The base trim of the new extended-range Nissan Leaf electric sedan could offer about 25 additional miles of EPA-advertised range compared with higher trim models, according to a test certificate from the California Air Resources Board. That would be the equivalent of the entire battery range of the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
Nissan downplayed the CARB estimates, noting the EPA has not yet announced the official range for the new Leaf E Plus, which will be sold in the U.S. and Canada under the Leaf Plus series.
Even so, with the Leaf E Plus blowing past the 200-mile-range barrier, Nissan finally has a competitive response to the wave of modern EVs produced and promised. Nissan estimates the extended-range Leaf to have an EPA range of up to 226 miles, allowing the grandfather of affordable EVs to keep pace with the Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles) and Tesla's elusive base Model 3 (220 miles).
Nissan was roundly chided a year ago when its redesigned Leaf debuted, focusing on the lower end of the price spectrum with a more modest battery.
Having more than 200 miles of range is competitive for EVs today, said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions.
"The competition has raised the bar for an entry-level EV," Fiorani said.