Nissan LEAF Sales Down In U.S. In July 2018


You win some…you lose some. Or, in the case of the Nissan LEAF, you lose again.

July 2018 is shaping up to be one of the strongest sales months in U.S. history (thanks largely to what we estimate as a massive surge for the Tesla Model 3) the same is not holding true for the Nissan LEAF.

With just 1,149 LEAFs sold in July, the electric hatch again sees sales down both month-over-month and year-over-year. In the month-over-month area, sales dropped off by 10.4% from the 1,376 LEAFs sold in June. Year-over-year, sales dipped by 8.5%, down from the 1,283 sold last July

YTD LEAF sales have now reached 7,808 units in the U.S.

The U.S seems to have not taken a liking to the new LEAF, but overseas it’s still thriving. In several European markets, demand is far outpacing Nissan’s ability to supply, which has led to long wait times on new orders.

We’re now beginning to think that LEAF sales will not pick up the pace in the U.S. throughout the rest of the year. Could the Tesla Model 3 be the reason why LEAF sales are so stunted in the States?

What do you think? Will LEAF sales heat up in the U.S.? Or is the U.S. crowd all waiting on the 60-kWh version with its active thermal management?

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96 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Sales Down In U.S. In July 2018"

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Wow, the Leaf fell below the Bolt… That is surprising to me, and a bit of a knock for entry level BEV’s.

The problem is “Entry Level” BEV. People buying the Leaf were generally still making pretty decent money. If a better car buying opportunity comes along they might be willing to pay quite a bit more for it. People looking for an entry level car are probably not looking at electric.

In the US this is disappointing. Although I still think this has far more to do with people waiting on the LR version.

And just for perspective… even with depressed US Leaf sales, globally the Leaf outsells the Bolt 2:1 most months.

Wade, I am not looking at this as a competition, one EV vs. another, I am thinking of market adoption, and right now the Leaf makes a strong value case on the low end of BEV’s. One of my concerns is EV sales seem to be growing more in depth, then they are in width. It seems families that have purchased and EV, will purchase another EV, which is what I mean by depth… We are not doing as well in width, new families coming into EV’s This is a concern I have in the market, as I feel we really need to drive growth in Width on the low end side of BEV’s.

My hunch is new class of EVs will add “width”. For example Tesla Model 3 will be the first, but others are coming. Along with a large number of medium low volume EVs like your Jaguar, GM has a new CUV coming, etc, those selling 20-30k per year. The more of those you have the wider your market will get.

I agree, many buing a Leaf now probably came from an EV or hybrid. After tracking Toyota hybrid sales for 4 years, the Prius Prime sales have come at expense of the Prius. Every month the Prime has been on sale, the sales of the Prius have fallen vs the year ago period by more than the number of Primes sold. The total number of Toyota hybrids has dropped dramatically since 2015, and is down 10% this year. Toyota’s green car “width” is shrinking.

Those used EVs are getting out in the market and that will also help add some width as people buy and try them. This could help fill out the entry level EV market as well. The low resale value of those models will help.

That view of Toyota is the impression you get by viewing the raw data without context. The real story is we are witnessing a market shift, combined with a styling disinterest. So, the status claim is not an accurate reflection of what’s truly happening.

Sales of the RAV4 hybrid remain very strong, despite the fact that the model has reached its life-cycle end. The next-gen will be rolled out for 2019, with the lead offering a hybrid model.

Sales of Prime have been hampered by lack of inventory. You can’t buy what isn’t available. Distribution worldwide has created a supply shortage for central United States.

Sales of Prius always lagged for this generation because the style was so polarizing. Either you liked it or you didn’t. That extreme is why the mid-cycle refresh will change the look rather significantly.

Yes, the horrific “styling” is one reason for the Prius sales suffering.

However, that is only a small part of the problem since the 1st and 2nd gen Priuses were also ugly as hell.

Simply, the people that used to buy Priuses are now switching to EVs and Toyota has no proper EV products on the market. Also, they are spreading FUD about EVs and are spending stupid amount of money on hydrogen which most everyone knowledgeable considers an utter dead-end.

Thus, nobody even wants to wait for Toyota to come out with proper EVs even if you are a satisfied Toyota customer (like me). They will simply buy an EV from Nissan or Tesla or whomever willing to produce a credible, solid, electric car.

