Is the 2019 Nissan LEAF designed to lure buyers who would otherwise go with conventional vehicles from a premium brand (like BMW, Audi, etc.)?
That was the question posed and answered by a very interesting article published on Push EVs recently. The idea (backed by what seems to be insider information that the aforementioned website seems to often have access to) is that, based on performance and specs alone, the 2019 LEAF will be able to compete with the petrol and diesel BMW 1 Series hatchback — without even factoring in “green” credentials. It will simply be a better car in most ways.
This would offer another reason why Nissan is putting its ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving suite into the LEAF before almost any other car — that’s the kind of thing premium car buyers expect, or are at least enticed by.
One of the advantages of all-electric vehicles is that they are relatively simple, and thus cheaper to make (minus the battery packs), so as battery costs drop, there’s the option to sell relatively high-spec cars with fancy extra features at affordable prices (once battery costs fall enough).
Rather than paraphrase here, I’ll just highlight some of the most interesting parts of the Push EVs article in question: “Make no mistake, behind closed doors Nissan expects the 2019 MY Leaf to compete with the petrol and diesel BMW 1 Series hatchback. It doesn’t care about the small electric BMW i3.
“Performance and price wise, the 2019 Nissan Leaf can compete with the BMW 1 Series hatchback, furthermore the Leaf will have the refinement that only electric drivetrains can provide.”
A helpful comparison of the two models (2019 Nissan LEAF vs. BMW 1 Series) is provided here:
Needless to say, the information above was not publicly published by Nissan. This is the first we’re seeing 2019 LEAF specs.
What’s worth remembering here is that around 10,000 BMW 1 Series hatchbacks are sold in Europe every month. If the 2019 Nissan LEAF does manage to steal sales from it, then that could represent a tipping point of sorts in the European electric vehicle market. Perhaps, though, such a tipping point will have to wait for the release of a new long-range Renault offering?
Worth noting here as well is that the Tesla Model 3 is not expected to ship in large quantities to Europe until early 2019, probably around the same time as the 2019 LEAF.