Electric Cars

Nissan Leaf vs Tesla Model 3

January 28, 2021

Nissan Leaf vs Tesla Model 3

Two of the World's Most Popular Electric Cars

We decided to take on two of the world’s most popular electric cars in a good, old-fashioned shoot out. Here, we will focus on range and charge times, power and acceleration, and price. Both Nissan and Tesla have different versions of the cars that can get you more range and performance. The Tesla Model 3 has three versions; the Standard Range Plus will take you 250 miles on its 54 kilowatt battery, the Performance version will take you 299 miles between charges on its 75 kilowatt battery and the Long Range will move you around for 322 miles on its 75 kilowatt battery.

The standard Nissan Leaf can’t really touch the Tesla in terms of range. Its Standard version Leaf has a 40-kilowatt battery that will take you 149 miles while the Leaf Plus will take you 226 miles on a 62-kilowatt battery. As for charging time, the Tesla 3 Long Range model can charge at 250 kilowatts to get you a 180-mile charge in about 15 minutes. It will take the Nissan Leaf Plus 45 minutes at 100 kilowatts to give you a similar range charge of 180 miles. Tesla takes the win here on range and charging time.

The Tesla Model 3 generates 450 horses with 451-foot pounds of torque, and Nissan says the Standard Leaf manages 147 horses and 236-foot pounds of torque. The Leaf Plus will get you 214 horses and 250-foot pounds of torque. There is also no comparison to the performance figures when you look at zero to 60 times. The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus will take you from zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds, the Long Range will gobble up that distance in 4.4 seconds and the Performance version will set a blistering time of 3.2 seconds! That’s as fast as an Acura NSX and faster than an Aston Martin Vanquish. It will beat a BMW M3 GTR race car. That is seriously fast!  

The Leaf Plus, by comparison, takes 6.5 seconds to get up to 60mph. However, while the Tesla takes the lead in performance, the Leaf is ahead on reliability, maintenance costs and overall build quality and durability. As far as price, the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus retails for $37,900, the Long Range version goes for $46,990 and the Performance Model will set you back $54,990. While Autopilot comes as standard, Autosteer will set you back an additional $8,000. The Leaf Standard retails for a modest $31,600 and the Leaf Plus costs $38,200. ProPilot costs an additional $2,000.

Bottom line, the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus has more range and charges faster than the Nissan Leaf and it is quicker to 60mph. But the Leaf offers exceptional value for the price, when real world driving, storage space, and maintenance costs matter. Plus, there is the matter of everyday serviceability. You’ll find a lot more Nissan dealers across the country right now than Tesla boutiques.

Find a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla Model 3 near you by visiting the GreenCars Marketplace.