The 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to
$7,500, effectively reducing the net base price from $33,720 to $26,220. In
addition, some states offer their own purchase incentives, which can be
combined with the federal credit. Other electric vehicle-related perks that
vary by city or state include single-occupant access to carpool lanes, free
metered parking and significantly reduced vehicle registration fees. Home
charging stations, which cut charging times in half compared to standard wall
outlets, are also eligible for attractive incentives. Nissan offers a useful
state-by-state guide to Leaf-specific incentives and perks at nissanusa.com.
Pros: "Most Everything, No Oil Changes, No Transmission"
Cons: "Only 70 miles on a full charge"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We bought a used, 2 year old Leaf SL and it's our favorite toy. Quick sub 50 MPH acceleration, comfortable, spacious, quiet and quirky. I'm addicted to not buying gas. But installing a 240 volt charger is a must, must have! The 240 volt charger will juice up the Leaf with 25 miles range in an hour/ or full charge in 3 hours. But that's provided your model has the quick charge option. The Leaf is one of three cars that we own, and it would be somewhat limiting if it were our only vehicle, due to the range constrictions of 70 miles. And 70 mile range means you're driving very conservatively, in ECO Mode and with the Brake Regenerative function, as well.
I'm no stranger to high end vehicles. I currently own an older model Boxster and Infiniti Q45, and adore them both. I've also owned a Nissan 350Z, Mercedes E class, BMW 735IL, Saab Turbo convertible, Honda Prelude, Toyota Cellica GTS, and Audi. So, when I say the Leaf is overall, one of the most favorite cars I've ever owned, you can get an idea of what I've experienced.
If 70 miles range meets your everyday needs, consider the Leaf. You can always use charging stations when necessary, but that can be a bit of an inconvenience. Don't forget, you must invest the $500 for the 240 volt charger, and another $150 or so for an electrician or qualified handyman to install the plug for it."
"I retired in December 2015 and relocated from Chicago, to Washington State. When I lived in Chicago, I took the train to the city and rarely drove my car and so I only bought gas once a month, or less.
So when I moved to my retirement home, I found I was driving around 30 or 40 miles a day to and from places that I go, like the grocery store, YMCA, and family and I realized that gasoline costs were going to stretch my retirement budget.
I started shopping for electric vehicles and ruled out hybrids and the Volt because frankly, I just don't want to buy gas and spend money on oil changes and all of that other stuff that goes with gasoline cars.
I have to admit that I was really nervous about the range anxiety factor of owning a pure electric car but I did my research and realized that the Leaf was the only way to go.
To make a long story short, I bought a 2015 Leaf S with only 6700 miles on it that had the quick charge port option and the 6.6 Kwh charger upgrade.
I got it for $14K and I bought the extended service warranty which was available because of the low mileage.
I have owned many cars in my life and as you know, sometimes you make a major purchase only to regret it later. It is going on 2 months and I have to say that the more I drive this car, the more I love it and I think it is the best car buying decision I have ever made.
I installed a level 2 (220 volt) charging station for my garage. I find that I usually only have to charge it every other day and I worked with a friend of mine who is an electrical engineer and he figures that it costs me less than $2.00 ever time I charge it. So it is costing me less than $20/mo for electricity and looking forward to the future, there will be no oil changes, no mufflers, exhaust pipes, pumps, hoses, tune ups, spark plugs and wires, fuel filters....all of that stuff that you waste your money on with gas cars.
I have never even come close to "running out of gas/electric charge".
There are several apps you can download on your smart phone that show you where charging stations are but to be honest, I have only used a public pay per charge station once and it costs me $3.96. So if you did that a lot, it would increase the cost of ownership.
As I mentioned, I live in Washington State where the climate is temperate and so I don't use the AC and probably won't use the heater in the winter.
You have to invest some time learning how this car works. For instance, when you use the AC and the heater, it drains the main lithium battery however when you use the heated seats and the blower, it runs off of the auxiliary 12 volt battery which does not affect the range between charges.
The dashboard on the Leaf is like an airliner....very high tech and it gives you real time data on how your driving is impacting the range of your battery and so you become very conscious of how your driving habits impact the range of the car and I enjoy having that control.
So I love this car and it is perfect for me. We still have my wife's Chrysler 200 if we need to take a road trip but I haven't drove it since I bought my Leaf and I will bet that when she retires in a year, we will both be competing for who gets to drive the Leaf.
On the not so positive side, the model that I bought is very stripped down. That is why I got it so cheap. But it has the quick charger port and the 6.6Kwh charger upgrade which is extremely important. With the quick charger port, in theory, I can take longer trips with a little bit of planning.
