Can Nissan LEAF Plus Compete With Tesla Model 3 & Chevy Bolt? Video


Nissan has finally brought an EV to market with respectable range, but is it enough to compete?

When the completely redesigned 2018 Nissan LEAF came market, it was a marked improvement over the outgoing model in many ways. Still, it didn’t offer a significant range boost. The previous model had an EPA-estimated 107-mile range, and the current model offers just 150. However, we’ve known for some time that Nissan had plans to release an extended-range offering down the road. For the 2019 model year, you can get the 150-mile standard LEAF, as well as the LEAF Plus, which, according to Nissan, offers 226 miles (364 km) of all-electric driving.

Aside from the range bump, the LEAF Plus is essentially the same car as the redesigned 2018 model. That particular model has struggled to sell in high volume on our shores. The Chevrolet Bolt EV, which is the LEAF’s closest rival and also not selling very well, out-delivered the LEAF by over 3,000 units in 2018. The LEAF’s only other successful competitor is the Tesla Model 3. While it’s much more expensive and a very different car in many ways, it’s still a small, battery-electric car with a long range. Tesla sold a whopping ~140,000 Model 3s in the U.S. last year.

The Fast Lane Car takes a closer look at the Nissan LEAF Plus to help determine whether or not it will prove to be a more popular car. Clearly, it would take some small miracle for it to outsell the Model 3 in the U.S., but perhaps it can overtake the Bolt EV?

Check out the video and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Video Description via TFLnow on YouTube:

Can The New Nissan Leaf PLUS Take on the Tesla Model 3? Hint: It Now Has a Range of 226 Miles

( ) If you wanted a Nissan Leaf with a bit more range, this 226-mile Plus version may be the answer. But is it enough to take the fight to the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3, or is it too little too late?

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64 Comments on "Can Nissan LEAF Plus Compete With Tesla Model 3 & Chevy Bolt? Video"

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Hopefully it competes well with ICE cars, which really should be the goal.

That is the key here which many EV supporter seem to miss while bitch and moan about their favorite EV model killers…

What kind of article are this? rubbish.

Please elaborate so we can discuss.

Competition with the Bolt? Absolutely! I think the Leaf is a better car than the Bolt overall – except for its lack of CCS charging and battery cooling/heating.

But with the Tesla Model 3? No chance. You won’t be taking a Bolt or Leaf on the occasional 500+ mile trips with ease anytime soon (unless purely going up/down the East or West coasts), but Tesla’s have been able to do that with ease for several years now.

I agree, they are totally two different cars – Leaf and Model 3. It’s like saying a Honda Civic and BMW 3-Series. Would you compare those two? They are targeted for different buyers and there is tons upon tons of market space to compete in (EVs only make up 2% of the global consumer car/truck market). I don’t think this was a really good video from TFL – I took offence to the statement “it’s too small for Americans” response in his context – and I am Canadian! That is pure crap and the Leaf is a great BEV for many. The reason it’s not leaps and bounds over some of the competition is because Nissan is selling to an entry-level to mid-level market and they are quite happy with this space. They’ve stuck with Passive Thermal Management in order to keep pricing down and offer as much value as they can in a great package. Their target consumer is not looking for Model 3 performance or highest range and even with BMS throttling, the e-Plus’s offers faster L3 charging and should provide a better multiple L3 charging in one day experience. That has yet to be tested of course.… Read more »
My own view is they made a good car, shell/body, but they left out the heart and soul. The batteries themselves and the lack of TMS system have been the main knock on the Leaf, since, well, forever. Their continued insistence over the non-existence of rapidgate, and the way it was handled, when they finally admitted it was a problem, was ham handed and disrespectful to their customers. Not everyone even got the so called “fix,” which was to prevent the battery from overheating. Not getting into the weeds of the fix, but it was an improvement, but will it cost battery life. Too early to tell.. Well I can think of another way to keep the battery from overheating and that is with an LTMS, system. It’s the gold standard, and not using it is not conforming with best practice as regards the ability to charge at a high speed, and then recharge, perhaps multiple times, and degrade with less rapidity, by keeping the battery within it’s optimal operating range, as best as can be done in regards to conditions. So by definition their battery management system is second rate, as are their batteries. Sure they did it to… Read more »
I think the reason it is being compared to the Model 3 is due to price point. Unless the existing shorter range Leaf comes down in price there isn’t much room price wise for the Leaf Plus to fit without running into the midrange Tesla. I personally love the idea of the Leaf Plus, but with the expected prices going around it is too close the the Model 3. The base S trim might come in at 36k + destination, following the existing difference to get tech package and climate package in the SV means another 5k and SL likely 7-8k. That puts a Leaf Plus with the important options within two thousand of Tesla’s car. That becomes a tipping point for many buyers to either be priced out of the “affordable” 200+ mile Leaf, or opt to buy the Model 3 instead. This is the same problem I think Chevrolet has with the Bolt. By the time you add the DCFC and safety packages even the LT is within spitting distance of Tesla with their premium interior and supercharger network. Nissan will have to discount the Leaf Plus in order to get people to sign on in numbers. They’re… Read more »

