Let's cut to the chase: The number one issue is range. With an 11-mile one-way commute and a charging station at work, I purchased an off-lease 2012 Nissan LEAF SL to use as my daily driver. Nissan re...
Let's cut to the chase: The number one issue is range. With an 11-mile one-way commute and a charging station at work, I purchased an off-lease 2012 Nissan LEAF SL to use as my daily driver. Nissan recommends an 80% charge to maximize battery life, so the rated distance to empty is around 70 miles. Depending on driving style (e.g. highway miles increase air resistance and thus reduce range) and use of accessories, a 50-60 mile range is more realistic. Please do not expect a 100-mile range that some reviewers have assumed (partially due to false input from car dealers).
Once you have determined that the range will work for you, it's a fantastic car. The materials used are high quality and the seats are very comfortable. The cabin has an open, airy feel. The acceleration is instant due to the electric motor torque. Despite the small hatchback look, it has plenty of legroom and space for passengers. Speaking of look, it's...well...different. I like the non-conformist look. Some might say the front looks like a carp. To each their own. The rear luggage space is good enough for groceries and small baggage, but clearly this is not a road trip car. The rear seats can be flipped down for more cargo space.
The accessories including entertainment, Bluetooth (for audio and phone), charging ports, GPS (if so equipped), and connection to CarWings telematics are top-notch. You can see your car's charging state at any time and turn on climate control while the car is still plugged in.
A 240V home EVSE (car charger) is recommended, but not absolutely necessary. Any 110V outlet becomes your "fueling station", although at a reduced rate from the 240V stations. You can find public charging stations (many are free) using commonly available web sites and apps.
If you fit the above driving profile and are ready to benefit from reduced fuel costs (about 1/3 of gas!), having a fully charged car every morning, and the reduced maintenance (no oil changes, no tune-ups, no exhaust repairs, reduced brake jobs due to regenerative braking), the LEAF might be for you.
Consider that by 2016-2017, a second generation with increased range may be available, so it makes sense to buy used and reduce your depreciation.