Based on 42 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.Review this car
By leaf driver on Monday, February 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas savings and future maintenance savings"
Cons: "really a 60-65 mile range as others have noted"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"In response to angry man in this chain of reviews that compares solar power and electric vehicles to unicorns and fairies: Why so bitter towards science? On the solar power, he could take his fact free arguments up with Albert Einstein, if he were alive. I doubt he'd win that argument. Einstein explained how the technology in solar panels works in Nobel Prize winning research (he did not invent solar panels which have been around since 1800s). Furthermore, our worldwide telecommunications system (tv, phone, internet) is critically dependent on solar power, so the guy below might also have a bone to pick with a few aerospace engineers as well. Satellites use solar panels. It's more reliable than many other power sources and much more reliable than other electronics – these panels last for decades in space with no maintenance. Our solar panels came with a 25 yr warrantee and had zero damage after two hailstorms, so, they are exceptionally reliable. The first storm destroyed my cedar shake roof (wood chips all around the house after storm), and the second storm was worse (new asphalt shingles survived second storm). In 4 years, we've never (ever) had to clean them as the occasional rain suffices. When dusty, we notice no change in power output. Anyone aware of the green technology known as a garden hose could easily rinse panels in a dry location without getting on the roof. There are NO batteries with a grid tied system. Instead, the utility grid absorbs the solar panel electricity when not used and feeds it back to my house when the electricity is needed (like nighttime use or cloudy days). When we're not using the solar generated electricity, it is sold to our neighbors on down the electric grid. Just 10-12yrs of electricity bill savings created by a $15K investment for a 5.5KW solar panel system pays off the entire $15k investment. Payoff is much sooner if utility company raises rates as it already has twice (6% increase so far….), but let’s ignore that for simplicity. After 10-12yrs, there is easily 10-13++ years of free electricity still to be generated by the panels. The only part that may require replacement after 10 years is the inverter and that cost is included in the 10-12yr payoff analysis. The panels have been throwing off approximately 14 months of electricity every 12 months from January to December even with the cloudy days when nothing is generated. That’s 2 months extra months of electricity every year that the utility company owes me based on my 3000 sq ft house and average family usage. Since the panels were installed, we have not had to pay for any electricity from the utility company and every year they owe us more electricity. The solar panels were a no-brainer investment and take out the future uncertainty of electricity cost fluctuation by locking down my electricity for well over 20 years. If inflation stays at zero and the utility company does not raise rates for 20-25 years, these panels have a minimum return of 10%+ per year. However, if electricity prices rise in any way, for any reason, as they already have, the return gets to 15% annually very quickly and keeps rising. WE’VE TAKEN PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR, AND OWNERSHIP OF, OUR ELECTRICITY COSTS FOR THE NEXT 20-25 YEARS, and that’s comfort well beyond a significant decrease in CO2 emissions, increased grid transmission efficiency (power generated at the place it is needed), and a significant reduction in water used in electricity production. It’s a pretty straightforward diversification strategy and it saves us massive amounts of money! One way to use all that excess electricity from the solar panels was to buy an electric car, but we would do so ONLY if an electric car would be cheaper than a used gas or hybrid car. Our preference would always be to buy a used car, which is the preferred choice of all “greenies” and financially minded people. But there is a huge financial advantage the new EVs have over a used gas powered car: a gasoline powered car continues to require a significant investment in gas each and every week, month, and year!! Gas prices fluctuate pretty dramatically year over year too (think of the range of gas prices over the last 10 years). This electric car easily saves $1,600 per year over a gas powered 25MPG car if gas stays at $3/gal and electricity goes for 15 cents per kWh (that’s a very high kWh price compared to national average and nearly double what we pay per kWh). The savings rise quickly if gas prices go up. The battery has an 8 year/100K mile warrantee, so, we will save $8,000 - $13,000 (the lowest end of estimates) in the first 8 years or 100K miles. Because the car does not require the extra drive to a gas station to pay an additional $1,600 per year for gas, plus the cost of oil changes, mufflers and exhaust parts, spark plugs and ignition coils, hoses, belts, gaskets, etc., etc. , the time savings is significant as well. With 16 inch rims, there will be tire savings too and the coolant is rated to last 125,000 miles unlike typical antifreeze. Furthermore, we don’t need thousands of pounds of gas, oil and parts delivered to my local area every year. It would be 4,000 – to 5,000 lbs of gas per year compared to a battery pack weighing in at 660lbs delivered once every 8 years or 100k miles IF the battery quits when the warrantee runs out. The car costs $100 or less per month to insure at full coverage (you can check that on KBB.com). Nissan was also offering 100% financing at 0% so we can keep the 31K invested and pay for the car over 3 years (also get a lot of money back in a tax refund). EVs are a perfect second car and are not subject to the huge price fluctuations and political uncertainties of gasoline and have a much lower maintenance burden. Of course, anyone who buys and EV should first look very closely at their daily work commute and their average weekend driving and make sure an EV works for their specific situation. The vast majority of Americans would probably find that an EV such as a Leaf would save them massive amounts of money that would have otherwise been spent on gas. Most Americans are driving under 30 miles per day, so this car is perfect with a range easily twice that. We drive this car 400 miles per week on average. You can still have a second gas powered car for those long road trips and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you won’t be bankrupted if future gas prices should spike dramatically and you won’t be stuck in a line at a gas station either. Once again, far from economic disaster, this car is improving my economic situation. I will post another update after more drive time... A couple of other points the guy below forgot to check – the federal tax credit is a refundable tax credit, so, an EV buyer gets that money back even if he/she doesn’t owe $7,500 in federal tax . There are also various state and local tax incentives depending on one’s residence. With our without these incentives, an EV still has the gas and maintenance savings."
