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Nissan is planning a brand-new replacement for its iconic Leaf EV — can it compete with Tesla?

The rebranded car may rival Tesla's Model Y when it comes out in 2026.

Nissan logo

Photo Credit: iStock

Tesla is still the industry leader when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs). But increased competition in that space from legacy car companies could spell trouble for the EV maker in the long term.

Most recently, Nissan's luxury car division, Infiniti, announced a brand refresh after years of underperforming sales, Electrek reports. Among the updates to the brand are a new logo and designed Japanese-inspired showrooms that include "'an invigorating new multisensory signature' experience, including signature Japanese forest scents and its own master track, 'Moment of Tranquility.'"

"The QX Inspiration marks the beginning of a new generation of Infiniti cars and establishes a direct blueprint for the brand's first electric vehicle," said Mike Colleran, Infiniti's global division VP of marketing and sales operations.

Unfortunately, the company does not have plans to release a fully-electric Infiniti for at least two years, which could hamper its ability to truly compete in the EV space, signature showroom scents aside.

While it is certainly possible that the all-electric Infiniti will rival Tesla's Model Y when it comes out in 2026 (at the earliest), all we have to go on right now are some renderings, meaning that it is much too early to make that call.

However, as The Street points out, there is still plenty of competition for Tesla currently in existence and on the horizon. Also from Nissan (the regular, non-luxury division), the fully-electric Nissan Leaf has been one of the EV space's more affordable and popular models for years since its release in 2010.

Unfortunately, Nissan plans to discontinue the Leaf in 2026 as its popularity has waned of late. The company will replace the Leaf with a newer, less affordable model. In a similar move, Chevy is planning to discontinue the reigning most affordable EV on the market, the Chevy Bolt, and replace it with a pricier car (as well as a lot more electric pickup trucks).

Of course, Tesla has never been described as affordable. The fact that it continues to dominate EV sales in North America and that the other car companies are increasingly getting rid of their regular, somewhat affordable cars in favor of "luxury" Tesla imitations hardly seems like a coincidence.

While Tesla is the industry leader at the moment and had a market share of 72% at the start of 2022, a share that big is unlikely to last forever and has already leveled off to a less eye-popping 54%. Notably, as The Street points out, General Motors expects to produce an estimated 150,000 EVs this year, Stellantis sold 288,000 battery electric vehicles in 2022, and Chinese company BYD delivered 911,000 vehicles in 2022.

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