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Nissan Leaf

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Nissan Leaf
2011 Nissan Leaf SL -- 10-28-2011.jpg
2011 Nissan Leaf SL (U.S.)
Overview
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Venucia e30 (China)
Production 2010–present
Assembly Japan: Oppama Plant, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
United States: Smyrna, Tennessee
United Kingdom: Sunderland (NMUK)
Body and chassis
Class Compact car
Body style 5-door hatchback
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform Nissan EV platform
Powertrain
Electric motor 80 kW (110 hp), 280 N·m (210 ft·lb) synchronous motor[1]
Transmission Single speed constant ratio (7.94:1)[2]
Battery MY 2011/15 and MY 2016 S trim
24 kWh lithium-ion battery
MY 2016 (SL and SV trims)
30 kWh lithium-ion battery[3]
Range MY 2011/12
117 km (73 miles) EPA
175 km (109 miles) NEDC
MY 2013
121 km (75 miles) EPA[4]
200 km (120 miles) NEDC[5]
MY 2014/15
135 km (84 miles) EPA[3]
MY 2016
with 24 kWh battery
135 km (84 miles) EPA[3]
with 30 kWh battery
172 km (107 miles) EPA[3]
Plug-in charging 3.6 kW (3.3 kW output) and optional 6.6 kW (6.0 kW output) 240 V AC[6] on SAE J1772-2009 inlet, max 44 kW 480 V DC on CHAdeMO inlet,[7] adapters for domestic AC sockets (110–240 V)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,700 mm (106.3 in)[8]
Length 4,445 mm (175.0 in)[8]
Width 1,770 mm (69.7 in)[8]
Height 1,550 mm (61.0 in)[8]
Curb weight MY 2011/12
1,521 kg (3,354 lb)[9]
MY 2013
1,493 kg (3,291 lb)[10]

The Nissan Leaf (also formatted "LEAF" as a backronym for leading environmentally-friendly affordable family car)[11] is a compact five-door hatchback electric car manufactured by Nissan and introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, followed by various European countries and Canada in 2011. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official range for the 2016 model year Leaf with the 30 kWh battery is 172 km (107 miles) on a full battery charge, while the trim with the smaller 24 kWh battery is 135 km (84 miles), the same as the 2014/15 model year. Leaf battery packs can be charged from fully discharged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes using DC fast charging.[12]

Since its inception, more than 250,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide through December 2016, making the Leaf the world's all-time best-selling highway-capable electric car in history.[13] As of December 2016, the United States is the world's largest Leaf market with almost 103,600 sold, followed by Japan with almost 72,500 units, and Europe with almost 68,000. As of December 2016, the European market is led by Norway with over 19,400 new units registered, and the UK with 15,000 units by mid-September 2016. The Leaf was the world's best-selling plug-in electric car in 2013 and 2014.

As an all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf produces no tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas emissions at the point of operation, and contributes to reduced dependence on petroleum.[14][15] Among other awards and recognition, the Nissan Leaf won the 2010 Green Car Vision Award, the 2011 European Car of the Year, the 2011 World Car of the Year, and the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Japan.

Development history[edit]

The Nissan Cube-derived EV-01 test car was Nissan's first prototype with the all-electric drive train later used in the Leaf.
The EV-12 test car was based on the Nissan Tiida/Versa.

Nissan introduced its first battery electric vehicle, the Nissan Altra at the Los Angeles International Auto Show on 29 December 1997.[16] The Altra EV was produced between 1998 and 2002, only about 200 vehicles were ever produced, and it was mainly used as a fleet vehicle for companies such as electric utilities.[17][18] Nissan also developed the Nissan Hypermini, ran a demonstration program and sold limited numbers for government and corporate fleets in Japan between 1999 and 2001.[19] A small fleet of Hyperminis was also field tested in several cities in California between 2001 and 2005.[20]

Unveiled in 2009, the EV-11 prototype electric car was based on the Nissan Tiida (Versa in North America), but with the conventional gasoline engine replaced with an all-electric drivetrain, and included an 80 kW (110 hp)/280 N·m (210 lb·ft) electric motor, 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack rated to have a range of 175 km (109 miles) on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's LA-4 or "city" driving cycle, navigation system, and remote control and monitoring via a cellphone connection through Nissan's secure data center to the car.[21] The technology in the EV-11 was previously developed and tested in the EV-01 and EV-02 test cars, built with an all-electric powertrain that used the Nissan Cube (Z11) as a development mule.[22][23] The EV-11 prototype was on display July 26, 2009.[21] A week later, on August 2, 2009, Nissan unveiled its production version at its Yokohama headquarters and committed to begin retail sales in both the North American market and Japan at end of 2010.[24][25]

Specifications[edit]

Design[edit]

The Leaf's frontal style is characterized by a sharp V-shape design with large, up slanting light-emitting diode (LED) headlights that create a distinctive blue internal reflective design. The headlights also split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, which reduces wind noise and aerodynamic drag. The LED low-beam headlights consume less electricity than halogen lamps.[26]

Nissan sought to make the Leaf appealing to mainstream drivers by giving it a familiar sedan- and hatchback-like design.[27] The bottom of the car has aerodynamic paneling to reduce drag and improve aerodynamics as much as possible.[28] According to Nissan, the 2011 MY Leaf has a drag coefficient of Cd=0.29 which was improved to Cd=0.28 in 2012 for the 2013 model year.[29] Auto magazine Car and Driver used a wind tunnel to measure Cd=0.32 for the 2012 MY Leaf.[30]

Leaf interior
Leaf electronic control unit
Location of the Leaf lithium-ion battery pack below the seats

Powertrain[edit]

The Leaf uses an 80 kW (110 hp) and 280 N·m (210 ft·lb) front-mounted synchronous electric motor driving the front axle, powered by a 24 kWh lithium ion battery pack rated to deliver up to 90 kW (120 hp) power.[1][31]

The pack contains air-cooled, stacked laminated lithium ion manganese oxide batteries.[32][33]

The 2011/12 model Leaf has a top speed of over 150 km/h (93 mph). Unofficially, 0 to 97 km/h (0 to 60 mph) performance has been tested at 9.9 seconds.[9]

Battery[edit]

With the 24 kWh electric vehicle battery (total capacity; usable battery capacity is about 21.3 kWh[34][35]) it consists of 48 modules and each module contains four battery cells, a total of 192 cells, and is assembled by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) – a joint venture between Nissan, NEC and NEC Energy Devices, at Zama, Japan.[36][37][38] The battery and control module together weigh 218 kg (480 lb) the specific energy of the cells is 140 W·h/kg.[39]

