Today's Nissan Leaf is one of the more affordable EVs on the market, but its base 84-mile range is, shall we say, lacking. Even at its $29,010 starting price. But the next Nissan Leaf, according to Autoblog, will offer "something like 210-220 miles" on a charge, putting it into direct competition with the upcoming 215-mile Tesla Model 3.
Let's be honest — even at $6,000 less, the current Nissan Leaf's range doesn't warrant side-by-side comparison with the $35,000 Model 3. In fact, its only advantage is that its available today, whereas the Model 3 won't start production until late 2017 (by which time the Chevy Bol will also be on dealership lots).
Nissan will aims to achieve that +200-mile range in the next generation of the Leaf by including a 60kWh battery pack. Today you can get a Leaf with a 24kWh pack for 84 miles range, or commit to a $5,000 upgrade for a whopping 107-mile range (at least that includes the CHAdeMO Quick Charge port).
While the doubling of the battery pack size will help the next-gen Leaf achieve a range in the same ballpark as the Model 3, they'll be doing it with a larger battery than Tesla. Amusingly, a 60kWh battery is the smallest option for the much larger and heavier Model S sedan, and it gets 210 miles on a charge — and that battery is actually a software-limited 75kWh pack that's capable of up to 259 miles on a charge when equipped with dual-motor all-wheel drive. Tesla hasn't publicly committed to a specific battery pack size for the Model 3, though they have said that the starting capacity will be smaller than 60kWh. How will Tesla get the same range as the next-gen Leaf out of a smaller battery pack? It's simple: aerodynamics.
And where the current Leaf has the advantage of being an EV you can buy today versus the Model 3's late-2017 arrival, the Model 3 has a timeline advantage over this next-generation Leaf: it actually has a release date. Nissan's been in the EV game for a while now, but like so many manufacturers they're just now starting to wake up to the long-term threat that upstarts like Tesla pose to their business.