There are two major reasons why the Chevrolet Volt, although a totally different fruit from the Leaf, currently has the advantage over its close rival. Prior to late last year, both nameplates were always more or less neck to neck competing for sales in a budding EV market.
While the 2016 Nissan Leaf offers what it touts to be best-in-class all-electric range of 107 miles, that’s the total that it has in its system.
The Volt on the other hand functions as a parallel hybrid. Though it only has 53 miles of range, it has a system total of 420 miles.
Folks can say it’s cheating, because its range-extender gas engine isn’t for backup electric power but as a proper ICE on its own, but technically it’s still a plug-in EV.
And in the end people don’t see the value in the Leaf which is only good for inner city driving. They can go much further on the Chevy Volt, which by the way also looks better because it ditched the whole ‘electric’ styling.
Leaf Catches Up, Overtakes
That wasn’t the case when it appeared as goofy as the Leaf four or five years back. However, we might be able to say the same for the 2017 Nissan Leaf compared to its first-gen model, provided Nissan revamps its peculiar design to a more sober and attractive one.
EV fans are optimistic that that would happen. They believe the second-gen Leaf would shed its old skin for a much more level-headed one, and would be fine with the new 60kWh battery worth 200 miles on the hatch.
It may still be half of what the Volt offers, but trips out of town would be on the cards; plus it would be entirely on electric propulsion, not gas. After all, the Tesla Model 3 doesn’t offer that much more with 215 miles of range.
With regard to styling and range, we could somewhat say that if the current reports are right the Leaf is set to match the Volt next year. The real kicker, however, is Nissan’s ProPilot semi-autonomous driving system. GM is developing its own driverless system for the Bolt, but the Volt has nothing to show for it.
Playing that card would certainly help the upcoming Leaf to get the upper hand against its Detroit rival, provided it hits the mark with the other two aspects first.