Nissan Leaf is the mainstream electric car we've been waiting for

2015 Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf
Nissan's electric car also provides the expected suite of electronic safety systems, including anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, braking assist, traction control, and a tire-pressure monitor. Take Us With You! The Leaf is Swift. Search Auto Inventory Auto Inventory. The hidden costs of Luxury Racing Wheelchair ownership are really big, and often overlooked. Denise October 7, , 4:

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Electric Car vs. Winter

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Log In Create Account. Save Cars and continue your research later at home or on the go with your phone! Compare all your cars at once from one place, side-by-side! Wendy October 6, , 7: Hi Pete, thanks for the one year update.

Adam October 6, , Having a garage to install a Chargepoint is ideal, but I wonder about how this has worked for people relying completely using public charging stations. That will give you miles of range per hour in a Leaf. Another option is if there is an accessible dryer plug within a reasonable distance of where you park, there are V chargers with plugs that you could use and then take with you, rather than paying to hard-wire it and then leave it behind or pay again to remove it.

May end up going with a hybrid instead…technically we went without a car for 6 years which in large part enabled a mortgage downpayment, but now that have a car the wife is used to it. HuBubba October 7, , 1: My work has regular v outlets in the basement parking in the closets, etc which I could run a plug to if needed.

Also, parking garages are beginning to install electric charging options for paying members. Mike Mehrer October 8, , 1: It all depends on how many miles is a routine day. With an 84 mile range car we felt we needed to plug in every night, in case Now there is a fast charger not far away, in case it takes 30 minutes, miles range, we ended up charging once a week.

Kakboy October 8, , 5: I own a Leaf and live in a rental. I have access to a regular outlet that I plug the standard charging cable into. It works just fine for me. In fact, I usually charge every other night or every 3 nights rather than every night. Claire October 9, , 8: A friend in college 10 years ago! TomTX October 15, , 6: Rent a place with an electric dryer connection in the garage.

Poof, you have V, and at least 30A. Stephane November 30, , 1: My main arguments for the wall charger were: And there are fast chargers here, so I can make a small detour and use one. TripTradeNinja October 6, , 7: I even look forward going to work so I get to drive it. Adventure Rich October 6, , 7: As a northern Michigan resident, I have wondered about electric car winter capabilities.

Sounds like they can do a decent job! I find the slightly higher profile of the Subarus can be key for getting through deeper snow. Money Mustache October 6, , 8: After sharing this lament with a friend this week, he reminded me I can just take the car 30 miles up the canyon to Nederland where they get actual winter, and get snow pretty easily.

If you ever visit The Netherlands and you want to test the small Electric Renault Zoe, send me an email and you can do just that: I had snows on my leaf last winter. The vehicle did great in the snow! However you lose range with the snow tires installed. Adventure Rich October 8, , 7: Great, thank you, Pete and Tony, for the follow-up! Bike Bubba October 9, , 8: Michaelok October 25, , 9: Teslas seem popular in the Twin Cities and somebody drove one to work through a particularly cold winter a few years back, and parked way out in the boonies, nowhere near a charger there are chargers near the building so call me impressed.

Karl Fisch October 6, , 8: The other downside to the Leafs even the new, unreleased one are battery degradation over time. Still hoping to find a Volt on year-end closeout and I might get that instead. We bought a used Volt back in December and have gone miles and used only 4 gallons of gas. I think the Volt is a great choice for many folks, because it has enough range to make your commute each day on electric, but has the gas engine for longer drives if you need it until the electric infrastructure for long-distance driving gets built out and all electric will dominate, which is where Tesla has a huge advantage right now.

Sorry they got rid of that — think it really encouraged the resale market here. David Ann Arbor October 8, , This is what makes me hesitate to buy a Leaf. I also will be scaling back my driving starting March when I partially retire. I still would like to have a car, and having such a quandary as to what to do next. I really do want an electric vehicle, I have a garage, in which a volt power line can be installed. I require some proof of this!