You mean like the same large discounts that Nissan had to put on the first generation Leafs to move them?

Leaf is probably the most reasonable EV car on sale – it’s not the fastest, it’s not the biggest, it’s not the funniest to drive, it’s not the one with better build quality (reliability seems top notch though), the driving assistant is probably worse than Tesla and GM, … The best thing about the leaf, is that doesn’t do anything wrong, it’s the perfect car for those that want to go from point A to point B without even noticing it.
And does it with a reasonable price and worldwide availability.
Having said that, I think this new version will start to become too expensive for what it offers. If Nissan uses the formula from Tesla ($350/extra kWh) this version will cost around $7000 more. Now if Nissan split it by half making per example the 40kWh version $2500 cheaper, charge less for extra kWh and price this version $2500 above current version, I think it will sell more than the bolt in the US. Worldwide only model 3 will outsold leaf during 2019.

I should say Nissan’s ProPilot is better than what GM is putting on the Bolt.

I disagree, although I’m glad you are happy with Nissan’s approach to regen. For me (a common critic of GM and the Bolt), I think GM hit the nail on the head with it’s 3 step “Regen On Demand” system operated by a button at the rear of the left spoke of the steering wheel. It feels and acts like a paddle. You can squeeze it briefly to notch up the regen intensity or hold it which will bring the car down to a complete stop. It worked well on 2nd gen Volt and is refined on the Bolt. For me, the squeeze action became intuitive after ten minutes of driving. Using the left hand as a kind of hand operated electric brake on downhills (we have plenty of hills in Seattle) and in city traffic was a revelation. No transfer of feet to the brake pedal if you so wish. Taking a hand off the wheel to set an e Pedal with a switch/button seems awkward. Then taking it off again to return to conventional braking… Not an elegant solution. KIA and Hyundai take the Bolt approach a step further by having a paddle on both sides of the… Read more »

That’s not what ProPilot does, James.

Exactly, top trim level of Bolt gives you standard cruise control only and some lane keep assist, ProPilot on the other hand gives you adaptive cruise control with stop and go and will help steer under certain highway conditions.

James, you are ill informed about the Leaf’s epedal. You don’t have to activate it every time you use it. If you want, it’s always on and 99% of Leaf buyers use it that way. It is true one pedal driving. I’ve gone over a month without using the brake pedal. Epedal essentially lets you perfectly regulate the degree to which you coast or brake by moderating your pressure on the accelerator.

Propilot is something else entirely. It’s a basic autopilot.

@Alex…”Funniest to drive”?