Toyota is now 5+ years behind Tesla and very likely will suffer when EVs go mainstream (which is very close now).

Early Adopter perspective has no relevance to mainstream consumers. Know your audience. This is why “behind” is meaningless to everyone except enthusiasts.

Gotcha! I understand the concern but I’m not too worried about this personally. (At least not yet.). The Prime continues to sell quite well although it is a PHEV. Looks like it is just under 2000 this month. The long range leaf should arrive by next year at about the same price as the Bolt and with an LG pack. If it has proper cooling and comparable range, the Leaf will see a sales boost. And GM has positioned the 200k timing with Bolt/Volt MY changeovers where they can observe US sales demand as the tax credit drops to 50% in Q2… and announce a price drop for the 2020 models if needed. The clarity has also performed quite well. Honda and GM are also teaming up moving forward to drive down battery costs for both manufacturers. In the past 2 months GM officials have hinted at more coming EV announcements on bolt based EVs. But most importantly… the short range model 3 will arrive next year. Maybe a 35k-40k car isn’t technically entry level. But it is obtainable and desireable for a lot of middle class americans such as myself. I’m downright excited for the coming year of “low”… Read more »

Width is happening. For example, according to the Tesla earnings report the 5 most traded vehicles for the Model 3 are: Toyota Prius, BMW 3-Series, Honda Accord and Civic, and Nissan Leaf.

“Width” is just spin for conquest… not anything of meaningful substance to changing of the status quo. GM learned this lesson the hard way, delivering a compact hatchback to their customer base of SUV buyers. No surprise, those previous buyers of GM vehicle didn’t care. They just plain were not interested. So, Volt was marketed to external shoppers instead. The result was a disastrous waste of tax-credits… since the outcome was not a change on their own showroom floor. Customers continued to shop for SUV offerings. Nissan may end up with the same struggle. This is why Toyota is setting the stage with RAV4 hybrid. Stepping it up to offer a plug won’t take much when there is already a loyal base of hybrid owners. Same thing for Camry hybrid. This is also why we’re hearing about the potential for bring the AWD model of Prius to the United States. To change the status quo, technologies must be adapted to what buyer preferences. Know your audience. This is why GM’s failing to deliver a SUV using Volt technology after so many years is becoming such a big issue now. That loss of a $7,500 subsidy makes the effort to finally… Read more »

Totally not.
There are no good deals for a 2018 Leaf or a Bolt, unlike the past years when I picked up 3, a 2013, 2015 and a 2017.
So instead of a $30K entry level BEV, I’m getting a TM3 and paying extra for the $9K Long Range + $5K Premium. It’s a much better car, better than ICE and not a city roundabout like thise 2 BEVs.

That and the lease deals suck.

Bigly, compared to previous 2016-17 Leaf Leases.

Totally agree, When I looked into getting a 2018 Leaf or a BMW i3 at the start of the year the deals were ridiculously expensive here in the UK, I had to go to plan’B’ and bought the new Kia Niro hybrid at almost half the price of a lease deal Nissan/bmw wanted. Maybe next time!

Leaf sales used to be driven by discounts from MSRP (resulting in low lease payments) – those discounts are currently no longer present (or they are small). This + known past issues with battery degradation + RapidGate all affect demand.

I think this hits it on the head exactly. People used to get big discounts on purchases, and even more so, great lease deals. I have heard of none of these deals with the new Leaf. And for people who really follow EVs, concern over battery degradation will prevent many from purchasing. Nissan has not given any indication that their batteries have improved in regards to the degradation rate.

They did extend the battery warranty, didn’t they?

Nissan had $2k on the hood through NMAC plus $3k in some utilities (e.g. PG&E) and that’s on top of discounts like grad or military and before talking the dealer down from the $300 for “nitro fill” in the tires and of course the other incentives. Basically, they should be able to be found for around $20k.

No deals suggests they are not worried about low US sales, as long as they have plenty of other markets where demand outstrips supply…

This is troubling. At this point i hope this is due to people waiting for the longer range version rather than low ev demand.

Dr. Miguelito Loveless

More likely people are waiting on the longer range model. Also, the whole rapidcharge fiasco is not helping.

