2019 Nissan Leaf Plus First Drive: Is It Plus Enough?

Nissan’s top-range Leaf finally has battery range on par with other affordable EVs

Remember the horsepower wars of the 1960s?

In yet another twist on Mark Twain’s saying, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes,” the car industry is humming its 50-year-old, horsepower one-upmanship tune once again. But now there’s a new verse, with the lyrics “miles of battery range” instead of “plain ol’ horsepower.”

Nissan Leaf 3.Zero e+ (Image: Nissan)

Nissan Leaf 3.Zero e+ (Image: Nissan)

A right-now snapshot of the current BEV-range leader board of affordable EV offerings, with more than 200 miles of range, looks like this:

1: Hyundai Kona Electric – 258 miles

2: Kia Soul EV (just announced) – 243 miles

3: Kia e-Niro – 239

4: Chevrolet Bolt EV – 238 miles

Where, pray tell, is the biggest-selling affordable EV of them all, the Nissan Leaf? When its second-generation version was introduced two years ago in Japan, the Bolt’s then-staggering 238 number had already been announced. Needless to say, that cast a pall over the Tokyo proceedings as Nissan struggled to justify the new Leaf’s 150-mile range. Sure, sure, we all nodded in agreement; of course it’s way better than the first gen’s 107 miles. But it was as if Ford pulled the sheet off a Mustang with 37 percent fewer ponies than the existing Camaro. The guys in Yokohama had miscalculated. They knew it. And Scouts’ honor, they promised a bigger-battery fix, ASAP.

True to its word, here’s the car Nissan wishes it had actually introduced: the descriptively named Leaf Plus.

Read more: Motor Trend

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