The Leaf's design locates the battery, the heaviest part of any EV, below the seats and rear foot space, keeping the center of gravity as low as possible and increasing structural rigidity compared to a conventional five-door hatchback.[9][38][40]

The battery pack is expected to retain 70–80% of its capacity after 10 years but its actual lifespan depends on how often DC fast charging (480 volts DC) is used and also on driving patterns and environmental factors.[33][41] Nissan said the battery will lose capacity gradually over time but it expects a lifespan of over 10 years under normal use.[41] The 2011/12 Leaf's battery was initially guaranteed by Nissan for eight years or 160,000 km (100,000 miles)[42][43] (see Warranty sub-section below under United States for limitations). Nissan stated in 2015 that until then only 0.01 percent of batteries, produced since 2010, had to be replaced because of failures or problems and then only because of externally inflicted damage. Some vehicles have already covered more than 200,000 km (120,000 miles) with no battery problems.[44] In April 2016, Nissan estimated that fewer than 5 batteries are replaced per year worldwide; about 0.012% of all Leafs since introduction. Nissan recycles 15–20 batteries per year; as of 2016 too few to use for stationary energy storage.[45] Nissan plans to offer recycled batteries as 4.2 kWh home storage by fall 2016, called xStorage.[46]

In addition to the main battery, the Leaf also has an auxiliary 12-volt lead–acid battery that provides power to the car computer systems and accessories such as the audio system, supplemental restraint systems, headlights and windshield wipers.[47] The small solar panel on the Leaf rear spoiler helps to charge this accessory battery.[48] (In the United States models, only comes with SL trim.[49])

For the 2011 model year Leafs, Nissan recommended owners perform the following preventive actions to help maximize the lithium-ion battery’s useful life and its ability to hold a charge:[47]

  • Avoid exposing a vehicle to ambient temperatures above 120 °F (49 °C) for over 24 hours.
  • Avoid storing a vehicle in temperatures below −13 °F (−25 °C) for over 7 days.
  • Avoid exceeding 70% to 80% state of charge when using frequent (more than once per week) fast or quick charging.
  • Allow the battery charge to go below 80% before charging.
  • Avoid leaving the vehicle for over 14 days where the Li-ion battery available charge gauge reaches a zero or near zero (state of charge).

As a result of the controversy regarding several U.S. owners reporting premature loss of battery capacity in places with hot climate, Nissan USA announced in January 2012, that it will offer an extended battery warranty on the 2013 model year Leaf which includes 2011 and 2012 model years as well.[50] The 2013 Leaf is covered by a "State Of Health" clause which covers gradual capacity loss. This provision allows for the battery pack to either be repaired or replaced if the battery life reduces quicker than anticipated over the eight years warranty period.[51]

Costs

Each battery pack cost Nissan an estimated US$18,000 at the car's launch in May 2010.[52] By 2015, the battery costs were around US$300/kWh, giving a battery cost of around US$5,500[53] for batteries not within the eight year warranty period. Nissan reported that in Europe only 3 of 35,000 Leaf batteries had failed.[54]

Battery replacement program

In June 2013, Nissan announced a battery replacement program to go into effect in 2014. At a cost of about US$100 (~ €76) per month, Leaf owners can sign up at any time for the program and immediately get a new battery pack with the latest available technology that is compatible with their vehicle. The replacement battery has a full 12 bars (100%) of capacity. Nissan provides assurance that the replacement pack will maintain at least 9 bars (70% capacity) or more capacity for the time that they own their car and make monthly payments. The program also provides protection from defects in materials or workmanship for the time they own their Leaf and remain in the battery program. In summary, all batteries installed under this program will have coverage similar to the terms of standard battery coverage under the "Nissan New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty."[55]

In June 2014, Nissan USA announced an updated battery replacement program allowing the outright purchase of a new battery pack for US$5,499. The price does not include labor and the trade-in of the old pack is mandatory. Older 2011–12 model year Leafs will require a mounting kit to retrofit the new pack for an additional US$225. The new pack will be the same as the one in the 2015 model year Leaf, with the latest battery chemistry which Nissan claims will be more heat tolerant. Financing for the replacement battery was scheduled to be announced by the end of 2014.[53]

Range[edit]

2011/12 model year[edit]

The United States Environmental Protection Agency official range is 117 km (73 miles), much less than the 160 km (100 miles) quoted by Nissan.[56][57][58][59] The Federal Trade Commission, which is supposed to label all alternative fuel vehicles, disagrees with the EPA rating, and considers that the correct range is between 154 to 177 km (96 to 110 miles). Although the FTC does not conduct its own tests as EPA does, it relies on a standard set by SAE International and the results reported by automakers.[60] The Leaf has a range of 175 km (109 miles) on the New European Driving Cycle.[61]

Based on third-party test drives carried out in the U.S., reviewers have found that the range available from a single charge can vary up to 40% in real-world situations; reports vary from about 100 km (62 miles) to almost 222 km (138 miles) depending on driving style, load, traffic conditions, weather (i.e., wind, atmospheric density), and accessory use.[62][63] Nissan tested the Leaf under several scenarios to estimate real-world range figures, and obtained a worst-case scenario of 76 km (47 miles) and a best-case scenario of 222 km (138 miles). The following table summarizes the results under each scenario tested using EPA's L4 test cycle and presents EPA rating as a reference:[64][65]

Summary of Nissan's results using EPA L4 test cycle
operating the 2011 Leaf under different real-world scenarios[64][65]
Driving
condition
Speed Temperature Total drive
duration
Range Air
conditioner
mph km/h °F °C mi km
Cruising (ideal condition) 38 61 68 20 3 hr 38 min 138 222 Off
City traffic 24 39 77 25 4 hr 23 min 105 169 Off
Highway 55 89 95 35 1 hr 16 min 70 110 In use
Winter, stop-and-go traffic 15 24 14 −10 4 hr 08 min 62 100 Heater on
Heavy stop-and-go traffic 6 10 86 30 7 hr 50 min 47 76 In use
EPA five-cycle tests[56] n.a. 73 117 Varying

