I was hanging out at a Nissan dealership fast charging my 2013 Leaf, and I noticed they were offering as much as $5,500 off a 2018 Nissan Leaf. After tax breaks and such, that puts it at a not dissimilar price to a 2016 Leaf—despite the fact it has something like 40% more range. (And also doesn't look quite so weird!)
I have to say I was tempted. While I've proven that it's possible to take a road trip in an old Leaf, I've also shown that it's a mostly unpleasant experience.
The 150 mile range of the Leaf 2.0 would mean that I'd have more than enough range for any daily driving needs I might have. And while Leaf 2.0 drivers have reported fast charging slows down dramatically after one or two charges due to overheated batteries and a lack of battery cooling, the occasional (short!) road trip of the kind I'm likely to take would still only be mildly less convenient than in an ICE car. Given that I've argued before that we need cheaper, shorter range electric cars—and that we should buy cars based more on their day-to-day usage, rather than any outlying, occasional needs—I should probably pull the trigger.
And yet a 2019 Leaf is rumored to be on the horizon. And not only will it have well over 200 miles of range, but it will also have faster charging and active battery cooling—meaning that multiple fast charges and longer range road trips really do become possible. And if these rumors do pan out, one has to consider that a 2018 Leaf is likely to depreciate significantly faster than its 2019 counterpart.
So, once again, I'd love some reader advice. Just to recap, here are my options:
a) Buy or lease a 2018 Leaf at the very decent prices being offered right now, and be content with the fact that it does almost everything I need it to do.
b) Wait for the 2019 model, and then finally go on a real electric road trip
c) Wait and see—even if I do end up opting for the 2018 model, there's a chance that its price will drop even further once the 2019 model is available on the market.
Please feel free to offer your thoughts in the comments below. In the meantime, here's Nikki from TransportEvolved pondering on this very same question: