Nissan has completely redesigned its highly popular Leaf for 2018 and upgraded its battery to 40.0kW, which allows 150 miles of range. The company claims there’s a Leaf+ model coming with a 60.0-kWh pack and a range above 200 miles, possibly in the fall of 2018. The 5-door hatchback now occupies a sales sweet spot between so-called compliance EVs—low-cost electrics with relatively limited range that OEMs produce to meet certain regulations—and Chevrolet’s Bolt EV and Tesla’s Model 3, both of which offer greater than 200 miles of range but at a higher cost. Among the compliance cars, which include the Ford Focus Electric, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and the Kia Soul EV, the Volkswagen e-Golf’s 125-mile range comes closest to the Leaf’s.
The Leaf’s price is hard to beat: at $30,875, the new 2018 150 mile version is less expensive than its predecessor and is available nationwide. Bolt, which gets 238 pure electric miles starts at around $37,495; the Tesla Model 3, will start at around $35,000 and offer 220 EV miles in its least expensive model. Nissan has further upped the value of the Leaf by giving its base model standard automated emergency braking, a 5.0-inch touchscreen, automatic headlights, LED taillights, automatic climate control and a proximity key with push-button starting.
There are 3 Leaf models: S, SV and SL. A portable Level 1 and 2 connector (a $1590 option on the Leaf S) are included in the SV’s Technology package and is standard on the SL version. Adapters for 120V wall outlet are included. Nissan Leaf batteries are highly reliable. The company claims zero battery recalls in the car’s 7 years of history and the cumulative 2 billion miles that Leaf owners have amassed. The 40.0kW battery’s greater capacity is derived from more energy-dense cells that fit in the same underfloor volume of previous models, thus preserving interior space. The floor-mounted battery pack creates a low center of gravity for a great ride and smooth handling, helping the Nissan LEAF corner with minimal body roll.
Every Nissan LEAF is backed by a New Vehicle Limited Warranty providing: 36 month/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) basic coverage; 60-month/60,000-mile (whichever occurs first) powertrain and electric vehicle system coverage; and 96-month/100,000-mile (whichever occurs first) Lithium-Ion Battery coverage. Nissan’s confidence doesn’t stop at the battery warranty. The Electric Vehicle (EV) System coverage includes, but is not limited to, the following items: Motor, Inverter unit, VCM, Reduction gear, DC/DC converter, Onboard charger, Onboard charger connector, and Trickle charge cable. Recharge times vary from 7.5 hours on a 32-amp, 240-volt hookup to 35 hours when plugged into a typical 120-volt wall outlet. Every Leaf is recharged via a port hidden just above the Nissan badge in its nose.
Another major plus of leasing or owning a Leaf is Nissan’s Complimentary Rental Car Program. For the first 36 months/36,000 miles (whichever occurs first), your participating Nissan LEAF certified dealer will provide the owner a complimentary rental vehicle when a warrantable repair is performed, subject to availability and the eligibility requirements.
10% stiffer anti-roll bars aimed at managing the 2018 Leaf’s slight weight gain provide better handling than previous models. The steering system has been improved as well. Leaf’s motor makes a mild whirring sound at speeds below 18mph and externally emits a “Jetsonian electric tone” to alert pedestrians of its otherwise silent presence. Like other EVs, the lack of ICE engine “white noise” provides an incredibly quiet drive for Leaf occupants.
The mid-level SV starts around $33,375; the 5.0-inch touchscreen enlarges to a 7.0-inch screen and comes with navigation, Android Auto and Apple Car Play. SV adds a piano-black interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. The $37,085 SL comes with a Bose audio system, LED headlights, a heated steering wheel and heated front seats, leather, rear HVAC ducting, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a surround-view camera system.
The new Leaf features a “one-pedal” driving mode – called e-Pedal – (like the Chevrolet Bolt), which lets drivers bring the car to a complete halt by taking their foot of the pedal. Decreasing accelerator pressure entirely triggers a gradual progression to a peak of 0.20 g of deceleration as more speed is scrubbed. Or, you can use the regular brake pedal mode.
LEAF is the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society. Intelligent Mobility technology and ProPILOT Assist add many control and safety features:
• Automatic Emergency Braking With Pedestrian Detection monitors speed and distance between Leaf and the car ahead; it lets drivers know when to slow down. This available system can even automatically engage the brakes to help avoid a collision or lessen the severity of an impact. And when it detects a pedestrian in the crosswalk, it can stop you in your tracks.
• Optional Intelligent Cruise Control watches the flow of traffic, maintains an adjustable speed and sets the distance between Leaf and the car ahead.
• Intelligent Lane Intervention: When lane markings are clear, this optional system detects if you’re straying out of your lane and taps the brakes to help gently guide you back.
• Available High Beam Assist helps out with night vision, providing consideration for fellow drivers. It automatically switches to low beam headlights when it detects a vehicle ahead, and turns the high beams back on when you need them.
• Rear Cross Traffic Alert: Helps drivers back out of a space with more confidence. Available Rear Cross Traffic Alert watches around the rear of Nissan LEAF, and can warn the driver about cars it detects creeping up on either side.
• Intelligent Around View Monitor: features four cameras that provide a virtual composite 360 degree bird’s-eye view of your Nissan LEAF, plus selectable split-screen close-ups of the front, rear, and curbside views, so drivers can slide into the tightest spaces and make it look easy. It provides an on-screen heads up when it detects moving objects (like runaway shopping carts) near your vehicle.
• Hill Start Assist: when you’re trying to get out of a tight parking spot with a car close behind you, this feature holds the brakes for a few seconds to keep Leaf from rolling backwards.
• Active Ride Control: can automatically apply the brakes and adjust motor torque to smooth out your ride.
With optional NissanConnect EV & Services, drivers can do the following: use an app to pre-warm or cool your car; keep your eye on your current charge; with range updates on your phone, you’ll know exactly how far you can go. Emergency Preparedness provides automatic collision notification if the airbags deploy and you need help; an Emergency Call button connects you to a live person who can assist you; Roadside Assistance lets you set up immediate assistance to your location.
CURRENT EV’s 2 founders chose Leafs to be their first electric vehicles and were extremely satisfied. During the 3-year lease periods, neither Leaf had any serious mechanical issues and more than lived up to their owner's expectations. The EV has Nissan’s highest customer satisfaction rating, beating all its other models. According to Nissan, over 95% of Leaf drivers are happy with their car. The 2018 Nissan LEAF was just awarded the prestigious 2018 World Green Car title at the New York Auto Show. With this win, LEAF became the first battery-electric to take home the prize. The car also won the UK’s 2018 Gold Electric Car Award with the best overall performance in the Engine & Gearbox category, based on 9 judging categories: Reliability and Build Quality, MPG and Running Costs, Safety Features, Engine & Gearbox, Ride and Handling, Interior and Comfort, Exterior, Practicality and Boot Space, Infotainment, Connectivity and Electrics.
Leaf’s MSRP is considerably dropped by government incentives, which include a Federal tax credit of $7500 and a California State rebate of $2500. The Nissan Leaf is eligible for HOV stickers in California.
After kick-starting the mass market EV race in 2010 and becoming the top-selling electric vehicle in the world (based on cumulative sales data from Dec 2010 thru Dec 2017), the re-imagined Leaf’s improved technology, streamlined looks, extended range and compelling price-to-range ratio provide great value for customers looking for a mid-range priced EV.
There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV. CURRENT provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.