You got that right. I’m waiting for 2019 model. And Im in the market for a new efficient vehicle. No way I’d buy today with more range and the new battery tech incoming.

Regarding #RapidGate … It became a non-factor once I learned Nissan shifted to LG Chem as its battery supplier (for 2019). Nissan gets a reputation-reset with regards to battery-tech/rapid-charging.

Are the Bolt and the Leaf suffering by comparison to the 3? It sure seems that that may be the case. Even though the base model 3 isn’t out yet, the Bolt/Leaf look pretty sad by comparison. It is too bad that GM doesn’t have an Encore CUV-type BEV or EREV. Now that is a market niche that is both huge and under-served by plug in cars.

Not a Bolt article, but if you look at the Bolt/Volt sale story it says the Bolt’s inventory remains low and Bolts are being shipped overseas to satisfy demand. So unlike Tesla and the Model 3 GM is redirecting cars from the US. So as they approach their 200k mark later this year they’ll have products available during the US big EV selling season. Summer is slow selling time for the US car market in general.

I should have ended my post after the first three sentences. LOL!
My original point was that both the Leaf and the Bolt are hurting. Then I went off on GM again… My bad!

The Bolt EV and Leaf are well suited to the Euro market, not so much for most of the US. They are fine in some of the coastal areas, but many of those want options for longer range and non hatchbacks (that don’t seem popular in the US).

Are you kidding? Hatchbacks are all the rage in the US right now. All they had to do to get them to sell was give them a little more ground clearance, make them a little bigger/taller, and call them crossovers.

GM will have an EV CUV Buick soon.

I pray you are correct! We need it probably after the first of the year but we might have to wait until the tax credit situation gets sorted out in the US Congress. Love our Bolt and drool over the possibility of a Buick EV CUV. Will dreams come true? It was promised!

This is not at all surprising to me. As I was saying yesterday, the EV market is Tesla, the rest are fighting for the scraps. I say this and I own only non-Tesla EVs (PHEVs).

*the EV Market ($48,000 and above) is Tesla.

I don’t have the pocket to buy that high. Nor the time frame to wait for the mythical $35K Model 3.

There’s a market below $48,000 now and that’s Bolt/Leaf territory.

I don’t think the EV market really breaks into price categories like that, and Tesla Model 3 is making that abundantly clear. The EV market is dominated by Tesla (like more than 50% of the entire market in the US) and those vehicles start at $50,000. The sub $50,000 EV market is very small right now. Once the $35k Model 3 comes along, what do you think that will look like?

Next year when the Model 3 Standard launches Tesla will still make up well more than half the market, with nearly 90% of the market above $50k and probably 50-75% of the market below. I am guestimating now, will put those in a spreadsheet later to see prices of the other EVs. Other manufacturers will maintain market share by dropping prices and offering incentives to move vehicles at a loss.

I agree, Tesla isn’t the entire market, but the market that is left is relatively small and has been what the rest of the manufacturers are fighting over (which is what I meant by my comment).

This is all US market, EU market is a bit different.

Got it. And I agree Tesla is the giant in the US market. No doubting that. Tesla while a giant doesn’t have offerings in the sub $48,000 EV territory for people just starting to look at EV’s today.

Until that day comes, it’s companies like Nissan and Chevy fighting for those sales. And if you’re a buyer unwilling to pay $50K and unwilling to wait behind the 100K people (haphazard guess) already in line for the $35K Model 3 – then that person’s market (right now) is Leaf and Bolt.

I looked into a Leaf SV this past month (June) and was tempted, but not by the lease which seemed expensive. I’m in the S.F. bay area. If you already owned a Nissan they (Nissan USA I guess) were offering a $4k rebate plus 0% up to 72 months. Non Nissan owners (like me) were offered $2k plus the 0%. (Alternatively, they offered $3k rebate with no special financing done through our electric utility, PG&E). It seemed that the dealers were willing to kick in another $2-3k off MSRP though I’m not sure as I didn’t get that far. MSRP of the SV including delivery and floor mats (w/o tech package) is $34k. $34k minus $2k (hypothetical) from the dealer plus 9.75% tax is about $35k. Less $4k from Nissan for current Nissan owners and $10k from the fed tax credit and CA rebate put you at $21k with 0% financing (or $23k and 0% if not a current Nissan owner). Very attractive methinks, though I didn’t jump because I have a year to go on a PHEV lease and I was annoyed that the current Nissan owners were getting the bigger discount.

