Leaf Sales Falling: Blame Model 3?

Leaf Sales Falling: Blame Model 3?

Nissan's EV star has faded this year despite the 62 kWh battery version entering the market.

In August, LEAF sales in Japan amounted to 1,661, which is 20% less than a year ago, although in line with the 12-month average (1,758).

The Japanese manufacturer will not repeat its 2018 success of selling 25,722 LEAFs in its home market. This year, the result is 14,066 after eight months (down 25% year-over-year).

Nissan LEAF sales in Japan – August 2019

The cumulative sales of the LEAF in Japan is approaching 130,000 and slowly catches up with the U.S. at 137,605. In the U.S., the LEAF also is struggling to get back to its best form.

rxlawdude | 09. September 2019

Isn't the Leaf using CHAdeMO for DCFC?

Question: how many new DCFC non-Tesla stations are coming on line with CHAdeMo vs. CCS?

vmulla | 09. September 2019

rxlawdude | September 9, 2019
Isn't the Leaf using CHAdeMO for DCFC?


I don't know what they were thinking when they made that standard, it does the job done as far as charging goes, but the weight of the cable and the design of the connector is ridiculous.

I've seen chademo connectors in places that make no sense (another topic, another day) but have yet to see CCS chargers. What cars have CCS?

andy | 09. September 2019

@vmulla makes good points. I slightly disagree, if you have the budget the 2 Model 3s might not always be the best choice. The Leaf has advantages, certainly in the UK, for city driving. It is easier to park (360 camera and smaller) and easier to get in and out of. You also need to be less concerned about dings as the car is 1/3rd to 1/2 the cost. It also has Apple CarPlay and a speed limiter - former gives you maps that warn of speed cameras and the latter keeps you to variable limits do allows you to quickly accelerate to the limit.

My ideal combo would be a 40kWh Leaf and a Model 3 if you can cope with 100 miles or less winter range in your second car and want to park in British car parks - which are all seemingly designed for 1960s Minis.

SamO | 09. September 2019

They just keep making stupid decisions and marginal cars. And now, whatever first-mover advantage they possessed, is now completely squandered.

Stupid cubed.

@Earl and Nagin has it 100% correct.


I know you like the Model 3 and I know you think a rising tide floats all boats, but Nissan is headed for irrelevancy unless they start turning the Titanic.

Earl and Nagin ... | 09. September 2019

We're all lucky Tesla was around or the Leaf would pretty much have killed the EV a second time but showing that only lame cars can be EVs. I realize that there is a market for lame cars (I know it was adequate freeway-fodder for me for 8 years and 100,000 miles), however, it is not a market that will enable growth and we needed (and still need) the EV market to grow.

jimglas | 09. September 2019

@vmulla: good advice
I wish he could afford a SR+, probably the best option out there
but just starting out with a beautiful 1.5 yo daughter

vmulla | 09. September 2019

@Earl and Nagin,
Your experience is shaded by the first generation battery degradation. I know that it's very bad.

Fortunately the offending battery tech in Leaf was replaced with a much more resilient battery. I've enjoyed the better battery tech with minimal degradation over 33k miles (6-7 miles of range lost over 3yrs/33k miles). Also, there's zero degradation in the 15k miles/18months in the new generation Leaf.

I'm glad Tesla isn't the only company that's investing in better batteries.

carlk | 09. September 2019
vmulla | 09. September 2019

The 3 affected the sales of cars well beyond is segment :)

Considering that the Leaf is an EV it's actually holding it's own quite well. It's not because of the tech, I suspect it's because it hit the budget sweet spot for commuters.

billtphotoman | 10. September 2019

We own a 2018 Leaf SL with every option and paid effectively high 20s _before_ any federal or state incentives. I think the 40 kWh Leaf makes a great in town car while the 62 kWh Leaf charges too slow and offers too little range at highway speeds (Our Leaf gets under 3 miles per kWh at 75 MPH). If Nissan just abandoned the dealership model and priced the 40 kWh Leaf in the 20s I think it would sell well. At MSRP it has no chance against the model 3. I do see a market for 150ish mile range BEVs for people who don't do road trips or own a 2nd road trip capable car (model 3 LR RWD in our case).

vmulla | 10. September 2019

@billtphotoman said it nicely +1

My twist to the input. I think the higher end options in the leaf are not worth the price. I like the adaptive cruise control option, but it gets disabled after 3seconds of car being standstill. That's basically useless in morning rush hour traffic, when I need it the most. This is where Tesla shines.

Which brings be back to - I'd love a smaller battery pack Tesla in a small hatchback form factor.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 11. September 2019

vmulla responded to Earl and Nagin with, "It's still a good EV elsewhere in the world, even without doing anything much in your list above."

