Insiders suggest it will be replaced with something more modern and exciting.
It's not the most exciting electric vehicle to drive or look at, but the Nissan Leaf has a very important purpose. While many brands are pushing expensive and powerful EVs, the simple Leaf strives to offer consumers a decently priced entry point into the world of electric motoring. Despite a recent price hike, the battery-powered hatch still delivers impressive value with a starting MSRP of $27,800.
Despite this, rumors suggest the dependable EV isn't long for this world. Sources told Automotive News that the Leaf name will be discontinued after this generation. According to these unnamed insiders, it will be replaced with a more contemporary vehicle designed to meet the needs of modern consumers. Production is expected to end by the middle of the decade.
Nissan's Brian Brockman chose not to comment on the matter but did note there's been a revival in customer interest due to the appealing price tag. It's worth noting the Leaf also received a facelift earlier this year to keep it feeling fresh. Unfortunately, the Leaf hit the scene a little too early; buyers were still wary of electric cars. By the time competition arrived, the first generation looked dull and was simply outclassed.
AutoPacific's president Ed Kim seems to agree. He told the publication that the Leaf was a "miscalculation" on Nissan's part. Poor planning led the company to lose its pioneering advantage. "Today, the Leaf name means little to EV shoppers ... it doesn't have the brand power it would have had with more product updates, better design, and a [crossover] body style."
If you look at the electric vehicle segment, it's littered with crossover and SUV options - there are very few hatchbacks and sedans to choose from. The Ariya looks to be Nissan's redeeming second act. With slick styling and impressive technology, it should bring more EV buyers back into Nissan dealerships. But with a starting price of $38,450 (with incentives), it's not serving the same budget-biased market the Leaf does.
Nissan is, however, planning to introduce several additional electric vehicles in the coming years. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has said it will spend $26 billion to launch 30 new battery-powered vehicles by 2030. Hopefully, one of these will be a frill-free option for those whose wallets can't quite stretch into Ariya territory. It's no secret that the USA needs more affordable electric vehicles.