Nissan’s next all-electric car rumored to undercut Tesla with super-low price

Nissan aims to make the popularization of electric vehicles a three-brand race later this year with the 2018 version of the Leaf, the automaker’s affordable, all-electric car. Nissan might edge in on the market by undercutting its main competitors, Tesla and GM, by offering the Leaf for under $30,000.

A spec sheet chock-full of details about the 2018 Leaf recently leaked, giving us a closer look at what we might expect when Nissan unveils the next-gen EV on September 6. The biggest takeaway: the 2018 Leaf will likely hit the market at a starting price of $29,990. Car sales site Autobytel posted the doc and subsequently pulled it down, but not before Autoblogsnapped screenshots.

The Leaf’s projected price is substantially cheaper than the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 and $37,495 Chevrolet Bolt EVs that have been tabbed as the vehicles that will introduce electric cars to the masses. The Leaf has been around since 2010, but its limited range of just over 100 miles per charge (which could scare away general consumers wary of running out of juice on the road) and its funky design have kept the car from making a major impact on the general market.

Nissan has hyped-up the upcoming 2018 redesign, however, promising a better looking, more aerodynamic car with an extended range to better position itself against the newcomers to the affordable EV space.

The Tesla Model 3’s base cost has been one of the biggest stories in the industry lately (although most buyers likely won’t pay that price), while the Bolt is gaining traction as it reaches more regions of the U.S. Both the Model 3 and the Bolt can potentially fall below the $30,000 mark after tax credits but the Leaf is eligible for the same credits, which could drive costs down even lower.

The most expensive version of the 2018 Leaf, meanwhile, will only reach $36,200 according to the leak, so buyers will likely avoid the sticker shock that comes with the Model 3’s $44,000 configuration currently rolling off Tesla’s production lines. (Tesla hasn’t actually produced its less expensive model for the masses yet and all the Model 3s on the road right now are the $44,000 long-range model.)

Nissan hopes to compete with Tesla and GM in the market, but the Leaf probably won’t be able to keep up on the road. The spec sheet doesn’t provide an estimate for the car’s range per charge, but it does list the size of the battery.

The 2018 Leaf’s projected 40 kWh battery capacity is a step up from the current model’s 30 kWh unit, but it’s still smaller than those of the Bolt or the Model 3. Those batteries clock in at 60 kWh and 55 or 75 kWh, respectively.

That means the 2018 Leaf will likely have a shorter range per charge probably around 150 to 160 miles than the Bolt’s 238 miles or the Model 3’s 220 or 310 mile estimates.

The 2018 Leaf’s purported 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque are also well-below the specs of its competitors, which means the car will also fall behind in acceleration and top speed measures, too.

Car buyers who are more interested in the biggest EV bargain than high-powered performance, however, will be hard pressed to pass up the Leaf. Nissan’s redesigned electric car might not be as sexy as a Tesla or as rangy as the Bolt, but it could give normal people a more realistic chance to make the jump from gas-powered vehicles, which still makes the Leaf an important breakthrough for the auto industry.

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Tags: bolt-ev chevrolet electric-car electric-vehicles energy model-3 nissan nissan-leaf tech tesla

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