Consumer Reports tested a 2011/12 model Leaf loaner under cold-weather driven as a daily commuter. The average range obtained was 105 km (65 miles) per charge with temperatures varying from 20 to 30 °F (−7 to −1 °C). The magazine also reported one trip under a temperature of 10 °F (−12 °C) that began with the range panel indicator showing 32 km (20 miles) remaining. After 13 km (8 miles) the Leaf drastically lost power and dropped its speed and continued to run slower until the last stretch was completed almost at walking speed. Consumer Reports concluded that the Leaf works as designed under cold temperatures but a more accurate range indicator is desirable.[66]

The Monroney label shows the United States Environmental Protection Agency's combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 99 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent for the 2011 Nissan Leaf.[56]

In June 2011, Nissan reported, based on data collected through the Leaf's advanced telematics system, that most Leaf owners in Japan and the United States drive distances less than 100 km (60 miles) per day.[67] Nissan also found that on average owners charge their electric cars for two hours a night, and occasionally some owners drive two days on one charge.[68] In October 2011, Nissan North America reported that based on a bigger sample of 7,500 Leafs on the U.S. roads, the typical driver averages 60 km (37 miles) a day and the average trip length is 11 km (7 miles), measured as the distance between power on and power off.[69]

In spring 2012, the Finnish car magazine Tekniikan Maailma tested the Leaf in city driving at temperatures of −15 °C (5 °F). They achieved a range of 59 km (37 miles) with cabin and battery heaters on.[70]

2013 model year[edit]

According to Nissan, the U.S. 2013 model year Leaf has a more efficient heating system that allows the Leaf to extend its range in cold-weather conditions by 32 to 40 km (20 to 25 miles).[71] The EPA rating is 121 km (75 miles) from 117 km (73 miles) in the previous models.[4] Nissan explained that actually these ratings are not comparable, because for the 2013 model year the EPA changed the test procedures to calculate range for electric cars. Before 2013, the agency estimated the range assuming the battery pack was charged to 100% of its capacity. Nissan estimates that the 2013 Leaf has a 135 km (84 miles) range from a 100% charge (Long-Distance Mode charging), while the range drops to 106 km (66 miles) for an 80% charge (Long-Life Mode charging). The new EPA testing procedure considers the average of these two ranges. The increased Long-Distance Mode range comes from improvements to the Leaf’s regenerative braking system, an overall weight reduction and enhanced aerodynamics.[4][72]

Comparison of EPA-rated range for electric cars rated up until March 2017 and priced under US$50,000 in the U.S. Only model year 2016 and 2017 cars, and the upcoming Model 3 are included.[73][74]

The 2013 European version, has a certified range of 200 km (120 miles) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), up from 175 km (109 miles) for the 2011/12 model.[5]

2014/15 model year[edit]

The official EPA range for the 2014 and 2015 model year Leaf, increased from 121 to 135 km (75 to 84 miles).[75] The difference in range is due to a technicality, as Nissan decided to eliminate the EPA blended range rating, which was an average of the 80% charge range and the 100% charge range. For the 2014 model year, only the 100% charge range figure applies.[76]

2016 model year[edit]

Nissan added more battery capacity which increased the range of the car on a full charge. A larger 30 kWh battery is on the SL and SV trims, and the S trim initially kept the smaller 24 kWh battery found in earlier Leafs.[77] However, midway through the 2016 model year, Nissan changed the battery in the base Leaf S model from 24 kWh to 30 kWh. [78]

The official EPA range for the 2016 Leaf with the 30 kWh battery is 172 km (107 miles), while the range for Leaf with the smaller 24 kWh is 135 km (84 miles), the same as the 2014/15 model year.[3][79][80]

Fuel economy[edit]

Under its five-cycle testing, the United States Environmental Protection Agency found the 2011 model Leaf's energy consumption to be 0.212 kWh/km (34 kWh/100 miles) and rated the Leaf combined fuel economy at 99 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent – MPGe – (2.4 L/100 km), with an equivalent 106 mpg‑US (2.2 L/100 km; 127 mpg‑imp) in city driving and 92 mpg‑US (2.6 L/100 km; 110 mpg‑imp) on highways.[56][57][81]

For the 2013 model year Leaf, Nissan achieved a 15% improvement of its EPA's fuel economy combined ratings.[82] According to the EPA, the 2013 Leaf improved its energy consumption to 115 mpg‑e (30 kW·h/100 mi; 18.6 kW·h/100 km) from 99 mpg‑e (35 kW·h/100 mi; 22 kW·h/100 km), giving 129 mpg‑e (27 kW·h/100 mi; 16.6 kW·h/100 km) in city driving and 102 mpg‑e (34 kW·h/100 mi; 21 kW·h/100 km) on highways.[83]

According to the EPA, the 2014 and 2015 model year Leafs have an energy consumption of 30 kWh/100 miles, for a combined city/highway rating of 114 mpg‑e (30 kW·h/100 mi; 18.7 kW·h/100 km); 126 MPGe (27.3 kW·h/100 mi; 17.0 kW·h/100 km) city and 101 MPGe (34.0 kW·h/100 mi; 21.2 kW·h/100 km) highway.[3]

The 2016 Leaf with the smaller 24 kWh battery has the same ratings and energy consumption as the 2014/15 models, while the trims with the larger 30 kWh has the same energy consumption of 30 kWh/100 miles, but was rated 112 MPGe (30.7 kW·h/100 mi; 19.1 kW·h/100 km) for combined city/highway; 124 MPGe (27.7 kW·h/100 mi; 17.2 kW·h/100 km) city and 101 MPGe (34.0 kW·h/100 mi; 21.2 kW·h/100 km) highway.[3]

Operating costs[edit]

According to Consumer Reports, as of December 2011, the Nissan Leaf has an out-of-pocket operating cost of 3.5 cents per mile (2.19¢ per km) while the heavier Chevrolet Volt has a cost in electric mode of 3.8 cents per mile (2.38¢ per km). These costs are based on the U.S. national average electricity rate of 11 cents per kWh and energy consumption was estimated from their own tests.[84] The consumer magazine also compared the Leaf with the most fuel-efficient hybrid and gasoline-powered cars as tested by Consumer Reports. The results are summarized in the following table, and the analysis found that the Leaf operating cost is much less than half of the gasoline-powered cars for trips up to 110 km (70 miles), which is close to the Leaf's maximum range. The Volt while on EV mode has a close cost per mile but as the distance is larger than its electric range of 56 km (35 miles), the Leaf advantage is similar to the other cars. Consumer Reports also noted that even with a much higher electric rate of 19 cents per kWh, such as rural Connecticut, the Leaf still cost about 20% less to operate than the Prius and around 50% less than the Corolla.[84]

