The Nissan Leaf is a cult hit. Like Tesla zealots or early Prius adopters, LEAF-ers absolutely love the machine. Up and down the west coast, Atlanta and DC — the Leaf is as common a sight as an Altima. These cities and regions have pushed hard to roll out charging infrastructure in their city centers and beyond, with helpful tax incentives to buyers also part of the mix.
But since the Leaf went on sale in 2010, there has not been a huge incentive for these loyal ‘silent mafia’ of EV drivers to upgrade to the new Leaf.
A new 30 kWh battery pack for the Leaf SL and SV should change that for 2016 by boosting capacity from the base 24 kWh.
Standard on all but the entry-level $27k (after federal tax credit) Leaf S, the new battery pack promises an extra ~25 miles of range. Officially cited at 107-miles, the Leaf SL and SV also debut new software and hardware for their infotainment. This is a particularly critical element of EVs thanks to range displays and directions to charging stations. The new 7-inch touchscreen offers more dynamic updates to give drivers more confidence making long journeys. A few new colors join the 2016 range as well: Forged Bronze, Coulis Red and Deep Blue Pearl.
The Leaf is priced very affordably, as ever, and Nissan is likely taking a big R&D loss on every one sold. The firm’s core belief in 100-percent-electric vehicles put typical business logic aside to make the Leaf a reality.
The 2016 model will continue to be more of a regional celeb than a global sales superstar. The changes and tech upgrades are a great way to re-engage current owners or drivers coming off their leases. The $7500 federal tax credit for buying an EV is juiced by extra bucks from state coffers — but there is a catch. That rebate only applies to new car sales, not pre-owned ones. Pre-owned models, therefore, are barely cheaper than getting a new one.
The 27-percent increase in range thanks to the new battery capacity should be just the zap to keep Leaf devotees in the fold.
A revised EV from Nissan is very likely for 2018 or so. The massive Tennessee battery and production plant specifically made for the Leaf — at a cost of $5B-plus — ensures that despite this current dip in gas prices, the Leaf and Nissan EV movement is too big to fail long-term.
2016 Nissan LEAF
New 2016 Nissan Leaf Now Offers Best-In-Class 107-Mile Range in Affordable, Fun-To-Drive Package
– NissanConnectSM with Mobile Apps now standard on all models; NissanConnect EV upgraded for LEAF SV and SL; new premium colors available –
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 10, 2015) – Nissan today introduced the 2016 all-electric LEAF with an available 30 kWh battery that provides an EPA-estimated best-in-class* range of 107** miles – a 27-percent increase over the previous 24 kWH battery. The new battery is standard for LEAF SV and LEAF SL models. The 2016 model also offers an enhanced IT system that is more user-friendly and gives drivers greater vehicle connectivity.
“Since Nissan LEAF launched in December 2010, we’ve become the global leaders in electric vehicle (EV) sales with an all-electric car specifically designed for the mass market,” said Andrew Speaker, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle (EV) Sales & Marketing. “We know that to maintain that leadership, we must continue developing battery technology that strikes that ideal balance between capacity, packaging, durability and affordability.”
The 2016 Nissan LEAF has a starting price of $26,700*** after the federal tax credit of $7,500 for the SV model and $29,290*** for LEAF SL after the federal tax credit. LEAF S models continue to be equipped with a 24 kWh battery with an EPA-estimated range of 84* miles. Starting price for 2015 Nissan LEAF S grade remains $21,510** after the federal tax incentive.
All LEAF models feature an 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque, providing a highly responsive, fun-to-drive experience that consumers often expect from traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles. Unlike internal combustion engine-equipped vehicles, LEAF has no tailpipe, which means there is no emission of CO2 or other greenhouse gases.
“The new battery is just one of several enhancements for the 2016 LEAF,” said Speaker. “We’re also bringing audio and connectivity upgrades by adding NissanConnect with Mobile Apps with 5.0-inch color display as standard features for LEAF S models, and for SV and SL grades we are offering NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps–featuring a 7.0-inch color display with multi-touch control and Nissan Voice Recognition as standard features.”
The NissanConnect with Mobile Apps system for 2016 LEAF S includes Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Streaming audio via Bluetooth®, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant and USB connection port for iPod® interface and other compatible devices.
NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps for SV and SL grades include a 7.0-inch color display with multi-touch control, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, HD radio, and SiriusXM Travel Link™ for weather, fuel prices, movie listings, stock info and sports (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately).
The menu screen graphics and customization process have been improved and charging screen information is now automatically updated every time the ignition is turned on and with every 12 miles of driving.
The NissanConnect EV system (no-charge subscription required), also standard on SV and SL grades, allows remote connection to the vehicle, providing monitoring of battery state-of-charge, start charging event control and turning on the heating and air conditioning system prior to entering the vehicle.
Nissan LEAF continues to offer the space and range to meet every day needs, while also providing an exceptional value proposition due to zero spending on gas, lower maintenance costs and a starting price after tax incentives competitive with a comparable gas-powered car. The 2016 model offers three new premium-look exterior colors: Forged Bronze, Coulis Red and Deep Blue Pearl.
Nissan LEAF and its battery are assembled in the United States at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tenn., assembly plant.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.