Today, Nissan revealed the updates for almost all of its 2016 model year vehicles, including the Leaf. In these updates, Nissan didn’t reveal anything big about its tiny EV, but a Nissan dealer (Andy Mohr Avon Nissan) let out the news that the 2016 Leaf will have a larger battery with an increased range.
According to the site, which is still live, so apparently it’s not a huge secret, the 2016 Leaf will have an available higher-capacity batteries on higher trim levels that will push the range from 84 miles to 110 miles. The base 2016 Leaf will continue on with the same battery pack as the 2015 model.
The site doesn’t dive into what trim levels will use this new battery pack, nor does it dive into pricing. However, the fact that Nissan is finally updating the Leaf’s batteries is news enough for most EV shoppers. This clearly shows that the Japanese automaker is starting to feel the heat from other EVs and even those of the range-extended variety, like the 2016 Volt.
On the flip-side of things, while this boost in range is great, the Leaf will still fall behind in the coming years if it remains unchanged. This is due to the sudden uptick in EVs that will be rolling out in upcoming years. One of the EVs that is sure to give the Leaf fits will be the Chevy Bolt – not to be confused with the Volt – which will reportedly deliver at least 200 miles of range and come in at less than $30k.
With the Bolt slated for a 2017 release, Nissan has a few years to continue developing its batteries while keeping the price of the Leaf in check. Given the huge head start that Nissan has had in this segment, I don’t see achieving this being a big problem.
We will learn more about the 2016 Leaf as it nears its arrival on dealer lots, which is set for the middle of September.