Chevy Volt vs Nissan Leaf

In September, GM started shipping out the 2016 Chevy Volt — marking the second generation of the green GM car. For this year model, GM has aggressively addressed issues people have had with EVs and hybrids over the years. 

Volt Leaf garage

Their plan is obvious: to make the green car more mainstream. That being said, many might be tempted to compare the Volt to the Leaf, but it’s hard to call the Leaf a competitor of the Volt, and here’s why.

If History Repeats Itself…

White Nissan Leaf

If history repeats itself, the Nissan Leaf will roll off the lot acting like a lemon, just as it has in the past. Don't just take our word for it; the Leaf seems to cause an extreme amount of frustration for people who buy them. Mainly, the all-electric Nissan Leaf has well-established battery issues.

Over the years, more than a few buyers have reported a loss of a bar within a year — something Nissan promised wouldn’t happen for many years to come. Some drivers have even reported 3 bars lost in a short amount of time. This ‘lucky’ guy lost a bar within 78,000 miles. People are also reporting that the battery loses power quickly after their vehicle has been involved in an accident.

In case you were wondering, a lost bar represents a 15% battery loss, and each subsequent bar is 6.25% loss. What this adds up to is battery replacement much sooner than owners of Nissan Leafs had bargained for. Owners will need to dish out some cash if they want to keep driving their new/relatively new vehicles. Meanwhile, Nissan tells owners not to worry about losing one bar for five or more years.

In addition to battery problems, brake problems have haunted the Nissan Leaf. 2013, 2014, and 2015 models have had numerous complaints of the brakes cutting out. There are also consumer reports about brake problems dating back to 2011. To ice the cake, people even complain of premature tire wear on the Leaf. That’s pretty rough!

GM’s Volt Has a Less Murky Past

Blue Chevy Volt

Has the Volt been completely free of issues over the years? Certainly not. As the technology changes and advances, there is an expected margin of error for EVs. The difference is, GM has acknowledged and corrected these issues, offering battery replacements, loaner vehicles, vehicle buybacks, and so on. The batteries have also been greatly upgraded to fix known issues and even share characteristics with the Tesla batteries.

The new Volt has been built to prove three things:

  1. It has a 53 mile all-electric range
  2. It has a combined gas/electric range of 400 miles
  3. It will go between 1,000 and 1,500 miles between tanks of gasoline

The Volt is an extremely competitive car and GM has put a lot of effort into bringing it forward in their lineup. Basically, they have put their reputation on the line when it comes to the Volt, have proven they will stand behind it, and have a good sense of which past issues need to be improved upon. This means the 2016 model will be the best Volt yet.