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EV Battle: Chevy Bolt vs Mini Cooper vs Nissan Leaf

Thankfully, nobody is locked into a Toyota Prius if they want an electric car. The number of electric vehicle offerings has been growing in recent years. So, they come in all different shapes and sizes now. So, let’s take a look at the electric small car market and compare the Chevrolet Bolt, Mini Cooper, and Nissan Leaf.

Electric plug-in station
A man plugging a charging cable for electric vehicles into a plug at the stand of Mennekes at Hanover fair in Hanover, Germany | Ole Spata/picture alliance via Getty Images

When somebody is looking for a small car, they do not typically take a preference for the vehicle being classified as a compact or a subcompact. They just want a small electric car. Many are available. But the three contenders below will most likely be on the list of candidates that many would review. 

For the purposes of having a standardized gauge for the statistics of each vehicle, we used Inside EVs comparison chart. Note: The pricing is based on the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, MSRP. No tax credits are being considered.

The Chevrolet Bolt

The Chevrolet Bolt was introduced as a 2017 model year vehicle. It is an all-electric hatchback. The Bolt is a front-wheel drive car. 

  • Model Year: 2020
  • MSRP: $36,620
  • Battery Size: 66 kilowatt-hour
  • Range: 259 miles
  • Zero-to-Sixty: 6.5-seconds
  • Top Speed: 90 miles-per-hour
  • Weight: 3,563-lbs.
  • Class: Subcompact
  • Doors: Four
Red 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Red 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV | Chevrolet

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The Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper SE Electric was just introduced. So, it is the freshest of the three small all-electric cars, even if the design itself is stale. It is hatchback. The Mini Cooper SE Electric is a front-wheel drive car.

  • Model Year: 2021
  • MSRP: $29,900
  • Battery Size: 32.6 kilowatt-hour
  • Range: 110 miles
  • Zero-to-Sixty: 6.9-seconds
  • Top Speed: 93 miles-per-hour
  • Weight: Untested
  • Class: Subcompact
  • Doors: Two
2020 Mini Cooper SE Electric
MINI Electric or Mini Cooper SE compact all electric retro design car on display at Brussels Expo | Photo by Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

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The Nissan Leaf

The 2020 Nissan Leaf was introduced in 2010. It is also an all-electric hatchback. The Leaf is a front-wheel drive car.

  • Model Year: 2020
  • MSRP: $31,600
  • Battery Size: 40 kilowatt-hour
  • Range: 149 miles
  • Zero-to-Sixty: 7.4-seconds
  • Top Speed: 90 miles-per-hour
  • Weight: 3,433-lbs.
  • Class: Compact
  • Doors: Four
2020 Nissan Leaf Electric Car
2020 Nissan Leaf compact five-door hatchback battery electric vehicle on display at Brussels Expo | Photo by Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

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It is interesting to note that of the three vehicles, the Chevrolet Bolt is the most expensive of the bunch. Even so, the Bolt offers a larger battery size, the longest range, and the lowest zero-to-sixty time. 

The Mini, by comparison, is the least expensive. But there is a penalty for the lower price. It has the smallest battery and the smallest range. Oddly, though, it has the highest top speed. However, that may be because it is the smallest of the three cars. 

The Nissan Leaf is the odd duckling. Pricing, battery size, and range are all mid-pack in the statistics of the three vehicles. In reference to speed, however, the Leaf is the slowest in the zero-to-sixty test. The Nissan, however, offers something the others do not. That is the ability to purchase a larger sized battery. The upgrade becomes available in the Leaf E+S trim level. The statistics change only a little. The upgrade does make is a bit faster and give it more range over the standard Leaf, but at the same time makes it the most expensive of the three test vehicles. Timing from zero-to-sixty with the upgraded battery only equals that of the Chevrolet Bolt. The range with the upgraded battery is still shorter than that of the Bolt. 

  • Nissan Leaf E+S
  • Model Year: 2020
  • MSRP: $38,200
  • Battery Size: 62 kilowatt-hour
  • Range: 226 miles
  • Zero-to-Sixty: 6.5-seconds
  • Top Speed: Untested
  • Weight: 3,780-lbs.
  • Class: Compact
  • Doors: Four

Overall impressions

The Chevy Bolt seems to offer the best all-around electric small car package. In its base offering, it provides middle-of-the road pricing, but has a large battery, and provides the longest range of the three contenders. Although the Nissan Leaf is a bit bigger than the Bolt, that is the only con by the list of pros for the Chevy. If, however, the purchaser needs to carry passengers regularly, then the Nissan Leaf would seem to be more prudent.