Roadshow Tests Nissan LEAF: One Of The Best Truly Affordable EVs

AUG 4 2018 BY MARK KANE 42

The second-generation Nissan LEAF received 7.9/10 in the latest Roadshow review

The new LEAF wasn’t received in the U.S. as well as in Japan and Europe, where it quickly has set new sales records. It’s hard to say why, because the LEAF is one of the most complete electric cars on the market for a decent price. Maybe it’s because of strong alternative models or battery (some want 60 kWh, others liquid cooling as well).

The affordable EV from Nissan was rated at 8/10 for performance, 8.5/10 for features, 7.5/10 for design and 7.5/10 for media. It would seem that’s solid enough to succeed.

2018 Nissan LEAF

The Good
The 2018 Nissan Leaf offers solid urban performance and up to 151 miles of range from its electric powertrain. Available ProPilot Assist tech boosts safety and comfort on the highway. The e-pedal one-foot driving mode is efficient and fun. The Leaf doesn’t look like an electric frog anymore.

The Bad
The Leaf’s cabin is low-budget and NissanConnect tech is basic. E-pedal operation varies depending on charge state, so it takes some getting used to.

The Bottom Line
More range, style and improved safety tech keep the 2018 Nissan Leaf on its throne as one of the best, truly affordable electric cars on the road.

Nissan LEAF sales in U.S. – July 2018

Source: Roadshow

Categories: Nissan

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42 Comments on "Roadshow Tests Nissan LEAF: One Of The Best Truly Affordable EVs"

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I have to thank Nissan for planting the EV flag so deep starting in 2011. My first EV was a Leaf, man that thing was a game-changer. So bummed that the battery range degraded so quickly, if they’d addressed that issue sooner I’d likely still own it. I’ve moved on from Nissan simply because it seemed to me like they kicked their early adopters to the curb, but I do have to thank them for being a big part in moving the EV puck forward.

The Nissan Leaf is the somewhat affordable option, but as you mentioned, the battery degradation / range loss issue over time, in the early 2011-12, and even the early 2013 pre – 03/2013 vehicles ( mynissanleaf forum ), seem to really aggravate the early adopters.

In my particular Leaf use case (So. Cal.), my battery ( manuf. 03/2013 ), is currently at 82% SOH / 59k mi., w/ 600+ fast charges in 65 months. Annual battery capacity loss is a little over 3%. This same 3% (+ or – 1/2 %) battery capacity loss, also seems to apply to the 2016-17 Leaf 30kWh batteries, in my 26k other Leaf driving experience as well.

It seems that liquid TMS battery systems in other EVs, especially ones with larger batteries, have less than 1/2 of the typical Leaf 3% + or – 1/2% annual battery degradation, on a 12k mi. average driving cycle.

No telescoping steering in any Leaf, is also another item to consider, for the BAD column.

7.9/10 is a generous score, at the current 2018 Leaf price point.

Yeh I highly recommend the 2014 or 2015 models. If you can find a 2012 with the lizard battery that is really great too.

If a Tesla for instance has a battery that is four times bigger than a leaf and only charges one third as much, why does it last only twice as long in terms of mileage? Let that soak in a bit.

My first EV was a LEAF (2012), too. The battery degradation was a major problem. On its third year I couldn’t commute with it, it holds less than 60 miles fully charged. Another problem it had was the breaks. I think the breaks are controlled electronically so there are times it won’t break (fully pressed but the car still going forward; only happens at low speed), and other times a light tap on it would cause a sudden stop (also at low speed). Had the dealer checked it but they couldn’t find the problem. Hopefully all these issues are addressed in the new model since it was a nice little car.

One interesting note – at the end of the lease I returned it back to Nissan dealer, I think they just treated it as a junk that they didn’t bother to re-sell it. I know this because after a year the DMV still has me as the registered owner (even though the dealer said they will take care the paperworks), and the dealership calls me constantly offered trade-in, etc. thinking that I still have the car.

That car is worth over 10 grand now in Denver and California. Great car.