I saw one Mitsubishi i-Miev owner saying that after 3 years their car lost one bar — and on the i-Miev the bars are 1kwH each 16 total. Mr Crazy Kicks October 6, , 8: We did consider a leaf before doubling down on another Prius. CapitalistRoader October 6, , 9: Your Pruis is actually a bit more energy efficient than a similarly sized all electric car, on a source-to-wheel basis:. Money Mustache October 7, , But only if you assume we keep burning antique fossil fuels to generate electricity.

Nowadays we can choose solar and wind, as mentioned in this article and other comments. Aaron October 10, , The Vigilante October 10, , 7: Yes, even this far north! This is one of many reasons I intend my next car hopefully not to be purchased for another decade or so, likely well after obtaining millionaire status will probably be a used Tesla Model 3. On a well-to-wheels basis, they map the country and indicate what MPG a gas-powered car like the Prius would have to reach in order to match the emissions of a typical EV.

EV efficiency is significantly dependent on location-based breakdown of power production, of course. That being said, the grid is only getting cleaner as renewables get cheaper.

Both Prii and EVs are much more efficient than the average vehicle, and they both have pros and cons. So for now, use case is probably the best driver for which is best for each individual. Octopii October 6, , 8: Surprised nobody has mentioned the BMW i3, also fairly cheap as they come off lease.

Actually the values have dropped like a bucket of rocks going overboard. Great car — fantastic driving experience. Maybe after my Prius dies, if it ever does actually die, which seems increasingly unlikely.

Money Mustache October 6, , 9: Cool — I hear the i3 is a really fun car as well. What used values are you seeing for that model? CPO warranty extension until , included. Our main concern with the Leaf was battery degradation.

But, between the battery longevity, battery preconditioning which is useful for maximizing range here in FL, but even moreso in states that actually have winter , performance, ect. Abdel Jimenez October 6, , The advantage of the i3 is not only that it feels, accelerates and handles much nicer than the Leaf, but there is an i3 with a Range Extender meaning that the regular electric range is like 80 miles but once the car is close to being depleted an electric 2 and a half gallon gas powered generator kicks in giving you an extra 70 mile range i3 is not a hybrid like a volt or Prius because there is no gas motor.

In essence you could continue filling the gas in the car and repeating the additional 70 miles which helps people with range anxiety. My only concern is that since an i3 is a BMW I fear that the repairs will be substantial. Also I have read owner reviews that the i3 consumes tires pretty quickly because they are very thin and tall.

Overall, I love the i3 but I think the Leaf is a much better bargain. The car dealership with the best car prices in Florida where I tested the cars is called OffleaseOnly; their prices are lower than private party values on Craigslist and they have no dealer fees. I almost purchased the i3, but came back to this website for inspiration and guidance and decided to avoid committing financial suicide, therefore, I will save up to buy an EV cash and have no car payments.

Octopii October 7, , 6: Gouldness October 9, , 8: Love it, soooo quick and handles great. All my gas driving friends all want one after driving it. Andrew October 9, , 9: We just did a lease return on ours at Boulder BMW, it should be on the market soon. We drove our i3 from California to Colorado with 4 people in the car … so it is also possible to use for longer distances.

We took a couple of 2. Being a BMW it is rough on poor quality streets, but otherwise good. Tummy October 12, , 8: Nobody believed I could get new BMWs so cheap. With the gas savings and no maintenance costs except for tires, they more than paid for themselves.

The front seats were placed high I assume to emulate the power-trip illusion SUV owners seem to need and the cabin roof height was oddly tight, to the point of claustrophobia for me. I also like to use my neck and shoulders not just the mirrors, and blind spot visibility was really compromised for me. A B October 6, , 8: Thank you for the detailed review.

One nit to pick: Driving a car is one of the most dangerous activities imaginable, so I urge you to be more careful with your language and please stop perpetuating this myth. Daniel October 7, , 8: So if I have another child I might have to get an E. Micah Shaw October 9, , 9: I think we can clearly agree that driving is the most dangerous thing that most people do.

For those that are riding bikes, it appears that the deaths per mile are higher- tho its hard to tell because of the problem getting accurate reporting miles ridden. So, I think, from the data, we could say that you are less likely to be killed in a car than on a bike when making the same commute.

