Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Eeny, Meeny, Miney Moe; Wait!, Something Is Missing!

Despite it being nearly a month before the World Reveal for the 2018 Nissan LEAF, a lot of details were suddenly posted online by a lot,  like a configurator! But it was gone in a day which is not surprising but if you missed it, Lemme me tell ya what you could expect come January, when you order yours.

Since the S trim introduction, it has been a very popular model even dominating sales its first year out.  Since then, Nissan has slowly taken features off the S table while making its higher trims more attractive but up until now, it wasn't enough for me to want to move up.

But the 2018 model year promises to change all that and let me show you why.  For one thing, the trims basically were unchanged in price despite a higher performing motor and a bigger 40 kwh battery promising about 160 miles of range when combined with a slicker body and other drivetrain improvements.   But the options have changed dramatically so I configured what I thought would be the two most popular options.

S Trim; Have to have Quick charge. No mention of a 6.6 KW upgrade, so... well, more on that later.  But steering wheel heater is back! So added the climate package which also includes rear heater vents a huge want there.  Then the applicable floor mats which adds mudflaps. Here is hoping the mudflaps work better than the previous versions.  Missing here is half the color pallet. Remove the various versions of gray and Dark Blue is the only option.   But the bottom line!

The breakdown on the options were $450 for climate package, $200 (I think) for floor mats with the balance of  $1590 for the quick charge. So not a lot of difference here as far as my 2016 with a few minor differences.

On the SV, we kinda went whole hog a bit mostly because of the "untesla-like" option pricing. But   First off, the tech package adds a ton of cool stuff and its only $900!  It also has the climate package at double the S trim price also @ $900 but adds the hybrid heater (too bad that could not be separated out...)  so with $200 floor mats we have

The real S Trim killer here?  A color option fainting resembling GREEN!!! At long last! Its a light green Jade something or another but Green nevertheless!

So did anyone else notice the SV coming in just under Tesla Model 3? ($36,200 after destination fees)  Yeah, funny how that works!

Features listed on the tech package for the SV
6-Way Power Driver Seat w/2-Way Lumbar
Auto-Dimming Inside Mirror
Universal Garage Door Opener
LED Headlights
LED Signature Daytime Running Lights
Portable Charge Cable
Automatic Emergency Braking (PAEB)
Blind Spot Warning (BSW)
Electric Parking Brake (EPKB)
High Beam Assist (HBA)
Intelligent Lane Intervention (I-LI)
Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
Propilot Assist
Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC)

So a pretty extensive package. Now, how it fares against Tesla is anyone's guess. I did post a link to an article a few months back that stated Nissan was farther along the technology road on autonomous driving but who knows how much spin was at work there. 

Speaking of Tesla, the specs on the model 3 were also released (busy week eh?)   Now there are a lot of options but if I were getting one, the only one I would pay for would be the paint for a grand bringing the cost to $37,200. ($35,000 MSRP, $1200 delivery,  $1000 paint. Aina no way, I getting Black!)   The tech package here is $5000 and hard to justify that at this time. 

But we also have the Chevy Bolt (which is still somewhat surprisingly in contention) So visiting the Chevy site to run the configurator (again!)  I added the Comfort and Convenience  $555(heated seats and steering wheel, etc) and Driver's Confidence $495 (Rear parking assist, Lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert)  Fast Charge $750 and floor mats $250  

So there you have it; the Big 3! So what will you choose?

As I see it, all 3 should thrive since they don't really reside in the  same space.   Nissan is cheapest by a goodly amount.  Tesla comes close but if you add the tech package, it diverges very quickly.  So lets break it down by need.

Tech and Driver Safety;  Nissan and Tesla seem to be even at this point. Since we know little about Nissan's program and Tesla's is constantly changing, we probably have to wait a bit for a better determination but the price of the Nissan package makes it a no brainer over the serious financial consideration to add the same with the T 3.

Range;  The Bolt is king but the crown is tarnishing and tarnishing fast.  The T3 has the advantage of the supercharger network and that is huge.  Even without the extended range option, Tesla wins this easily.  Complicating my decision is the 3 SC's going into my area all within 60 miles of me and the price of 11 cents per kwh!

Price; Easy win for Nissan.  The SV may not have the range but the options are there and even when "loading" up the price is still below the base price of either the T3 or Bolt.  I want more range but the estimated 38.4 kwh usable combined with promised efficiency gains in both body and system, a doable 170 miles only needs 4.4 miles per kwh, not even close to hypermiling!

Usability; Despite a 50% smaller cargo area,  I could make the Bolt work I think. It would require vertical stacking which makes it a bit inconvenient if you put the wrong thing on the bottom, but its a compromise I can live with. The Tesla 3 is a different story. I will hold judgment until I actually see one in person but I really don't see how it could work for me.  If I did go that route, it would be no more than a 3 passenger car at best for me for work.  The LEAF still remains the most flexible although the configurator had "identical" measurements in all categories making me think that that was guessed and not actually information provided for the configurator.  I did see what I thought was a LEAF II mule that was definitely bigger but a recent story suggesting several new configurations on the LEAF platform is starting to make me think that maybe I saw a LEAF mini SUV!!... (ok, maybe a bit "too" wishful)

So knowing all that I choose....

to wait until the reveal.