Consumer Reports (CR) comparison of the Leaf and Volt versus the most fuel efficient gasoline-powered automobiles
available in the U.S. market in 2011, that CR tested.[84] All prices are in US$.
Vehicle Model
year
Operating mode
(powertrain)
Price
as tested
CR overall
fuel economy
Cost per
mile
Cost for trip miles
30 mi (48 km) 50 mi (80 km) 70 mi (110 km) 150 mi (240 km)
Nissan Leaf 2011 All-electric $35,430 106 MPG-e
(3.16 mi/kWh)
$0.035 $1.04 $1.74 $2.44
Chevrolet Volt 2011 EV mode
(35 mi range)
$43,700 99 MPG-e
(2.93 mi/kWh)
$0.038 $1.13
Gasoline only (>35 mi) 32 mpg $0.125 $3.19 $5.69 $15.69
Toyota Prius 2011 Gasoline-electric hybrid $26,750 44 mpg $0.086 $2.59 $4.32 $6.05 $12.95
Toyota Corolla 2011 Gasoline only $18,404 32 mpg $0.119 $3.56 $5.94 $8.31 $17.81
Notes: All estimated costs per mile are out-of-pocket and do not include maintenance, depreciation or other costs.
Costs for plug-in electric vehicles are based on the U.S. national average electricity rate of 11 cents per kWh and regular gasoline price of $3.80 per gallon.

According to Nissan, the operating cost of the Leaf in the UK is 1.75 pence per mile (1.09p per km) when charging at an off-peak electricity rate, while a conventional gasoline-powered car costs more than 10 pence per mile (6.25p per km). These estimates are based on a national average of British Gas Economy 7 rates as of January 2012, and assumed 7 hours of charging overnight at the night rate and one hour in the daytime charged at the Tier-2 daytime rate.[85]

Leaf owners in Japan are liable for yearly annual taxes due to the vehicles exterior dimensions that are not in compliance with Japanese Government dimension regulations for cars in the "compact" classification. This is offset by the tax incentives Japanese consumers receive for a vehicle with no tailpipe emissions.

Payback time[edit]

According to Edmunds.com, the price premium paid for the Leaf, after discounting the US$7,500 federal tax credit, may take a long time for consumers to recover in fuel savings. In February 2012, Edmunds compared the mid-sized Leaf (priced at US$28,550) with the compact gasoline-powered Nissan Versa (priced at US$19,656) and found that the payback period for the Leaf is 9 years for gasoline at US$3 per gallon, 7 years at US$4 per gallon, and drops to 5 years with gasoline prices at US$5 per gallon. Considering gasoline prices by early 2012, the break even period is 7 years. These estimates assume an average of 24,000 km (15,000 miles) annual driving and vehicle prices correspond to Edmunds.com's true market value estimates.[86] For the same two vehicles, the U.S. EPA estimates the Leaf's annual fuel cost at US$612 while the Versa's annual fuel cost is US$1,860. EPA estimates are based on 45% highway and 55% city driving, over 15,000 annual miles; gasoline price of US$3.72 per gallon and electricity price of US$0.12 per kWh.[87]

In a similar comparison carried out in April 2012, by TrueCar.com for The New York Times, the analysis found that at a gasoline price of US$3.85 per gallon, the payback period required for the Leaf to compensate the nearly US$10,000 difference in purchase versus a Nissan Versa, takes 8.7 years. The analysis assumes an average of 15,000 miles driven a year, a fuel economy of 33.6 mpg‑US (7.0 L/100 km; 40.4 mpg‑imp) for the Versa, priced at US$18,640, and a Leaf price of US$28,421, after discounting the US$7,500 federal tax. The payoff time drops to 6 years if gasoline is priced at US$5 per gallon. The newspaper also reported that according to the March 2012 Lundberg Survey, gasoline prices would need to reach US$8.53 a gallon for the Leaf to be competitive with a similar gasoline-powered car in the 6 years an average person owns a car, while the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid requires a gasoline price of US$12.50 a gallon to break even.[88][89]

Total cost of ownership[edit]

According to a study published in June 2013, by the Electric Power Research Institute, the total cost of ownership of the 2013 Nissan Leaf SV is substantially lower than that of comparable conventional and hybrid vehicles. For comparison, the study constructed average hybrid and conventional vehicles and assumed an average U.S. distance per trip distribution. The study took into account the manufacturer's suggested retail price, taxes, credits, destination charge, electric charging station, fuel cost, maintenance cost, and additional cost due to the use of a gasoline vehicle for trips beyond the range of the Leaf.[90][91]

Electric Power Research Institute comparison of
the Nissan Leaf versus average conventional and hybrid cars.
Vehicle Operating mode
(powertrain)
Total ownership cost
U.S. average California
Nissan Leaf SV All-electric $37,288 $35,596
Chevrolet Volt Plug-in hybrid $44,176 $40,800
Average Conventional Gasoline $44,949 $46,561
Average Hybrid Gasoline-electric hybrid $44,325 $45,416
Notes: Costs are based on a gasoline price of $3.64 per gallon, an electricity rate of $0.12/kWh, and a vehicle lifetime of 150,000 miles.
The average conventional car was constructed by averaging of Honda Civic EX, Chevrolet Cruze LTZ, Ford Focus Titanium, and Volkswagen Passat.
The average hybrid car was constructed from Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE, and Toyota Prius IV.

Depreciation is a part of the total cost of ownership, and used three-year-old Leafs may cost $8,000 retail and $7,000 wholesale in 2016.[92]

Environmental footprint[edit]

In February 2014, the Automotive Science Group (ASG) published the result of a study conducted to assess the life-cycle of over 1,300 automobiles across nine categories sold in North America. The study found that among advanced automotive technologies, the Nissan Leaf holds the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market with minimum four-person occupancy. The study concluded that the increased environmental impacts of manufacturing the battery electric technology is more than offset with increased environmental performance during operational life. For the assessment, the study used the average electricity mix of the U.S. grid in 2014.[93][94]

In December 2014, Nissan announced that Leaf owners have accumulated together 1 billion kilometers (625 million miles) driven. This amount of electric miles translates into avoiding 180 million kilograms of CO2 emissions by driving an electric car in comparison to travelling with a gasoline-powered car.[95] In December 2016, Nissan reported that Leaf owners worldwide achieved the milestone of 3 billion kilometers (1.9 billion miles) driven collectively through November 2016, saving nearly 500 million kilograms of CO2 emissions.[96]

Recharging[edit]

Recharging receptacles vary between models. The Leaf, with the SL option, has two charging receptacles: a standard SAE J1772-2009 connector for level 1 and 2 charging (120/220 volts AC)[97] and a JARI high-voltage DC connector designed by TEPCO for DC fast charging (500 volts DC 125 amps)[98] using the CHAdeMO protocol.[99] Beginning in late 2016, all three models (S, SV, and SL) came equipped with both charging receptacles.[100]

The Leaf's charging port with two inlets is located at the front of the car.

