EVLN: $57.5k Tesla-3 &$44k Leaf EVs compared> Model-3 takes it!

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EVLN: $57.5k Tesla-3 &$44k Leaf EVs compared> Model-3 takes it!

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I drove a $57,500 Tesla Model 3 and a $44,000 Nissan Leaf — here's how these
all-electric cars stacked up
Nov 2, 2019  Matthew DeBord

Leaf  / Crystal Cox/Business Insider









The Tesla Model 3  / Hollis Johnson/Business Insider





 Tesla-3 frunk



 Model 3 takes it!

Nissan beat Tesla to market with a practical, all-electric vehicle when in
2010 it launched the Leaf.

Tesla caught up, but with the expensive Model S sedan.

The arrival of the Model 3 in 2017 signaled a new era. Now, consumers could
choose between the proven Leaf and the stunning new Model 3; the Model 3 had
better performance and longer range, but the Leaf was a known quantity.

This year, I tested a longer-range version of the Leaf — the Leaf SL Plus —
and was impressed. So I thought I'd compare it with the Model 3.

Here's how the cars stack up:

Here's the 2019 Nissan Leaf SL Plus! Looking sharp in "Deep Pearl Blue."

Read the review.
Pretty much the same Deep Pearl Blue as the Leaf that was a Business Insider
Car of the Year finalist in 2018. That car had a single electric motor,
producing 147 horsepower, a 40-kWh battery pack, and delivered 151 miles of
range on a full charge.
Nissan Leaf

The SL Plus trim level has a 62 kilowatt-hour battery. The larger pack adds
roughly 70 miles of range compared to the standard Leaf's 151-mile battery.

The Leaf is the top-selling EV globally, which makes sense as the car has
been around since 2010. Over 300,000 have been sold.

The SL trim level is the top-of-the-line version. That's why my test car
cost $44,000. The base Leaf, with a smaller battery a less range, starts at
under $30,000.

The goal when the Leaf was launched was for the Japanese automaker to
embrace a "zero emission" future. It hasn't quite worked out that way, but
the company is making progress, and Leaf is still with us.

Hatchback silhouettes aren't typically associated with automotive
aggression, and EVs tend to project a mostly virtuous vibe. But the Leaf's
fascia is rather bold.

The 2019 Leaf, like the second-generation 2018 car, is much sleeker than the
original. However, we're talking about a practical hatchback here, so let's
not get too excited.

Aerodynamics play a role in increasing EV range, so while the hatch design
favors utility, the Leaf's front end has been engineered for airflow: the
car has a 0.28 drag coefficient.

The LED headlights are a standout feature.

Overall, the Leaf projects a fairly European identity. That perhaps has
turned off some US customers, who have basically abandoned small vehicles in
favor of large SUVs and pickups.

The Leaf's "Light Gray" interior was pleasant, if a bit shy of premium. The
seats were comfy, and there was a reasonable amount of space to stow small

The back seat was about average, space-wise, for the segment.

The Leaf has always received criticism for its "tweener" nature. It's not a
luxury car, but it's also not bare-bones. I've always thought it hits a
sweet-spot for customers who aren't wealthy but who have the means to invest
in an EV.

The Leaf's eight-inch color infotainment display looks good, but we aren't
the biggest fans of the system's layout. It is easy to use, and Bluetooth
device-pairing is a snap. You also have available Apple CarPlay and Android

The toggle-button shifter has a slight learning curve. And storage could be
better, although there are the usual pair of cupholders between the seats.

An unassuming rear hatch for the most part, but you're quickly informed of
this EV's nonpolluting pedigree.

The Leaf's cargo area is an excellent 24 cubic feet, expandable to 30 with
the rear seats dropped. The hatch's opening is a tad awkward, with a sort of
oval shape.

Charging is unchanged from the Leaf we tested last year, at least as far as
the ports go. There are two, one for 240V "Level 2" charging and one for
fast DC charging.

Our Leaf SL Plus had a 160 kilowatt electric motor, making a juicy 214
horsepower with 250 pound-feet of torque.

The Leaf also has regenerative braking. And when the e-Pedal feature is
engaged, it's possible to drive the car using motor braking almost alone,
putting power back into the battery.

There's also an onboard charge cable "trickle" top-offs using a regular wall
outlet for 120V power. Using 240V, the Leaf Plus is back to 100% in 11.5
hours. Fast DC charging, however, can achieve 80% in 45 minutes.

We used the ChargePoint network and did fine with two rounds of 240V
charging over the course of a week. It's also possible to install your own
240V ChargePoint unit at home; one can be purchased for about $500, with
installation handled by a qualified electrician.

