Sometimes you gotta let the flames go out first.
The original plan was to launch the new Nissan Leaf E-Plus at the LA Auto Show last month. That didn’t happen. Instead, Autoblog, citing a rumor from German publication Electrive, reports the unveiling will instead happen this January at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Why was there a delay in the first place? Because now former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn had just been arrested in Japan for underreporting income.
Ghosn, as most know, was the chairman and brains behind the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. He has since been ousted from his roles at Nissan and Mitsubishi, though he remains chairman and CEO of Renault. Basically, Nissan did not want the whole Ghosn debacle to steal attention away from the Leaf E-Plus, a new longer-range version of the popular EV.
Nissan claims it delayed the EV’s reveal “to ensure that this important product unveiling could receive the coverage it merits.” Fair enough. Now that some of the shock of Ghosn’s arrested has died down, Nissan has re-scheduled the Leaf E-Plus’s reveal to CES. Why there instead of Detroit a week or so later? No specific reason was given, but we suspect CES is simply the better fit for a vehicle such as this.
Compared to the existing second-generation Leaf, the Leaf E-Plus will feature a 60 kWh battery instead of the current 40 kWh output. More importantly, it will feature an extended range of 225 miles, up from 151 miles.
By comparison, the Chevrolet Bolt can travel up to 238 miles on a single charge, while the new Hyundai Kona EV achieves an impressive 258-mile range. The also new mid-range Tesla Model 3 has a 260-mile range. While any range improvement for the second-generation Nissan Leaf is welcomed, we’re not so sure that 225-mile upgraded range is enough. We’ll learn more details, including hopefully pricing, come January.