The 2023 Nissan Leaf could be among the EV’s final model years

Introduced in September 2017, the second-gen Nissan Leaf has received its long-overdue facelift. The 2023 Nissan Leaf with the improved styling debuted at the 2022 New York International Auto Show in April. What promised to be a game-changing car for Nissan could be in its final model years.

Future of the Nissan Leaf nameplate

The Nissan Leaf has struggled to break into the U.S. market, initially because the country wasn’t ready for EVs and later because competitors were just better. Instead of a next-gen Leaf (third-gen Leaf), Nissan plans to launch a successor that accords well with the needs of EV buyers, three people aware of the development have told Automotive News. It could mean that the Leaf model as we’ve known it for two generations, a compact hatchback, will cease to exist, but the nameplate may survive. Sources differed on whether Nissan will continue to use the name Leaf.

Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman would not speculate about the Leaf’s future, but defended the model, saying there is a “renewed” interest in it due to its “value proposition” and the growing popularity of electric vehicles in the United States.

The Nissan Chill-Out concept (pictured below) may inspire an electric SUV-coupe to replace the hatch. Whatever the case, the Nissan Leaf successor must be cheaper than the Ariya, with features, range, and design comparable to the next-generation EVs.

Nissan Chill-Out concept front three quarter
Nissan is looking to replace the Leaf, their first-ever electric vehicle, with a crossover body style in 2025. With the rise of electric cars, it seems like the popularity of the pioneering Leaf has declined. Image: Nissan

Nissan sold 14,239 units of the Leaf in the U.S. in 2021, making it one of the slowest sellers in its lineup. The consolation is that it significantly improved its YoY performance following the pandemic year, but the competing Chevy Bolt family sold 24,828 units in 2021 despite the recalls and the faulty battery.

In the first half of 2022, Nissan delivered 7,622 units of the Leaf in the U.S. Compared to the first of 2021, that was a small decline of 1.4%. The Leaf is faring better than the Bolt EV, which, according to GM Authority, saw sales of 7,303 units in H1 2022. It would be fair, however, to wait and analyze sales in the second half of the year when GM fully restores Bolt supply to dealers.

In July 2021, Nissan announced plans to build a new EV crossover at its UK plant in Sunderland starting in 2025. Nissan Europe CEO, Guillaume Cartier, suggested to Autocar that the crossover EV will replace the Leaf.

2023 Nissan Leaf Design

The 2023 Nissan Leaf has no significant design changes. The subtle revisions include a new closed grille without a V-shaped chrome strip, a new, illuminated Nissan logo, headlights featuring a new black inner finisher, and more aerodynamic tire deflectors, rear under diffuser, and rear spoiler. The most noticeable exterior change is the new 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.

The interior is also barely any different from the 2022 Leaf. There’s nothing new in the cabin apart from a new start-up video and the new Nissan logo. Nissan has introduced the 2023 Leaf in two grades – S and SV Plus. Both grades have cloth upholstery, but while the S grade has gray finishers, the SV Plus has gloss black finishers for more premium styling.

Features

Nissan equips the 2023 Leaf S with a wide range of features as standard. These include an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, automatic climate control, 60/40 split rear seat, fast-charging, automatic headlights, Nissan Safety Shield 360, Rear Door Alert, and more.

2023 Nissan Leaf interior dashboard
The 2023 Nissan Leaf interior is nearly identical to the current model. Image Source: Nissan

The SV Plus grade has a bigger battery pack, a more powerful motor, and a higher-output fast-charging port (100 kW). Additionally, it has lots of additional equipment, such as LED headlights, LED DRLs, 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support, Nissan Door to Door Navigation, and much more. It’s better in terms of safety, too, including ProPILOT Assist, 360-degree camera system, steering assist, Intelligent Cruise Control with Full Speed Range and Hold, and Intelligent Driver Alertness.

Specifications

The Leaf was available with 40 kWh and 62 kWh lithium-ion battery packs that delivered an EPA-est. range of 149 miles and 215 miles, respectively. The 2023 Nissan Leaf comes with 40 kWh and 60 kWh battery packs. The standard-range battery pack is available in the S grade and the extended-range battery pack is available in the SV Plus grade.

