The Nissan Leaf is currently one of the cheapest electric cars you can buy in the United States, with a starting price of $28,140 without incentives. But that might change once the next generation of the Leaf gets here, according to an Automotive News report.
As per the source, Nissan will stop making the affordable hatchback EV at its factory in Smyrna, Tennessee in mid-2025, and a restart of production Stateside is not planned. Previously, the Japanese automaker said that the next-gen Leaf will be built at its Sunderland plant in the United Kingdom starting in 2026, but the markets where the new EV will be exported haven’t been disclosed yet.
By importing the Leaf into the U.S., Nissan will effectively end its customers’ ability to take advantage of the up-to-$7,500 tax credit that’s available for battery-powered cars made in North America. So if it wants to remain competitive, the only solution is to slash the selling price, which is more complicated than it sounds.
Gallery: 2023 Nissan Leaf
"Putting a lower-priced EV in front of buyers without the $7,500 discount will require Nissan to drop the price significantly just to be competitive, removing profit and costing the company thousands on each vehicle sold," Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions told Automotive News.
But while the current Leaf is getting long in the tooth, debuting back in 2017 on what is currently considered petty old tech, allowing for the affordable price point, the next-gen model will reportedly offer more of everything.
With design cues resembling those of the 2021 Nissan Chill-Out concept, the upcoming Leaf is expected to be based on the CMF-EV platform–the same one that underpins the Nissan Ariya–and come with a dual-motor all-wheel drive system.
Gallery: Nissan Chill-Out concept
In the Ariya, the drivetrain can deliver up to 389 horsepower, which is significantly more than what the current Leaf’s front-wheel-drive platform can do, with its maximum output of 215 hp. But more power, more tech, and no tax incentive will probably lead to a higher price, at least in the U.S. Will it be worth it? We’ll just have to wait and see.