2018 Nissan Leaf: Monthly Update for May 2018
by Mark Takahashi, Senior Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
The 2018 Nissan Leaf joined our long-term fleet in late March, but this is the first monthly update. I'm not sure what happened to the April update, but hey, it's an imperfect world and things sometimes fall through the cracks. Our Leaf hasn't gone anywhere outside of the typical staff commutes, which is what you'd expect from a fairly new EV addition. Perhaps some brave soul will travel outside of the Southern California comfort zone soon. Stay tuned.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Since the end of March, we've logged about 2,200 miles. Over that distance, one driver went as far as 129.8 miles on a single charge and reported 29 miles of range remaining. If that range was correct, the Leaf could have exceeded its advertised 151-mile range. Not too shabby.
Current odometer: 2,658 miles
Average lifetime consumption: 29.4 kWh/100 miles (114.6 miles per gallon equivalent)
EPA consumption rating: 30 kWh/100 miles (125 mpge)
Best fill: 23.8 kWh/100 miles (141.3 mpge)
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Nissan's e-Pedal gives you strong regenerative braking and as close as you can get to one-pedal driving. The regen is so strong, however, that it pushes you back and forth. It makes me slightly queasy and I'm the one driving! If you have passengers susceptible to motion sickness, I'd probably turn off this mode." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"What a difference a year makes. Last year, our Chevy Bolt was the talk of the party. It arrived as we were in the middle of our second time around with its larger counterpart, the Volt, but the pint-size EV became the clear favorite with its quicker charge times, seriously useful range, and seriously aggressive regen braking that allowed us to one-pedal drive it through horrible commutes.
"Yeah, the seats are hard, and the interior's a tapestry of plastic and loose-fitting upholstery. And sure, there was that one time it left Kurt stranded on the freeway. One time! Such is the personal price of innovation and early adoption.
"Now here's the Leaf. Interior? No contest. The Leaf crushes the Bolt. And the seats — look, even a bare oak rocking chair is more comfortable than the Bolt's seats. And these Leaf buckets aren't even the spiffy astronaut seats available in upper-range Nissans (or if they are, Nissan's not making much of a fuss about it). But they're plenty comfortable for me and a reminder that #evlife shouldn't require spinal sacrifices.
"Sure, the Bolt's got the Leaf beat on range and, by extension, convenience. That should change next year when a second Leaf arrives with 200-plus miles of range. But for now, for overall refinement, the Leaf wins." — Dan Frio, staff writer
"I'm much more comfortable in the Leaf than our long-term Chevy Bolt, but that's not to say the Leaf fits me. It's one of the only cars I've been in that made me feel like a giant. The whole thing seems designed for someone much smaller than my 6-foot frame. I fit in the car, but it's a bit like the automotive equivalent of holding one of those 7.5-ounce Coke cans." — Will Kaufman, associate staff writer
"Where's the clothes hook? Left the dry cleaners over the weekend and couldn't find a way to hang my clothes. Am I blind, or does this car really not have a hook?" — Carlos Lago, senior writer
"I got into the car on Monday evening with a 40 percent charge. The range estimate was at 65 miles. I did some quick math before deciding to take it home. I have a 40-mile round trip to work, and I needed to make a stop at Target a few miles away. In theory, I'd have roughly 20 miles to spare when I got back to work. I had forgotten that on the way home, I have to climb up a hill for about 13 miles. This caused the range estimate to drop fairly quickly. I got home with 22 percent of the battery remaining and an estimated 36 miles of range.
"I rolled the dice the following morning and drove to work on Eco mode with the e-pedal on. Now, my commute was working in my favor as it was mostly downhill. I arrived at work with a 19 percent battery and 29 miles of range remaining. Impressive regen effort from the e-pedal, but if it were my car (and I had a place to charge) I would've preferred to charge overnight." — Ron Montoya
"This was some pretty local/neighborhood driving (not going over 40 mph) and I didn't have to use the brake pedal the entire time. It's pretty easy to modulate the accelerator and do one-pedal driving." — Rich Kuras, content strategist
"I've tried to think of a better and more eloquent way to say this, but the Leaf is a bit of a dork box. And it's not just for the way it looks (EVs don't have to look weird), but for the way I sit in this thing. At 6 feet tall, I sit really high and everything inside the car seems so far below you, including the steering wheel, which doesn't telescope! I feel like an adult driving a Power Wheels truck — dorky." — Kurt Niebuhr, road test editor
"Can't get Bluetooth or Android Auto to work with my Google Pixel 2. The Bluetooth connection process fails at the end, and the screen never gets past the 'Starting Android Auto' prompt. I've tried forgetting the device from the car and vice versa, but no luck." — Carlos Lago
"Apparently letting the car sit for a bit and think about things is the key to getting Bluetooth/Android Auto to work because now it does. Yay, technology!" — Carlos Lago
"After the initial hiccup getting my phone to connect, I'm happy to report that Android Auto worked flawlessly all weekend. It booted quickly and automatically when I plugged in my phone, and it had no problem maintaining the connection (I hear Rex had some trouble with this)." — Carlos Lago
"The digital display in the IP [instrument panel] is a huge missed opportunity for Nissan. It's a decent size, has good resolution, and could easily display a nav screen of similar size to what's currently in the center of the dash. And that Nissan nav screen needs all the help it can get." — Kurt Niebuhr
"I like the fact that our Leaf has Apple CarPlay, but half the time it doesn't recognize my phone. When I plug it in, the infotainment system thinks it's a USB drive. Then I go to the smartphone menu and press the button. It asks me to reinsert the USB cord and then it finally goes into CarPlay mode. It's done this for me a few times now." — Ron Montoya
"The part number for the horn on this thing must be shared with a moped. I'm not looking for it to sound like a train, but it's completely ineffectual and can be drowned out by the din of regular traffic." — Kurt Niebuhr