Electric Cars

2018 Nissan Leaf range beats estimates, but MPGe lags behind

The EPA giveth, and the EPA taketh away.

Nissan

Before a car goes on sale, the US Environmental Protection Agency tests it and gives an official estimate of the vehicle's range and efficiency. According to the feds, the 2018 Nissan Leaf is better than before in some ways, but not others.

The EPA has given the 2018 Nissan Leaf an estimated range of 151 miles from its 40-kWh battery. This is 1 mile better than Nissan estimated when the Leaf first debuted, so Nissan's internal metrics were pretty accurate. It's a far cry from the original Leaf's 84-mile range, that's for sure.

The EPA didn't rate it on looks, but if it did, it'd blow the old one out of the water. 

Nissan

Its numbers aren't superior to old Leafs across the board, though. The EPA calculated the 2018 Leaf's miles-per-gallon equivalent at 112 MPGe combined -- broken down individually, it's rated 125 MPGe in the city and 100 MPGe on the highway.

MPGe was created as a way to compared electrified vehicles to their gas counterparts. A gallon of gas is considered equal to about 33.7 kWh of battery power. Thus, a car that can travel more than 100 miles on that much charge has an MPGe in the triple-digit range.

This means that while the 2018 Leaf's range is way better, its overall per-mile efficiency remains about the same as the 2016 Leaf with the 30-kWh battery pack, and it's actually 2 MPGe lower than the original Leaf. No matter the year, the EPA estimates that the Leaf will cost about $600 in fuel charges per year and should save the driver about $4,000 in fuel costs over five years when compared to the average new car.

So while the numbers weren't as great as they could be, the Leaf is still a solid EV that offers much better range and creature comforts than before. And its new act isn't even over yet -- in the near future, Nissan will unveil a larger battery pack for the Leaf that should push its overall range north of 220 miles, slowly closing in on Chevrolet Bolt EV territory.