Models with an on-board 3.6 kW charger[101] can be fully recharged from empty in 8 hours from a 220/240-volt 30 amp supply (5.2 kW allowable draw[102]) that can provide the on-board charger its full 3.6 kW of usable power.[103][104] Models with an on-board 6.6 kW charger[29][105] can be fully recharged from empty in 4 hours from a 220/240-volt 40 amp supply (7.7 kW allowable draw[102]) that can provide the on-board charger its full 6.6 kW of usable power.[103][104]

In North America and Japan, using a standard household outlet (120-volt, 15 amp breaker, 12 amp maximum allowable draw,[102] 1.4 kW) and the 7.5-meter (25 ft)[106] cable included by Nissan, the Leaf will regain approximately 5 miles of range per hour. This type of charging is ideal for the commuter that can plug into standard outlets at home and at work during the typical 21 hours a day that the typical North American car is parked. It is also useful for emergency charging from any ubiquitous 120-volt outlet just about anywhere in North America.[103]

United States electrical regulations require a 240-volt charging station to be permanently wired unless proper interlock mechanisms are available to ensure the charging current can be safely turned on and off.[102] Nissan selected AeroVironment to supply its charging dock and installation services in North America[107] (see the United States section below for more details).

For models with DC fast charging, a battery pack can be charged from fully discharged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes.[12] Nissan developed its own 500-volt DC fast charger that went on sale in Japan for ¥1,470,000 (around US$16,800) in May 2010.[108][109] Nissan warns that if fast charging is the primary way of recharging, then the normal and gradual battery capacity loss is about 10% more than regular 220-volt charging over a 10-year period.[33] Other companies make compatible charging stations, and companies and local government have various initiatives to create networks of public charging stations[103][110] (see electric vehicle network).

Technology[edit]

Nissan Leaf SL spoiler-mounted solar panel
Leaf's main dashboard digital display showing driving range (on right) and other performance parameters

The Nissan Leaf employs an advanced telematics system called CarWings which originally was only available in Japan.[111][112] The system sends and receives data via a built-in GPRS radio similar to the connectivity of mobile phones. Carwings is connected any time the car is in range of a cell tower and it makes possible several user functionalities, such as position and possible range on a map and which charging stations are available within range. The system also tracks and compiles statistics about distance traveled and energy consumption and produces daily, monthly and annual reports of these and several other operational parameters. All information is available in the Leaf's digital screens.[111][113] Through a smart phone application or secure web page, owners can remotely turn on the air-conditioner or heater as well as reset charging functions even when the vehicle is powered down. This remote functionality can be used to pre-heat or pre-cool the car prior to use while it is still charging so that less energy from the battery is used for climate control. An on-board timer can also be pre-programmed to recharge batteries at a set time such as during off-peak rates.[114] The Leaf's SL trim has a small solar panel at the rear of the roof/spoiler that can trickle charge the auxiliary battery.[115]

Safety[edit]

NHTSA rates the 2011 and 2012 model years as five stars overall. The 2013 and 2014 model years' rating is 4 stars overall due to lower scores for passengers in front and side tests.[116]

The Nissan Leaf won the "Top Safety Pick" awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2011. The Leaf received top ratings of "Good" for front, side, and rear impact crash tests, and also on rollover protection. All injury measurements except one were rated good, indicating a low risk of significant injuries in crashes according to the scale of severity employed in the IIHS’s testing.[117][118] The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) awarded the Leaf the highest five-star car safety rating, earning the following ratings for each criterion:

Euro NCAP test results
Nissan Leaf (2011)[119]
Test Points %
Overall: 5 /5 stars
Adult occupant: 32 89%
Child occupant: 40 83%
Pedestrian: 23 65%
Safety assist: 6 84%
Accident and rescue handling

In December 2010, Nissan published a guide for first responders that details procedures for handling a damaged 2011 Leaf at the scene of an accident. The steps include a manual high-voltage system shutdown, subsequent to the assumed automatic disconnects, built into the car's safety systems. Rescue personnel are instructed by Nissan to disconnect both the high voltage and 12 V systems before performing any first response actions.[120][121][122]

The Nissan Leaf's battery pack is shielded from crash damage by structural steel reinforcement.[123] To prevent shock and fire hazards, the Leaf has a battery safety system that is activated in a crash that involves the airbags. The airbag control unit sends a signal which mechanically disconnects the high voltage from the vehicle.[120]

In December 2011, Nissan reported, as an indication of the Leaf safety performance, that none of the around two dozen Leafs that were destroyed during the March 2011 tsunami caught fire and their batteries remained intact.[124] As of December 2011, no fires after a crash have been reported in the U.S. associated with the Leaf or other plug-in electric cars available in the market.[125][needs update]

2011 Nissan Leaf equipped with warning sound off switch
Warning sounds

Due to significant noise reduction typical of electric vehicles that travel at low speeds, the 2011 Leaf includes digital warning sounds, one for forward motion and another for reverse, to alert pedestrians, the blind, and others of its presence.[126][127] For this purpose Nissan created the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) system, which was also used in Nissan Fuga hybrid. The system developed makes a noise easy to hear for those outside in order to be aware of the vehicle approaching, but the warning sounds do not distract the car occupants inside. Nissan explained that during the development of the sound, they studied behavioral research of the visually impaired and worked with cognitive and acoustic psychologists.[127][128][129] The sine-wave sound system sweeps from 2.5 kHz at the high end to a low of 600 Hz, an easily audible range across age groups. Depending on the speed and if the Leaf is accelerating or decelerating, the sound system makes sweeping, high-low sounds. The sound system ceases operation when the Nissan Leaf reaches 30 km/h (18.6 mph) and engages again as car slows to under 25 km/h (15.5 mph). For the 2011 model, the driver could turn off sounds temporarily through a switch inside the vehicle, but the system automatically reset to "On" at the next ignition cycle. The system is controlled through a computer and synthesizer in the dash panel, and the sound is delivered through a speaker in the front driver’s side wheel well.[127][128][130] Nissan removed the ability to disable the pedestrian alert between model year 2011 and 2012 in anticipation of the U.S. ruling to be issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.[131]

