2019 Nissan Leaf Plus Pricing Announced, Takes Aim at $35K Tesla Model 3

After federal and state incentives, the Leaf Plus undercuts the Model 3 by several thousand dollars. 

2019 Nissan Leaf SL Plus
James Gilboy, The Drive

On Friday, Nissan confirmed pricing for the premium version of its electric Leaf hatchback, the Leaf Plus.

Fundamental differences between the Leaf and Leaf Plus are centered around the model's drivetrain. Motor power jumps from 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque on the Leaf to 214 and 250 respectively on the Leaf Plus, while the battery swells from 40 kilowatt-hours to 62. Range, as a result, is 226 miles on the Leaf Plus as opposed to the Leaf's 150. Though the changes may sound marginal to some, the Leaf Plus proved itself a tempting purchase when we drove it not too long ago.

Pricing for the entry-level Leaf S Plus is $36,550, or $6,560 above a Leaf S. The Leaf SV Plus commands an MSRP of $38,510, and the finest model, the Leaf SL Plus, $42,550. All listed prices are prior to any regional or federal electric vehicle tax credits or rebates. Nissan buyers are still eligible for the full $7,500 federal EV tax credit, which pulls the Leaf S Plus' effective price to $28,050, and the Leaf SL Plus to $35,050.

Nissan's announcement of the Leaf Plus' pricing comes in close proximity to Tesla's announcement that orders for the long-awaited, entry-level $35,000 Model 3 have opened. As of Jan. 1, Tesla products qualify for only $3,750 in federal credit, which will again shrink to $1,875 on July 1, and $0 on Jan. 1, 2020. Prior to regional incentives, this places the Leaf S Plus almost dead center between the two cheapest Model 3s, the Standard Range and Standard Range Plus packages, at $28,050, $26,950, and $28,950 respectively.

Base for base, the Leaf S Plus is positioned favorably above the base Model 3, offering standard Apple CarPlay, forward collision warning, better range, and heated, electrically adjustable, leather-appointed front seats. Competition heats up when the Model 3 vaults up a trim, gaining better range and a comparable interior while maintaining the base Model 3's performance advantage over the Leaf Plus. Upcoming changes to Tesla's tax credit eligibility will mean that the Standard Range Model 3 will in Q3 have a net cost to buyer nearly that of the current Standard Range Plus, which will play to Nissan's favor later in 2019.

The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus will arrive in dealers this month, where it can be test-driven. Tesla estimates delivery of a Model 3 ordered online within two weeks, though its announcement that its retail network will be curtailed in the coming months means most prospective Model 3 customers will not be able to trial the car before buying.