Exclusive Leak: 2017 & 2018 Nissan LEAFs To Have ~130 & ~150 Miles of Range

Nissan LEAF 4

I landed a big leak from a Nissan rep while in Florida last week. Due to a presentation Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO & President Carlos Ghosn gave at Nissan’s annual meeting earlier this year, many of us have assumed Nissan would unveil a long-range LEAF or similar car for late 2017. This has been a pretty big assumption, and a jump to 107 miles of range on the 2016 LEAF made it seem a tad unlikely.

Nissan may still unveil a long-range electric car next year, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be a LEAF, and presumably won’t be as cheap as a LEAF. And now we get to the leak I received.

I was told that the 2017 LEAF would have 130 miles of range and the 2018 LEAF 150 miles of range. That would make it difficult for the LEAF to compete with the 200-mile Chevy Bolt planned for 2017 and the 200-mile Tesla Model 3 planned for 2018. But perhaps Nissan will be able to sweeten the deal somewhat — with a considerably lower price (it’s already several thousand dollars cheaper than those planned vehicles) or better features of other sorts.

I’m still excited, as 130 miles and 150 miles enable much more and much more convenient traveling. The LEAF is already  more than adequate for most of our daily driving needs. It’s regional or long-range trips like a drive from Sarasota to Miami or from Florida up to North Carolina that are a huge challenge. 150 or even 130 miles of range would make these trips much more practical. As you can see in the two slides below — from a recent presentation I gave that was partially based on four surveys we recently conducted — there are a lot of people who won’t settle for 100 miles but would go for a vehicle with 130 or 150 miles of range.

EV range needed 2

EV range needed 3

In my opinion, the takeaways for anyone considering an electric car today are: 1) if you don’t really need 130 miles, just go for a current 84-mile or 107-mile LEAF (that’s what we just did, opting for a 2015 LEAF with 84 miles of range); 2) if you could really do much better with 130 miles of range, maybe hold off for a year; 3) if you need 200+ miles of range, you’ll either have to wait for the Chevy Bolt or Tesla Model 3, or go ahead and get an extended-range EV like the Chevy Volt or BMW i3 REx.

And the broader takeaway: things are getting exciting in the EV market!

Oh yeah, also, this leak didn’t come from Carlos Ghosn, so take it with a grain of salt.

25 thoughts on “Exclusive Leak: 2017 & 2018 Nissan LEAFs To Have ~130 & ~150 Miles of Range

  1. Nissan – all that investment to grab market share, and now lacking vision or commitment to maintain their lead.

    How disappointing. What a bunch of imbeciles.

    1. These range increases make sence for the base model Leaf. As battery prices go down every year, more battery capacity can be put in the same space for the same price, something that is an important part of the purpose of the Leaf. Don’t worry tho, the next gen Leaf will probable have at least close to 200 mi range on the upper trims.

  2. We’ll see what happens. I am very encouraged by the IDS Concept (though I hope they build it without the full autonomous driving), because it seems to have much lower drag than the Leaf, and it looks great, in my opinion.

    The IDS Concept has a 60kWh pack that looks to be ready for production. That puts the range at 200-250 miles, by my estimate. That would be very competitive, indeed.

  3. Having driven SparkEV with DCFC, I can safely say that 100+ miles range is over-rated. For most of my driving, it’s no public charging at all. If I have to drive further unexpectedly, DCFC is there, and no range anxiety. For longer trips of 300 miles per day, again DCFC. Basically, it’s the infrastructure, not the car. It’s completely replaced my gas car, and I haven’t been to a gas station in almost 6 months.

    Having said that, if Leaf (or whatever Nissan plan to call it) still lack thermal management, and correspondingly slow DCFC, that will be a problem not only for Nissan, but EV in general. When people see EV constantly waiting for DCFC due to slow charging Nissan, they’ll say “EV will never work; they are a fraction of cars, yet they have long waits to charge”. I wrote a “love letter” to help Leaf drivers, but that’s just temporary if Nissan doesn’t fix the problem in their future cars.


    1. I’m considering getting an electric car and preparing for that I’m gathering as much information as I can. Please, what’s “DCFC”?

      1. DCFC stands for DC fast charge. It’s a way to quickly charge EV, typically 30 minutes or less. This is how I can drive 300 miles a day even with 80 miles range SparkEV. In theory, one can drive 1000 miles in one day with SparkEV (80 miles range battery) using multiple DCFC sessions.


        However, not all DCFC are the same. SparkEV has fastest charging speed among EV!


        If you don’t have DCFC stations near where you live or plan to travel and/or EV doesn’t have that capability, range anxiety will be severe. I go as far as call non-DCFC EV as “toys”.

        If there’s no DCFC stations near where you live, hybrids will be better (eg. Chevy Volt, BMW i3 with range extender). If there are DCFC stations where you live, EV with DCFC capability will be better than hybrids (cheaper, real EV, no tune ups!). I wrote a review of DCFC capable EV in my blog post here.


          1. From what I have read Level 3 charging diminishes battery life and capacity. I would not do it. Use an electric vehicle for 100 mile and lower mileage trips and gasoline cars for longer journeys.