Perhaps. The point is that Tesla does ALL those things anywhere and everywhere they are allowed to, once they decide to offer their cars in a given region or territory. And that strategy has proven more successful in those regions where both brands operate.

vmulla concluded, "My point being that there's a strong market in the less range inexpensive EV segment."

No. There isn't. The highest number of Nissan LEAF sold in the U.S. was 30,200 units in 2014, five years ago. The same year Nissan sold 139,781 units of their ICE powered VERSA to U.S. customers. The VERSA declined in sales to only 75,809 units in 2018 U.S. sales, an amount nearly doubled by the Tesla Model 3. The LEAF only found U.S.buyers for 14,715 units in 2018. There is no 'strong market' for inexpensive NEW cars at all. Perhaps USED, but definitely not NEW.

2010 _______ 19
2011 ____ 9,674
2012 ___ 10,297
2013 ___ 22,610
2014 ___ 30,200
2015 ___ 18,442
2016 ___ 14,006
2017 ___ 11,230
2018 ___ 14,715
2019 ____ 8,063 (YTD Through August)

kevin_rf | 11. September 2019

Those numbers are in a vacuum, from 2015 time frame on, other Ev's slowly entered the market, not just the Tesla Model 3.

SamO | 11. September 2019



Leaf doesn't compete well when there are other EVs for sale, obviously.

This only makes @ReD's point even more forcefully. The Leaf is not a desirable or useful EV in the United States.

it is a compromised, low-utility, overpriced clowncar.

vmulla | 11. September 2019

"it is a compromised, low-utility, overpriced clowncar" @SamO

Ok :)) ... It's also something that helped me avoid 48K ICE miles

Let me flip the question, what's the smallest range car that's acceptable? And why?

kevin_rf | 11. September 2019

Golf cart, because it gets me to the bar at the end of the golf course ;-)

SamO | 11. September 2019

Vmulla, you seem honestly confounded by my thesis, which I’ve stated no less than 5 times in This thread.

There is no range great enough to overcome a lack of a charging network.

Which is why Nissan had always sold a niche car with the Leaf. Like the Taycan. It doesn’t actually “accelerate” the transition the renewable energy.

It makes people hate the idea of EVs.

texxx | 11. September 2019

Sorry SamO, but I have to disagree that the Leaf makes people hate the idea of EVs. My friend at the office is a walking billboard for EVs and it's because of his used Leaf. You're ignoring the short-range commuter use case, which is why the Leaf works for him. He charges at work, charges at home, and has no illusion this is a long distance car. It was cheap to buy, incredibly cheap to operate, and he's a cheap guy. Perfect fit.

vmulla | 11. September 2019

@texxx said it.
Like another said the Leaf is excellent 'highway fodder'. I don't think anyone of the Leaf supporters on this forum expect cross country travel. They have enjoyed 1000s of miles as daily driver - at a fraction of the cost of a Tesla. My Leaf experience costed me less than what it would have costed if I went with a low end Corolla/Civic, what's not to love?

You don't seem to get that ^

Next, do a bit of research and check how far apart cities are in Europe, Asia, India - all big auto markets. Leaf or any car with similar range is a viable car there, much more so than in the USA.

No one is denying a robust charging network will help. I'm pointing out the solid use case for a shorter range EV.

Finally, if I or other Leaf owners are supporting the car it's because we are satisfied owners - we wouldn't do that if it were a total disaster :) *

It's not like we're trashing Tesla either, we're Tesla owners too - we recognize the strengths in each car

*First generation Leaf owners with serious battery degradation have a legit reason to take issue with the Leaf. Fortunately, the battery tech has improved vastly.

Point I'm making, I strongly believe there's a good market for low end, shorter range electric cars.

SamO | 11. September 2019

I point out the solid lack of evidence for demand.

SamO | 11. September 2019

By the way . . . you can strongly believe something, which you do, without any evidence.

Leaf sales - tank
iPace sales - tank
GM Bolt sales - tank
Kia - tank

and so it goes. Good thing you guys aren't in charge of actually selling cars.

vmulla | 11. September 2019

My evidence is my own use case. Our family uses the Leaf for 70 miles a day as a commuter car. Overall cost to commute on my Leaf is very attractive - and it's an EV.

Let's take the case of Model 3 owning family who wants to get a second car. The second car need not be a long range EV - right? They already have something to drive across country. That family would save significantly by filling their needs with a commuter car.

If money isn't an object, by all means they should get a P3D :)

Let's put all that aside. I'm a EV enthusiast that is very happy with my lower range EV that I use as a local car - and I save a lot driving 2 excellent EVs - no ICE

SamO | 11. September 2019

Your own use case doesn't mean shit.

SamO | 11. September 2019

You sound like the Porsche owners telling me how amazing his car is. I don't understand just how amazing the growl of the engine . . .