Another not so positive about the car is the battery life. Just like any battery device like your smart phone or laptop, the battery capacity gradually diminishes. I did a lot of research on this and found that in the climate I live in, this is not a great issue but it is in hot and cold climates.
However, I read that the battery life can be extended somewhat if you only charge the batter to 80%. Originally, the Leaf had an option to allow you to charge the battery to only 80% but apparently that option was removed recently. That is a little frustrating.
But other than that, I love this car."
Pros: "Great Price. fun to drive, lights are so bright"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Very fun to drive. I love the color and the leather seats are very comfortable and also gray. A fast mid-size car with get up and go.
Hatchback so convenient with good space. Lay back seats down and have lots of cargo space or you could go camping and two could sleep in it. Love to be able to drive in the fast lane and know I am not putting emissions in the air. The car is sooo quiet."
"After waiting almost a year, I finally took possession of my EV just last month. It is everything I hoped for and more: truly a 21st century car. If I forget to plug it in, it emails me. If it gets low on charge, it calculates a route to the nearest charging station. It has timers to charge during off peak hours and timers to pre-heat and cool the vehicle in summer and winter. If the car has been sitting in the sun for hours, I can turn on the A/C from my computer or smart phone before I leave the building. I get instantaneous feedback about my driving habits, allowing me to drive smarter, stretch my mileage and reduce my costs. The telemetry is impressive and I have access to an incredible amount of data.
Don’t believe the anti-EV noise machine out there. This isn’t a glorified golf cart. This is a REAL car, and most important to me, it’s fun to drive. My other car is a Mercedes SLK 280 hardtop convertible roadster and I know what a fun drive is. The leaf has 100% torque instantaneously and will beat my SLK off the line.
This is the perfect commuter car for me. I live in San Diego, which has ideal weather conditions for an EV and, ironically, some of the highest gas prices in the country. Instead of filling my tank for $70, I’ll be plugging in my EV in my garage for about $9. My cost is 3 cents a mile PERIOD… no oil changes, no tune ups, no transmission fluid, no air filter, no hassles. It sure beats 25 cents a mile. My EV and I now mock Big Oil."
"The overarching impression from the Leaf is that it's a "real car." When you see a Leaf, you know it; its front and rear are both distinctive enough to distinguish it from similarly shaped hybrids. It's not an electrified version of a gas car, it's a model all its own — not unlike the Prius.
One of the most interesting features is a small solar panel atop the SL trim level's liftgate spoiler. Don't be misled; this little thing doesn't add range — it just trickle-charges the regular 12-volt battery. I'd be willing to bet the high-voltage battery pack loses more energy when sitting parked than the solar panel collects.
Due to the nature of electric motors, the Leaf has robust torque from a standing start — enough to spin the tires before the traction control intervenes, especially when turning after a traffic signal turns green. With a zero-to-60 mph time of roughly 7 seconds, off-the-line acceleration is sprightly up to around 45 mph, and then you see the rate begin to decrease — to a degree that you must be patient if you plan to pass at highway speeds. This is the nature of an electric drivetrain with no conventional transmission and only one "speed." The top speed is electronically limited to 95 mph. I found myself speeding inadvertently — a lot. This is always a good sign in a car. It reflects low noise levels, stability and confidence, things you don't always get in typical cars, much less in efficient ones.
In normal driving, the car's dynamics are agreeable, and this is all most drivers will ever encounter. If you push the car harder, it corners differently than normal cars do. Best I can tell, it's because the 600-pound battery pack lowers the center of gravity dramatically, even compared with the Chevy Volt. The pack is under the front and rear seats entirely, which positions all that mass low and between the front and rear axles. In a normal car, when you take a sharp turn the body leans and the inside wheels get light, making the outside tires work harder to hold the car on the road. In the Leaf, when the tires begin to lose their grip, they seem to do so in unison.
I'm struck by how simple it is, and I don't mean that in a bad way. The car has a battery pack connected through associated electronics to an electric drive motor that powers the front wheels through a few reduction gears and a differential. That's pretty much it. No clutches, no conventional transmission, no secondary source of locomotion."
Pros: "Quiet, comfortable, Great air conditioner for AZ, Great acceleration up to 45 mph then tappers off."