However, I suspect that people communing in cars regularly travel exponentially farther simply due to the ease of travel- meaning that tho the risk per mile may be lower in a car, the total risk overall is probably much closer, or higher in a car.

And of course, in BOTH situations, how you drive or ride has a lot to do with what your personal risk is. Here is a link to some data with editorial opinions added: TomTX October 15, , 7: One of the arguments for commute bicycling is that for many people, it is a significant increase in exercise, which reduces all sorts of health risks. Darell Dickey October 9, , 9: Thanks for bringing up this great point, AB.

Chris I October 11, , 9: Alan October 6, , 9: You skated around the cold weather issue a bit by only mentioning the heated seats and steering wheel. What about really cold days below zero and such when you need a defroster.

And how about hot days? At least one EV, the eGolf, has an electric defroster built into the windshield for efficient defrosting. Another feature of EVs with active thermal battery management Bolt, Tesla, i3, etc. Of course, it also heats the cabin, too. The EVs without active battery management Leaf, eGolf, etc. This helps range indirectly, of course, by reducing the energy needed to keep the occupants warm while driving. Pre-cooling the cabin is an option on virtually all EVs, as well. Thiago October 7, , I have a Leaf and live in Southern Ontario, Canada.

RelaxedGal October 9, , 6: You are correct, the battery heater and newer Leafs is just to keep the battery from freezing; it kicks on at something like 4 degrees Fahrenheit. The S trim for all years even the new according to the Nissan USA build page is solely resistive heat. Heat pump is part of the Cold Weather package on the middle trim by default comes with resistive and the top trim comes with the heat pump.

The heat pump is better for heating when the outside air is between freezing and room temp. If it gets colder all of the cars use resisitive heat, and range takes a hit. I drive a Nissan Leaf in Massachusetts. In the winter I pre-heat the cabin off wall power in the morning, use the steering wheel and seat heat, and a lap blanket. The heat, and by extension heated defrost, do use a fair amount of electricity.

About as much as driving at 65mph instead of 55mph. Speed is the biggest killed of fuel economy for me. That said, cold is still a big factor. I have a 38 mile round trip commute every weekday, during rush hour. Now that my car is 6 years old, at 62, miles, that commute is at the very edge of possibility at 5 degrees F. Air conditioning has only a minor impact on range. My efficiency drops from a peak of 4. Winter I average closer to 3. Mindy November 29, , 9: You are the first person to mention air conditioning.

Where I live, it is more important than a heater. Does it have problems when there is high humidity? What about high temps? Money Mustache November 29, , 8: This is more efficient, so you pay a lower energy penalty for staying cool. Kevin Ngo October 6, , 9: My family is car-free and we hope to stay that way. However, could you do a true cost of commuting using numbers from your electric car?

I would love to see how different the cost of driving is per mile. And tires, and insurance, and registration. And hospital bills when you get the lifestyle diseases. Leaf gives you cheaper fuel and lower maintenance, but the other larger factors are just as high.

Josh October 6, , 9: Not sure about mass market EVs yet. I have a 10yr old Volvo wagon and a 28 year old Saab. Would like to diy the Saab to EV with 10 kWh of used Tesla modules, but the cost is about 15 years of fuel at current driving rate.

The Volvo is good for another 10 years easy. Last year, all forms of electrified vehicles, from hybrids to battery-electric vehicles accounted for barely 3 percent of the U. Pure electrics, like the Chevy Bolt, generated only around a half-percent of total volume.

But a number of recent studies have suggested that could top 30 percent or more within a decade. Internal combustion engines have gotten so efficient it will be difficult to make the case for ditching them. Have you been following battery and solar performance and cost at all? Technological change is exponential, not linear.

I got to agree with MMM here. I believe the whole idea of having an on board gas powered option be it a motor or generator that requires any sort of upkeep or maintenance, and additional up front costs is just crazy! The only reason we have it right now is because we lack the infrastructure and the battery technology to run all electrics the same way that we run gas vehicles.