I got a 2012 model in 2011. The battery was replaced under warranty with the lizard battery. It has over 31,000 miles now and 12 bars. I suspect it will be the last car I will ever own in my lifetime. Best car ever made.

Noticeably absent from the “bad” is lack of TMS and associated problems that go with it.

1. More than one DC fast charger per day will slow down charging. 2 or 3 will make “fast” to be slower than slow charging on some EV.

2. It will accelerate battery wear, especially in “hellish” hot places like 50 miles from California coast.

3. Even if you lease, DCFC fade will affect you, especially driving through hot weather areas or after spirited driving.

4. Because of this, you have to adjust your lifestyle to fit Leaf. Don’t travel too far from home, and sell it if you plan to move away from the coast.

So basically, for 99% who don’t drive more than 300 miles per day, it’s the car to go!

It will be fine as long as you don’t live in a hot part of the world. Battery degradation is worse negative than charge throttling in my opinion.

Your fake opinion doesn;’t amount to much.

or the 98% of the people that dont even drive 50 miles a day.

You may just be the biggest Leaf troll on here. Proof? You make one observation and spread it into 4 negs.
1. You
2. Are
3. A
4. Leaf
5. Troll

He is the “lifestyle adjustment” Leaf Troll.


Old SparkEV DOES have the Leaf NCTC (Free Juice for two year program), dead to rights. EVgo DC fast charges are totally clogged up!

And,they pretty much totally SUCK Big Time!

I QCd my 2015 600 times in the hot Central California sun over 32 months and had 88% SOH at the end, with close to 1 mile per 1% on the battery gauge, like when the car was new.

Battery degradation was somewhat accelerated but not too far out of the general trend.

What made me turn in the car instead of keep it was that 20kWh effective charge in the winter cold would knock the useful range down to 60 miles or worse, ain’t nobody got time for a car that can only go 50 miles at highway speeds!

The 2018’s 60% capacity expansion solves this problem for my “daily driver” needs. Still need an ICE for intercity travel, but 6% interest I’m earning on the money I didn’t spend on alternatives that cost $10,000 – $20,000 more will pay for all the Enterprise rentals I need.

Now, the Bolt was in the price ballpark of the Leaf and also has one-pedal driving, main problem with that was the Chevy dealer here isn’t really selling them.

Another nay sayer spreading fake news about TMS

Oh I see it is the LEAF Troll again spreading his fake news. I’m glad he is here,. I spent 2 hours last night looking through Nissan Leaf Owners group facebook post. Not a single mention of battery problems or defects. I liked at the Bolt Owners page for five minutes, a one guy turned his Bolt back in as a lemon after the battery pack failed and got a Dodge pick up truck. Another was having their defective batteries replaced. Stop trolling LEAFs man. The Bolt is a great car and Chevv is standing behind the batteries with their warranty. We are not trolling Chevy Bolt articles. We just want you to stop spreading fake mews about Nissan LEAFs.

Just purchased a used 2015 Nissan Leaf on Thursday. Supposed to get 80 miles per charge but seem to get only around 65. Still in the 48 hour window to return. Only paid $12K which seems like a good deal but do not have charge anxiety will be priceless. A 2018 Leaf ranges from $29,000 to $36,000. With the Federal / State incentives I’m thinking that the claimed range of 151 miles is worth the extra cost.

Get LeafSpy Pro.
Lease the Leaf (if you drive 10-15k annual mi.)
Save a considerable amount of money by avoiding Leaf depreciation.

Your 24 kWh battery has only about 19-20 kWh available capacity.

Useable battery capacity, after 3 years of typical degradation (9-10%). If you get a New 2018 Leaf, your useable battery capacity is close to 38 kWh, which is basically DOUBLE the useable battery capacity.

Twice the range is nice, ask a Chevy Bolt owner about 220+ mi. range.

Buy the Bolt.

50 – 60 miles is normal for 4 year old Leaf.

His is a Preowned 2015 Leaf (3 year old “guesstimate”).

