The 2018 Nissan LEAF. [Wikimedia Commons Photo]

editors-blog-entry3Nissan 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.

[SOURCE = InsideEVs.Com]

6 Responses

  1. Bret Aker

    I’m a 2nd gen Leaf owner in Boulder after test driving the Chevy Bolt and the BMW i3. Nissan makes a much more comfortable car with a better cockpit and more refined electronics/ergonomics than Chevy or BMW. My wife agrees so it not just me ;). But range anxiety? Are you kidding me?? Im usually driving on the top 20% of the battery. If I go to Denver I might see 50%. You know, I fell in love with the specs of the Bolt (wow active temp conditioning if plugged in! Great for battery lifetime. 230 mile battery, wow!). And then I drove it. Chevy needs a Gen 2 to work out the kinks in my mind mainly ergonomically (seats were horrible, car feels too narrow inside).
    Come down to Boulder Nissan and talk to the guys there. They are one of the top selling Leaf dealerships in the country and I see a lot of Gen 1&2 Leafs in Boulder to prove it. They are doing something right and of course Boulder is a good market for EVs in general.
    But I don’t think it’s a battery problem. With the average American commute at 32 miles per day 150 miles is plenty. I just think EVs are still limited to the upper middle class on up. And a lot of these guys can afford a Tesla so that hurts Nissan’s sales.

    • Christof D-H

      Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I actually leased my 2014 LEAF from Boulder Nissan. Was a good car — until my wife moved out and took the gas car. I had to drive it as my only car after that for 2 1/2 years, great little car, but not so great as an only car. Ran out of charge twice in it, both times in winter, and came close countless other times. Had no choice as I had to drive certain distances in certain times carting my kids around and charging did not always line up, etc. So, when Nissan went with 40 kwh and 150 miles, which is still not enough for me as an only car, i switched to the Bolt. I‘ve driven it several times into the mountains and back on trips a 150 mile car wouldn‘t be able to make. i also drove my Bolt to Santa Barbara and back with my two teens, 2,400 miles round trip. Would not have done that in a generation 2 LEAF, and certainly not in a Gen. 1 LEAF. i think the LEAF is GREAT as a car in a two-car household. Save a lot by not buying gas, it‘s more environmentally friendly, and it‘s got way better seats than the Bolt. But I‘ll take a 238 mile car every time over a 150 mile car — or 84 mile car — if that car is going to be my only car 🙂

  2. Bob Sampson

    Visit a Nissan dealer in town that specializes in LEAF sales, such as LHM Nissan on Arapahoe Road just east of I-25, or Boulder Nissan etc. They still have some unsold 2018 LEAFs. I have also seen 1 or 2 in the wild. I have a 2013 LEAF S and a 2017 LEAF SV in my driveway, and would consider a trade-up given the right terms. Then again, I can just save up for a Tesla Model 3 or Y and decide later.

    • Christof Demont-Heinrich

      Thank you for your comments. Sounds like a good plan. I would eventually like to get into a Model 3, but my Bolt lease takes me through another 2 1/2 years, and I’m good with it right now.

  3. Clarence

    I find the new LEAF to be invisible.
    I see Tesla Model 3 every day, but sometimes I barely recognize a new LEAF when it drives by.

    • Christof Demont-Heinrich

      Yes, they are hard to spot. More often than not, I think I’ve seen a 2018 LEAF, and I get closer and it’s not a LEAF, but a Subaru Impreza.


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