The question is, how does it stack up with the defending entries in this segment, the 2019 Chevy Bolt EV and Hyundai Kona Electric? To get an idea, we've gathered up the specifications of each electric hatchback for comparison. We'll take a look at power, torque, electric range, charging options, interior space and the all-important pricing and incentives. You can see the raw numbers in the chart below, and additional insights in the text beyond that. If you'd like to compare these cars with other vehicles, be sure to check out our comparison tools.
Range and powerNo matter how much electric cars improve their overall range, range anxiety is going to be an issue for a while, meaning every mile counts. The Kona Electric is the hands-down winner, managing 258 miles from its 64-kWh battery. Next is the Chevy Bolt EV at 238 miles from the group's smallest 60-kWh battery, followed by the Leaf Plus with 226 miles from a 62-kWh battery. For those who want to get really deep into energy usage, the Bolt EV and the Kona Electric have the same EPA rating for energy consumption of 28 kWh per 100 miles, meaning they're equally efficient. This is particularly impressive for the Kona, since it weighs nearly 300 pounds more than the Bolt.
Something else to consider with these electric cars are charging options. All three have 120-volt level 1 and 240-volt level 2 charging capability standard, but only the Leaf Plus and Kona Electric give you DC fast charging capability for free. To get it on the Bolt EV, you'll spend an extra $750. Speaking from experience, you'll want DC fast charging if you plan on doing any long trips.
As for the motors propelling these EVs, there's very little difference. The Bolt and Kona are neck-and-neck with 200 and 201 horsepower respectively. The Leaf has a few more horses at 216. In the torque department, the Leaf is last with 250 pound-feet, and the Bolt is just ahead at 266. The Kona is a serious twister with 290 pound-feet. Regardless, these are all fairly impressive numbers that wouldn't be out of place in a hot hatch. Each of these cars sends this power and torque to the front wheels through a single-speed transmission.
Interior and exterior dimensionsOn the outside, the biggest car here is the Nissan Leaf Plus. It's a foot longer overall than the Chevy and Hyundai, with a wheelbase about 4 inches longer. All three are nearly the same height. Conventional wisdom would say the Leaf is the most spacious for interior occupants, and while that applies to front headroom and legroom, rear seat room is about tied with the much smaller Kona. The Chevy Bolt EV is the most comfortable for rear passengers, offering about 3 extra inches of legroom and matching the others in headroom.
The Leaf does claw back an advantage when it comes to cargo space behind the rear seats at 23.6 cubic feet, whereas the Bolt has just 16.9. But fold the seats and the Bolt becomes the cargo-carrying king with 56.6 cubic feet. Nissan reports the Leaf at just 30. (We're not quite sure if there's a difference in how the cargo area is measured that accounts for such a large difference, as the cars should be far more similar in interior space.) The Kona falls between the two.
PricingUntil April, the Hyundai Kona Electric and Chevy Bolt EV cost the exact same amount of money, barring any special offers from local dealers. Each has a base price of $37,495, and each qualifies for a $7,500 tax credit. But because Chevy has sold 200,000 electric vehicles, that tax credit will drop to $3,750 in April. That will last for six months, after which it will drop to $1,875 for six more months before disappearing altogether.
With a difference of $50, the Nissan Leaf Plus is just barely cheaper than the other two EVs before incentives. Since the Leaf is still eligible for the full $7,500, that means it's also still the cheapest after incentives. But it's such a small price difference that you shouldn't hang your whole decision on the up front cost alone.