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.
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.