After the new sounds were publicized, the U.S. National Federation of the Blind commented that "while it was pleased that the alert existed, it was unhappy that the driver could turn it off."[127] The Leaf's electric warning sound had to be removed for cars delivered in the UK, as the country's law mandates that any hazard warning sound must be capable of being disabled between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am, and the Leaf's audible warning system does not allow for such temporary deactivation.[132]

2013 model[edit]

Japanese market

In November 2012, Nissan announced the specifications of the updated 2013 model Leaf destined for the Japanese market. The improved version delivers a range increase of 14% on the Japanese cycle, allowing the travel distance on a full charge to go from 200 to 228 km (124 to 142 miles). Besides adjusting the regenerative braking to improve power generation, Nissan reduced the Leaf weight by integrating the electric motor, inverter, and AC/DC converter, achieving a combined weight reduction for those parts of 10%. Also, lighter parts were used throughout, and an improved battery module and more integrated electronic units have together reduced the car mass by over 77 kg (170 lb), 5% of the previous version.[133][134]

The 2013 Leaf has a larger trunk, with its volume increased from 330 to 370 litres (11.6 to 13 cu ft). The extra space was freed by moving a downsized charger from the back of the car to the front. Other improvements include a new gauge that tells the driver how much battery capacity is remaining by percentage, and a long-life battery mode is now available in any charging mode, which charges the battery to 80% to improve pack life. Also, Nissan will introduce in the Japanese market a lower price entry-level model with less equipment, called the S trim. This model will be priced at just under ¥2.5 million (around US$29,700), almost half a million yen (approximately US$5,950) cheaper than the previous year’s entry price.[133][134]

American market

The 2013 model year Leaf destined for the U.S. market has several key improvements similar to the Japanese version, better range, faster charging capabilities, a more efficient cabin heater, and a lower starting price. According to Nissan USA, several of the changes seek to address shortcomings of previous versions of the Leaf, and feedback from Leaf owners was taken into consideration.[29][105] The 2013 model year Leaf delivers a higher range than the 2012 model with the same 24 kWh battery pack. The efficiency gains come from a combination of improvements to aerodynamics through tweaks to the front fascia that allowed a reduction of the drag coefficient; a more efficient heater; the addition of a driver-selected B-mode that increases regenerative braking; and energy/range management.[29][105]

2013 model year Nissan Leaf exhibited at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

The 2013 model year offers a dashboard display of the battery’s state of charge on a percentage basis, as has been demanded by Leaf owners. A 6.6-kW onboard charger, available as an extra-cost option on the base model, reduces charging times using 240-volt power. This improvement means adding about 32 km (20 miles) in an hour of charging, rather than about 19 km (12 miles) that took with the 3.6-kW charger on 2012 models. A complete charge from empty to full takes about four hours, instead of seven hours.[29][105]

The charge port area now comes with a light not provided on earlier models, and the ability to open the port door from inside the car or by using the key fob.[105] The onboard charger in all 2013 Leafs has also been reduced in size and relocated to a new position under the hood, which increases cargo volume.[29] The new base trim level is called the Leaf S model, and is the result of a strategy for affordability. The S trim replaces the LED headlights with less expensive projector beams, and uses 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers rather than alloy wheels. The base trim does not include the navigation system and the remote connectivity that allows drivers to turn on the climate control and monitor battery charging remotely using a smartphone.[29] LED headlamps, fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels and leather seating, are reserved for the higher-end SL trim. Additional premium upgrades to the SL trim include a Bose seven-speaker audio system and around view monitor, which puts cameras in front, in back and on the side mirrors for parking assistance.[105]

The new base-level 2013 Nissan Leaf S starts at US$28,800, the mid-level Leaf SV at US$31,820, and the high-end Leaf SL trim starts at US$34,840. All prices have a mandatory US$850 destination fee added.[135]

European market

The 2013 European version has many of the same improvements of the Japanese and U.S. versions, including an extended range, greater recyclability, more interior space, better charging performance, and more equipment. Also three versions will be available: Visia, Acenta and Tekna. The Visia version has a lower starting price than the previous model, and the Tekna model has even more standard equipment than the 2011/2012 Leaf. The European version was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, and production of the 2013 model began in March 2013 at the Sunderland plant in the UK, and sales started in June 2013.[5] The price of the 2013 Leaf produced in Sunderland is lower than the one built in Japan,[136][137] and to further reduce the purchase price by GB£5,000, Nissan offered a battery leasing option for all trims produced at Sunderland.[138][139] The leasing option is also available in several European countries, reducing the purchase price by €5,900.[140] This measure, among others, helped to reduce the sales price in Germany, for instance, from roughly €37,000 in April 2012[141] (with battery) to roughly €24,000 in July 2013 (excluding battery lease of €79 per month).[142]

2014 model[edit]

American market

The 2014 model year Leaf went on sale in December 2013, in the United States. The 2014 Leaf is largely the same as the 2013 model year, except:[143]

  • RearView Monitor will now be standard on all trims
  • Updated EV-IT functionality with voice destination entry and SMS readout

Nissan expects to deliver a new version at the end of 2017.[144]

Production[edit]

2011 Leaf's frontal view
2011 Leaf's rear view

As of March 2013, Nissan has an installed capacity to produce 250,000 Leafs per year, 150,000 at Smyrna, U.S., 50,000 at Oppama, Japan, and 50,000 at Sunderland, England.[136]

Oppama, Japan[edit]

The first vehicles sold in the U.S. were produced at Nissan’s plant in Oppama, Japan, which started production on October 22, 2010.[37][145] The plant has an annual production capacity of 50,000 vehicles.[37] Production of the electric car was disrupted for several months beginning in March 2011 due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and as a result, Nissan announced it was not able to reach its 2011 production target of 50,000 Leafs.[146] Nissan expected to increase sales in 2012 to 40,000 units from 20,000 in 2011, as production returned to normal output and the Leaf became available in more European countries and more regional markets in the U.S.[147]