If Nissan did leak the info, there is no doubt they saved a much bigger wow for the reveal, so the real purpose of this blog is to speculate on what Nissan has decided to hold back? With the comparisons of the big 3 above, this should at least give us a picture of where Nissan is lacking in addressing its immediate competition.

More range; Since everyone will scream if I don't mention it, I will put it out there.  There was no mention of different pack sizes despite many rumors there would be.  How much would you pay for an extra 20 kwh?  Tesla is charging $9,000 for what might be 25 more kwh (if rumors prove true) but then again, that is Tesla with Tesla pricing.  Nissan was selling replacement packs for $6500 but that price has been static for years now and the reality is not many are actually going for that price any more anyway.  So if I had to guess, I would go ohhh, say  $4169... which would put it below the Bolt by a buck with considerably more tech going for it.

Faster Charging Anyone else notice that the QC option for the LEAF S trim was $1590? Seems an awful lot of money for a chademo port. But would it be if it was 150 KW along with say... 9.6 KW AC?  What is obvious is the configurator has veered a bit too far off the Nissan path. EVERY previous version went out of their way to mention the increase in  AC speed.  But then again, it could be that 6.6 KW is standard now and no longer worth mentioning... Not believing that for a second. Leaving out charging speed is like leaving out the number of cylinders in a gasser!

Communication This would be the only one of the three not mentioning connectivity. I guess hoping for wi-fi and LTE would be too much to expect from Nissan... or would it?  OTA's,  SW updates, etc. direct to the car would be awesome and way overdue.

Loyalty In my previous blog I suggested that Nissan was holding out on a big surprise for its current LEAFers.  They extended leases even offering 3 months free without caveats to entice more to hold on their current LEAFs until the LEAF II announcement.  Now, this could be a ploy to try to win some loyalty in the oft chance that someone will feel guilty getting a T3 or a Bolt but its my feeling that that guilty feeling would be easily overcome even with the 3 free months, so maybe there is something else afoot here.  Either way, with the big reveal less than a month away, its well worth letting Nissan redeem themselves to us long suffering (well, actually I have suffered little if any at all but if it will get me a better incentive, I will say I am!) LEAFers.

EVERYTHING! I mentioned that the dimensions were strangely identical to the current LEAF despite my impression that it was larger when I encountered a test mule charging at Tacoma Mall.  John Voelcker from Green Car Reports says he talked with Nissan who says they have released no information which means the entire configurator could be a sham.  This would explain why the tech package was so cheap!

So what is your prediction for the reveal?  Post below.


  1. If I was still a worker bee or going to hang out 100 miles either way from I-5, the new Leaf would likely fill the bill perfectly. I am instead on the 3/31 T3 list and having some cost anxiety. It ends up being a $45,000 car between extra battery and non-black paint. Likely no tax rebate or help from WA State. - Pat, Vancouver

    1. Well the fact that the big 3 would occupy different price ranges is something I blogged about last year. Expect the LEAF to still see some incentives. Probably not as much as the 2017s but returning customers always get a bit more making that extra range quite costly. The reality is that we still need more public infrastructure. That is MUCH more important than range.

  2. Wow another great and thorough post David. My probably overly optimistic hope is that the SV and/or at least the SL models destined to be sold in the US will come with a battery big enough to give it a legitimate 200-240 mile range to complete with the Bolt and Model 3.

    I would also like to see at least an optional quick charge package that would allow for both CCS and Chademo quick charging, kinda like the era when new cars came with radios that had cassette players and CD players in one combo unit.

    Of course what would really be amazing is the announcement of an agreement with for pay as you go Tesla super charging. I know, dream on.

    I didn't even mention the dream my dream of a dual motor option with a 2000 pound towing capability or the optional flying car and submarine supervillain packages complete with lazer sharks. Now dropping the mic and queing Arrowsmith.

    1. Well, if you are going to dream, dream big but why have chademo/CCS together? the existence of just CCS is VERY rare and it adds a ton of cost. The real emphasis is the that Nissan is holding something back for the reveal and the unofficial word from Nissan is they have not set pricing yet so the article has some level of speculation. How much is anyone's guess.

  3. I, for one, think the new Leaf is going to be a great filler in the upcoming EV market. The price. The size. The new motor. The range. CHADEMO. (I do hope for even faster AC charging. I don't forsee any CCS connectivity.) It'll be quite versatile...just like the existing Leaf. I.e. Evolutionary (long overdue) update. Just what they need and the consumers.

    1. Agreed. As mentioned above, the only thing the "Big 3" share is their method of motive force. They really do not occupy the same market niche