Nissan Exec Discusses New LEAF, Acquisition Of Teardown Tesla Model 3


You’re going to want to watch the first 30 minutes.

Ever wish you could button-hole a Nissan exec associated with its LEAF program and ask them a few questions? (I have.) If you happened to have watched Autoline After Hours last week, when its special guest was Chris Reed, VP of Engineering for the Nissan LEAF, well, that was your/our chance. Luckily for those of us that missed the live show, it is available for viewing at your convenience (above). It’s a good watch, even if it’s too late to submit our questions.

Read Also: 2018 Nissan LEAF Reveal Recap: 150 Miles This Year, 200+ Miles Next Year

Executive portrait of Chris Reed, VP of engineering for the Nissan Leaf program

Chris Reed, Engineering VP for Nissan LEAF

During the segment, Reed discussed the mainstreaming of the electric model’s styling, going from the quirky look of the original to its new look for 2018, featuring elements found throughout the Nissan lineup. He also mentions the improvement of the battery and motor output as a part of that process. Somewhat oddly, he call the LEAF a great 2nd car, rather than push the notion that it’s a great primary vehicle for a large percentage of the population.

The conversation takes another interesting turn close to the 16-minute mark, when Reed is asked by co-host Gary Vasilash whether they’ve gotten their hands on a Tesla Model 3. Now, this question isn’t entirely strange, since automakers buy each other’s vehicles all the time to tear them down to further their knowledge of their competitor’s products.

Still, Reed’s apparent enthusiasm for the car was quite evident. Apparently he had just had a purchase order for one cross his desk — he admits they will be paying “slightly over list,” which we interpret as “significantly” over list — and mentions a number of employees had put down deposits (it’s unclear whether they placed deposits for themselves or in hopes of purchasing it on behalf of Nissan).

Reed explains that he’d already had a chance to see one up close and touch it.  “We’re excited about it, though,” he admits and says he’s looking forward to getting it to do a competitive analysis.

Here, the conversation is brought back to the LEAF, and we learn a few other tidbits. For instance, in response to a question about whether to hatch will ever get AWD, Reed indicates it’s not on the horizon, but it is being seriously discussed.

Related – Teardown Expert Test Drives Tesla Model 3, No Longer Compares It To 90s Kia – Video

Another interesting question concerned the scalability of the LEAF powertrain, and whether it could find its way into other applications (note, it is already used in the Nissan e-NV200, which is not yet available in the US). Reed indicates that this is the case, but also mentions they will be increasing the capability of the platform, in reference, we believe, to the 60 kWh battery version that’s expected to come next year.

All in all, it’s was a great conversation, providing insight into the corporate mindset and some of the engineering involved in the 2018 LEAF. Enjoy!

Source: YouTube via Autoline After Hours

Categories: Nissan, Videos

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21 Comments on "Nissan Exec Discusses New LEAF, Acquisition Of Teardown Tesla Model 3"

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Nissan is really dragging their feet on producing a 200 plus mile EV CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

I drive 30 miles back and forth to work every day, plus run a few errands. The first generation leaf with 70 miles of range meets my needs. Now Nissan has offered us a 150 mile car that costs less than the original, that will meet the needs of most people. I think Nissan is wide awake!

Agree, range is not the main buying factor or the Bolt EV would be selling far more than it does.

What all the companies are realizing (which Tesla understood from the start) is that they need to make the car first. To sell a lot of vehicles, the fact that it is an EV is a secondary consideration to how the car drives and looks.

Most people don’t buy an EV because it is an EV with 240 mile range, they buy one because it is a desirable car.

FWIW I negotiated with Chevy in SJ this weekend and Nissan in Walnut Creek. For Chevy Bolt EV they wanted $299 /mo with 3k down on a 36 month lease. That included the Comfort package and fast charger. Nissan wanted $370/mo for the SV trim level with 3k down for 36 months.

We’ll see where they are this summer.

As for where we are this summer, re:Leaf prices, that’s an excellent question. We currently are looking at the 2018 Leaf being an oddball, bridge car, spanning from the 30 to the 60 pack versions.

I strongly suspect that as we get close to the arrival of the 2019 Leaf, even with the widely assumed $5k increase, we’ll see Nissan holding fire sales to move out the 2018s. For those of use who are fine with 150 miles/charge, there could be a sweet spot coming in EV pricing.

Tesla has the long range covered, but Nissan has the lead on affordability. Why fight over an apple when another is in reach?

Not really.
The M3 is far more affordable than the leaf. The reason is that leaf’s value plummets fast. M3s used value is unknown, but, I would assume that it will be similar to MS/MX.

$2000 off sticker, 0% interest, $7500 back come income tax time? I would say the 2018 Leaf is a pretty good deal.

Tesla Apple:
= Large Honey Crisp!

Nissan = ?Granny Smith?

Bolt EV = ?Red Delicious?

The current 40kWh version will sell much better than the 60kWh version next year. Mark my words.

The 2018 Leaf is far and away the best EV under $35k, whether you get the base or an upgraded model. Add $5k for a bigger battery, and that’s no longer true.

… For a ‘Second Car’ …sure!

Exactly, though I fully expect GM to start sliding the MSRP down on the Bolt once their tax credits get close to ending. Nissan will have to lower their MSRP too, but they have a bit more time.

Yes! And a $25,000, 150 Mile Range, EV, would be an OK Market Spot to own!

If GM could get the Bolt EV down to list at $29,995, it would be an OK Space to hold, as well!

I don’t see Tesla dropping the $35,000 Base Price of the Model 3 next year, but maybe by 2020 that price will also include, as a built in item, basic ‘Enhanced Autopilot’, leaving just the ‘Full Self Driving’ as an option in that arena!

They know that most people don’t need it for a second car, which is why that’s the view they have of the Leaf. However, I’m a one-car household with a first-gen 24kWh Leaf. I don’t travel a lot, so if I really need to go somewhere, I rent. A second-gen Leaf would be a significant upgrade to me despite it not going over 200 miles on a charge.

I wonder what a 40 kWh iMiEV would have done for sales!

Basically, was it the ‘Jelly Bean’ shape that challeged buyers, or the short ‘100 Kms’ Range?

Yes, though a good metric of comparison to use would be the SmartED.

If a 40 kWh Smart ED, they would have to Add DC QC for North America, since, while the iMiEV came with an anemic 3.3 kW AC charge capability, it had the CHAdeMO, to give you an option!

However, the 2018 Smart ED now has a 6.6 kW AC Charger!

If I considered Leaf v1, small and quirky … the iMieV would double down on both, before I’d say the range wasan issue as well.

The dude did a pretty job making a case to anyone considering their first EV. I liked it.

Ever notice that Tesla isn’t buying Leafs or i3’s to tear them down?

That’s how it works when you are the clear market sector leader. All this talk for years about the old ICE car makers somehow going to roll over Tesla with all their “Tesla killers” doesn’t seem to be working.

How do we know for sure? Tesla would be well served by tearing down some other EVs. Maybe they will discover XM Radio, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, surround view camera, heated steering wheel, etc.