We were hoping to see the new, longer-range Nissan Leaf EV last week at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. That version’s debut, expected sometime this year with a 60-kWh battery, a range of around 225 miles and the name “E-Plus,” was delayed due to the swarm of news surrounding the arrest of Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn. Nissan said it delayed the reveal “to ensure that this important product unveiling could receive the coverage it merits.” With the Ghosn news flurry dying down, we now hear a rumor from German outlet Electrive that the 60-kWh Nissan Leaf will get its official, public unveiling at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show CES in Las Vegas this January.
Electrive reports that the information comes from an event for Nissan dealers earlier this week. The outlet also says there was buzz about the 60-kWh battery still lacking liquid cooling. With the current 40-kWh version, customers complained of slower charging speeds that resulted when repeatedly using fast chargers on long trips. The reduced speeds were caused by the thermal management software lowering charging speed to keep heat down and protect the battery from degradation.
That (non-) scandal had been dubbed “Rapidgate.” It shouldn’t be as much of a problem in practice, though, as the longer range will mean fewer trips to the charger. Electrive suggests that the Leaf E-Plus could borrow a trick from the Nissan e-NV200 electric cargo van, and employ active air cooling/heating for the battery when fast-charging. And if you’re still not digging the idea of air cooling, keep this in mind; not using liquid cooling should also keep the price from becoming too expensive.
That’s not to say there won’t be a price increase, though. Electrive predicts the new model will cost an extra 5,800 Euros, which converts to $6,600 at current exchange rates. Added to the $30,875 base price of a Leaf (before any tax incentives), we get a total of $37,475. That’s just $20 below the base price of a base Chevy Bolt EV with no tax incentives. Prices can vary between regions, though, so it’s possible Nissan could make the extra charge lower in the U.S. to undercut the Bolt EV.
One other potential upgrade Electrive mentions is power. It says it could get a more powerful motor making 200 horsepower, which would put it on par with Bolt EV, Kia Niro EV, Kia Soul EV and Hyundai Kona Electric.
Whether or not the 60-kWh Leaf shows up at CES next month, we’ll be there to cover the show. We’re hoping Nissan also brings the hot, new Leaf Nismo RC race car it recently unveiled in Japan.