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2020 Nissan Leaf. Photo: Nissan

This week I'm driving the all-electric Nissan Leaf SL Plus, with a sticker price of $46,045.

The big picture: The Leaf has been around since 2010, but has long since been eclipsed by the Tesla Model 3, and other battery powered entries like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Kia Niro EV and the Hyundai Ioniq.

  • But the 2020 Leaf, especially the Plus model with a longer driving range, is worth another look.

The Leaf is available with two battery sizes, and a full array of standard driver-assistance features.

  • The standard Leaf has a 40-kWh battery that provides a driving range of about 150 miles.
  • The Leaf Plus features a larger 62-kWh battery pack that can go up to 226 miles before recharging — at least on the mid-range S trim level.
  • Higher priced versions like my SL Plus are only rated for 215 miles, probably due to the added weight of extra features.
  • The $39,125 S Plus seems to be the sweet spot — it's well-equipped and has the longest range, though it still falls short of the 250-mile range on the standard Tesla Model 3.

The Leaf also features a new, louder sound — something that's required under new regulations that go into effect Sept. 1 for otherwise-silent electric vehicles.

  • When driving forward, under 18.6 mph, the Leaf emits a tone called "Canto" (Latin for "I sing").
  • In reverse, it emits a pulsing chime.

Go deeper

Sep 4, 2020 - Economy & Business

Battery firm QuantumScape taps public markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Yet another transportation startup plans to take the shortcut to an IPO and this time, it's a battery company.

What's happening: QuantumScape, a battery startup backed by Volkswagen and Bill Gates, said on Thursday it plans to go public through a reverse merger with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp.

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220-212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.