The 2023 Leaf S 40 kWh delivers a range of 149 miles (EPA est.), while the 2023 Leaf SV 60 kWh can travel 212 miles (EPA est.) on a full charge. Like the old model, the 2023 Leaf is strictly FWD. The propulsion options are the same, with a low-output motor producing 147 hp and 236 lb.-ft. of torque and a high-output motor delivering 214 hp and 250 lb.-ft. of torque.

Aspect2023 Nissan Leaf S Specification2023 Nissan Leaf SV Specification
Motor Power147 hp214 hp
Motor Torque236 lb.-ft.250 lb.-ft.
Battery Pack40 kWh lithium-ion (192 cells)60 kWh lithium-ion (288 cells)
EPA-est. Range149 miles212 miles
AC Charging Capacity6.6 kW6.6 kW
DC Charging Capacity50 kW (unofficial – to be confirmed)100 kW
Fast-charging Time (to 80% SoC)40 minutes60 minutes
Wheels16-inch steel (with full wheel covers)17-inch alloy
TiresAll-season 205/55R16 Bridgestone EcopiaAll-season 215/50R17 Michelin Energy Saver
2023 Nissan Leaf specifications (Source: Nissan)

2023 Nissan Leaf release date

The 2023 Leaf is now on sale in the U.S. Available at Nissan dealers across the country, the 2023 Leaf costs USD 27,800 in the S 40 kWh configuration and USD 35,800 in the SV Plus 60 kWh configuration. These prices exclude a standard destination and handling fee of USD 1,095.

2023 Nissan Leaf facelift front three quarter
The 2023 Nissan Leaf starts at USD 27,800, making it the second cheapest electric car in the United States, behind the Chevy Bolt. Image Source: Nissan

Nissan offers the 2023 Leaf in the U.S. in seven colors. Super Black, Deep Blue Pearl, Gun Metallic, and Brilliant Silver Metallic are common between both S and SV Plus. Glacier White is available on S only, while Scarlet Ember Tintcoat, Pearl White Tricoat, and Pearl White Tricoat/Super Black (two-tone) options are exclusive to the SV Plus.

Configuration2023 Nissan Leaf Price
Leaf S 40 kWhUSD 27,800
Leaf SV Plus 60 kWhUSD 35,800
2023 Nissan Leaf prices (excluding USD 1,095 destination and handling fee)

Nissan Leaf and Ariya to run in parallel in the U.S.

Nissan is deploying resources into getting its Ariya electric SUV to customers as soon as possible despite the global chip shortage. Deliveries of the Ariya in the U.S. are slated for fall 2022, and the Ariya will co-exist with the Leaf for at least two years. According to a report on Green Car Reports, which spoke with Aditya Jairaj, Director for Marketing and Sales for Nissan EVs in the USA, it will be essential for the carmaker to have the Leaf (which is currently the second cheapest electric car model in the United States) with the Ariya positioned above it as customers need options depending on their budget.

Nissan Ariya front three quarters
Ariya’s CMF-EV platform will generate the future Nissan EV range for the U.S. market. Electrification of SUVs and sedans is “very important,” Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta told Bloomberg in March 2021. Image – Nissan

Nissan cut prices of the Leaf in the U.S. by a few thousand dollars to further the gap between the Ariya. As a result, an entry-level Nissan Leaf with tax credits starts at USD 20,300 while an entry-level Ariya is nearly double, starting at USD 38,450 (with tax credits).

And speaking of the tax credit, Nissan is nearing the 200,000 EV sales mark (the federal tax credit applies only to the first 200,000 EV units from a manufacturer), having sold 165,710 EVs (in other words, the Leaf!) cumulatively since its launch. Hence, from around 2023, when the 35,000 EV sales have been accounted for, Nissan will no longer be eligible for the USD 7,500 credit.

2023 Nissan Leaf FAQs

What is the 2023 Nissan Leaf release date?

The 2023 Nissan Leaf is now on sale in the U.S. It could be in its final model years, as the hatchback is struggling to achieve high numbers.

What is the 2023 Nissan Leaf price?

The 2023 Nissan Leaf’s prices start at USD 27,800 (excluding USD 1,095 destination and handling fee).

What are the alternatives to the Nissan Leaf?

The MINI Cooper SE (MINI Electric) and the Chevrolet Bolt are worthy alternatives to the Leaf.

Featured Image Source: Nissan