Nissan Leaf nameplate is sticking around

LOS ANGELES — The future of the Nissan Leaf has looked a bit grim as of late. The lineup has been dramatically reduced with just two trims, one with the small battery and one with the large one. And there were reports that Nissan would drop the car entirely. But according to Nissan’s director of EV marketing and sales strategy, Aditya Jairaj, the electric car that started it all at Nissan will stick around.

He didn’t offer many details, since a PR representative was nearby to enforce the “no comment on future product” rule. But he said the Leaf name will remain, that “it’s here to stay.”

That’s good news to us for a couple of reasons. Assuming that Nissan keeps the Leaf in the same entry-level segment into the future, this is good news for the affordable electric car market, as that will hopefully give consumers more options priced well under $40,000. It also seems like a smart move to keep a name that has some real electric history and recognition.

That being said, we wouldn’t be surprised if, with the nameplate remaining, there’s a new generation just on the horizon to replace the current one. The current Leaf has been on sale since the 2018 model year, and combined with an air-cooled battery and a near-obsolete fast-charging standard (at least in the U.S.), it’s feeling pretty old compared with other competition from America and Korea. It also looks behind-the-times next to the new Ariya with other modern technologies like liquid-cooled batteries, SAE combo charger connectors and a very bold design. A new Nissan EV with technology borrowed from Ariya and priced well under $40,000 (assuming the segment placement remains) would be highly attractive and a good competitor to Chevy Bolt, Kia Niro and others.

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