If you imagine a world in which there were fast charging stations littered around every intersection, but you could only get gas from 2 or 3 places in a city, and nowhere out in the country, NOBODY would be suggesting you use a gas powered vehicle for anything but some very specialized use cases. And the need for a secondary system built in to your car to support the use of gas would seem silly. Over the next 15 years I expect batteries to get better, charging to get faster, and charging stations to become much more common.

I think only a tiny percentage of consumers really care about the environmental effects, so the actual cleanliness of an EV over a hybrid is essentially a non-issue. But, as our power grid get cleaner, EVs ALL get cleaner, even the year old ones still on the road.

But then again, we rarely predict how new technology really works out. We all thought computers were going to make us more productive…. Money Mustache October 10, , 9: I hope the part about computers was a joke.. The insane productivity of these things has defined my entire life including this blog.

MKE October 16, , 1: Computers are now turning on us. Henry Ford probably loved cars about as much as you love computers with your love of cars, apparently, not far behind.

Our future might turn out to be one of behavioral problems and isolation caused in large part by hypercomputerization. My corporate job as an engineer worsened as a result of computerization.

While I was by far more conversant than my compadres in their use, I saw how awful computers were making our existence. Going out to the factory floor and conversing with the workers, getting dirty, and running experiments was replaced by sitting isolated in an office running models all day long. I was out of there. George Orwell was right, so long ago: The machine has got to be accepted, but it should be accepted grudgingly, like a drug.

Like a drug, the machine is useful, addictive, and habit forming. The more often one surrenders to it, the tighter its grip becomes. It applies to cars, computers, television, cell phones, calculators, many of the convenience machines we have compromised our active existence to. It also applies to electric cars, and I see little wariness in the comments section. I own all these things — grudgingly and warily.

Also, the ICE is not efficient at all unless your top priority is generating heat…they are quite good at that. The ICE bans are a total joke. That being said, battery technology is dropping in price quickly, and capacity is increasing quickly too.

Over here, Quebec has a number of fast chargers because adoption is good electricity is cheap in Quebec, gas is taxed a little more, and there are grants , so the companies maintaining the fast chargers are adding them at the rate of about one a month though the charge many times the cost of electricity, because they can only bill by time, not by kWh… regulations are behind again.

So the fear of not finding a charging station is dropping quickly. I use a utility trailer rather than having a pickup, so towing capability and capacity are musts. But there are several Leaf forum posts with reports and photos by people who do light towing, so it seems totally feasible.

But I have the exact same idea as you: I already bought the wiring harness for trailer lights that is specific to the Leaf. The bike hitch provides plausible deniability should I have any issues with towing.

One Mitsubishi i-Miev owner towed lbs of firewood on a trailer with it. He was extremely careful with it of course, as the i-Miev is not recommended for towing. MAD Wealth October 6, , I think an underrated car feature is the hatchback style. You make a great point about road trips. I wonder how much longer car charging will be free in your town.

Some will choose to charge directly, and others will just hide it in with other taxes property,sales, transfer. We are definitely seeing a rapid shift in the car industry. Literally the majority of cars on the road are obsolete. We both for sure have been on that same page for awhile. Every smart business person will ramp up to meet the future demand. Always thorough and insightful. I had heard Tesla was going to install the roofs with electric solar windows.

Markus October 7, , 2: But there are e-motorcycles in mass production in good old europe ; http: If there was an electric motorcycle.

As for a electric bicycles and and scooters. THeir streets are full of electric scooters and they have been manufacturing them very cheaply for many years now. In China an electric scooter is not a novelty. Vince October 7, , 2: I would hope that an electric motorcycle would still be a motor cycle since it would need an electric motor to power the drive wheel. Unless someone knows better than I, an electric motor is required to turn that stuff from the outlet in your house or from your battery into a circular motion.

Guy October 7, , 2: Arcimoto, out of Eugene, Oregon, has a three-wheel EV classed as a motorcycle: Matt October 7, , 3: Actually, the generally accepted terminology in engineering is electric motor and combustion engine. So your gasoline vehicle has an engine, not a motor. Pavel Kadera October 7, , Janne October 9, , 8: The problem with solar panels on the car surface is the low energy intensity. A solar array installed on a car will never be optimally aligned towards the sun in non-equatorial regions , so some of the potential is lost.