12 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Spud on Sunday, January 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, HOV access !!"
Cons: "Effective range in long life battery mode is 60 mi"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very predictable and reliable car with typical range anxiety limitations. 60 mile effective range when considering the recommended "long life battery" conditions."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By ElectricEnthusiast on Sunday, January 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "perfect city car"
Cons: "needs more efficient heater"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've driven my Nissan Leaf for 24 months. It's been an excellent car with nearly zero costs. Solar panels on our roof supply the electricity. It is fast on the freeway, and its size makes it easy to park. Interior size is surprising with legroom and head room in the front seat very similar to my Lexus RX SUV. The 100 mile range makes it possible to do everything in a day's drive except climb to ski resorts. For that you need a Tesla or a Volt. I use our 1999 SUV for those trips. Only negative of the car is the heater which uses a lot of power, about 30% of battery use on cold winter days. Still, have never run out of power even though I use battery conserving 80% charge. A full charge of 24 kWh is equivalent to two-thirds of a gallon of gas. 80% is just over half a gallon of gas. It is amazing to drive 80-90 miles on the energy of less than a gallon and a cost of about $2.50 of electricity."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By green car on Friday, December 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Love it, very quiet interior. plenty of power."
Cons: "needs snow tire for winter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"It is a good car for 90% of driving. It doesn't do well on the snow. Range around 80 if heater is on. Snow tires help a lot, but drops the range by 10 mile."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By AG on Friday, November 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,700overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Instant torque, comfort, fuel & maintenance cost"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own this car for about a week, but there is a lot to say. It changed my thinking about driving. What I like. Instant torque. It feels and sounds like an airplane on a runway when you floor the accelerator. Size. Just right for me, two kids in the back and, occasionally, an adult in the front. Comfort. All features are very well thought-through. E.g. AC and heating consumes power significantly reducing the driving range. So, the car is equipped with seat heating running from the secondary battery and has a climate control timer that would pre-heat/pre-cool your car a few minutes before the planned departure while it's still plugged in. I noticed parking breaks are automatically releasing when I start driving. The charge status of the car can be checked online or through a mobile app so that you don't overpay for hogging a public charge station. The car can also send you an email or a text when it's done charging. Etc. The car is full of nice surprises. I am yet to find an unpleasant surprise. All small things are there - cupholders, compartment for eye glasses, dimming rear view mirrors, convenient steering wheel controls for bluetooth and audio, proximity key entry, folding back seats for large luggage - can't think of anything missing or annoying. Even the locking beep is loud enough to hear, but quiet enough to not disturb neighbors at night. Driving leaf changes my thinking while I drive. Gas prices are no longer a concern. Driving range is. So, I am continuously checking how many miles I drive per kWh and try to maximize it, using Eco mode and cutting back on acceleration and using climate control. Trip planning is important. I drive over 35 miles a day and use more than a half of the battery. I have not installed the 240V charger at home yet, so if I arrive home empty, the car will not fully charge by the morning - I need to charge at public stations near my work, but not too much. They charge your car and your credit card - $1/hour. That's about $1 for 10 miles. Still less than gas, but way more expensive than charging at home. So, at public stations, I want to charge only partially to maximize charging at home. Definitely, more planning than just filling up the tank once every 2 weeks, but it's manageable and fun. There is also plenty of tools to track driving history/economy/savings/environmental impact etc. Need to mention maintenance cost. There are no oil changes, filters, oxygen sensors, DEQ tests, transmissions. The number of moving parts inside the car requiring maintenance is minimal. Battery longevity is something I need to check out. Nissan guarantees not more than 20% drop in battery capacity in 5 years. If it is more - they will replace the battery (which, by the way, does not seem to be too expensive). And, in 5 years, batteries will get better. Relatively large car price is off-set by the $7,500 federal tax credit and gas savings which, I think, is over $100/month for me. So far, I like this car a lot."
13 people out of 15 found this review helpful