For what should have been a quiet year for the all-electric Nissan Leaf, 2016 brings an available higher-capacity battery that extends the car’s EPA-estimated range by 27 percent.
Standard on SV and SL models, the new 30-kWh battery increases the Leaf’s EPA-estimated range to 107 miles. Base S models retain the previous 24-kWh battery and 84-mile range.
Nissan claims the 2016 Leaf is the first “mainstream” electric vehicle to break the 100-mile range barrier.
Price is unchanged for the base S model at $29,860, while the midlevel SV increases to $35,050 (up $2100), and the top-line SL increases to $35,970 (up $1670). Those prices include an $850 destination charge, and do not reflect the $7500 federal tax credit available to qualifying Leaf buyers.
With an all-new Leaf reportedly being readied for the 2017 or 2018 model year, Nissan was largely expected to let the current car stand pat for the remainder of its run. Leaf’s improved-range news arrives as green-car enthusiasts wait for a host of near-term introductions including the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, 2016 Toyota Prius, and the 2017 or 2018 Chevrolet Bolt.
Though its sales are down for 2015, Leaf remains the second-best-selling EV in the U.S., slightly trailing the Tesla Model S. Leaf comfortably outsells the 3rd-place Chevrolet Volt and 4th-place BMW i3.