Nissan’s electric SUV tops the LEAF in US sales

Nissan’s first electric SUV, the 2023 Ariya, is already outselling the decade-old LEAF EV after going on sale last fall.

Nissan Ariya electric SUV sales surpass the LEAF in 2023

Once seen as a pioneer in the EV space, releasing the LEAF in 2010 as the first mass-market EV, Nissan has fallen behind as the industry has significantly advanced in the past several years.

It took over a decade for Nissan to release its second pure EV mode. After introducing the Ariya electric SUV in 2020, the model was delayed several times, finally beginning US sales in late 2022.

After a long-anticipated arrival, Nissan’s electric SUV is already outselling the LEAF by a wide margin.

In the first three months of 2023, Nissan sold 2,860 Ariya models in the US compared to 2,354 LEAF EV sales during the period. The trend has continued, with Ariya electric SUV sales reaching 2,335, while LEAF sales fell to 1,880 in the second quarter of the year.

The 2023 Nissan Ariya features up to 304 miles EPA-est range from an 87 kWh battery, starting at $43,190.

Despite once being a top-selling EV model globally, Nissan has failed to update the LEAF with modern technology. The automaker released the 2024 Nissan LEAF last week, which still features the inferior CHAdeMO charging plug.

2024 Nissan LEAF (Source: Nissan)

Nissan accelerated its “Ambition 2030” strategy earlier this year after recognizing the urgency in the industry. Its new plans call for 19 new EVs globally (up from 15) as it aims to reach 40% US electric vehicle sales share by 2030.

Electrek’s Take

Nissan’s electric SUV overtaking the LEAF in sales doesn’t come as a surprise, given the love for bigger vehicles in the US.

In 2022, SUVs accounted for roughly 46% of global car sales, with noticeable growth coming from the US, according to an IEA report.

Seeing the decade-old LEAF outperforming the electric SUV would be more concerning. At the same time, it’s too bad Nissan hasn’t updated the electric compact car. The IEA report shows a clear trend in the EV industry, shifting from 63% cars to 37% SUVs in 2020 to 49% cars to 51% SUVs in 2022.

Nissan is not the only one that seems to be upsizing its lineup. General Motors said it would be discontinuing its smallest EV, the Bolt EV and EUV, at the end of the year as it launches Ultium-based SUVs and trucks, including the Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and Equinox EV (although the automaker has hinted at an Ultium-based Bolt model).

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