With cumulative sales of more than 49,000 Leafs through December 2012, Nissan achieved only a 22% increase in sales during 2012, which according with Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn "was a disappointment for us." Mr Ghosn cited the adverse dollar-yen exchange rate as one of the factors affecting the Leaf price. He also said that they realized the price of the original Leaf models was a problem, and the decision to drop the price on the 2013 model year Leaf by 18% is possible due to the start of U.S. production of the battery car on the new assembly line in Smyrna, Tennessee, which will reduce production costs. Nissan has also taken other steps to improve production efficiency and lower component costs – especially for the battery pack, the single-costliest part of an electric vehicle.[148]

Smyrna, U.S.[edit]

Commercial U.S. production began in January 2013, at Nissan's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee.[71] This plant was modified with a US$1.4 billion loan granted by the U.S. Department of Energy to allow the manufacturing plant to produce the Nissan Leaf and its advanced batteries.[149][150] The Smyrna plant is expected to produce up to 150,000 vehicles and 200,000 battery packs annually.[150] Nissan planned to unveil the upgraded 2013 model year version Nissan Leaf for the North American market in December 2012, once production of the electric car had begun in the Smyrna plant, but rescheduled the introduction of the 2013 model to January 2013, during the North American International Auto Show.[71][151][152] The Smyrna plant began producing lithium-ion cells in December 2012. These cells are used in the battery pack of the 2013 model year Leaf built at the adjacent assembly plant. The cell fabrication factory in Smyrna is the largest plant in the U.S. that builds automotive-scale lithium-ion batteries, and it can produce batteries for up to 200,000 electric vehicles a year.[153] Motors arrive from Nissan in Decherd.[154] Leaf production in the Smyrna plant began in January 2013, sharing the production line with the Altima mid-size sedan and Maxima full-size sedan.[155][156]

Sunderland, United Kingdom[edit]

Production of the Leaf at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, England, began in March 2013.[157] Nissan benefited from a GB£20.7 million grant from the British government and up to GB£220 million from the European Investment Bank[158][159] to invest £420m in the factory.[157] The plant has the capacity to produce 60,000 lithium-ion batteries and 50,000 Leafs a year.[158] The UK produced Leaf is destined for the European market.[160] In January 2013 Nissan announced an immediate price reduction of GB£2,500 or €3,000 for the Japanese-made Leaf model sold in the UK and other European markets. The price of the 2013 Leaf produced in Sunderland is lower than the model built in Japan,[136][137] and Nissan is offering a battery leasing option for the three trims produced at Sunderland, which further reduces the purchase price by GB£5,000 in the UK,[138][139] and €5,900 in the other European countries where the leasing option is available.[140] The first retail delivery of a 2013 Leaf built in the Sunderland plant took place in the UK in late May 2013.[161]

Guangdong, China[edit]

In March 2013, the Chinese government announced that a partnership between Nissan and Dongfeng Motor to build Leafs is being planned. The initial production line will be able to produce 10,000 units per year until it is upgraded to 50,000 units by 2015.[162]

Markets and sales[edit]

Nissan officially introduced the Leaf in a ceremony held at its global headquarters in Yokohama on December 3, 2010.[163] The first American customer delivery took place in Northern California on December 11, 2010[164] and the first delivery in Japan took place at the Kanagawa Prefecture on December 22.[165] Deliveries to individual customers began in Ireland in February 2011, in the UK in March 2011, and in France in August 2011.[166][167][168] Deliveries to corporate customers began in Portugal in December 2010,[169] in the Netherlands in March 2011,[170] and in Canada in July 2011.[171] Retail deliveries began in Spain and Norway in September 2011[172][173] in Switzerland in November 2011,[174] and in Germany in January 2012.[175][176] As of September 2016, the Leaf was available in 48 countries in four continents.[177]

Since December 2010, Nissan sold 49,117 Leafs worldwide during its first two years in the market, making the Leaf the world's best-selling highway-capable electric car ever.[178] With global sales of more than 22,000 units in 2011,[179] the Leaf surpassed the Mitsubishi i MiEV as the best selling all-electric car in history.[180] Global sales during 2012 reached 26,973 Leafs, a rise of 22% over 2011 sales, led by Japan with 11,115 units, an 8% increase over 2011 sales; followed by the United States with 9,819 units representing a 1.5% rise over 2011 sales.[181] During the first half of 2012, the Leaf had a market share of 49% of global sales of all-electric cars.[182] The sales milestone of 50,000 units delivered worldwide was reached by mid February 2013.[183] A total of 47,716 Leafs were sold during 2013, up 77% from 2012,[184] and making the Leaf the world's best-selling plug-in car in 2013.[185]

The Nissan Leaf is the world's best selling highway legal all-electric car in history. Global Leaf sales passed the 250,000 unit milestone in December 2016.[13]

As of mid January 2014, and just after three years in the market, global sales totaled 100,000 units, capturing a 45% market share of worldwide pure electric vehicles sold since 2010.[186] During 2014 a total of 61,507 Leafs were sold worldwide.[187] In 2014 the Leaf ranked as the world's best-selling plug-in car for the second year in a row, and until December 2016, the sales volume achieve in 2014 remains the most plug-in cars sold in one year by any single plug-in car model.[185] Global sales totaled over 158,000 units at the end of 2014.[188]

Global Leaf sales passed the 200,000 unit milestone in December 2015.[189][190] Total sales totaled 43,651 units worldwide in 2015, down 29% from 2014,[191] and making the Leaf the world's second best-selling plug-in car in 2015 after the Tesla Model S.[185] The leading market in 2015 was the United States with 17,269 units sold, down 42.8% from 2014,[192] followed by the European market with 15,630 units.[191]

Global sales in 2016 climbed to 49,245 units, making the Leaf the world's second best-selling plug-in car after the Tesla Model S for the second year running. Sales in 2016 were led by Europe with 18,718 units, followed by Japan with 14,793, North America with 15,512. The rest of the world accounted for 222 units.[185][193] Global Leaf sales passed the 250,000 unit milestone in December 2016, making the Nissan Leaf the world's best-selling highway-capable electric car in history.[13] As of December 2016, the United States ranks as the top selling market with 103,597 units delivered,[194][195] followed by Japan with 72,494,[196] and Europe with 67,829 units.[185][187][191] The European market is led by Norway with 19,407 new units registered up until December 2016.[194][197] Due to the significant number of used imports registered in the country, there were about 27,500 Leafs on Norwegian roads as of 31 December 2016.[197][198] The UK ranks second with 15,000 units sold by mid-September 2016.[199]

