When it comes to all-electric cars, the Tesla Model S is arguably the benchmark in today’s automotive industry. However, the all-American sedan is far from being affordable, with its $65,570 sticker making it as expensive as an Audi A7. As you may know, Tesla is already working on a smaller, more affordable vehicle, but until the Model III arrives, drivers who want to go green can take it to Nissan for a more financially viable option: the Leaf. The Leaf is a compact, five-door hatchback with decent performance and mileage.

It might not be as quick as the Model S with only 107 ponies and 187 pound-feet of torque at its disposal, and a full charge will only take it 75 miles, but the Leaf is the perfect alternative for short-distance travel. And with 30,200 units delivered in 2014 across the U.S., which accounts for the best-ever annual sales figure for any plug-in EV, customers seem to agree with that statement.

Besides posting a record-breaking sales year, the Leaf was also named the best Non-Luxury Traditional Compact Car in the annual IHS Automotive Loyalty Awards, which demonstrates the nameplate’s popularity among EV enthusiasts. It’s important to note that the Leaf is also the only plug-in vehicle to be included in the IHS Awards. That’s solid proof that the market needs affordable, reliable EVs more than it requires supercar-like performance and luxury.

Click past the jump to read more about the Nissan Leaf.

Why it matters

Granted, the Leaf could use a few improvements, especially in the range department. With only 75 miles per charge, the Nissan is limited to city driving and short commutes. But despite these shortcomings, the Leaf has become a successful electric vehicle with impressive sales results since its introduction. What’s more, 2014 accounted for nearly 42 percent of total Leaf sales in the U.S. since late 2010, a figure that speaks volumes of the Leaf’s growing popularity in the country that produces the bonkers Tesla Model S (which, by the way, sold 31,855 examples between June 2012 and September 2014).

What both cars illustrate is that demand for electric cars is on the rise. Sure, electrification is still in its infancy and EVs have yet to reach their potential, but these numbers are encouraging not just for Nissan, but for all the manufacturers offering or pondering to develop electric vehicles. I can’t help but stress the importance of having more affordable EVs to choose from. The Model S is a cool gadget to have, but very few of us have the financial means to purchase one. Hopefully, Tesla’s upcoming Model III will bring better performance and a 200-mpg range at a price that will drop below the $30,000 range with federal incentives.

Nissan Leaf

2014 Nissan Leaf High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Press Release

Following a record-breaking sales year in 2014, the Nissan LEAF continues to earn praise and was named the best Non-Luxury Traditional Compact Car in the annual IHS Automotive Loyalty Awards. The all-electric LEAF – the only plug-in vehicle to be included in the IHS Awards – received this honor during the Automotive News World Congress at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The IHS Automotive Loyalty Awards are presented annually to automakers and brands that demonstrate a manufacturer’s ability to retain owners over repeat buying cycles. They are the only fact-based awards of their kind in the industry.

Nissan, the world leader in electric vehicle sales, shattered the plug-in vehicle sales record with 30,200 LEAF vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2014, marking the first time any plug-in has sold more than 30,000 units in a single year.

"Since entering the market in 2010, the Nissan LEAF has steadily gained supporters throughout the U.S.," said Toby Perry, director of marketing for Nissan LEAF. "While the majority of original buyers were electric vehicle enthusiasts, we’re now seeing more and more ’regular’ car buyers fall in love with LEAF because of its many financial benefits, fun-to-drive nature and roomy interior. Our LEAF fans are some of the most loyal customers in the world, and we’re thrilled to see that validated with this IHS award."

With seating for up to five passengers, the all-electric Nissan LEAF boasts an EPA-estimated* driving range of 84 miles and MPGe ratings of 126 city, 101 highway and 114 combined.

The starting price of a Nissan LEAF is about $22,000** after the available maximum $7,500 federal tax credit, and LEAF offers the benefits of lower running costs and less scheduled maintenance. LEAF offers a wide range of standard equipment plus a variety of available premium features such as leather seats, 17-inch alloy wheels and 7-speaker BOSE® energy efficient audio system.

IHS Automotive analyzes loyalty throughout the year and regularly works with its customers to effectively manage owner loyalty and conquest efforts through in-depth research and analysis of automotive shopping behaviors, related market influencers and conquest and retention strategies. Loyalty is determined when a household that owns a new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new vehicle of the same make, model or manufacturer.

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