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Forget about Who Killed the Electric Car? How about who brought it back to life? While there have been $100,000 electric sports cars and funny garage-built oddities in recent years, the Nissan Leaf made its mark by being the first fully electric car priced and designed for the everyday car shopper.
When fully charged, the Leaf has an effective maximum range of about 80 miles. That's sufficient to schlep most people from home to work and back, but longer trips will, of course, pose a challenge. As such, the Leaf is best for multicar households or those with shorter commutes. Another must is having a garage, ideally with a 240-volt charger. If you can check these boxes, though, the Nissan Leaf could really revolutionize your driving experience. It's an electric car for the real world, and that's an idea that everyone can get behind.
Used Nissan Leaf Models
The Nissan Leaf debuted for the 2011 model year with two trim levels: SV and SL. Both came standard with the less powerful (3.3 kWh) onboard charger. The high-powered charger (6.6 kWh) didn't appear until 2013, so expect longer charge times to be a downside of buying any used Leaf from 2011 or '12.
A quick-charge port -- the one that yields an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes when using commercial charging stations -- was optional on all 2011 Leafs. For 2012, this port became standard on the Leaf SL. Also for 2012, every Leaf gained standard heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, heated exterior mirrors and a battery heater.
The SV and SL upgraded to a standard high-powered onboard charger for 2013 -- the one that cuts normal charging times from 8 hours to 4 hours with a 240-volt power source. The base S model was also introduced, albeit with the less powerful charger.
A rearview camera was made standard on all models for 2014.
If you are looking for newer years, visit our new Nissan Leaf page.