Its a great car. The car itself is completely vanilla, but I love how smooth and quiet it is. At stoplights I think my other gas car has something wrong with all the vibration. The acceleration is linear and totally smooth. Not visiting gas stations is awesome. Its fun to sneak up on people in parking lots. The range anxiety went away after a month of owning the car, although its starting to come back. The BIG HOWEVER, I have had the car for over five years now, it has less than 60k miles and my battery capacity is now half of what it was when new. I was a responsible battery charger, and live in a mild climate. Since it is just out of warranty (4 years) its up to me to cover the cost of the replacement battery. I can currently go about 40 miles if I don't use the heater, and my work is about 40 miles roundtrip. I know all batteries degrade over time, and I was comfortable of having to replace it. What totally caught me by surprise is the cost of a new battery; quoted by my dealer is $8000. A quick blue book value of my car is about $6000. The horrible depreciation of the car combined with the cost of a replacement battery, completely make the economics of owning this car a terrible deal. For $8000 I could buy nearly twenty thousand gallons of gasoline! At 25 miles per gallon I could travel 500,000 miles! All these leafs are going to have to be converted to golf carts in retirement to get any value out of them.
Update 2-18. Car has about 68,000 miles now. Still gets me back and forth to work, but due to battery degradation the heater is only allowed for small spurts to defrost the windows in the winter. It is a great car durability wise since I have only had to change the tires so far, and drives like the day it was new. We tend to drive it less miles now because the range anxiety of driving to new places is resurfacing. Bad news is that battery degradation and the cost to replace it is crazy. Buying a used one that doesn't need to go very far makes sense. Today a 2011 leaf in my area goes for 5000-7000. Not sure what a battery costs today, if its still $8000, no way that makes sense. The battery needs to be closer to $1000 to even think of changing it.
Nissan keeps a lot of information closed to the public. Replies to questions get "canned answers". After a battery replacement the vehicle needed many other repairs. Even when I purchased a 5 year 100000 mile extended warranty the in service date caused me to lose 6 months on the warranty I paid for. We love using our EV but Nissan has been a pain.
The gauge is wrong, though I am missing only 4 bars my battery is under 50% of original capacity, a maximum charge from one bar to full is less than 10Kwh, my driving experience is 40 mi or less on a charge at this point in time. At 60,000 miles the dealer checked and told me that 3 bars down (which was my state at the time) was to be expected even though I experienced under 50 miles. My brakes pulse wildly at high speeds and I am on my third set of tires. Based on the revised battery warranty, a buyer should be well aware that their car will be worthless after 5 years and no one in their right mind should buy one used. All along the way my dealer (and the designated technician) demonstrated a total lack of knowledge and expertise on this car, and to this day has no idea about replacing a battery. As recently as this year (5 yrs after introduction) Nissan still does not have any description of what is covered ON A LEAF under their own extended warranty which demonstrates that they have not figured out yet how to deal with this technology.
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.