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.
"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."
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 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: "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."
"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."