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Tesla Inc.’s “Affordable” Model 3 Steps Aside For Nissan Leaf 2018 (TSLA)

Tesla Inc Model S Elon Musk Shares

The Nissan Leaf is the first widely purchased fully electric car, taking owners where they need to go with zero exhaust emissions. The likes of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Chevrolet claim to offer the best-in-class EVs. However, when it comes to affordability, the Leaf comes out on top. This humble-looking car offers no facades and is a product the Japanese carmaker’s Intelligent Mobility unit. Now Nissan is ready to give the world a refreshed edition of their adorable electric hatchback. Better yet, the unveiling is only hours away.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk might insist that his car company brought affordability to the electric vehicle space. Yet, any electric car fanatic can tell you that affordability is nothing nothing new to the market. The Nissan Leaf has been around for 7 years and goes for about $5,000 less than the Model 3 Tesla. The carmaker is about to push out a redone version. For all we know, this could spell trouble for affordable electric car rivals.

The Nissan Leaf is no small player. It is the reining champion among its low-cost EV peers. In truth, the arena of cheap, fully electric cars only crowded up in 2017. Besides th nearly seven year-old Leaf, the alternative driving market is flooded by hybrid cars. Such vehicles parade the idea of being powered by electricity, but have a combustion engines supplementing their electric drivetrains.

Although, it is hard to blame automakers for shying away from EVs. Fully electric cars lack that long range component, something every driver appreciates. EVs are only able to take people so far on a single charge. What if your destination is out of the city, or requires travel along a long stretch of unpopulated road? The idea of being stranded with no way to recharge is probably electric car owner’s worst fear. This perception of limited range also renders these cars as the playthings of city slickers and hardcore environmentalists.

Nissan Leaf 2018 Teaser
Nissan Leaf 2018 Teaser

Bearing all of that, the Nissan Leaf has done considerably well for itself. Since its launch in 2011, the car has raked in about 280,000 purchases worldwide. Its closest competitor arrived late last year. That is the Chevrolet Bolt under General Motors. Although GM’s EV is not exactly flying off the shelves, it is definitely finding a buyer base somewhere between the Leaf and Tesla’s vehicles. Since the Bolt’s launch in December 2016, 8,000 units have been sold. Projection peg the car to reach about 12,000 units buy year-end.

Tesla Inc Model 3 still a big problem

On the other, other side of the fence rests Tesla, the truest EV champion. Now no longer a car brand for the deep-pocketed individual, it rakes in the affordable EV market in heaps. Company CEO confirmed a near half a million strong waiting list for the new Model 3. That puts the company in production hell, but means the Model 3 will surpass the Bolt and eventually the Leaf in a matter of months.

The Leaf is already well accepted, though. Giving it a new look could be enough to ignite purchases. And that is what Nissan is doing. The public will officially lay eyes on the car this Tuesday, the 5th of September. Its makers plan to showcase the new vehicle at the at 8pm Eastern time. The public has a few teaser images to go on and a several leaked shots. From what is shown, Nissan gave their adorable EV a meaner and sharper look. The curves are gone now, replaced with dramatic edges. Leaked images reveal a more aggressive look, hinting at increased performance and perhaps more range.

The car is no real rival the Model 3 from Tesla Inc.(NASDAQ:TSLA) . Nissan has no real intention of taking Musk’s affordable sedan head on. arguably looks better. The latest Tesla Inc. sedan covers 220 miles per full charge. It comes with a host of perks not offered on the Leaf, too. Much of that can be acquired for $35,000, which can be incentive enough to buy it. The Nissan Leaf is only $5,000 cheaper, but offers a poor 107 miles per full charge. That is more than 110 miles below the Tesla Model 3’s minimum range.

Is the Nissan Leaf after range or price?

Analysts expect a mild range increase for the 2018 Nissan Leaf. Do not expect anything nothing over 200 miles, though. What Nissan really wants, says one expert, is to bring the car’s look into the modern day. The Japanese carmarker would have it more appealing to the eye. The Leaf is not hard to spot on the road. That is not to say it a looker, though. It is “not very attractive,” says Ed Hellwig of Edmunds. With bigger and better rivals, the Leaf needs to be more alluring to a greater ranger of buyers.

Hellwig goes on to say that if the range does get an increase, people should not hold their breath for much. The Nissan Leaf prides itself as the most inexpensive, pure EV around. Too many additions would take that way.

That said, additional battery options could come with the new Leaf. Those might offer greater range for an additional cost. All of this is just speculation, though. And who knows? A better looking and better performing version might send masses flocking toward Nissan’s latest Leaf. Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) can expect no relief from EV rivals looking to win over the pocket-friendly car market.

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Mvusi Ngubane

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