Nissan unveiled Tuesday a new version of the 2019 Leaf electric car, called the Leaf Plus or Leaf e+, that can go well over 200 miles on a charge.
Although such a model has been a long time coming, the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus stands as strong evidence that in the eight years since the first deliveries of the Leaf, Nissan has listened carefully to what Americans want in electric vehicles: longer driving range, quicker acceleration, faster charging, and a better driver interface.
Based on initial information at the car’s introduction at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Leaf Plus apparently checks all of those line items. It gets more than just a bigger battery and a longer driving range, an anticipated 226 miles (versus 151 miles for the base 2019 Leaf) that's subject to regulatory confirmation. Its motor makes 215 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque—up significantly from the standard Leaf’s 147 hp and 236 lb-ft.
According to Nissan, the higher power allows acceleration that’s nearly 13 percent quicker from 50 to 75 mph, while top speed has been increased by 10 percent (which would bring it back up to around 100 mph).
The Leaf Plus also gets improved 70-kilowatt DC fast charging, up from about 50 kw. Hooked up to a 100-kw CHAdeMO fast charger—hardware that’s as of yet close to nonexistent in the U.S.—the Plus will charge at a total time comparable to the standard Leaf charging at 50-kw DC fast hardware. (Nissan cites about 40 minutes to charge from 0-80 percent.)
Nissan notes that the overall height of the Leaf has been increased by 0.2 inches, but otherwise there are no dimensional changes—we’ll assume that also means interior space and packaging. The key to that might very well be that Nissan hasn’t migrated to a liquid-cooled battery pack; the Leaf Plus uses the next-generation pack architecture it developed with AESC, with passive (ambient-air) cooling.
The Leaf Plus gets a new larger 8.0-inch color touchscreen, including an updated navigation system and over-the-air updates for its applications, maps, and firmware. A Door-to-Door Navigation system allows hands-off functionality with personal devices.
Nissan has also modified the behavior of its e-Pedal system, which allows one-pedal driving, to be smoother, especially in reverse. The changes “match the Leaf e+’s additional power and increased mass,” according to Nissan, although the automaker hasn’t yet said how much heavier the new model is.
Nissan says that the longer-range Leaf will be called the e+ worldwide, although in the U.S. it will be sold in S Plus, SV Plus, and SL Plus versions. Nissan hasn’t yet set prices for the Leaf Plus, although documents revealed last fall suggest about a $5,500 premium over the 40-kwh version—from about $36,000 to $42,500, including destination.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus will arrive in U.S. dealerships this spring.