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."