Nissan Leaf e+ loses range as it gains equipment

Extra features add range-sapping weight, according to Nissan.

Nissan traveled to the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to introduce the long-promised long-range Leaf. Named e+, it boasts up to 226 miles of range in its most basic configuration. That's much better than the standard Leaf, but it's still behind the Chevrolet Bolt, and the firm has revealed moving up in the trim hierarchy lowers that figure.

Only the entry-level, 3,780-pound Leaf e+ S qualifies for the 226-mile label. Autoblog reports the SV and SL models (which weigh 3,811 and 3,853 pounds, respectively) are both rated at 215 miles. Nissan told the website that the additional standard features included in the SV and SL trim levels add weight which saps range.

Autoblog partially blames the 11-mile difference on the 17-inch alloy wheels fitted to the SV and SL models. To add context, the e+ S settles for 16-inch steel wheels with plastic hubcaps.

To be clear, losing range (or gas mileage) while gaining features isn't a Leaf-specific problem. The most efficient version of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is the cheapest, most basic model that's rated at up to 59 mpg. The better equipped SEL and Limited cars return 54 mpg, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And, the same goes for gasoline- or diesel-powered cars; fuel economy drops as weight rises.

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