Crude oil prices once hovered around $100 a barrel the first half of 2014, now national gas prices are at an 11 year low as evidenced by this past Labor Day weekend. While interest for electric vehicles (EV) is waning, Nissan announced today an enhanced 2016 Nissan Leaf EV with 27 percent greater battery range.
The best-selling plug-in car in the U.S. top two trim packages, the SV and SL, gets a 30 kWh battery that claims an EPA rated driving range of 107 miles from a full charge, compared to the 2016 Leaf’s 84-mile range.
The Leaf’s entry-level S package will remain at an EPA-estimated 84 mile range and continue using a 24 kWh battery.
“Gas prices are obviously affecting the financial benefits of owning an electric vehicle, but there are other motivations for consumers to buy a Leaf. They want the convenience of not having to go to a gas station. They like being able to charge their car at home. They like being off the grid when it comes to the use of oil and gas.
Increased driving range is something that customers will find very appealing.”
– Tony Weeks, senior manager, Nissan EV sales and marketing
Low gas prices at the fuel pump have taken the wind out of electric and hybrid car sales, including the Nissan Leaf and popular Toyota Prius. Leaf sales were down 56 percent in August compared to the same month last year, while Prius sales fell 24 percent.
Gasoline prices, which exceeded well above $4 a gallon in 2010 when the Leaf was new, are now slipping below $2 a gallon in some cities.
Nissan posted the retail price for the enhanced SV at $35,050, including destination and before the $7,500 federal EV tax credit. The SL model will increase $1,670 to $37,640 for 2016, including destination charge and before the tax credit. MSRP for the Leaf S trim remains unchanged at $29,860. Additional state tax credits may be available for your state.
Competing for new car sales in the same segment is the redesigned 2016 Toyota Prius. Here is a video right after it was revealed in Las Vegas on September 8.