Looking at the rumoured details of the 2018 Leaf and I like almost everything apart from the likely price. If I had been able to get a 2nd hand Leaf with 40kWh for under $30k then I would have made a real effort to increase my budget to step up to that car. The more powerful motor and the 40kWh battery are very much features that provide important improvements, I wonder what a 2nd hand (maybe 2 year old) car in 5 years (i.e. a 2020 car in 2022) will cost?
I have been thinking about the logistics of driving my 24kWh Leaf and how that would compare to driving a 40kWh Leaf and I can see a very marked improvement. To drive from home to some friends 135km away I would make a 10 minute stop halfway to fast charge and again on the return journey. This would allow me to drive at normal speeds and very comfortably make the trip with no range anxiety at all. With a 40kWh battery the same trip would be super easy with no stops for charging required. With longer trips that I would now do with multiple stops - a 40kWh Leaf would be fine on just one stop for charging and lunch. With the 41kWh Zoe and the 40kWh Leaf we may be seeing a trend developing - EVs coming with ~40kWh batteries when they once came with ~24kWh batteries.
I guess I'll just save money now and see how things develop.
I can say even the 30kWh battery is a huge improvement over the 24kWh battery. I had a 24kWh battery (100% SoH, too) LEAF for 4 months before my 30kWh LEAF arrived from the UK. There weren't so many fast chargers around a year ago, so I was a bit more constrained about where I could go without having to stop for long 16amp / 3.3kw top-ups. That said, I was able to drive north to Kawakawa easily and south to Hamilton....and I made it to Tauranga on one occasion, from Hamilton, over the Kaimais. And back. But that was pretty much it. This was one of the reasons I upgraded to the 30kWh LEAF.....so bridge those gaps and / or just let me drive "like normal" across a wider area.
The 30kWh battery has meant I can drive from Taupo to Napier non-stop. Longer legs to bridge gaps in the charger network make the whole travelling thing easier.....and the 30kWh also gives you more room when the weather is bad, the hills are steep or the wind is high on head on.
In the meantime, around the top of the North Island, many new fast chargers opened up and made it much easier to go most places. The fast charger in Taupo made a HUGE difference to getting around in the eastern and central North Island.....and so on.
The 24kWh LEAF is More than enough if you have the chargers there to bridge the gaps. with a charger every 60-80km (like between Taupo and Mangaweka) you find you either skip one or you stop and charge for 5-8 mins to get back to 80% and then carry. On my trip to Wellington last week, the stops become so short I barely have time to go to the loo....and just had a brief walk to stretch. I actually like that. Itmakes the drive a lot easier physically and mentally.
It may well be in that in couple of years there will be enough chargers around you'll save your money and be happy with a car with a smaller battery for those occasional longer trips. I could see myself going that way. Depending on the finances. However....I do have a reservation for a Tesla Model 3 and I fully intend to make that an order when the time comes. The price will be equivalent to the Hyundai Ioniq or Renault Zoe in NZ today...and less than the current price of a BMW i3.