Diana October 10, , 2: Pretty amazing and as an early adopter I can vouch for its awesomeness. EJ October 6, , My cousin in Longmont recently bought one of these. TomTX November 19, , 6: RadPower and Juiced come to mind. Cubert October 7, , 4: Same experience here, going from gas powered lawn mower to a cordless battery powered one. Now I need to grow a pair of mustache tips and push mow or kill the lawn altogether.

We are fully committed to cordless electric yard equipment. There has been no compromise whatsoever going from gas, and actually it has made life better, cheaper, and reduced hassle. Erik Y October 7, , 9: A little more hassle dealing with cord management, but no worries about batteries. Andreas October 9, , 4: I agree with Cubert above. But I also have a small garden so.. A cheap model, but they also have all spare parts available so gonna store up on what breaks first..

Regarding Ryobi they have the same batteries for different types of units, right? Might be a good idéa to buy another battery just in case. I have old Ryobi cordless tools originally bought with NiCd packs. The old tools work fine with the new Li-ion packs, even the top end ones as long as you use the 18v packs. You had to get a new charger with the new Li packs. Bigger items like the cordless electric mower and the more powerful versions of the yard tools use 40v packs.

I had to adapt, but it just finished its eight season! Stephane November 30, , 2: Though why not split with a neighbor? Brew October 7, , 6: Pete, great write up. Had to write in my recommendation for an electric Fiat Similar to how the Leaf is taking off in Longmont, the same thing has happened with eFiat s in my hometown of Manhattan Beach. My brother got one, I drove it and loved it so much that I got one and now many of it friends drove them too.

Linnann October 7, , 7: Since I put so many miles on per year we had to purchase, not lease. I live in the Chicago area, dealing with cold winters. Last winter the battery depletion became an issue, so this summer my husband worked hard talking to Nissan Corporate in the USA not the dealership which had minimal knowledge and we received a replacement battery. I effectively have a brand new car and am loving it! Arranging a battery replacement was a lot cheaper than buying a new car.

I love my Leaf! Michael October 7, , 8: Congratulations on saving 10k buying this car over a used Volvo, but killing yourself or one of your passengers in the process. My life and my families life is more valuable than that. There are times to pinch pennnies and times when you should see that life is valuable and spending a few bucks is worth it.

There are many other reasonably priced cars with low operating costs and great safety ratings that would be a better option.

I hope in the next car review MMM takes a better look at all of the important factors in buying a new or used car instead of only looking at the cheapest option. You can make a bigger difference in your healthy lifespan by driving less and biking more.

Car safety specs are a great thing to measure on a systemwide basis, but in personal decision making you have much bigger levers at your disposal. October 19, , 8: You are right about the probabilities, however the safety issue is the same reason people should purchase insurance when they are not FI.

While on an individual level, riding a bike and staying off the roads clearly reduces your chances of being in a car accident, once you make the decision to be ON the road, minimizing the safety concern is a dangerous recommendation.

I am a pediatric emergency medicine doctor — I see first-hand what happens to kids who are injured in car accidents. So rather than exhort your readers to ignore safety ratings, you should be going after Nissan for having not achieved higher safety ratings.

That is far more important than the poorly constructed iPhone app, and is something Nissan should be able to figure out given that they already do it for every single car they make. Juan October 7, , 6: Ben Trutter October 9, , 9: I was always thinking about getting a Honda Fit until a couple driving a Fit was waiting at a red light and got rear ended by someone going way too fast and both passengers in the Fit died. This happened blocks from my apartment and kinda turned me off of them.

MKE October 11, , I own a Fit, and my wife was rear-ended by some uninsured, unlicensed felon in a truck on a cell phone. Naturally, the guy was given a ticket and sent on his way.

But I also once saw a guy in a full-size cargo van get smashed to death between two semi trucks. Then there was the idiot in the SUV I watched take an exit ramp way to fast, flip and kill himself.

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