This isn't a thread about your personal use case. This thread is about why demand for these cars is terrible.

What OTHER people might want i.e. demand for a vehicle is less than 1%. Less than 1% of car buyers want this type of car.

SamO | 11. September 2019

Less than 1% believe it will work for their use case.

Less than 1% of car buyers think this is appropriate, given the severe limitations on range and charging.

The cars are too expensive for what you get. They feel like a terrible value.

That's what I hear over and over again.

vmulla | 11. September 2019

Hey SamO,
Let's do numbers ok?

Leaf costs ~27k before tax credits.
Model 3 is ~40k before tax credits

That gets Leaf under 20k, and 3 is ~39k.

Different car, vastly different capabilities - but if someone is on a budget the payments for the Leaf are 1/2 of the 3.

Many two car households will do well with a second smaller range EV.

The Leaf has 165 miles of range, that's plenty and some for most commuters.

vmulla | 11. September 2019

Oh, I'm not fixated on the Leaf either. Any smaller range EV would make good budget commuter vehicle.

SamO | 11. September 2019

Sigh...You don’t have to do the math for me. Just post the Leaf sales chart. Everyone can read a graph.

What is your explanation for why only 1% want to buy these cars?

vmulla | 11. September 2019

How many percent of overall car sales are Tesla sales?

Let's talk about relative sales between Tesla and Leaf, you'll notice it's still doing ok for itself - and that's with a car like Model 3 in the

You're just ignoring a good use case.

Let's do it another way. Do you think a household needs two long range EVs?

SamO | 11. September 2019

Observe reality. You are trying to convince the wrong person.

I am explaining the world as it is.

You are trying to convince me that Americans are 100% logical.

I am right and you are wrong.

SamO | 11. September 2019


Riddle me this: why do so many Americans buy pickup trucks who never haul anything? Never drive in inclement weather. Never go in mud. Never climb a steep grade.

vmulla | 11. September 2019


the last 2 messages are fun :))

My target audience is an EV enthusiast commuter who is budget concious. So yes, I'm hoping folks who are following along have a logical outlook.

You're suggesting that not all consumers act rationally? I won't contest that :)

I'm not sure if you're suggesting that Americans have an insecurity about range, and therefore want bigger range vehicles - if that's your point, then yes I won't argue. It's probably true.

Awareness about range, charging and usage patterns will adjust as more people adopt EVs.

I cringe when someone says I absolutely need 300 miles of range - I'm thinking, really? Are you even using 1/4 that range on a daily basis? If not, why are you spending more than you have to for that occasional road trip?

I hope you don't loose context of my first message on the topic :)

Good night

WantMY | 11. September 2019

I would worry more about S and X weak sales. Why would Tesla worry about Leaf? it has plenty of competitors EV by now.

Earl and Nagin ... | 11. September 2019

Actually more charging stations won't help the Leaf. Without thermal management, the battery gets warm during the first fast charge so, after that, it charges at 20 kW or less -- and, most likely does battery damage.
I drove one from LA to San Jose once. It was an interesting adventure, similar to driving the EV1 that same route. I'll probably include both in my memoirs some day.
While I proved it can be done, I also pretty much proved it shouldn't be done.

billtphotoman | 12. September 2019

@vmulla on Leaf costs.. Not only is the out the door price at least $13K less than the model 3 (before tax incentives) but the tire replacement costs (by far the biggest maintenance expense in owning a model 3) are also less than half. The Leaf runs much less expensive and longer lasting tires. So, for us Leaf + Model 3 LR works perfectly. As I mentioned earlier, I think the bug problem for the Leaf is the window sticker price. Most of my co-workers who have even heard of a Leaf think it sells for well north of $30K. If people think Leaf's cost that much they will just go straight to the model 3.

SamO | 12. September 2019


Thanks for that. I wasn’t aware of the technical limitations of the Leaf.

What a shitshow.

jordanrichard | 12. September 2019

SamO, what is the issue? You don't like the Leaf, ok, move on. Different cars for different budgets, tastes and needs. If one needs a farm vehicle to haul bails of hay, what a "POS" the Model S is for that purpose......

Now I have admittedly been vocal about the limitations of other EVs, but it was in the vein of mocking the hyperbole the car manufactures were spitting out about their respective EVs. I think the current Leaf is a good looking car, compared to the first version. The i3 is still ugly as sin. The Taycan is a nice looking car as well though I think the heavily angled center console screen will have glare problems.

You don't blame kids for poor manners, you blame the parents. Don't fault the car, fault the manufacturer. It's a subtle yet important distinction.