We also used the Nissan Connect iPhone app to monitor charging and to manage
climate control and vehicle diagnostics.

So how does the Nissan Leaf Plus stack up?
Nissan Leaf Plus

If you can afford the payments — which come in at about $670 a month, on a
72-month loan — you'll spend around $54 a month on electricity, according to
Nissan and the Department of Transportation and the EPA (the cost is based
on 15,000 miles of annual driving). Gas could cost you more than twice as
much, for a comparable petrol-burning machine.

The Leaf Plus is also still eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, as
well as various state incentives.

AND you don't have to buy the top-spec SL trim, like our tester — you could
opt for the $36,550 plain-old Plus and still get a 62-kilowatt-hour battery

OK, you won't feel compelled to buy the Leaf Plus if your budget is more
Nissan Versa Note, a $15,650 hatchback that runs on gas (but not much of it)
and could be had for less than $250 a month. The Versa sedan is even
cheaper: less than $15,000.

Electric cars, of course, aren't cheap (although you can pick up a used Leaf
from the previous generation for around $10,000). But if you have the means
and are serious about making the transition from fossil fuels to
EEE-lec-tricity for propulsion, the Leaf Plus's 215-miles of range could
flip your switch.

The 6.5-second 0-60 mph should also flip your switch. That's darn quick, for
a car that outwardly resembles something you'd find parked on the streets of
Paris and used mainly for baguette runs. My beef with the Leaf, compared to
other EVs is that it felt solid yet sluggish. Against the Bolt, the
shorter-range Leaf seemed to lack snap.

Not so anymore. The larger battery and more peppy motors have made the Leaf
Plus feel downright sporty. My test car also included a suite of
driver-assist and semi-self-driving features (Nissan's ProPilot, for
example, which can handle steering assist), so the Leaf has become a rather
complete package that, for $44,000 as tested, was genuinely packed with

Now let's check out the Model 3!

I drove what was at the time a $57,500 Model 3 and raved about it in my

We also named it a runner-up for Business Insider's 2018 Car of the Year.

The Model 3 in "Standard Range Plus" trim with rear-wheel-drive and the
"Partial Premium Interior" is the least expensive version available on Tesla
configurator. It's about $40,000.

Model S Pricing

I also briefly sampled the $78,000 Performance version of the Model 3 when
it first came out. The white interior is really something special — I can
see why it's popular.
Tesla Model P3D

I spent a week with my test car, running it through its paces.

Read the review.

The Model 3 is a sharp set of wheels, designed by Tesla's Franz von
Holzhausen to embody forward thinking without taking any wild and crazy

The Model 3 is sleek, not overly curvaceous, and something of a hybrid of
midsize and full-size sedan. No grille because ... there's no gas engine to
feed air!

The roof is a continuous curve of glass, with a fastback rear hatch/trunk
culminating in a crisp spoiler. The recessed door handles and the window
trim are the only significant chrome on the Model 3.

The Model 3 is unadorned except for the Tesla badge. By the way, fit and
finish on my test car were superb.

The Model 3 has plenty of trunk space — and an offbeat hatch design to
enable that continuous glass roof.

With its "frunk" the Model 3 offers an ample 15 cubic feet of space. This
gives the Model 3, a sedan, versatility on par with SUVs.

You have to be a minimalist to love the Model 3's interior. The leatherette
upholstery is animal-free, and the flash is ... well, there isn't any.

Tesla makes its own seats. The Model 3's are quite comfy and supportive for
more spirited driving, and the front seats are heated. There was decent
legroom in back.

The Model 3 has no key fob. Instead, that duty is handled by a Tesla
smartphone app ...

With a credit-card-size valet key as a backup.

The Model 3 in this configuration can dash from zero to 60 mph in about five

That's speedy enough for anybody, and the quality of that speed is very
Tesla and very electric-car. EVs have 100% of their available torque at 1
rpm, which means potentially neck-snapping velocity.

A Model S P100D with Ludicrous Mode engaged can do zero to 60 mph in under
2.3 seconds. That's jarring acceleration. The Model 3 is calmer. But not too
calm. You are rewarded when you punch it.

The Model 3 also has regenerative braking, which can be customized to be
heavy or light. Heavy acts almost like an engine brake and permits the
driver to actively brake much less frequently than with a gas vehicle, while
recharging the battery. Light mitigates the sense that the Model 3 is
tugging when coasting.

For what it's worth, the Model 3 I tested lacked a Ludicrous or Insane mode
— the default is quick acceleration. But you can switch that to Chill Mode,
which dials it back. And I did. Chill is considerably easier to live with.