I know that everyone tells you that Model 3 is a blast to drive. It is. I know, I bought one and the AWD grip plus insane acceleration never fails to plaster a smile on my face or even gleeful outbursts. But it’s not funny. There is no joke to performance. In five months of ownership, that ability to move or react fast has saved me more than once. And fun and funny are not likewise applicable here.

the LEAF is a great commuter car, but Model 3 just adds fun to it’s practicality. Comparing the two cars is absurd. Journalists just can’t stop comparing apples to tomatoes because both are indeed fruit.

Maybe this obsessive comparing of disparate entities will cease when there is A WHOLE FRUIT AND VEGGIE DEPARTMENT of EVs to choose from and the media won’t lump EVERY EV into the same category.

With Leaf still getting incentives in the US and Bolt no longer getting it the Bolt can’t compete. Model 3 can compete also because it is a luxury vehicle contrary to the Leaf.

The Bolt still gets full credit $7500 for 1 more month, then the credit gets cut in half for the next quarter.

So Bolt got a month of sales left. After that I suspect Bolt sales will be almost entirely for GMs autonomous test fleet.

That depends on how much the dealers are willing to cut the price. Bolt is listing about $32K before subsidy, so equivalent to full subsidy $36K after March when subsidy is cut by $3750. If Nissan dealers can cut the price (way) below $36K for e+ and Chevy dealers don’t, Leaf could outsell Bolt.

But I have my doubts since Leaf e+ is still lousy in almost all respects compared to Bolt, especially lack of thermal management. We’ve all seen the actual numbers for overheating battery even in -9C ambient temperature.

Leaf is superior to the bolt in almost all respects except thermal management. Oh, and the cool backup camera rear view mirror is cool on the bolt. And yes, I’ve driven both.

March in to Buy the Bolt next month.

$3,750.oo is an additional decent discount, along with state incentives, and $4-5k off of MSRP.

Dealers here aren’t discounting the Bolt sadly. They’re busy trying to sell LTs for 40k.

Bolt still has some advantages, namely more rear seat legroom (as well as available heated rear seats), telescoping steering wheel, active battery temperature management, and CCS. Now, if Chevy updates to faster charging capabilities in next year or so and adds adaptive cruise control, that would give it a decisive advantage over the Leaf.

The 40 kWh is fine as a commuter car and up to 400 km trips is no problem whatsoever. Appearently european buyers already realized that. Judging by comments on every article The US crowd is obsessed with very long trips and dismissing all versions.

I think Americans are also concerned with the longevity of the Leaf battery, especially in hot climates. Nissan hasn’t done themselves any favors by not providing proof that this is not an issue.

Offering their 8 year/100K mile battery guarantee might work for me as a long distance commuter. I need reliable 100 mile one-way range through the mountains in the Winter. 40 kWh was close, but I would be in trouble before losing enough bars to trigger a replacement. The 60-kWh seems to offer enough cushion to meet the need comfortably..
My experience with the Volt Premier, especially the ACC, has been very satisfying – so I would prefer to go with the Bolt EV. However the non-availability of ACC on the Bolt EV prevents my giving it serious consideration. Maybe the 2020 model? Maybe a different car with Korean drive train?

Bolt don’t have heat pump so your winter range will be cut in half and the coldgate problems will make you sit 2 hours at a fast charger. Also the ProPilot is the best after the tesla AP said all recent reviews.

You’re range will not cut in half in the winter with the Bolt. The lowest range I’ve had in Ohio with the Bolt is 145. And that’s the mileage before you start driving. I always ends up higher. This is with the climiate control set to 72-75F. With outside temperates between about -6F to 28F.

if Bolt range is cut by half in winter, Leaf’s winter range is cut by 90%. In addition, Leaf will spend 20 hours at “fast charger”, first because of battery too cold in the beginning, then battery overheating even when outside temperature is -25 degrees.

Seriously, if you’re going to post such obvious lie, make it at least believable. There are many videos showing Leaf’s poor performance due to battery problem, not a single one for Bolt (cold soak affects all EV, including Leaf).