Most of the People in Alabama would swear I’m rich because I drive a 2012 Nissan LEAF. They still buy their gasoline in $2 and $5 dollar purchases. $6k for a used LEAF, it might as well be a $2 billion dollar Mars rover or a $6 billion dollar B2 bomber. All they need is a car to get them 10 miles to work every day and the liquor store on paydays.

*The EV Market ($48,000 and above) is all Tesla.

Jaguar bags to differ.

And Porsche. But currently, it’s only Tesla. In a couple years? Guess we will see.

Tesla is the only company that makes attractive cars, many owners buy the car for it’s status symbol, style and performance, not limited to environment benefits.

The rest of EVs are day to day transportation, they buy it for environment and financial benefits.

I have been excited by a lot of EVs but never by a Tesla. I guess the company itself has always turned me off. And I think the Tesla models are way too expensive for what they have to offer.

The company is fine, but their fan base are not exactly the most welcoming bunch. They seem to care more about Tesla than about EVs.

It’s said that Tesla is stealing a lot of BMW drivers, which shows, because BMW drivers are known to eb the rudest driver and a huge bunch of @-holes.

This car has a 150 mile range on a good day, and in Europe that could mean you drove thru 3 countries. This is just a local commuter in North America while in Europe this range is good enough.

200+ mile range expected for the 2019 model, which could be in just a few months.

Why burn money now when you can get the car that you can use 99.9% of the time and the wait is just a few months away ?

Well, if the new 60 kwh model costs $5,000 more, then that would be why. To burn less money. There are a certain group of people who the 150 mile range meets their needs, and another group that would be much better served with longer range, and that longer range would be worth a certain amount of money to them. Charging speed is part of the equation too.

The Electrify America stations are supposed to be no further than 120 miles apart. That knowledge was a big factor in me trading in my 2017 FFE for a 2018 Leaf. At 115 miles of rated range the FFE didn’t quite cut it but at 151 miles of rated range I will always have a little range to spare when I take an Electrify America trip.

I can’t believe there were so many Leafs sold (or leased). Either there are people who don’t know how crappy 2018 Leaf is (eg. rapidgate) or too many people have their lizard brain take control. Wait few months for 2019 to experience what a real EV can do. If nothing else, price on crap Leaf will take a dive as the dealers try to get rid of the stinkers ASAP.

Speaking out of experience or out of your behind? We’re having record tenperatures over here and can deal with it, and our Leaf, just fine.

He seems to be one of those people who take it as a personal affront when people make a purchasing decision that goes against his advice…

I’m doing public service for discouraging today’s Leaf. Someone asked me about getting EV, and the first thing he mentioned was Leaf since he didn’t know any better. No, NO, and NOOOOOOO!!!

You can get far better car in few months or you probably can get much better deal in few months when dealers are looking to get rid of the turds. Either way, staying away from today’s Leaf is a sensible thing to do.

Sensible Yes, but many Reptillians prefer to Lease the 2018 Nissan Leaf,

Or, better yet,

BUY the 2018 Chevy Bolt.

Sure, you got lucky with your Leaf. Meanwhile, how many SparkEV or BoltEV or even i3, IoniqEV, etc. etc. do you hear about capacity fade or DCFC slowdown? No luck is involved if you stay away from Leaf.

Now we’re using the “Luck of the draw”, to gamble on a 2018 Leaf?

Lease Leaf,
(no rolling dice, or bad draw of cards required ),

Buy Bolt,
(you’re all in, also referred to as “in it, to to win it”).

I can’t see any problem with the issue of “Lizard brain”, and “having record temperatures”!

Reptilians need a good commuter car, and the 2018 Leaf seems to be “just fine”.

I drove almost 500 miles in a single day in my 2018 Leaf this last weekend. I didn’t have any real trouble with battery heat until my fourth fast charge after the outside temperature rose above 100 degrees F. With a little experience and if you follow a few rules, the battery heating issue can be managed.

ProPilot did most of the driving, I was just along for the ride.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

” With a little experience and if you follow a few rules, the battery heating issue can be managed.”

So basically, ~YOU~ are managing the batteries temp instead of having a true/real TMS in the Leaf.

