The Nissan Leaf is still on sale, somehow. We’ve driven one and reviewed it, it’s not a bad car, but incredibly outmoded, offering DC fast charging in the outdated CHAdeMO and an air-cooled battery in a liquid-cooled, soon-to-be Tesla NACS-driven world. But the Leaf brand is a good one, so Nissan is finally readying up a replacement. Now, a source claims that the next Nissan Leaf could enter production as soon as March 2025.

According to a report from Autocar, Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the United Kingdom is already gearing up to produce the new model. The plant itself has gone through a $2.5 billion (£2 billion) retooling to accommodate the new model. 

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Nissan Plans An Onslaught of EVs

Nissan plans to introduce six new EV models by 2026, including a replacement for the Leaf. It plans to establish the U.S. as an EV manufacturing hub.

Currently, the Sunderland plant produces the Europe-only Nissan Juke and Qashqai ICE-powered crossovers, it’s stated that those two models’ electric successors will also be produced at the same Sunderland plant. The Sunderland plant itself got a whole suite of upgrades to support EV production, including two battery plants built nearby to support the battery needs of the Leaf and future vehicles.

Nissan Chill-out Concept

Interestingly, Nissan officially canned production of the current generation Leaf at its UK plant earlier this year. So, the new Leaf is a sort of a return to form.

It’s certainly not a return to form without challenges, Nissan UK’s regional manufacturing boss Alan Johnson told Autocar. That factory's future had been uncertain for years due to Brexit, but now Nissan does seem committed to it. Fellow Japanese brand Honda closed down its Swindon plant after 35 years of production back in 2021.

Now, it’s not entirely clear how that’ll affect the U.S’s consumption of the next-generation Leaf. Currently, the Leaf is made in Tennessee making it at least partially eligible for the IRA’s tax credit incentive for plug-in vehicles. A British-made Leaf would be ineligible for these incentives.

However, that may be a moot point in the first place since Nissan says that the Leaf’s production is exiting the U.S. entirely, with all models to be made in either Japan or allegedly the UK.

Nissan Leaf 14

Meanwhile, Nissan is said to be pushing back its new generation of U.S.-built electric sedans for a few years, both as the EV market cools a bit and to focus on hotter-selling electric SUVs instead. 

We still aren’t totally sure what exactly what form the next generation Leaf will take. Nissan says it will closely resemble the 2021 Chill-Out concept, which means some of the Leaf’s decidedly hatchback and car-oriented demeanor will likely be traded for a semi-crossover high-riding attitude.

Whatever the case, Autocar reports the UK factory will start test trials of the 2025 Leaf this coming August, before the official sale date of circa March 2025. That should mean that we should hopefully know what the production version of the next Nissan Leaf before the end of this year.

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This is good news for Nissan, even if it’s not clear if this Leaf will come to the United States. As I said at the outset, we’ve tested the Leaf before. It is a pleasant, but fairly outmoded car in dire need of an update.

Nissan Chill-Out concept

If Nissan can improve this Leaf’s range, efficiency, and in-car connected tech while keeping the price about the same, then it could be a real hit for its next act regardless if it qualifies for IRA tax incentives or not. It's very clear that the U.S. is still very thirsty for reasonably-priced EVs.

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