Japanese automaker Nissan has confirmed that it is phasing out one of the most popular and affordable electric vehicles on the market to make way for its newer, more expensive EV model.
The Nissan Leaf, which was first released in 2010, is being discontinued in part so that Nissan can shift focus to its new EV that just launched, the Nissan Ariya, and other future electric offerings. Automotive News first reported rumors the Leaf would be discontinued in June.
The Leaf spent more than a decade as one of the most affordable entry-level EVs on the market, with a price that reliably hovered around $27,000.
The Ariya, on the other hand, starts at $43,190, with upgraded versions costing closer to $60,000. (It does not qualify for the EV tax credit, as it is made in Japan.)
In addition to a longer range, what customers get for the increased price tag includes more luxury finishes such as leather seats and dark-grain wood paneling on the dashboard.
“We figured out that by moving major components into the front of the car that we had this amazing open space, and naturally, because we’re a Japanese car company, you get these notions of Zen,” Nissan design head Alfonso Albaisa told Yahoo Finance. “At the same time, we were dreaming of this Japanese futurism.”
According to Electrek, however, despite the timing of the announcements, with the Leaf being on the way out while the Ariya is on the way in, the latter was never intended to be a replacement for the former. Nissan has said that it is planning some sort of successor to the Leaf that will go into production in 2026, although the car will also be larger and more expensive.
At least the Leafs will go to some use, as Nissan is running a program where old Leaf batteries are recycled and used for portable power sources.
The news about the Leaf phase-out caused one Electrek commenter to lament the state of the EV market in the United States, writing, “These actions make EVs available to fewer and fewer buyers, more and more rich people’s status symbols.”
While the Leaf’s departure is a setback for the affordable EV market, it’s not all bad news. The scaling up of EV production, rebates, and price wars are making EVs more accessible to consumers.
Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.