Why is this a history making car? Because the Nissan Leaf was one of the first practical and affordable all-electric sedans. I purchased this car new in 2011. Back then, the Leaf was made in Japan. Now they are made in Tennessee, but I don't think there should be a difference in quality. My Leaf has almost 50,000 miles on it, and it has been reliable and almost completely trouble free. It is deceptively roomy inside because there is no fuel tank or exhaust system. Maintenance costs are low. The original tires lasted 45,000 miles. To recapture the kinetic energy of the car, most of the braking is done by the drive train. This is called "regenerative braking", and allows the drive train to act as a generator to charge the battery. All electric vehicles and hybrids utilize regenerative braking. Not only is regenerative braking energy efficient, it allows the brakes to last a long time. For example, I also own a Toyota Prius with over 100,000 miles on it, and the brakes have never been serviced. Driving an electric car is fun. The electric motor provides all of its torque instantly, which allows excellent acceleration from a stop as well as on the road. It is quite, and there are no vibrations. There are no exhaust fumes or oil leaks, and the drive train of the car tends to stay clean. The down side of any electric car is the battery. Batteries are heavy and expensive. They become less efficient in very cold weather, and they lose charge capacity as they age. Both of these translate into reduced range. And you need access to a 220 volt charging station to recharge the car in a few hours. The Leaf is sold with either a 24 kWh battery or a 30 kWh battery. I recommend the 30 kWh battery as it provides a range (when new) of about 100 miles, rather than the 75 miles provided by the 24 kWh battery. That 75 mile range provided by the 24 kWh battery when new drops down to about 55 miles after 5 years. So, the larger battery will allow you a more generous range even after the car is several years old. Despite the battery issue, I really enjoy the Leaf ownership experience. Nissan service and support has been very good. Based on my Leaf ownership, I have become a fan of electric drivetrains, so much so that I am now on my second Leaf, one with the 30 kWh battery (which was not available in 2011). I do not think that I will ever go back to owning a car that is not either all-electric or a hybrid. Nissan should be commended for taking a big risk in developing and marketing the Leaf. I think that the commitment to manufacturing an all-electric car will pay off for Nissan in the future.
The lack of a battery capacity warranty has left dozens of warm-climate owners with cars that are no longer useful, and that are unsellable. There are no dealers in Phoenix, AZ that will take these cars as trade-ins because of the issues with the battery. After getting positive battery care reports, we can travel no more than 50 miles in our car that should go 80-100 miles. Nissan is changing it's story at every turn, and refuses to acknowledge a problem. Google: Real World Battery Capacity Loss, and you'll see the real deal with how Nissan treats it's customers. They do not stand behind this product. They got their 1.4 billion dollar loan, they don't need the LEAF anymore.
None, a car that can barely just get me to work and back is useless.
Capacity Warranty, Battery Thermal Management, Improved range, More knowledgable sales staff and technicians, truth in advertising.
I've had my 2011 Leaf for a month now. It's my only car. So far I've spent a grand total of $8.10 in electricity to drive 729 miles. In my previous car I was spending $180 a month in gasoline and probably another $50 in maintenance (if you averaged it out per month.) In the NW, off-peak power is $.044 / kwh. So, as you can see it's saving me about $220 / month. I've taken this car to every family event, errand and work daily. Not a single problem with range or anything else. I don't even need the 240v charger. The car is just great all around. Good room, good ride, excellent electronics, and decent handling. Acceleration is very good around town.
I love the electronics package!
The ride is very much like a luxury car and it's quieter than ANY gasoline vehicle I've ever ridden in.
Of course, the best feature of all is not paying for gas anymore, ever and no pollution from the car.
Obviously, a range increase would be nice, but with the West Green Highway network of DC Fast Chargers this is becoming a non-issue.
One other small annoyance, every time I start the car it asks for permission to send data to Nissan.
Can't they default that message to YES or NO?
I've really enjoyed owning and driving this car, which is now up to 10,000 miles. It is incredibly smooth, quiet and generally effortless to drive. The interior feels large, with plenty of room in the back for adults. The storage area is ample for the around-town usage dictated by the range. The range is occasionally a nuisance, but that's increasingly mitigated by charge stations. When my trips are well within the range, I have fun with the torque and the low center of gravity. So far it's getting about 30 miles per dollar, a fascinating new metric that really puts the sucking sound in the front of our minivan in perspective. (It's five times more expensive to drive that one a mile.)
Smooth, quiet, cheap miles
Could use a better horn, a light in the charge port, and a better menu for browsing songs on USB devices.
I have been driving my Leaf for 1 month, with 1,000 miles. Had a very difficult decision to sell my 2007 Lexus IS250 which I loved, and was worried to be driving an econobox tin can. I have no regrets at all! Believe it or not but it drives just as well as the Lexus, is more quiet, just as smooth, accelerates well, and just feels good to be doing the right thing! I have a 20 mile r/t commute to the office; with side trips, often am driving 35-40 miles which is perfect. I have a gas car for longer drives but rarely use it. Take advantage of tax credits while you can! Nissan put lots of research and money into this vehicle to get it right the first time. Just Buy It!
Cool start up sounds, Stereo and Bluetooth audio/phone are seamless and high quality, quiet enough that highway speeds allow normal conversation on Bluetooth phone.
Love that blue paint, blue dash lights.
Lots of rear seat room, adequate trunk space.
I have become an eco-snob, looking down on (only) 45mpg hybrids (joke).
Does not drive at all like an econo car.
corners well and accelerates strongly with instant torque, no sounds, you just see the numbers clicking away as speed increases.
Reverse camera is excellent even at night.
Seats could be better quality with lumbar adjustments; I installed Wet Okole seat covers.
Horn sound is so cute it makes my son crack up!
You will learn to love and get used to the "distinctive" design of this car.
It grows on you!
I live in a rural area.
Someday there will be quick charge stations at critical locations to allow recharges on long trips.
Until then, I stay fairly near to home and use the gas car for long trips.
EVs are the way of the future.