Having a 60kWh battery is the benchmark for any leading EV in 2017, which is why the Chevrolet Bolt is the biggest deal when it comes to zero emissions. Its importance is duly reflected in all the awards it has scooped up recently, so it’s hard to call the Bolt underrated.
With the Bolt being the center of attention, the Nissan Leaf has been relegated to the status of underdog. The weird-looking hatch remains No. 1 in terms of global EV sales, but it won’t be long before Nissan loses that bragging right.
But there’s hope, right? Eventually the second-gen Leaf would surface, and when it does it would have a 60kWh battery worth over 200 miles of range that would effectively put it back in the race with the best of the market.
The only problem is that it may be too late. Fans had been expecting the 60kWh Leaf to arrive as a 2017 model, but that hasn’t happened. Nissan stuck to a 30kWh pack that’s good for only 107 miles. And the worst part is that there’s no other option.
Yup, there’s no 35kWh or 40kWh battery option, meaning that the Leaf would offer less than the refreshed BMW i3, Ford Focus Electric, and the all-new Hyundai Ioniq Electric. Perhaps underdog would be an overstatement of the Leaf.
If its 2018 model is indeed its next-gen model, chances are Nissan would need to offer more than a 60kWh option. By that time the it would be playing catch-up with the Chevy Bolt in sales, and would be arriving too close to the Tesla Model 3. Between the Leaf and Model 3, it’s obvious who the winner would be.
And unless Nissan’s ProPilot self-driving system can find a way to be more enticing than Tesla’s Level 5 Autopilot, it’s going to be old news. And it wouldn’t matter if the consumer-grade Bolt doesn’t have semi-autonomous driving features, because the Leaf wouldn’t be able to match it in practicality.