Earl and Nagin ... | 12. September 2019

Unfortunately, small battery packs are only a short term gain. They'll need replacing soon because of higher cycle life. This is a major reason that current used compliance EVs are so cheap -- their batteries are all long in the tooth.
Having new Teslas, Konas, Bolts, etc, at a lower TCO (given that no backup ICE is needed) to which people are upgrading also contributes.
When Tesla designed the Roadster, the goal was to be able to warranty 100,000 miles out of it. They knew that the commodity batteries at the time were good for about 500 full charge/discharge cycles. Therefore, from the math, they realized they needed 200 miles of range (200 miles/cycle * 500 cycles/life = 100,000 miles/life. The convenience of 200 mile range and the power available in that many batteries were simply icing on the cake.
New battery chemistry and design has improved the cycle life so one may be able to get a shorter-range EV today but the same basic cycle-life issue will always exist.

vmulla | 12. September 2019

@Earl and Nagin,
Cheaper product means less features and probably less durability. That's the expectation that I have.

That said I've shared that my 2015 Leaf lost 6-7 miles of range over 33k miles and 3 years. I'm confident that car's battery is resilient enough to last beyond 100K. The 2018 Leaf has not lost any range in the 15k miles I had it for.

In this case of battery durability wrt price, the cheaper car (Leaf) has done quite well.

About thermal management, and resilience in repeat charging - you're a brave soul to try cross country travel on the Leaf. That's the kind of scenario where battery degrades right? Well, I wouldn't recommend that kind of usage on the Leaf - simple.

vmulla | 12. September 2019

Reality is Leaf* is a excellent commuter car that's good for many years of daily use at about half the price of the cheapest Tesla.(with the incentives rolled in)

Leaf* - it can be any smaller range EV actually.

Magic 8 Ball | 12. September 2019

Car ownership is expensive and getting more expensive to where many are predicting car ownership will disappear altogether. Having a task specific car (short range only) makes less and less sense. People do not want to pay for multiple insurance policies etc.

TabascoGuy | 12. September 2019

I only "need" 5 miles of range to get myself to work or back. Any of the non Tesla EV's that get slammed here would work just fine for that.

I know it's happening slowly but it is and it's still all part of the mission.

andy.connor.e | 12. September 2019

The Leaf was very good when it was the only EV you could really get that made any practical sense. Its price was reasonable, but their shortfall was investing in a good BMS system which resulted in a class-action lawsuit at one point. Now that Tesla has achieved their high volume car, the Leaf just isnt up to par anymore. Lower income people such as myself appeal to the Leaf financially, but it doesnt give me the confidence of a ICE replacement. Fast charging network is key. I do in fact do a small amount of long distance traveling, but practically speaking, its not a good solution to be inconvenienced by the lack of fast charging when trying to travel WHEN YOU NEED TO. Thats one of the great things about gasoline, is that it takes such a short time to fill that you literally dont even have to think about it. The fact that people have to start thinking about it is whats driving everyones anxiety about EVs. Check out that rant?

vmulla | 12. September 2019

In many 2 car households the second car fills a specific need - within the city driving needs.

I would expect many households to keep costs down. Smaller range EVs fill that gap at a fraction of Tesla's costs.

andy.connor.e | 12. September 2019

I never thought owning two cars keeps costs down vs having 1 car. Unless your household required two vehicles for the occupants.

SamO | 12. September 2019

People think that if they just keep arguing, someone, anyone will by this bilious garbage.

Hard pass.

SamO | 12. September 2019


vmulla | 12. September 2019

You make excellent points, that's why I have taken those points into consideration when I make my case.

I say:
- Leaf* is an excellent commuter car
- This is applicable when the family needs a second car, not as a primary car
- it costs far less than the least expensive Tesla
- it can handle many years of daily commuter needs
- it is very practical as a run around task car

If someone has a bigger need than what the Leaf can fill, or if the household needs only one car the choice is ONLY Tesla

andy.connor.e | 12. September 2019

Agreed! I wish i could afford to have two cars really. I need a utility vehicle (large SUV or truck) and a commuter car like a smart car. I just got my sedan last year and im kicking myself for it. Hoping to be able to afford the Y when its available in like 2 years.

billtphotoman | 12. September 2019

I have no doubt Tesla could build a better Leaf than Nissan but for now that isn't on their radar. We always charge our Leaf at home on L2 so we really don't care about L3 charging limitations. The most miles are Leaf has seen in a day is about 80 and most days it sees less than 20. We use the model 3 LR for road trips. Horses for courses and all that stuff. I think if more consumers were aware of the _actual sales price_ of the 40 kW Leaf it would sell better as an in-town commuter. I don't think the Leaf+ makes sense. You are paying for extra battery capacity you don't need in a commuter but the range at highway speeds (75 MPH here in TX) is still not enough due to the trade-off made between aerodynamics and utility.