The Nissan Leaf EV - A Nice Little Car!
February 7, 2019
This is my first electric vehicle. I love new tech & always wanted an EV, but the new ones are still too expensive for me. I recently purchased a 2012 Nissan Leaf SL, and am really enjoying it. It's a "1st Generation" Leaf (2011-2012), so it's got a couple drawbacks. It's got a 24 kWh battery, which only had a 75 mile range when new. It's got the 1st Gen heater, which sucks more power than later models. It's almost 7 years old, so the battery has lost a little capacity & only does 50-60 miles now (depending on how cold it is). Those are the negatives of an older EV. Now, the positives: It still drives like new. Ultra smooth & quiet. These EVs need virtually no maintenance. It's VERY peppy from zero-to-45, and not too shabby after that. There's literally NO noise produced unless you're moving or running something. It charges in about 12-14 hours from empty on a regular 110 household plug, 4-6 hours on a 220, and 30 MINUTES with the quick DC chargers you find in some gas stations. It's just a cool car if you're a tech geek. It's kinda like a video game because you find yourself adjusting your driving as a challenge to get the most range for your charge. Since I only have a 40-mile round trip to work, this car works great as a commuter vehicle. In a few years, I'll probably move on to a newer EV with longer range, but as a 'gateway' starter EV, an older Nissan Leaf is a great way to begin. The 1st Generation models can be had for around $7000 now (they were $36k new!), and are pretty widely available. Just make sure you get one that still has decent capacity left on the battery. At 7-ish years old, mine still has 11 out of 12 'capacity bars' showing on the original battery. That translates to around 80-85%. Still lots of life left. Avoid any that have 9 bars or less or have spent their lives in hot places like Arizona that kill batteries faster. Replacing the main battery is crazy-expensive (around $9k)! But one that's been well cared for can still provide you several good years for a pretty modest price.