The showstopper for the Model 3 has always been the dashboard. Beginning
with the steering wheel. Unlike nearly every other steering wheel on the
planet, the Model 3's has almost no knobs or buttons.

The large, central touchscreen handles almost all vehicle functions. The
left side is reserved for the readouts you'd normally find on an instrument

Navigation is the standout feature, but the voice-recognition system is
about the best I've ever used in a modern vehicle. The Tesla-designed audio
system is superb, and connectivity with devices is a breeze.

I recharged my tester Model 3 at a Supercharger location near my home. But
most owners will charge overnight using a "level 2" setup at 240 volts. It's
also possible to trickle charge using the onboard cable and a standard wall

Free supercharging for life used to be a great perk of Tesla ownership. But
as ownership has grown, Tesla has adjusted the deal.

The company also discourages owners from using Superchargers for casual
daily fill-ups, preferring they plug into slower charging options at home
and save supercharging for longer trips.

A Supercharger will recharge a Model 3 Long Range from zero to full in about
an hour. Using 240-volt power will get the job done overnight, and a basic
wall outlet will get you a mile an hour in an emergency.

Unlike a quick gas-n-go, you do have to cultivate some patience with Tesla's
recharging process.

In case you're wondering about Autopilot: I've reviewed the technology
before and consider it very advanced cruise control. I strongly recommend
against ever going hands-free with it.

The Model 3 is engineered to someday have full self-driving capability. That
day hasn't come yet. But it will surely add value if it does.

I used Autopilot with the Model 3 during my longest test, and it performed
as it always has for me in other Tesla vehicles. But the truth is that I
liked driving the Model 3 so darn much that I didn't flip Autopilot on very
often. I can't be the only person who feels this way.

Teslas are a blast to drive — that ever-present temptation, to be honest,
undermines Autopilot. I enjoy driving. For what it is, Autopilot is an
excellent technology.

So what's the verdict?
The Model 3 takes it!

But it was closer that you might think. The Model 3 has longer range, is
faster from 0-60 mph, has a cooler infotainment system and more
forward-thinking interior design, exudes exterior styling mojo, offers
better recharging options, and is reasonably well put-together.

The Leaf Plus comes in second The Leaf Plus comes in second in all of those
areas except build quality. BUT the Leaf Plus is certainly the nicest EV
than Nissan has thus far created, and it's much easier to simply go down to
your local Nissan dealership, pick one up, and drive it home.

In fact, the closeness of the Leaf to the Model 3 is a somewhat
uncomfortable reminder than the Model 3, while impressive, is more of a
high-mid-market to low-end-premium vehicle. The Leaf is electric motoring
for the masses, more or less, and so is the Model 3. But the Model 3's
current customer set is being asked to accept a more bare-bones car than
they'd get from, say, Jaguar with the I-Pace or Audi with its e-Tron.

If I had to choose, I'd buy the Tesla. But I could also easily be happy with
the Leaf. And if I bought the Leaf, I would be eyeing allegedly nicer
vehicles from luxury brands, whereas with the Model 3 I might not.

That all said, this comparison did make me recollect the Model 3's general
brilliance. It genuinely is a staggering achievement. While the Leaf Plus
definitely gets the job done, the Model 3 demonstrates why Tesla is
investing in making electrified transportation more than an A-to-B
proposition, powered by something that isn't a fossil fuel. As I've said
before, the Model 3 appeals to the automotive philosopher in me: it's
crammed with ideas.

And the Model 3 by its nature makes you feel better about yourself. It is
intellectually stimulating, a mood-improvement machine. I perked up every
time I slipped behind the wheel, and most days I had to deal with rainy
Northeast gloom. Gray skies weren't going to clear up, but it didn't matter,
because the Model 3 helped me put on a happy face.

It can blast to 60 mph in five seconds, it can drive itself with your
supervision under some conditions, and it has a five-star safety rating from
the government. What's more, it's a California-made, all-electric car from
the first new American car company in decades.

But the truly astounding thing is that Tesla, in only about five years of
seriously manufacturing automobiles, could build a car this good.

If you're debating between the roughly $40,000 Nissan Leaf SL Plus or a
slightly cheaper Leaf trim level and the approximately $40,000 base Tesla
Model 3, the decision isn't hard. You won't be unhappy with the Leaf, but
with the Model 3, you will follow some serious bliss.
[© businessinsider.com]

Green number plates for electric cars let drivers park for free and use bus
1st November 2019  A similar scheme was trialled in Ontario with drivers of
electric vehicles given free access to toll lanes and high occupancy vehicle
lanes ...

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