MY 2012 will do that at 80% charge. Great cars. My wife has a 2016 and she gets consistently 110 miles. When we go out of town we can get 130 miles. A couple weeks ago I drove her 2016 mostly insterstate 90 miles at 60 to 65mph with AC and had 30 miles left over when I started charging in Anniston. Great car. In three hours it was fully charged again. Great car. Sometimes you have to be a little patient, but we save a fortune and maybe 40 tons of CO2 every year.

The best thing i can say if you do not find recylcing bottles and cans and aluminum a problem then the LEAF is a really great car for you. you will not mind adjusting your lifestyle to accommodate the limited range of the car like a 2014 LEAF. great car and your cost of ownership after your initial investment will be ZERO, just like your emissions ZERO.

Sounds like you got the 2015 I turned in last June, j/k

With tax & lease buyout fee coulda paid $10,700 to keep it, but in the winter I was seeing 85% SOH and the 20 highway mile commute in the winter AM cold would take my battery from 80% to under 50%, requiring I find a free charger during the day if I had any cross-town errands to run, something that is generally not impossible but not also a sure guarantee, which was quite maddening when I had s— to do.

The 2018 S had a MSRP of $32,845 and I was able to negotiate down to $28,000 + 0% from NMAC, for a payment of $430/mo for 6 years.

What made the deal work for me is the $15,000 in tax credits I’m getting, that made the 2018 just a ~$5,000 upgrade from the 2015, less than the cost of a new 24kWh battery pack, plus I’m finding e-Pedal braking (so great!) and the more normal looks to be worth the expense too.

Remember that in 3 years (when 2022 model years hit the dealers), this 60-mile 2012 Leaf is going to look like complete junk and probably not worth even $5k. Depreciation will be basically $200/mo or more.

If you can get a good lease on a 2018 Leaf, go for it. It’s soooo much better. The power increase is huge, the range will be doubled, ProPilot is amazing if you have a long commute, and ePedal is sweet. If you don’t care about ProPilot or looks and can pay a bit more, the Bolt is probably the best choice.

Remember that when the tax credit runs out for Nissan, the resale value on a 2018 could go up. You could buy out the lease, resell, and reduce your net cost even more (IMO, ProPilot will be very important for resale value, too). You’re covered either way.

Not at all, there are hundreds of millions of Americans that don’t even drive 15 miles a day.

Where I live today, this very moment, someone is buying $2 worth of gasoline. Thats all they can afford, thats all they ever need to drive.

congratulations enjoy your car. My 2012 LEAF goes 80 miles easily.

Supposed to go 84 miles mixed driving. It will be less on the interstate and with the AC or Heat on. If that is a problem I would really suggest you select a different model EV. Lots of good used Volts and BMW I3s for sale in the 12 to 16 grand range. They will have a lot more operating cost but they do have more range. The LEAF is best for short commuters and as second cars around town. I think the biggest mistake some owners make it that they think if the car does 75 miles and their commute is 65 miles they will be happy. Then some of them turn into LEAF trolls because they made a poor decision. Hey my truck goes 250 miles on 24 gallons of gasoline, doesn’t mean I expect that every time I go and drive the beast. IF your commute is less than 40 or 50 miles there is no better car on the earth than a 2015 LEAF. I guarantee it. Oh hey check out my suits and shirts too.

Then why is Leaf not selling as good as its supposed to be. Should this be blamed on Nissan or the dealers. Will Nissan try direct sale of Leaf alone to the customers.

Gen 1 (2011-17) Leafs were mostly Leased.

Lease deals were almost 50% less expensive, on the Gen 1 Leafs, approximately $0.24 per mi. (before state rebate “CVRP”) , as compared to the current Gen 2 Leaf Lease (2018), which are going for approximately $0.36 per mi.

Nissan has had a big price bump (close to a 50% increase) on the 2018 Leaf Lease “Deals”.

EV shoppers in N.A. are voting with their feet!

The Leaf monthly sales score card will start to uptick come Oct.-Dec., when the Model Year starts to close in on the much anticipated 2019 Leaf, with 60 kWh of LG Chem battery, and a decent Liquid TMS, thank goodness, at long last.