There were millions of Model T Fords sold. Most people today couldn’t even drive a Model T. Just because you need a little knowledge to drive a car doesn’t make that a bad car.

In Model T days, there weren’t better cars. But if Model T is sold today against even a Mitsubishi Mirage, it’d be a terrible car. Better comparison is Leaf as Edsel.

Man, that thing is cooking and melting down like Chernobyl or Fukashima! What a deal killer. I believe you just single handedly murdered all future Nissan Leaf sales with your revelation of battery thermal issues! Yikes! Hope they don’t send the Yukuska after ya! LOL!

BBC broke rapidgate. Other popular EV youtubers slam Leaf for such poor engineering. If theyr’e sending Yakuza, they should go after BBC.

I don’t know if people are so much holding out for the 60 KWh version, but perhaps holding out for an actual nationwide fast charging network that the Leaf could use.

And perhaps a version that isn’t gimped when it comes to anything past regional 300+ mile trips… result of the 40 KWh version fast charging issue and lack of a reasonable fast charging network.

“…an actual nationwide fast charging network that the Leaf could use”

Unless Nissan teams up with Tesla, that will never happen.

As a commuter car – With majority of charging to take place between home and work, an while-I’m-on-the-go network is a non-factor for me. It’s not a need, it’s a nice to have.

I’m waiting for the range. Not the network.

Why isn’t Sales Scorecard updated with Leaf, Bolt, and Volt numbers? I’m very impatient to look at the whole picture…

Haha. Getting there. Was banking on a few other automakers to post. i3? It will be up soon

Thank you, appreciate your hard work!

Our pleasure!

And I’m guessing you will simply wait to report the Tesla numbers until after hours (stock market close) today when Tesla reports and should outright give “actual” numbers.

We plan to post our estimates first. If Tesla announces rough numbers like they did at Q1 earnings, we will include an update. 🙂

We’d be extremely surprised if Tesla gave actual delivery numbers. That almost never happens. Perhaps a market share chart, production numbers, etc. Some hints maybe. For the Model S and X there is never a split given between U.S. and international. There may be a bit more info on the Model 3, but not a verbatim delivery figure. Let’s hope I’m wrong!

Cool story bro.

Just because you think that, doesn’t make it true.

What, it’s no longer a supply problem? That was the conventional wisdom around here until recently.

As I said here for the last several months, the Leaf’s inventory has remained at 2 months’ supply, which is considered ideal for the car industry. There are plenty of Leafs available; people simply don’t want it.

Correct, they don’t want it for the price that they have to pay for it.

Agree. After years of getting screaming lease deals I believe that buyers are currently balking at the the deals currently offered. Maybe Nissan USA is waiting for the 60kWh version before the open the spigot again.

@Mark W:
Sure, but if you have to give away the car – either through deep discounts or cheap leases – then the problem is the car. Tesla doesn’t offer discounts or leases, and they can’t build product fast enough.
So if Nissan ends up deeply discounting Leafs, they’ll move a little more metal, but they’ll also lose more money, and then they’ll be disinclined to keep it on the market. (see i-MiEV for reference).

I agree. I think the market has proven that people are not breaking down the door for EVs just because they are EVs. The only EVs with significant demand are Teslas. Teslas are completely different. They are sexy, hip, nice looking sports/luxury cars. The Leaf and Bolt are none of those things.

Well over half a year wait times for a Leaf in Canada make it seem like a supply problem. Combine that with a price that is way too high for very old battery tech and low range and who would buy it. And that was before Ontario eliminated their $14,000 rebate.

Not LEAF SL’s unless you like government white.

If the Leaf was down while Bolt sales thrive, then the explanation that the new Leaf is somehow “subpar” would hold water.

Since the Bolt – which is not subpar in any meaningful sense, and with a price point almost identical to the Leaf (after the near-universal discounts offered) – is doing very poorly, then the culprit is most likely the Tesla Model 3 sucking all the oxygen out of the still very small population of Americans seriously considering an EV.

With all due respect to Tesla, thus far the Model 3 has not contributed much to the global EV progress, because it is pulling down everything not named Tesla, while generating mostly controversies around the Model 3 itself.

