The Nissan Leaf, an EV pioneer and sales flop, is reportedly being phased out

The Nissan Leaf, an EV pioneer and sales flop, is reportedly being phased out

The Nissan Leaf, a pioneering electric vehicle and one of the most affordable EVs on the market today, is nearing the end of its life cycle. According to Automotive News, Nissan has no plans to introduce a next-generation Leaf and may even discontinue the nameplate entirely.

According to three anonymous sources, production of the current Leaf will end by the middle of the decade. A Nissan spokesperson declined to speculate on the Leaf’s future but stated that the company has noticed a “renewed” interest in the Leaf amid high demand for EVs.

If Nissan follows through on its plan to phase out the Leaf, it will be the latest small vehicle to succumb to American car buyers’ insatiable appetite for massive, towering, climate-destroying trucks and SUVs. The Leaf is currently Nissan’s only electric vehicle sold in the United States, but later this year, the company will introduce the Ariya, a new electric crossover SUV with a range of up to 300 miles.

Notably, the Ariya is more expensive than the Leaf, with prices starting around $47,000 versus $27,400 for the 2022 Leaf. Despite its low price, however, the Leaf never achieved full liftoff.

The automaker recently revealed a plan to invest 2 trillion yen (approximately $17.6 billion USD) over the next five years in order to accelerate the rollout of electric vehicles. By 2030, the plan calls for 23 new electrified models, 15 of which will be fully electric. By the end of the decade, the company hopes to have electrified 50 percent of its Nissan and Infiniti brands. Nissan plans to take a slower approach in the United States, aiming for 40 percent of its sales to be EVs by 2040.

According to some of the concepts presented by Nissan, the Leaf could be replaced by a compact SUV dubbed the Chill-Out. Nissan hasn’t released any specifications or details about it, but the Chill-Out appears to be the most production-ready of the company’s concepts. It resembles the Ariya but is built on the company’s smaller CMF-EV platform, which means it will be slightly less expensive than the $47,000 Ariya.

Whatever its fate, the Leaf will be remembered as the first successful mass-market EV in the United States. Tesla frequently gets all of the credit for starting the race to electrification, and Elon Musk’s company certainly deserves some of the credit for pushing the rest of the auto industry in that direction. However, Nissan’s contribution to the transition to zero tailpipe emissions is undeniable.

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