Yes. $650 a month 30% residual lease is truly affordable.

You can Lease a Leaf here in Cali., for about $10k (+ T,L, & R) over the entire 3yr. / 36k mi. Typical Lease Period (including the $2.5k CVRP cash back).

That is only about $300.00 per month over 36 months. Figure to add in another $50.00 per Month, for T,L,&R, and “Fees”, that will be incurred, by the “true” end, of the actual 3yr./ 36k mo. Lease agreement.

Thats only about $350.00 per mo., TOPS!

1. Charging on 120V is perfectly doable if you only drive 60 miles or so each day — that would take 12hrs of charging overnight.
2. 14-50 plug on the upgraded EVSE is nice for car camping but the 28A continuous load is 4A too much for 30A garage dryer outlets.
3. ‘ChargeGate’ aka hot battery L3 charge limitation is a thing so plan on getting 30kW or less Chademo charging while on the road.
4. I was happy getting the S base model because the uprated console stack on the SV and SL is just not good enough.
5. Torque is still kinda scarce at 70mph+ thanks to no gearbox on the driveline but that’s OK, the 0-40mph oomph makes up for it.

Not mentioned was the electric power steering, much nicer than most cars’ power steering.

I really wish reviewers wouldn’t say that it takes 36 hours to recharge. It is misleading and not true for many people. It is better to quote miles per hour charging rates, e.g 5 mph @ 110V and 30 mph @ 220V.

I don’t know why manufacturers insist on publishing only the worst outlier case scenario that most will never encounter.

Doesn’t seem a good marketing strategy.

Is there a mandatory law forcing them to do so?

36,000 bucks for a ~140 mile range (realistically) EV with an air-cooled battery is ridiculous in today’s market. Pass.

What market? Nissan is the only game in town selling and servicing BEVs where I’m at. Have to drive hours to the nearest Kia, VW eGolf disappeared off the face of the earth recently, Chevy dealer has just 1 low-trim Bolt on their lot, BMW dealer might have i3s but who cares, and if I buy a Tesla they’ll deliver it via parachute out of the back of a cargo plane or something. If I had any expectation Hyundai or Kia would be selling more than a handful of their new LG cars later this year in the state I’d have certainly waited for them, but again their dealer network support for EV is spotty. I could have waited for Nissan’s LG version coming early next year but my experience with the 2015 “Lizard” chemistry was fine, degradation was a little over norm but at 88% SOH after 32 months acceptable. Main problem was that it was fast enough to become an issue in 6 years but too slow to hit to 65% warranty replacement. With the 40kWh battery & 8 year warranty I’m guaranteed at least a 100% SOH 24kWh battery out through 2026. Good enough. But I really… Read more »

Also, I also saved $4000 MSRP getting the S + charge package model. Didn’t see the value in the higher trims. If Nissan keeps the 2019 LG version for just the SL trim that would be a questionable value-add vs the $32,000 40kWh base.

Why would anyone want a car that goes 200 miles. I have better things to do.

Speaking as a Leaf driver 2015-2018 and a Leaf II owner now, the Leaf II is like the Apple IIe vs Apple II, PC XT vs 5150, Macintosh Plus vs 128k Mac, Windows 98 vs. 95, iPhone 3GS vs original iPhone . . . a light revamping, showing what the somewhat limited original offering *could* have been if everything had fallen together correctly initially.

Better things are coming no doubt, but it’s good enough and cheap enough (after $20,000 in mfr rebates, dealer discounts, and gov’t incentives) to get me to those better days.

heh, the upcoming 60kWh LG platform looks to be the IIc, PC AT, Mac SE, Windows 98SE, and iPhone 4 in that analogy.

I’m waiting for the IIgs, Compaq 386, Mac II, Win2K, and iPhone 6S for my next EV buy . . .

Think a nice normal car like the A5 or Z4, but electric w/ a big-ass battery and fast chargers everywhere, like gas stations now.