  4. Clearly, 130 – 150 mile will not be sufficient, as and when Tesla release a 200 mile Model 3. Not unless Nissan wish to compete on price alone, which I doubt. Musk makes the great point that the number of superchargers required to build a network varies inversely with the square of the range. i.e. double the range, you only need one quarter as many chargers.

    My question is, will the form factor of Nissan’s new battery remain compatible with the current model? If so, can I simply shell out some cash to double the range of my existing Leaf?

    Seems that if Tesla have the only fast charging, long range, affordable EV on the planet, they will own the market. And given that the car is a computer on wheels, it shouldn’t be too hard for Tesla to build in ‘brand stickiness’, in the same way Apple people stay Apple people, and nobody wants to change banks for fear of having to learn a new online banking interface and reconstruct auto-payments.

    Tesla released pretty ordinary Q3 results today, and the stock price LIFTED 10%. I could almost hear Bob Lutz cry out in pain. The more that traditional manufacturers try to tarnish Tesla’s brand, the more people can sense their desperation and twig that big changes are afoot.

    I would suggest that 2016 is a very bad year to buy a new ICE car. Within four/five years, you will feel like the only person the room with a Nokia, rather than a smart phone. Actually, it’s worse than that – your Nokia will emit smoke and vibrate constantly.

      1. While imagining a world with many long range EVs, I’ve come to realise that a market for short range EVs will open up. 100 mile is more than sufficient for a typical day. So long as people have access to a long range car (one in the family, hire), they can pocket the price of half a battery pack and still enjoy the convenience of electric drive. Nissan’s Leaf aims upmarket and is probably not that car – it’s caught in no man’s land, not cheap and not long range. Keep an eye on Kia and Hyundai.

        1. hm… what will motivate the market to “open up” to so-called short range EV’s…?
          I mean, they exist, and yet the market hasn’t opened up. True, oil prices have squeezed them, but still when gas was much higher they still sold in comparatively tiny numbers…..

          1. A price in the vicinity of $20K should do it. For that you get a car that accelerates faster than any (non-electric) SUV, never makes you stop for petrol, rarely needs service and when it does it’s while-you-wait and half the cost, is quiet, smooth and if they care, clean.
            That and the general awakening that will happen when people start being given a ride their friends Tesla.
            Company fleets will buy them by the dozen – purely for the cost saving.

  5. I’d be extremely happy with 107, 130, 150 mile normal range with an optional Phinergy Al-air fuel cell for a longer range trip.

  6. I have had my Nissan Leaf for 3.3 years now (or 26500 miles), just extended it for a 4th year on the 85$/month lease. In many ways a nice car, easy and fun to drive lots of space for running about town, easy to find a parking spot for it because it is small. We drive not more than 10 to 20 miles a day during a working day, and maybe 50 to 100 miles on a Saturday or Sunday or holiday using charging stations when they are available. My biggest complaints (maybe concerns is better) is that the range is very diminished in the Winter, the car is slow to charge 8 hours using the 240 Volt charger, and it has lost 2 bars with the computer guess-o-meter reporting only 70 miles of range when fully charged now. Solving these three problems would be more beneficial than getting a longer range. As for long trips I like to use the bigger ICE vehicle, after all who would drive a big thing running around town and who really wants to take a little car on long trips.

      1. It is a 2012, sat on the dealer lot from May until I leased it in December, the dealer probably kept it 100% charged until sold I would guess is the mistake that Nissan made.

  7. My problem is that the reliability of the Leaf doesn’t match its potential. I’d buy it because I’d want the simplicity and durability of a pure electric as opposed to having to deal with engine stalling and ECO modes and rough idle and Fuel Filters and everything else that I’m sick of dealing with. Maybe if Honda comes up with an electric Civic, that might be appealing.

  8. I start by saying, I really enjoy my Leaf. Favorite car ever owned and I have owned many. The qualities of the Leaf are not found in conventional IC cars. I would say some qualities are not apparent until you drive a IC car after a long period driving the Leaf. Going back to an IC car stinks, requires fuel stops that are less than pleasant, IC is hot and garaging brings heat and toxins into the living space.

    And I have experienced a very reliable car. And I believe it rates highly reliable in comparison to other cars.
    The real story is in the pleasure driving and riding in daily driving. The Leaf is exceptional quiet, maneuverable and comfortable for 5 adults. Not many cars can say that. It is also very easy to drive and has it very own unique sporty feel.
    Nissan set a high bar with the first generation and has rolled out manufacturing in many countries. Down to the electric wire that goes into the high quality electric motor.
    Nissan has been instrumental in bringing emission free transportation to the masses.
    I am sure that the next gen will be another huge step in zero emission driving.
    And the final bonus to the Leaf? It will last a very long time, just may need a new battery along its journey. I imagine it could alter the car buying cycle in the long term.

  9. I love the interior size of the Leaf and I’m hoping for a restyle. The Volt might be called an “extended-range EV” by GM, but with its gas engine issues, it’s still a hybrid like Prius. The Chevy Bolt is what is really appealing.

  10. I want to see real-time battery replacement instead of fixed batteries. Drive into a service station and get your battery replaced in less than 2 minutes, for a full charge. This is the type of recharge system used by cars for liquid fuel for the last 100+ years, and it works fine.

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