EVs

The Most Affordable EV in the U.S. Got a New Model — and It Has One Big Caveat

The Nissan Leaf might lose its coveted title soon.

A white Nissan Leaf parked on a paved area with a backdrop of trees under a clear sky.
Nissan

The cheapest EV available to U.S. customers is back at the same price.

Nissan revealed the 2025 model year of its all-electric Leaf, continuing the legacy of one of the first battery-powered EVs dating back to 2010. First, the good news is that Nissan is keeping the Leaf’s starting price at a reasonable $28,140. However, the bad news outweighs the good since the Leaf no longer qualifies for federal EV tax credits.

This is a major setback for the aging Leaf, since even the 2024 model year qualified for up to $3,750 back thanks to tax credits. Now at its current sticker price, other automakers have a golden opportunity to unseat the Leaf as the most affordable EV in the U.S. We’re already seeing the first signs of this happening since GM is confident that the returning Chevrolet Bolt will be the “most affordable vehicle on the market by 2025” and Ford is working on several affordable models based on a new EV platform. On top of that, we wouldn’t be surprised if Ford and GM’s upcoming entry-level EVs qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit.

A Nearly Defunct Charging Port

Like last year, the 2025 Leaf will come in two trims. The base model Leaf S runs off a 40kWh battery for a range of up to 149 miles. If that’s not enough, the Leaf SV Plus trim packs a larger 60kWh battery for a max range of 212 miles. Once it’s time to recharge, the smaller Leaf S battery takes 40 minutes to fast charge to 80 percent, while the Leaf SV Plus gets to that same percentage in an hour. Nissan is still going with the CHAdeMO charging standard with the latest Leaf, which continues to hold the EV back since it’s difficult to find compatible public charging stations. Nissan already committed to switching to the NACS port like every other automaker, but we won’t be seeing this change until next year.

Looking at the 2025 Leaf’s specs, it’s clear that Nissan is starting to fall behind with its entry-level EV. Compared to Kia’s latest EV3, the Leaf can’t compete with the Korean automaker’s upcoming EV which gets up to 372 miles on a single charge and can go from 10 to 80 percent in about a half hour.

Nissan didn’t change much with the 2025 Leaf, since it still uses one-pedal driving, an eight-inch infotainment display, and the typical safety features like Blind Spot Warning and Lane Departure Warning. However, you should be able to tell the new Leaf apart thanks to its exterior refreshes to the front grille, bumper molding, and headlights.

Although largely the same on specs, Nissan refreshed the Leaf’s exterior with subtle changes.

Nissan

No Price Change

There may be no price change technically for the 2025 Leaf, but you’ll end up paying the full $28,140 price for the Leaf S or $36,190 for the Leaf SV Plus. Nissan noted that customers could still take advantage of a partial $3,750 federal EV tax credit with its 2024 model year Leaf, so long as they buy it before the new year. With no major changes with the 2025 refresh, you have to ask yourself if having the newest Leaf model is worth those savings. Luckily, we might not be stuck with just the Leaf, since Nissan is also working on another affordable EV that could be even cheaper.

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