Some people in Canada were reporting 50% loss with their Bolts. Regardless of which EV you get make sure it goes twice as far as your daily commute., 90% now who is the liar.

About the worse case scenario as arctic temperatures continuously for months on end are not all that common, even in Canada. Well the most populated part. But yeah 50% range loss is not uncommon in those conditions .

You are very gullable. Those LEAF rapidgate videos were a hoax.

I’ve experienced rapidgate every time I’ve taken my 40kWh Leaf on a 300+ mile trip. I consistently get ~45kW charging for the first session, 22-30kW charging for the second, and ~18kW charging for the third. It is no hoax.

Other EVs would slow down too if you run them too hard or charge them to 100%. Its just the way the car is. What I want to know is how could they get the battery to warm up 30C from just driving 60 miles at 45 mph. Its a hoax. When we drive our 40kWh LEAF on the interstate it doesn’t heat up at all. We quick charged three times last weekend, once up to 89% and it didn”t even get past half way on the battery temps. we could charge indefinitely to 80% it would not slow down.

Nissan has updated the firmware for rapid gate. Not sure if it’s been released in US yet

A Hoax. Then why did Nissan make a software fix for it?
Also the NA. version is not the getting the fix, more fine customer service from Nissan, because you don’t need it. Are they joking, or are they just a joke.

Good question, they just increased the threshold that oit would slow down at and made it similar to some other cars.

You will need a 60kWh car if you have a 100mile commute, oh sorry I see you say it is 100 miles one way. What you really need is a new job, but if you have to drive you should get a Prius or Tesla Model 3. You need an EV with twice the range of your daily commute. I would not recommend a LEAF or a Bolt for a 200 mile commute. They will not do it in winter. Actually neither one of them will do it in summer unless you are prepared for some serious lifestyle changes.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

They probably have workplace charging, since they mention one-way range.

This is a fair observation and is my greatest roadblock from buying the 40kWh Leaf. The battery range works I think when new, but degradation would make it not able to do my potential commute very quickly. This new 62kWh battery though would be fine even after years of degradation. Now the question just comes down to price. I like the comfort and features Nissan offers, but if that will cost me another 10k over the current incentivised price of the 40kWh Leaf it will be out of my price range. I can buy an SV with tech package for about 30k before taxes and not counting the federal tax credit.

I saw the 40kWh SV version with the tech package around $22,000 after incentives in Birmingham. Thats the year end clearance on the 2018 models. Great family car.

Sounds amazing, unfortunately I don’t have that many discounts or credits available in my region. We can’t count the US federal tax credit as an immediate discount though. Because it is part of the taxes filed for the previous year it doesn’t help with the initial purchase, or the financing considerations because I can only budget a certain amount for a monthly payment. This is true for many people looking to buy a car and most people can’t afford to float such a large amount of money up front with the expectation that we’ll get it back next year. That can be a difference between a $550 per month and a $400 monthly payment.

I can tell you it is not issue if you daily charge to 80% and save 100% for trips to Grannys house. Not an issue at all. neither is quick charging if you stop at 80%. Same for all EVs.

Several hundred thousand customers seems to be pretty good proof. Very low battery replacement rates?

We took our 40kWh LEAF out for its first road trip last weekend. Great mileage, comfort, quiet, no heat build up with quick charges to 80 or 89%. Great car. But even 30 minutes to 80% charge means Evs require more patience and planning than gas cars. My Son drove his 2016 LEAF to the same destination, He drove around 50 for 110 miles and had about 30 miles left at the destination. His 2016 model has about 31,000 miles. Great batteries.

It is not an obsession,it’s a reality that the US is a big country with lot of long distances to travel with bad transit system.