I agree with the first part, but not the second. There is very much growth in the EV market, almost all of it the Model 3. The other huge deal is the Model 3 is selling without incentives. The Bolt EV and Leaf have never really sold well without incentives.

The Model 3 still has incentives.

While it’s certainly true that Model 3 is affecting sales of other EVs, there is little doubt that it also increases total EV demand, from people who simply wouldn’t buy a less attractive EV if the Model 3 didn’t exist.

More importantly, the high demand for the Model 3 shows other car makers that there is a significant market for attractive EVs. That’s an enormous contribution to global EV progress; it has single-handedly boosted the EV investments of most car makers severalfold.

The top 5 trade-ins for the Model 3, according to Tesla during the Q2 earnings call, were: Toyota Prius, BMW 3-Series, Honda Accord, Civic, and Nissan Leaf. So could be right.

Quoted $700 a month lease 30% residual this month. Maybe that’s why.

That’s terrible. My ’12 lease had about 60% residual, and Nissan lost their shirt. Now, Nissan wants you to pay for all the depreciation. They know they have a dud.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Crappy Lease deals
A better 2019MY in a few months
No Active TMS

All equals low sales figures.

There is more competition for the same market segment. When Nissan introduced Leaf in 2012, it was the only game in town. Now there are multiple options: Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq plug in, Kia niro plug in, Honda Clarity plug in, Mitsu outlander, to name a few. Besides a few more palatable models are anticipaed, Leaf long range, Hyundai and Kia long range BEVs. People in this segment are educated and wait for better models down the road if they think they will be available in a reasonable time.

You have to believe the battery degradation issue with LEAFs played a role.

Sounds like a supply issue. Looking online at local dealer inventory, I see the two dealers in my city only have one Leaf each. I love my 2018 Leaf and frequently drive over 200 miles a day. I have driven 11,000 miles since March.

The dealers don’t want them; that’s the problem.

In a traditional dealer setup, the dealer is the actual customer of the mfr. When the dealers know they can’t move product, they don’t request any from the mfr.

Nationwide, there is a 2-month supply, which is normal for most cars. Given the number of Nissan dealerships, having only 1 or 2 copies of a slow-moving car might make sense.

I think Nissan should try to do direct sales of Leaf alone.
150 mile range is impressive for the 30K price tag. And there is no competition from Tesla Model-3 which has 44K price tag.

If Tesla can move 14,250 Model-3, then Nissan should be able to sell at least 3,000 Leafs.

I believe the Nissan Leaf lacks quasi-transcontinental capability with that propulsion / traction battery that lacks a TMS. What a deal killer. The owners seem to trivialize, excuse and rationalize that horrible shortcoming. It really is an issue.

I suspect the combination of the Elephant in the space (Model 3) and the Osborne affect of the imminent 200+ mile Leaf are to blame. We are keeping a close eye on Leaf prices because at the right price the current Leaf might be an ideal 2nd car for us to replace my wife’s ICE RAV4. The most she has ever driven in a day is 100 miles (most days are <30) and she likes the form factor and seats better than the Bolt. So, for the right price and use case I think the Leaf is viable as a 2nd car for many. And in the US at least the 2nd car market is yuuggge.

It is not surprising to see 2018 Leaf sales declining as we enter the second half of the year. One reason is anticipation for the 2019 Leaf with it’s battery upgrade and other improvements. A second reason is due to the automotive media’s insistence on criticizing Nissan’s decision to offer the 2018 version with a less than comparable mileage range to the Bolt and Tesla. What the media continues to miss is Nissan’s brilliant strategy to give the EV market a model that most drivers (75% or more) actually need while readying a higher range model for the few drivers who think they will drive an EV like they’ve always driven their ICV. This is a unique American mindset (although I’ve read complaints from unhappy French Canadian and U.K. 2018 Leaf purchasers) so will patiently sit back and observe the market’s reaction to the 2019 Leaf’s rollout.

The cars are too expensive and there is a lot of fake news regarding EVs in general. Some people actually think Evs are not good for the environment. I imagine they say that 20 times a day on the Faux News Terrorist Network. “its going to be hot today, better make sure your EV is on ice or it will catch on fire”

Its a great regional commuter car, but still too expensive. I wish they had continued to sell the poriginal leaf with the 24kWh battery for $15 grand new and drop replacement AESC batteries to a grand..