Since the Tesla Model 3 was unveiled last year, EV aficionados have already begun comparing it to one of the most well-rounded electric cars in the market — the Chevy Bolt. If a set of new leaks prove true, the mass-market Tesla’s biggest rival might not be the Bolt at all. The Model 3’s biggest challenge could very well come from the latest iteration of one of the oldest electric vehicles in the market, the 2018 Nissan Leaf.
That’s right. The 2018 Nissan Leaf could very well spell trouble for Tesla, if the car’s freshly leaked (and now removed) specs are any indication. Just recently, auto website Autobytel released some pertinent data on the 2018 Nissan Leaf, featuring most of the specifics of the upcoming vehicle. While the leaks have already been taken down as of writing, Autoblog was able to save copies of the 2018 Leaf’s alleged specs through screenshots.
Of course, the validity of the 2018 Leaf’s leaked specs remains unconfirmed. Nevertheless, they do provide some interesting insights on the features and capabilities of the upcoming EV. If the spec sheet proves accurate, the 2018 Nissan Leaf will be packing some decent power, with 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. These numbers are a significant improvement over the last iteration of the Nissan Leaf, which manages only 107 hp.
If there is one thing that the 2018 Nissan Leaf really excels in, however, it would be its price. According to an Engadget report, the upcoming Japanese EV would come in three variants. The base model, called the Leaf S, would reportedly cost $29,990, followed by the midrange Leaf SV, which was listed in the leaks with a price of $32,490.
The flagship variant, the Leaf SL, is listed in the leaked information with a price of $36,200. Interestingly, the 2018 Nissan Leaf SL is also noted in the leaked spec sheet with self-driving features, called the ProPilot Assist system.
Considering that the Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000 for its most basic variant, the 2018 Nissan Leaf could provide EV enthusiasts a fair, more affordable alternative to the highly anticipated mass-market car. This could be a serious point of consideration for prospective buyers, especially since the first deliveries of the Model 3 are limited to the car’s more expensive premium variants. Thus, those looking to purchase a base variant Model 3 would need to wait until at least next year before they could get behind the wheel of their vehicle.
While the 2018 Nissan Leaf might very well be a more affordable alternative to the Model 3, the upcoming Japanese EV does have a very good reason why the car is priced at a lower bracket than Tesla’s vehicle. According to the recently released leaks, the 2018 Nissan Leaf’s base model, the Leaf S, would be equipped with a 40kWh battery, which would likely give the car a range of about 150-160 miles in between charges.
The Model 3, however, comes with a significantly larger battery pack. As recently stated by Elon Musk, the base variant of the Model 3 would be fitted with a 50kWh battery, which translates to around 220 miles of range. The premium Model 3 would be equipped with a 75kWh battery unit, which would give the vehicle approximately 310 miles of range.
Performance-wise, the 2018 Nissan Leaf would likely not hold a candle to the Tesla Model 3, either. While the acceleration of the upcoming Leaf has not been fully revealed in the leaks, the last iteration of the car managed 0-60mph in 10.4 seconds, according to a Car and Driver report. The base variant of the Model 3, however, is capable of going from 0-60mph in just 5.6 seconds.
Of course, the styling of the two vehicles is extremely different as well. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is, at its core, a compact hatchback, and it looks every bit like one. The Model 3, on the other hand, takes its styling from its flagship sibling, the Tesla Model S, which has pretty much evolved as the definition of a performance-grade luxury EV on the market for years.
So will the 2018 Nissan Leaf give the Tesla Model 3 a run for its money? In a lot of ways, it all comes down to the needs of the buyer. For users who are looking for an EV that can perfectly do Point A to Point B traveling at a cost that is cheaper, the 2018 Nissan Leaf is a great choice. For those willing to dish out an additional $5,000, however, the Tesla Model 3, with its higher performance, range, and sleek design, still offers an immense amount of value.
[Featured Image by Tesla]