Published on October 18th, 2018 | by Steve Hanley0
60 kWh Nissan LEAF Projected To Cost $5,500 More Than 40 kWh Version
October 18th, 2018 by Steve Hanley
The good news for Nissan LEAF fans is that the second generation car with a 60 kWh battery is scheduled to go into production early next year. With the larger battery, the LEAF will have a projected EPA range of 225 miles. That’s important. Putting aside whether people really need that much range, a popular perception is beginning to emerge that an electric car needs at least 200 miles of range to be worth considering. The larger battery will make the LEAF more competitive with the Chevy Bolt, which has a range of 238 miles.
The not so good news is the larger battery will bump the starting price of the LEAF by about $5,500 compared to the existing car with the 40 kWh battery, according to Cars Direct. The current car has a range of 151 miles. Prices for that car start at $30,885 for the S version and go up to $37,095 for the top of the line SL. When the 60 kWh battery comes available, prices are expected to start at $36,000 and top out around $42,000 — pretty much in line with what Chevrolet asks for the Bolt.
It should be noted that the low end of the range will be within a few dollars of the entry level Model 3, although whether a base LEAF and a base Model 3 are equivalent vehicles is an open question. If you are a CleanTechnica reader, chances are you would find the LEAF comes off second best in a head-to-head comparison. Of course, no one can buy a base Model 3 yet, but the day when they become available can’t be far off.
Cars Direct reports that Nissan will discontinue the current 40 kWh version of the LEAF in the US once the larger battery is available in order to avoid confusion in the mind of potential buyers. That may make sense in America where people tend to drive longer distances than owners in Europe, but saving $5500 would seem to a powerful incentive for lots of LEAF shoppers in non-US markets.
Hyundai is offering its hot new Kona SUV with a choice of battery sizes in some markets, including Korea, but will only bring the version with the largest available battery to America. In decades past, car companies offered people a choice of an entry level 6-cylinder engine, a basic V-8, or more powerful V-8s depending on how much money they wanted to spend. If it worked for cars with gasoline engines, could it also work for battery powered cars?
The takeaway from all this is that Nissan intends to charge about $275 per kWh more for the larger battery. If so, the idea that EV prices will fall thanks to declining battery prices seems to be a bit optimistic. Perhaps manufacturers like Nissan are hoping to make up for past losses on EVs with future profits? If nothing else, used EV shoppers may be able to find good deals on 40 kWh LEAFs in a few years, as they seem destined to become unloved orphans as the race to add range heats up.