn’t use the outlet which people will move to as a standard though.

            It uses a NEMA 6-20R and most people have a NEMA 6-30R (for dryer), 6-50R (for most EVSEs) or 14-50R (Tesla EVSE).

            And to add a bit more mess it the orientation for a NEMA 6/14 isn’t even standardized. ChargePoint wants the ground pin on their NEMA 6 to be on the top while Leviton wanted it on the bottom (they no longer offer an EVSE with an included cord). And the cords on both (by regulation) do not bend to accommodate the other direction.

            The big problem with standardizing on a socket is there is no standard socket. J1772 is the closest we have. I expect we’ll just standardize on that.

  8. Jeff N says:

    Very nicely done car comparison article.

  9. Ron M says:

    GM, Ford and Tesla could see a major change in China. As China plans to revamp Automakers policy allowing automakers to operate independently in a free zone in China not a 50 – 50 partnership currently required.

  10. Scott Franco says:

    The answer is: 1. no, 2. Yes, 3. Yes.

  11. kubel says:

    Bolt seat comfort caused me to get a Volt instead. GM really needs to fix the front seats. They wonder why this car isn’t selling. Start by making a normal sized seat.

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      I agree the Volt seats are more comfortable. Although the Bolt seats are better than the Spark EV seats were.

      But overall I find the Bolt itself more comfortable than our Volt. I feel less cramped, have more leg and head room, and it is easier to get in and out of.

      My coworkers, friends and family immediately said they think the backseat is a huge improvement over the Spark and Volt.

    2. Viking79 says:

      Bolt EV has fine front seats, especially given it is a short range vehicle, not a drive all day vehicle like Volt might be.

  12. abc123 says:

    I think I read somewhere that the ’18 Leaf still uses the same batteries from the same supplier as the previous generation Leaf. In other words, the BMS is old tech.

    1. Jeff Songster says:

      BMS and Chemistry keep evolving… 2013 BMS changes and B mode added… 2015 Battery chemistry changed and more changes after 2016/17 30kWh… then the 40 will come from same source AFAIK… not so sure about 200+ miler pack. They did also build forced air cooling into e-NV200 vans only sold outside US so far. Our 2013 lost one bar of capacity at 34k… our 2015 is up to 37k miles so far and all bars remain. If I lived in Phoenix… a HELL of a town in terms of temps… I would get a car with active cooling. Else… it depends. Just like with cell phones… if you constantly run to zero… or leave it sit at 100%… not good for it. Even Tesla recommends not charging to 100% daily if you won’t be using it.

      1. Confused says:

        2013 Leaf, 75k miles and 9 bars. About 60 miles to zero percent.

  13. Elooney Muskey says:

    Now, how about you guys compare some real metrics, like:
    – Service network accessibility
    – Quality, reliability and fit and finish
    – Usability issues, like missing rain wiper controls in m3

  14. bjrosen says:

    Driving a Volt now, thinking about getting a BEV in 2019. To Chevy I say, please offer a bigger battery in the Bolt, at least 300 miles of range plus a faster DC charger, the current Bolt is simply not good enough to replace a Volt. To Tesla I say please integrate Android Auto, without it I won’t even bother to look at the 3. The lack of AA and Carplay is clearly some sort of Tesla NIH. The fact is that no automaker, not even you can hope to compete with AA. It’s not just Google Maps, it’s the integration of the Google calendar with Maps that makes it so powerful.

    1. Bacardi says:

      CP/AA is for old people…Now with iOS 11 out for iPhone users, even more will hate CP…

      All CP/AA is restrict your access to apps…

  15. James says:

    It would’ve been helpful for the readership to put all this info into a simple table

  16. speculawyer says:

    Ugh. Why didn’t Nissan include an SAE-CCS Port? It would have been nice to have a single public standard.

    The writing is on the wall, IMHO, since Honda put SAE-CCS on their Honda Clarity EV. If other Japanese companies don’t back Chademo then it is probably dead in the USA.

    1. Confused says:

      I think Hyundai went CCS as well. Phoning it in….

    2. HVACman says:

      Because a bunch of Nissan dealers paid big money to put in Chademo chargers a while back and would rebel if they had to retrofit dual-head units.

      But it isn’t if but when Nisan switches as Nissan becomes the “odd man out” and start losing customers because of their obsolete format.

  17. Mikael says:

    I for one just hope that one day people on different continents will be able to buy any of these cars without restrictions and longer than average waiting times.

    Maybe sometime in 2019?

    I thought 2016 was the year… and then 2017 was the year… now not even 2018 will be the year…

    The model launches, ramp-ups and upgrades are soooooo slooooow.

  18. Brave Lil' Toaster says:

    2017 Chevrolet Bolt: 16.9 cubic feet (somehow listed as 56.6 with the rear seats folded down)

    Quoth the article: “Tesla Model 3: 15 cubic feet

    2018 Nissan LEAF: 23.6 cubic feet (30 with the rear seats folded down)

    Champion: LEAF…its just math”

    Wait, how exactly did the Bolt gain a gargantuan 40 cubic feet of space by folding the seats down, yet the Leaf only gains 7? Are you seriously saying that the Bolt can magically increase its cargo space by 250% this way?

    I think you need to redo your math there, dude.

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      The numbers are basically accurate based on what is provided by Nissan and GM.

      The thinner seats of the Bolt and higher roofline are a major part of the difference. And the Bolt prioritizes back seat space over cargo so it has less to begin with and more room to gain. Not to mention different measurement methods by each car maker.

      I believe Car and Driver has an apples to apples comparison in their ‘in depth’ reviews. They use the same method for all cars. So you can get a more accurate representation of the difference.

  19. Don Zenga says:

    Range is 1 thing, but the size is equally important. Outgoing Leaf is somewhat bigger than Bolt and the incoming Leaf which is bigger in length, width, height and should have even bigger space. If Bolt is a crossover, then Leaf is also a crossover since its taller than most cars.

    For those who feel 35K is more, Leaf at 30K is a good deal. So 3 different vehicles provide 3 different choices and we cannot surely say which one is good.

  20. CCIE says:

    The Vehicle Warranty info is not showing all major coverages, at least for the Bolt. It’s 3/36 bumper to bumper and 5/60 powertrain.

    Also, I won’t believe that the Leaf or M3 exceeds the Bolt’s efficiency until we see some real world numbers from independent reviews. The manufacturers do their own EPA tests. GM is very conservative with their numbers, while Nissan and Tesla have not been in the past. So, we’ll see, but my money is on the Bolt being the most efficient in real world driving.

  21. Rhaman 68 says:

    Actually they do not compete at all. The Tesla has zero competition in all fields. The Bolt’s only and exclusive advantage is range. The car’s shape, narrow seats and zero GM/Chevy dealership fast charging or any charging, no navigation makes this EV a city car with lots of range. Big whop! The Leaf’s pro pilot self steering, DC fast charging at many Nissan dealership and 2 years charge anywhere program in effect make this EV unique for the price. Nav and other screen features are a plus. Once the larger battery arrives, this car stands on its own merits. By the way, the extensive and detailed review, a bit too long for the average reader! Thanks

    1. wavelet says:

      Different strokes for different folks. I would never buy a car that has a trunk rather than a hatch/liftback — the Model 3’s cargo space is basically unusable for me due to the odd shape, and lack of access (and of course, they give the total space incl. frunk in the specs… so it’s even less usable IRL).

  22. Apkungen says:

    Put the base model 3 on the highway next to the bolt and I promise you i think the model 3 will go 50 miles farther than tre Bolt.

    It is att high speed the range is important because that’s when you drive far

    1. justanotherguy50 says:

      Don’t be so sure. The Bolt may have a higher drag coefficient, but the Model 3 has a bunch more surface area. The Model 3 also has a smaller battery.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        We can’t yet be certain, but it seems very likely he’s right. It’s certainly the safe way to bet.

        We already know the Bolt EV has been optimized for maximum stop-and-go city driving range, at the expense of highway range; the reverse is the case for tested Tesla cars. It seems very likely Tesla has taken the same approach with the Model 3. Tesla has Supercharger network, unchallenged in its superiority for long-range driving with a BEV; its cars are designed to take full advantage of that. There doesn’t appear to be any good reason that Tesla would change this with the Model 3.

      2. Apkungen says:

        It is not about surface area. The ” drag area” is the surface of the car when viewed from the front. The bolt is way higher and only slightly narrower. I don’t think the model 3 has a larger surface area.

        From Björn Nylands test the bolt uses around 220wh/km at highway speed, the model 3 will likely use about 150wh/km at the same speed.

        Bolt: 60kwh available energy and 220wh/km energy use = 272km

        Model 3: 50kwh available energy and 150wh/km = 333km

        Model 3 wins easily.

        1. bro1999 says:

          I am confident at 65 MPH the Bolt would still outpace the base Model 3 in range. Especially if the base 3 is equipped with the optional wheels and not the FUGLY aero wheels.

          Unlike you, at least I have extensive experience driving ONE of the above-named cars to base my comments on.

        2. bro1999 says:

          220 Wh/km = 2.82 miles/kWh, which extrapolates to 169 miles for a full charge. That is totally BOGUS info. GM stated that the Bolt could theoretically travel 160 miles on a full charge at 93 MPH, so how are you making up stats that say Bjorn, who was hypermiling the Bolt, barely got better highway figures than a WOT Bolt?? Wow, completely CRAP info you are posting here.

          I observed my Bolt averaging 4.7-4.8 miles/kWh on flat roads at 55 mph in 80F temps. That equals 129 Wh/KM, NOWHERE near this crap 220 Wh/KM figure you seemingly pulled out of your a$$.

  23. menorman says:

    I see the charging section has been partially updated, which is a step forward. On the Nissan website, the builder for the 2018 Leaf prices the Charge Package at $1600, but it is standard on the SV trim. In regard to charging network, Nissan obviously doesn’t have anything like the Supercharger network, but at least here in America, they have done more than GM and partnered with EVgo to expand that network and provide free DCFC charging for new buyers/lessees. It seems like that deserves at least a half mention.

