There have been rumors for years that the 2019 Nissan LEAF would be a step up in terms of range and in terms of the entire battery package management system. Now we have our first quote from a Nissan spokesperson indicating this. But don’t get your hopes up — the precise battery size or EV range is not included.
Nissan hasn’t historically been superb about keeping a lid on the range of its coming LEAFs. In 2015, I scooped a specific leak about the range of 2017 and 2018 Nissan LEAFs, and those stats ended up being legit. In the past couple of years, we’ve heard rumor after rumor about the 2019 LEAF having over 200 miles of range and probably using LG Chem batteries. However, Nissan officials have been quiet on the matter. Not any longer.
Nissan’s director of EV Marketing and Sales Strategy, Brian Maragno, reportedly stated that the 2019 LEAF would have more power thanks to its bigger battery. “When you have a bigger battery, with more capacity, it just opens up the door to be able to have more output,” he noted at the event, which was focused on promoting Nissan’s involvement in Formula E. “A larger capacity battery lends itself towards two things. One is obvious: more range. The other one, which is maybe a little less obvious, but equally as true, is additional horsepower and output.”
The point made in those statements is something that anyone who knows batteries moderately well knows is a basic fact, but the important message was that this point is important with regards to the 2019 Nissan LEAF. The comments were in the context of sharing with the crowd that the 2019 LEAF will have something called “e-Plus,” which will bring more power (and fun) to the LEAF. The new, higher motor power will be 147 hp (110 kW) to 200 hp (150 kW), but that’s only useful and in the car because the battery is bigger.
“This suggests that the 2019 Nissan Leaf will get the same powertrain made by LG Chem for the Hyundai Kona Electric,” Pedro Lima of PushEVs added. He also reminded us, “last year, I made a comparison table with what I expected to see in the Nissan Leaf e-Plus based on what Nissan employees have been saying behind closed doors.” That table and a little photoshopped image are below.
He adds a few confirmed as well as expected specs to provide more of a full-picture view of what this car will offer:
¤ It seems that the motor power will be 150 kW, not 160 kW. Sorry guys, I failed you.
¤ The maximum fast charging rate seems to be what was expected, at around 102 kW.
¤ The on-board charger is where I have my doubts. I think it will vary from region to region. Nissan employees have been promising 3-phase on-board chargers for Europeans customers for a long time, just like the BMW i3 (94 Ah) that in Europe can be charged at 11 kW. The new 11 kW on-board charger from LG Chem could be the chosen one… with an optional additional charger in parallel to reach 22 kW.
All of this starts to put the 2019 LEAF in competitive territory with the Tesla Model 3 and certainly the Chevy Bolt, but the LEAF still lacks Supercharging, Tesla’s wicked cool infotainment system, and semi-autonomous driving features as good as Tesla’s (I drove a 2018 LEAF this week and found ProPILOT to be okay, but definitely not as good as Autopilot).
All of that said, none of those things are requirements for many buyers, and some buyers don’t even want what a Tesla Model 3 offers, so there should still be a solid portion of the market dropping into a Nissan dealership to buy a LEAF. Furthermore, if Nissan finds a way to make a LEAF several thousand dollars cheaper than a base Tesla Model 3, the Nissan long holding onto the title “top selling electric car in the world” could actually end up with a large portion of the EV market and could perhaps join the Model 3 in its tormenting of popular gasoline car choices.
Top photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica