Next Nissan Leaf Makes Japanese Debut With More Range, Low-Priced “S” Model


Executives have not been shy when discussing the sales performance of its Nissan Leaf EV. They know that they need to offer more car for a lower price if they really want to spur the sales they were hoping for, and the next Nissan Leaf could do just that. Nissan has unveiled the new Leaf model for the Japanese market, and it includes more range, a lower-priced model, and a host of improvements aimed at making the driving experience more pleasurable.

Most importantly is the improvement in range. Nissan announced that on the Japanese JC08 testing cycle, the Leaf’s range will rise from 124 miles to 141 miles. But don’t expect an extra 20 miles here in America. Rather, the next Nissan Leaf should improve mileage by about 14%, which in America would add perhaps an extra 10 miles at the end of the day.

The battery pack remains unchanged, though improvements in weight reduction have dropped almost 180 pounds from the Leaf. A new motor uses 40% less rare earth elements, and while horsepower remains unchanged, torque has suffered a slight drop.

Other improvements are aimed directly at customer gripes, and include more cargo space, a locking charger door, and a battery-life-extending charge mode where the battery is only filled up to 80% capacity. Nissan is also introducing a lower-priced Leaf “S” model, which does away with such niceties like aluminum wheels and LED headlamps. While this will shave a few bucks off of the MSRP, Nissan says it will have no effect on range, despite rumors of a lower-priced model with a smaller battery pack.

While all improvements to be sure, I’m not convinced this is enough to convince fence sitters to go out and buy a new Nissan Leaf. Instead, we’re going to have to wait for a complete remake of the Nissan Leaf that is started from the ground-up as an electric car platform. I am convinced that is the only way to make EVs work. But maybe Nissan can prove me wrong.

Source: Nissan

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • Jason Carpp

    “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Looking at this new Nissan Leaf, I don’t see anything new about it. It looks like the previous gen Nissan Leaf.

  • ItsNotAboutTheMoney


    Don’t judge a book by its cover, it’s the leafs that matter. Ho ho.

    A 5% drop in curb weight.
    A heat pump instead of resistive heat.
    All seats heated.
    Better regenerative braking.

    It all adds up to better efficiency, especially in colder climates (the heat pump will help down to mid 20sF). Greater efficiency should both mean lower electricity costs and extended battery life.

    As a bonus they increased the cargo space.

    A very nice improvement.

    • Jason Carpp

      Oh really? Those are good improvements.

      • Tangokilo

        Ya… It’s an improvement… Maybe not as much as some of the critics would like…

    • Nixon

      The heat pump and lower weight may have just as much impact on the EPA range number as the larger battery pack.

  • eric

    Isn’t the on board charger upgraded from 3.3 to 6.6. This would mean faster charge times. It’s a significant improvement.

    • I haven’t seen Nissan say anything about a 6.6 kW charger. If they had upgraded they would probably be boasting about it. The silence on that issue is telling. Better range is nice, though.

  • The batteries aren’t liquid cooled…. no cooling, no sale…


  • MrEnergyCzar makes a good point–though the cooling seems to only be an issue in places like Arizona where ridiculous heat pervades. Here in Hawaii, there is no need for the high level cooling system…we have tradewinds. 🙂

    • I still don’t understand why people insist on living in Arizona …

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  • Don Francis

    OK, so another example of the Japanese Kaizen approach to product improvement does not meet expectations. I am sorry, but how does more range, lower costs and more options not meet expectations for the third year of a product. I am 18 months and 10,000 miles into ownership of a Nissan LEAF and am continuously amazed by how well the vehicle works.

    • Christopher DeMorro

      @ Don Francis

      Because they still haven’t detailed exactly the improvements or the price, that’s why. The Leaf is still just too limited as an automobile to be a practical replacement for a conventional car. For what it is, the Leaf should be between $20,000 and $25,000. But as a $35,000 vehicle? The range should be twice what it is.

      I am glad that the car works for you; however, you do not drive your Leaf even half as much as the average American, who racks up 12,000 miles in 12 months on a conventional car. I do believe EVs will get better, and cheaper. However, by Nissan’s own admission, the Leaf is falling far short of sales expectations. There is a reason for that, and it is called the MSRP.

      • Tom K

        I’ve owned my LEAF for 612 days and have 26,000+ miles on her. It has performed exceptionally well as a replacement to my gas car…which has been sitting in the garage collecting dust…
        I get the impression that there are many LEAF owners out there with similar stories…

        • Don Francis

          Yes, I sold my last gas car, did not need it anymore. I live in town and only drive 5000+ miles per year. I am saving about $1000 per year on gasoline since the Georgia Power TOU-PEV off-peak rate for electricity is less than 6 cents per kWh.

    • Don Francis

      The mean distance a vehicle is driven in Atlanta (50% drive fewer miles and 50% drive more miles) is 40 miles. Even in the winter, the LEAF’s range with heat and driving on metro interstates is 60 miles. The LEAF meets the needs of 50% of the vehicle owners in Atlanta. With a $7500 Federal Income Tax credit and a $5000 Georgia Income Tax credit, the final acquisition cost of my LEAF was $23,500. So, the range is acceptable to at least half the population and meets your purchase price of $20 to $25 k.

  • Ziv

    I was wrong, the two upper models have the better 6.6 kW charger, the new base model does not. You get what you pay for…