    Finally, this was ostensibly just between the Bolt, Leaf, and Model 3 since those are the three EVs that everyone has been talking up for years, but I think that realistically, the Ioniq EV and new e-Golf belong in this comparison too. Alternatively, the Leaf does not and should just be compared with the rest of the EVs in the 110-125 mile range that is much closer to than it is to the range of the Bolt and Model 3.

  24. Four Electrics says:

    TL;DR: if you take cost out of the picture, the most costly car just happens to be the nicest.

  25. Adoreizi says:

    Two questions:

    1) when does the 200+ mile Hyundai Ioniq get released? I’ve heard 2018 but haven’t heard much for several months

    2) if #1 is correct, does the Ioniq become a serious competitor to the Bolt or Leaf? I’m leaving M3 alone because I don’t see the car as a true comparable given it’s advanced tech

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I agree that it’s hard to justify including the Leaf in this comparison, but not a few other cars such as the Ioniq Electric.

      However, the IE has a serious obstacle to being a real contender, at least in the short term: Very limited production. Fortunately, at least according to reports, Hyundai is taking steps to increase production to meet far higher demand than they expected.

      Of course, one could also argue that very limited availability should also put the TM3 out of contention, but we can reasonably expect that situation to end by the end of this year, if not before, according to Tesla’s “S-curve” projection of TM3 production.

    2. Quebec 100% EV says:

      I don’t believe the rumors about a 200-mile Ioniq in 2018. Perhaps 2019 or 2020 for that matter… but definitely NOT in 2018.

      And then even if it does eventually surface, I highly doubt that it will be produced in large numbers due to their ongoing battery supply issues with LG, which means you will pay sticker price and wait on some 6 month long waiting list to get it.

  26. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Seems rather unfair to Nissan to do a comparison but insist on ignoring price. The lower price of the Leaf is about the only thing the Leaf has going for it, but that alone is sufficient to ensure comparatively good sales within the market segment. Well, that and the distinctly improved styling of the Leaf 2.0.

    Anyway, as bro1999 said in the first comment in this discussion, ignoring price pretty much removes the Leaf from any contention, and that’s rather unfair to Nissan.

  27. EVShopper says:

    Why would a proprietary “dedicated charging network” win out over charging network supported by an industry standard, per se?

    Would have been interesting for you to go into the details on that. Like how many Tesla chargers vs CCS (Bolt) vs Chademo (Leaf).

  28. brucem says:

    Why the Leaf description as “roomy”? No, it isn’t. Significantly smaller than the Bolt. 92.4 vs 95 ft^3

    36″ legroom in rear vs. 33″ in Leaf, 35″ in M3

  29. Jonathan B says:

    The Leaf only has a lower price and size as the advantage, it fails in every other area.

    The Model 3 is faster, better handling, and the only car that has the ability for long distance travel. You can talk all you want about capability for Quick Charging on the other cars but if there’s no network to support it (which there isn’t) you can’t go long distances.

    1. Just Some Guy says:

      Do you even an EV or have done any research? There are 5 major charging networks, Chargepoint and Greenlots being the two biggest I can name offhand. Shareplug.com has a good map.

      Having an independent network of chargers is better for everyone, like the USB standard for computers. More people invested in the network beyond Tesla is a good thing. If Tesla fails/dumps the network, you just limited your car substantially.

  30. Bobby says:

    I have a Volt and the only thing I don’t like is the screechy acceleration from start (on dry pavement!). While I’ll only cars with plugs going forward, I won’t buy one without AWD anymore. There’s just too much electric torque at start to be without AWD.

    In this list, it would have to be Tesla 3 with AWD.

    1. Bobby says:

      should say, “I’ll only BUY cars”

  31. Kbm3 says:

    Battery size should not be a stand-alone category. It is already subsumed in efficiency, performance and range categories (which are what matters.

  32. Kei says:

    It’s simple.

    If you want a good looking car, Buy Model 3.
    If you do road trips, Buy Model 3.
    If you like intuitive touch screen, Buy Model 3.
    If you want lowest cost of ownership, Buy Model 3.
    If you want Japanese car, Buy Leaf.
    If you want Korean car, Buy Bolt.

    1. Mr. M says:

      I take the reliable one then.

    2. Just Some Guy says:

      How does model 3 have lowest cost of ownership? Leafs have two years free charging on the greenlots network.

  33. Bill Howland says:

    The most unbelivable thing to me is the BOLT will be ‘old technology’, an ‘old car’ before much else.

    Having GM SO FAR AHEAD, is risking them sitting on their laurels….

    Why make something else if you’re currently the only game in town, which as of this date in time, they are.

    As far as foreign parts content, yes Korean content of the BOLT ev is 55%.

    Then look at the rest of GM’s lineup and see how much is from japan, france, Austria, Mexico, and Canada.

  34. Just Some Guy says:

    The dedicated Super Charger network is not a bonus, it’s a drawback. No one is going to build more of those except Tesla, but there are dozens of companies building ChaDemo and SAE Combo chargers.

    Plus Tesla has the annoying habit of holding the cars potential hostage for extra money. Not a cool company at all.

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