We’ll get the obvious statement out of the way first: With a range of 124 miles on the European cycle and likely less in the real world, some customers can immediately rule out the electric Nissan Leaf as a potential purchase.
However, with a new battery leasing deal and entry-level model dragging pricing down significantly, the Leaf may now be an option for thousands more potential buyers.
Taking a leaf (pun very much intended) from Renault’s strategy with the Twizy, Zoe, Fluence and Kangoo electric vehicles, Nissan is now offering customers the option of leasing the battery on the new British-built Leaf.
On the cheapest 70 per month contract (7,500 miles a year, 36 months and on the entry-level Visia model) buyers can drive away in a new Leaf for just 15,990.
That compares to buying the car and its battery outright for 20,990, a saving of 6,000. Both prices include the government’s Plug-In Car grant, which knocks 5,000 off the list price.
A starting price of under 16,000 puts the new Leaf on a par with many regular petrol or diesel models in the class, and within reach of many more buyers. Previously, the cheapest Leaf cost over 23,000, even after the goverment grant.
The new Visia model removes some of the previous Leaf’s standard equipment in order to keep pricing low, but buyers will still get to enjoy a host of improvements introduced as a result of owner feedback.
That includes improved aerodynamics, more efficient regenerative braking to enhance battery life, a 70 percent more efficient heating system and even a larger boot, thanks to some rearranging of the electric gubbins.
An optional 6.6 kilowatt on-board charger is also available, letting owners cut their charging time in half compared to the previous car.
Acenta (23,490 pre-lease) and Tekna (25,490 pre-lease) trim lines offer progressively more kit than the base Visia. The top Tekna model features an energy-efficient BOSE stereo system, 17-inch alloys and all-LED headlamps, and leather trim is also now available.
Priced from: 15,990 (lease), 20,990 (buy) inc. 5,000 government grant
Available from: Now
Overall, Nissan claims the new Leaf has over 100 improvements – but a lower price and longer range are the two improvements that will mean most to buyers.
For the truly environmentally conscious, it’s also good to know Leafs (and their batteries) are now being built on British soil at the Washington plant near Sunderland – rather than shipping them in from the other side of the world.
Electric cars still aren’t for everyone, but with the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe now offering low entry-level prices, at least one hurdle has been removed. Our only concern is the cost of those battery lease deals – and carwow will have a full analysis of electric car running costs soon.
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