Nissan Leaf: old vs new generation

2018 Nissan Leaf rendering by Carscoops

The latest rendering by Josh Byrnes from Carscoops – that we can see above -, seems to be very similar to what we can expect for the 2018 Nissan Leaf since the first spy shoots emerged. Now we make some comparisons with the old generation that we see below.


2013 Nissan Leaf blue



Some might say that the new generation looks boring, but the same could be said about the best selling car in Europe, the Volkswagen Golf. Boring is always better than ugly, which is exactly how most people have been describing the old Nissan Leaf since its debut.

While the old Nissan Leaf – with its froggy eyes – resembled the entry-level Nissan Note, the second generation Nissan Leaf looks more upscale than its predecessor and seems to be the direct electric alternative to the Nissan Pulsar.

In terms of looks it’s unanimous, the new generation is an improvement. Looks won’t be an excuse anymore to not buy a Nissan Leaf.



While the new generation represents a vast improvement in every field, I don’t expect an equivalent price increase. Not only the kWh cost has been dropping – to levels where electric cars can be price competitive with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) alternatives -, the new Nissan Leaf will also face an increasing number of competitors. In my opinion, it won’t be the Tesla Model 3 nor the Chevrolet Bolt EV the most direct alternatives to the new Nissan Leaf. It will be the Kia-Hyundai Group that will dispute directly with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance the title of “best value for the money” electric cars.



The entry-level trim of the new Nissan Leaf with the 40 kWh battery should attain at least 160 miles (257 km) EPA range, which is a nice improvement. However, it’s still not clear if the 60 kWh battery – needed to surpass the 200 miles EPA range – will be available in the mid and high trims from the beginning or will be introduced later.



In this field relies the chance for the new Nissan Leaf differentiate itself from most electric car alternatives. An internal 3-phase (11-22 kW) charger in Europe would make the Leaf at least as popular as the Renault Zoe.

I remember Nissan former CEO, Carlos Ghosn saying multiple times that bigger battery capacity isn’t the only solution for range anxiety, which could be overcome with more public charging stations and electric cars capable of faster charging. If Nissan doesn’t deliver in this field it will be a big letdown. To match the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s capability to charge up to 80 kW at DC fast chargers, it will require a TMS (thermal management system) to keep the battery cool.


To sum up, the new generation Nissan Leaf is a great improvement over its predecessor. While most of us don’t like to admit, looks matter and more battery capacity isn’t the only way to overcome range anxiety. Faster charging capability and better public charging station networks also work.

Having this said, buying now a first generation Nissan Leaf can be done with great discounts. In some parts of the USA, a brand new 2017 Nissan Leaf – with all incentives included – can be bought for less than 13.000 USD (12.210 €).


I’m curious to see the production numbers. Which electric car will be more produced? The Tesla Model 3 in a huge Gigafactory, or the new generation Nissan Leaf that will be built in four factories around the world (USA, UK, Japan and China)?!

The first generation Nissan Leaf sold more than 250.000 units in roughly six years, since its launch in December 2010. How much time will it take the second generation Nissan Leaf to surpass this figure? I’m pretty confident that it’ll take less than two years – before 2020. What do you think?



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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4 years ago

The battery will be 60 kWh, with no active thermal management and 100 kW DC fast charging capability

4 years ago
Reply to  RNMentropy

Are you sure?
Since 40+ kWh version will still be AESC, no thermal management is expected.
But with an all new 60 kWh battery (LG?) they would probably make use of air cooled / heated battery cells.
No one wants to drive 400 km and after 700 km you cant recharge perfectly since temperature is moving towards 50°C

4 years ago
Reply to  RNMentropy

I don’t believe that. There will be quite a few kW to cool while charging at those speeds and with a battery pack that large there will be enough time for heat to really build up. The 30 kWh Leaf has problems with this at 45 kW charging in modest temperatures. The e-NV200 already has TMS.

I personally believe that Nissan never offered the ~40 kWh pack in todays Leaf because of the lack of TMS.

Also, only offering a 60 kWh battery would hurt sales. They should have cheaper versions with a smaller battery pack as well, it’s not a big car really. We can’t afford to overlook affordability. 😀

Asle H
4 years ago
Reply to  Bolt

TMS is a must in a bigger pack. The e-NV200 charges faster than the 30 kWh Leaf at higher ambient temperatures. It’s also faster when doing longer trips and multiple DC charging stops. I’m quite impressed by the e-NV200 compared to the Leaf despite its miniscule battery.

Hank Häberle
4 years ago
Reply to  Asle H

I agree on the e.NV200. And it wouldnt be a problem on the LEAF to push cabin air out through the battery like Lexus does while driving and charging.

Jonas Jovial
4 years ago

“The 30 kWh Leaf has problems with this at 45 kW charging in modest temperatures”

I’ve charged my 30kWh Leaf with 50kW in several times in a row, without any issues.

Hank Häberle
4 years ago

The only problem the 30kWh LEAF has is that it has a temperature gauge for the battery. Most EVs reduce charging power when they are driven hard and then get fast charged – but they wont show you.