I traded my 2016kwh Leaf on a 40kwh 2018 Leaf before the subsidies were cancelled. It’s doing a great job for me even in the cold. Only time will tell how the battery holds up. I sometimes think of the Leafs like early Commodore computers. The VIC20 and C64 took the world by storm. Commodore was first out the gate with affordable home computers but fell way behind the competition. Will the same thing happen with Nissan? I am hoping by the time I’ve taken my 4 yr depreciation and am ready to move that there will be more choices available.

Should last a lifetime, use it daily in the 20-80% charge range and save 100% charges for trips to grannys house.

There are currently no data to back up the claim that 20%-80% charging range use would last 20 years…

Actually there is. Check out the battery university.

Why compete at all. If you like teslas buy a Tesla, If your a Chevy fan get the Bolt, If you like Nissans get a LEAF. Drive any of them in the 20-80% charge range and they will last 20 years.

That remains to be seen. Now with both Tesla and the Bolt, you already have examples of very high mileages, but not so many examples with the Leaf, which has inferior batteries, and no liquid thermal management system, which leads to more stress on the battery. Thus faster degradation.
This is all well known.
Couple that with the rather checkered past that Nissan has had with it’s batteries, and your own carpet bombing of this thread, one can only surmise that your prognostications regarding the life of Leaf battery packs has no validity whatsoever.

That’s a really funny statement. The Bolt is only a 2 year old car. There are NO EXAMPLES of a Bolt lasting a long time.
However, I am sure whichever EV you buy if you charge it in the 20-80% charge range it will last a long time, 20 years is not unreasonable. The LEAF batteries are among the best.

I have a LEAF I bought in 2011 and it has 12 bars, actually all our LEAFs have 12 bars, great cars. We need to educate people on proper care of their EVs. Not make up fake stories about active cooling and degradation because it fits your model of a perfect Tesla universe. People are getting tired of your constant trolling of Nissan LEAFs. Time to grow up and get over that. The LEAFs are great cars, best cars Nissan has ever made.

Instead of being counterproductive why not chagne your terrible attitude and be productive. Try to educate future EV owners, make sure they get the right EV for their family and their needs, make sure the car has enough range to suit them and they know how to properly care for their batteries. Whats wrong with that. There are lots of great EVs to choose from now. Bolts, Volts, LEAFs, KJonas, Ipace, Tesla 3s, I3s, Primes. etc. etc.

I do hate to bring you bad news but i do have examples of Bolts prematurely degrading in hot climates, they are screen prints but I cannot paste them here, but we need to make sure that if you have an EV, regardless of brand, DO NOT LET IT SIT AT 100% CHARGE IN THE HEAT. Please pass that along to all your EV friends.

Mileage is also one of the poorest indicators of battery longevity. If you know anything about EVs you would know that too. Its all about how much time that battery soends near 100% charge or 0% charge. Thats what creates the chemical stress and wear on the batteries. Stick to 20-80% daily charging and you will be a happy camper.

Maybe the newer battery will last, but 2012 LEAF in moderate climate I’m losing about 4% SoH per year. Yes, the battery will still work in 20yrs, but at 20% SoH will it be of any use?
As a LEAF owner, and really any EV, the issue right now is the replacement batteries. The idea that these EV’s are sustainable vehicles is false just based on the fact the replacement batteries are either not available or extremely expensive. Supposedly battery prices are coming down, yet Nissan replacement battery pack price went up very significantly. That’s one thing that needs to change.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Sure. Nissan will advertise the Leaf so there will be awareness, and it will discount as required to move them.

I hope they discount the crap out of them and everyone buys one. I saw a 2018 SV discounted for $21,000 after incentives. Excellent purchase. I also saw some Chevy Bolts marked down $6,000, excellent purchases. Take care of those cars and they will last 20 years.

“the car is too small for the US”…maybe US people are too big.

If you need a bigger car try the Prius 5 or the Mitsubishi SUV PHEV ,model. Great cars. You can do a lot of economical driving in those big beast.