The Nissan Leaf was one of the first electric cars to sell en masse. The automaker made a big splash in 2011 with a car that was somewhat affordable, but also had decent styling. Now, the Nissan Leaf is no more. The company has announced they will be phasing out the car by 2025. Nathan Bomey at Axios has the story.
After its debut in 2011, the Leaf quickly became the best-selling EV in the world. But it soon ceded the throne to Tesla, and never came close to achieving the vision laid out by former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: selling 500,000 a year by 2013.
Nissan sold only 14,239 units of the Leaf in the U.S. in 2021, a sliver of the 977,639 vehicles it sold that year. The Leaf's struggles were tied to its low battery range and its compact frame, with the first version (a 2011 model) traveling only about 73 miles on a single charge.
The range improved over time, but Nissan has since shifted much of its attention to future EVs, like the sleek Ariya crossover. When gas prices tumbled in the late 2010s, the Leaf also fell prey to shifting consumer demand for SUVs and pickups.Axios
A couple of years ago the Nissan Leaf was redesigned to look less like a 'funky' EV and more in line with Nissan's styling that is seen across their line. However, even with that and some tech + battery improvements, I've seen very few in the wild. It's a shame. I was very eager to see this car when it first debuted and I even had the pleasure of reviewing it for my old podcast.
What I think happened was the timing of the Leaf ran smack into Tesla's work on the Model S. That car had zero funky styling and more than triple the range. Yes, it was more expensive, but in a side-by-side comparison it was a no-brainer to pick the S over the Leaf. The supercharger network did Nissan (or any other EV maker) no favors in convincing people to go the Tesla route.
Personally, I'm disappointed to see the Leaf go away, but hopefully this Ariya crossover is a worthy successor. EVs are here to stay. That is certainly a settled debate.