2019 Nissan Leaf Plus: My, What Bigger Range You Have
An optional larger battery pack ups the Leaf's range to near—but not past—Bolt territory.
Nissan used the 2019 CES event as the platform to launch its new long-range version of the Leaf electric car, which is called the Leaf Plus here and Leaf "e+" in other markets. The Plus gets a new, 62-kWh battery pack that increases range to an EPA-rated 226 miles, 75 more than the current non-Plus car. Upgrades to the quick-charging system result in similar times for fast-charging, though Nissan hasn't provided details on charge times with a standard Level 2 EV charger.
The Leaf Plus also gets an output boost to 160 kW, which translates to roughly 215 horsepower, and 250 lb-ft of torque, up from 147 hp and 236 lb-ft for the standard Leaf. Nissan says the extra muscle boosts acceleration in the 50-to-75 range by some 13 percent, allowing for better passing and merging. Top speed has also been increased by 10 percent, which means the Leaf Plus should be capable of topping 100 mph.
The Leaf Plus is differentiated from lesser Leafs only by the narrowest of blue strips applied to the front and rear bumpers, an "e+" motif on the charge-port cover, and a Plus badge on the rump. Plus models will also get an 8.0-inch touchscreen with an improved interface and navigation software. There's also a slight difference in ride height, as the car had to be raised by 0.2 inch to accommodate the larger battery pack.
The Leaf Plus will be offered in the same S, SV, and SL trim levels as the standard Leaf. Nissan did not announce pricing, but the Leaf would have to come in at $37,495 to meet the under-$30K-after-incentives barrier that has been bandied about—but not yet met—by the Tesla Model 3. It's likely Nissan will aim for this target, which would make it a direct rival for the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt, 239-mile Kia Niro EV, and 258-mile Hyundai Kona Electric, all of which already surpass the new Leaf Plus in range. The current Leaf starts at $30,875 before incentives.
The Leaf Plus goes on sale in Japan this month, while U.S. sales are expected to start this spring. Europe will get the long-range Leaf in the summer.