Electric Cars

Nissan's 226-mile Leaf E+ will take you much farther, a lot faster

With more power and more range, the Nissan Leaf looks to be more competitive than ever.

Nissan

Nissan's Leaf is the world's best-selling electric car, and despite a generally well-received refresh for 2018, it's beginning to lose a little luster in the face of competition like the Tesla Model 3, Hyundai's Kona Electric and Chevy's Bolt EV. Nissan isn't about to stand for that, so at CES this year, it pulled the wraps off its new, longer-range Leaf E+.

The most significant change is to the Leaf's battery pack, which gets a bump to 62 kilowatt-hours, meaning a range of around 226 miles. This is a significant boost compared with the standard car's 40-kWh battery and 151-mile range. That puts the Leaf E+'s range within spitting distance of the midrange Tesla Model 3. For further comparison with other affordable electrics, though, the Kona Electric outpaces the new Leaf by 32 miles, while the Bolt EV's range outstrips the Nissan by just 12 miles.

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Alongside the increase in battery capacity comes an increase in power and torque. The Leaf E+ features a 214-horsepower electric motor that produces 250 pound-feet of torque. That's up from 147 hp and 236 lb-ft in the regular Leaf.

The Leaf E+ will be sold as a separate model from the standard Leaf with its own family of trim levels ranging from S Plus to SL Plus, all of which come standard with Nissan's ProPilot Assist semiautonomous system and E-Pedal, the latter of which has been reprogrammed to work better with the new car's increased power.

Inside, the Leaf E+ gets a new, larger 8-inch touchscreen display that can be linked to a smartphone and will interface with a Nissan app that will help you seek out chargers on your route. Speaking of your route, the Leaf E+ is supposed to seamlessly transition navigation from your phone to the vehicle for door-to-door navigation.

Whether or not the Leaf E+ is successful will depend largely on how closely it can match its competitors. The base-model Leaf starts at $29,990, the Kona Electric starts at $36,450, the Bolt will set you back $36,620 and Tesla's midrange Model 3 is the most expensive at $44,000 before options. Nissan says the Leaf E+ will go on sale in the spring of 2019 and that we'll receive pricing information closer to that date.