Nissan used to lead electric car sales in the United States regularly with its first generation LEAF, which became available in the U.S. in 2011. But, at least anecdotally, it does not seem to be doing nearly as well with its second generation LEAF in the U.S., of which I have seen exactly three in a full year of looking here in the Denver, Colo. area.
Yes, that’s right: I have seen ONLY THREE second generation LEAFs in the Denver area. And this in a year in which I have driven 14,000 miles in my leased 2017 Chevy Bolt, with which I replaced a 2014 Nissan LEAF in September 2017 that I leased for 39 months and which, thanks to divorce, I drove as my only car for more than two years.
In that same time, it is worth noting that I have seen dozens and dozens and dozens of first generation Nissan LEAFs and loads of Teslas — Model S, Xs and Model 3s.
Why have I seen so FEW second generation LEAFs in the Denver area?
I can’t say for sure, especially since for awhile recently you could get a second generation for as little as $15,000 with tax credits/rebates, etc. from the U.S. government, the State of Colorado, and Xcel Energy dropping the price that low. Yes, I repeat, you could get a brand new all-electric LEAF for $15k here in Colorado/Xcel territory. That is so cheap it is just plain NUTS!
I will submit that one very important likely reason I have seen just THREE 2018 Nissan LEAFs in 14,000 miles of driving around the Denver area in the past year = RANGE. Nissan simply dropped the ball when it went forward with a 40 kWh pack with 150 miles of range as its only offering in its second generation LEAF in 2018. Nissan lost me — I was hanging on to my 2014 LEAF in Sept. 2017 waiting to see how much range the 2018 would have — to Chevy, which went with a 60 kWh pack that boasts 238 miles of range.
Nissan seemed to basically write off one-car households like mine with its 40 kWh LEAF and apparently decided that it would focus on two-car + households in the U.S. This may not have been a bad move on the surface as a large percentage of American households — 57 percent, according to CNBC.Com, have two+ cars. But why would you not ALSO aim for one-car households as well, if you could?
Nissan is supposedly going to be coming out with a LEAF with a bigger 60 kWh pack in 2019, although, inexplicably, it apparently is not going to release the 60 kWh LEAF until LATER in 2019. In dawdling on giving consumers more range, Nissan — the global leader in electric cars sold — appears to have lost market share in the U.S., and consumers such as myself, to competitors — Tesla and GM in particular — who have been offering consumers bigger battery packs and, importantly, significantly MORE range for quite awhile now.
This INSIDE EVs sales chart for 2018 provides evidence for exactly what I am experiencing in terms of seeing so few second generation LEAFs in the Denver area with Tesla and GM far outselling Nissan and with the Bolt planted firmly above the 2018 LEAF with nearly 4,000 more sold in 2018.
In the end, I’d like to see more second generation LEAFs around the Denver area as every electric car on the road is a step forward environmentally, especially as Xcel Energy moves ahead with plans to go to 100 percent clean energy in Colorado by 2040. But so far, I have seen virtually NO second generation LEAFs in the Denver area. And, at least to me, that’s both surprising, and just too bad.