Cons: "Sun visors aren't great."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fun car to drive. We absolutely love it. So far our leaf is averaging 220 kw usage per 1,000 miles. At our electric. rates that is $24/1,000 miles of driving. I installed 6 solar electric panels which are producing 240( ) kw/month to offset our usage. We use the leaf for all of our 80 mile or less drives. That range will be extended as they add more charging stations. Above 60mph the battery drain rate seems to increase. If you go 75 mph on the freeway the range is reduced to between 50 to 70 miles depending on how much of a reserve you are comfortable with and how many hills you encounter. We use a 240V level 2 charger. With inter-day charging we occasionally put 130 miles on our leaf for the day. My 17 year old son drives his 4 teenage friends around on the weekends. The 5 teenagers fit comfortably in the Leaf. With the back seat laid down I can fit one bicycle in with the front wheel on or 2 bicycles with their front wheels removed. Plugging the Leaf in has been a lot less effort than I had imagined. I just pop the plug cover latch from inside the car before I get out the grab the cord and plug it in as I walk by the front of the car to go in the house. Electric cars are not for everyone, but the Leaf has worked out great for our family. (just wish we had two)"
"The Nissan LEAF is a purpose built true electric car. Therefore it was built from the ground up to be an electric car. It's not a retrofit of an existing car to make it an electric car.
The engineering of the vehicle is amazing. It accelerates like a V6. It is extremely quite. The car feels very open and roomy. There's a lot of headroom. The car is loaded with technology including performance analysis, Internet connection (to upload telemetry and to start the climate control system remotely), XM, iPod integration, keyless, backup camera, solar panel (to charge accessory battery), and of course an entirely electric drive train. It's a really fun car to drive and worth every penny."
"We have a 68 mile daily commute to and from work in cold climate Michigan so we looked at the volt, prius, tdi, among others trying to offset costs of gas. We narrowed our choice to a volt or leaf after test driving cars. The volt was a close second but the Leaf beat it out for the following reasons: the volt managed a meager 30 miles in all electric when driven in temps hovering in the mid 40‘s - this wouldn't even get us half way. The leaf pulled out 82 during same weather. The leaf is larger with seating for 5 and larger cargo area. We liked the Leaf's dash and gauge layout better than the Volt. The leaf is quiet,yet has tremendous torque and really flies off the line. And price
Carwings - We love how we can start the climate control, heat our car, and get it ready without leaving our house. Carwings let's us do all of this via our phone or ipad. Great feature.
Navigation system is top notch and very accurate. Love xm
Acceleration and torque.
Heated steering wheel
Roomy interior and comfortable seats
80+ miles of all electric driving which meets our daily commute of 68 with miles to spare. Never had to recharge at work.
We have made long tips (160 miles) in the car with planning. We traveled to Detroit from grand rapids with one stop in Lansing to charge our car. Worked out well as lots of charging statins along the way."
"We've only owned our Leaf for a few weeks, so our experience is still limited. However, I wonder why another owner who uses his car 20K a year and wants to drive more than 65 m/h bought this car? Our situation seems perfect for a Leaf, as we use it to commute and do local errands averaging 25 or 30 mi/day on weekdays. Even if the battery does eventually degrade by 20% as reported in hot climates like Arizona, we'd still be okay. So we're happy so far, and with a Prius for long trips our total gas savings over our previous car arrangements offers direct energy cost of about 25 percent of what we paid when we had a Nissan van and a Corolla. And we only use 17 percent of the gas we did before. Take that Big Oil."
Pros: "Fun to drive, very effecient, great value."
Cons: "Choices of interior and not many charging stations"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"In 1996 I decided to build an electric car due to the gas prices and just for the challenge. While I really enjoyed that car for many years it didn't not have all the bells and whistles of a modern day car so I sold it and bought the LEAF. Other than not having any other full electric cars to choose from for styling, this car is everything of what I had hoped for and more. It is great car with all the online gadgets and information that it captures and the range is plenty for my daily drive of around 50 miles. I wish the range was a little more so I could make more than one trip without charging, but it is easy enough to plug in after each trip. Many have asked me "What happens when you run out of battery?" My response is what happens when you run out of gas? Same thing for the electric car for the most part. It is just like having a car with a smaller gas tank, but with the advantage you can fill up at home for a lot less cost. If there were the same number of charging stations around the country as there are gas stations there wouldn't be any issue in going longer distances. The problem in my area is there isn't any charging stations within 60 miles and many of the destinations I would go to farther than the ~100mi range don't have any stations. Need to put them in at Malls, restaurants, etc. Even with this fact, the LEAF is what I would call our main vehicle, but we also have a gas vehicle for the longer trips and vacations. It is a great car and I am excited to see other pure electric cars become available. I think someone could jump in and drive this and not even notice that it is electric since Nissan went to a lot of effort to make it act and perform like a regular gas car."