Battery leasing option

Initially the Leaf was sold in all markets including the battery pack and is not compatible with QuickDrop battery swapping developed by its alliance partner Renault.[200][201] In April 2013, Nissan announced that sales of the 2013 Leaf will begin in the UK in June 2013, and it will offer a battery leasing option for the three available trims. Pricing for the battery leasing in the UK starts at GB£70 (~US$108) a month for a 36-month lease limited no more than 12,100 km (7,500 miles) a year, with a maximum of GB£129 (~US$198) a month for a 12-month lease with no more than 24,000 km (15,000 miles) driven. The battery leasing option lowers the price of the level entry model to GB£20,990 (~US$32,230) before applying the Plug-in Car Grant.[138][139]

In several European countries, except Norway, Finland, Iceland, Ireland and the Baltic markets, the leasing option will also be offered, resulting in a purchase price reduction of €5,900. The battery monthly charge starts at €79 (~US$103) for a 36-month lease limited no more than 12,500 km (7,800 miles) a year, with a maximum of €142 (~US$186) a month for a 12-month lease with no more than 25,000 km (16,000 miles) driven.[140]

Global sales[edit]

As of September 2016, the Nissan Leaf was available for retail customers in 48 countries.[177] Since its introduction in 2010, more than 250,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide through December 2016, making the Leaf the world's all-time best-selling highway-capable electric car in history.[13][185] As of December 2016, the United States ranks as the top selling market with 103,597 units delivered,[194][195] followed by Japan with 72,494,[196] and Europe with 67,829.[185][187][191] The European market is led by Norway with 19,407 new units registered up until December 2016.[194][197] Due to the significant number of used imports registered in the country, there were about 27,500 Leafs on Norwegian roads as of 31 December 2016.[197][198] The UK ranks second with 15,000 units sold by mid-September 2016.[199]

The following table presents retail sales by year since deliveries of the Leaf began in December 2010, for the national markets with cumulative sales of more than 500 units through the end of 2015.

Nissan Leaf sales by top national markets
between 2010 and 2015
Country Total 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
 US[192][202][203][204][205] 89,591 17,269 30,200 22,610 9,819 9,674 19
 Japan[187][206][207][208] 57,699 9,057 14,177 13,021 11,115 10,310 19
 Norway[209][210][211][212] 15,245 3,189 4,781 4,604 2,298 373  
 UK[213][214][215][216] 12,433 5,236 4,051 1,812 699 635  
 France[217] 5,865 2,200 1,600 1,438 524 83  
 Canada[218] 3,198 1,233 1,085 470 240 170  
 Germany[219][220][221][222] 2,956 831 812 855 451 7  
 China[223][224] 2,071(1) 1,273 582 216      
 Netherlands[225][226][227][228] 1,978 447 510 462 265 294  
 Sweden[229][230][231][232] 1,725 841 438 317 129    
 Spain[233][234][235][236][237] 1,285 344 465 263 154 59  
 Italy[238][239][240][241][242] 1,195 389 332 323 146 5  
 Denmark[243] 1,097 224 577 211 73 12  
 Ireland[244][245][246][247][248] 756 405 192 43 69 45 2
 Belgium[249][250][251][252][253] 655 162 178 141 114 60  
 Australia[254][255][256][257] 566(2) 109(2) 173 188 77 19  
  Switzerland[258] 542 145 106 178 74 39  
Total top markets 200,929 45,356 60,349 47,152 26,247 21,785 40
Total global sales[179][181][184][187][188][191] 201,991 43,651 61,507 47,716 26,973 22,094 50
Notes: (1) Chinese sales correspond to the rebadged Venucia e30. (2) Sales in Australia through September 2015.

Reported issues[edit]

Initial issues

In April 2011, Nissan announced that customers in the United States and Japan reported problems in restarting their Leaf vehicles after switching the motor off. Nissan said the problem does not pose any accident risk.[259] On April 15. Nissan announced that the problem only affected a small proportion of Leafs. Nissan engineers identified a programming error in an air conditioning system sensor that sometimes triggers an erroneous high voltage alert when the air conditioning unit is switched on, due to the increased demand for power. The system issues an Inhibit Restart command, which does not prevent driving the vehicle, but does prevent it restarting after it is turned off. The solution requires reprogramming of the Vehicle Control Module by a Nissan dealer. Nissan announced a "service campaign" to apply the software fix to all 5,300 Nissan Leafs in operation around the world, but it was not an official recall because it was not a safety issue.[260][261][262] The applied software update also improves the car’s on-board range calculation system, which several Leaf owners reported was overestimating the number of miles left. In addition, the update changes the state-of-charge bars display to provide a true reserve capacity; the driver now has up to five miles to find a charging spot after the car reaches the zero miles remaining mark.[263]

A number of early models had air conditioning failures due to a faulty hose.[citation needed]

A number of customers have reported safety problems with the antilock brakes: after an emergency braking event, and once the driver has released the brake pedal, the brakes remain in full force for some amount of time, increasing the risk of rear collisions.[264]

Battery capacity loss

In May 2012, several U.S. owners reported seeing only 11 of 12 battery capacity bars on the in-car display which led them to believe they had lost some battery capacity. As time went on, more people reported seeing the issue, and some had lost two, three, and even in rare cases, four battery capacity bars. The battery capacity loss problem seems to be concentrated in regions with hot climate, and Phoenix, Arizona and the state of Texas in particular. In July 2012, Nissan responded by saying they were investigating the issue, and a carmaker spokesman also said that "the problem is isolated to maybe 0.3 percent of the 13,000 Leafs on U.S. roads, and the company reportedly has loaned cars to some Leaf owners in Arizona as it researches the issue." This is equivalent to around 40 vehicles have experienced a loss of any battery capacity bars.[265][266][267]

Crowd sourced reports of Nissan Leafs with premature battery degradation have been collected at the MyNissanLeaf.com forum[268] and have been tracked on the website's wiki page.[269][270]

By early September 2012, Nissan Executive Vice President said that there is "no problem" with the LEAF battery, and that the any customer complaints were merely the result of instrument problems."[271] As a response, a group of 12 Phoenix Leaf owners participated in an independent test in controlled conditions organized by Leaf driver and EV advocate Tony Williams that took place on September 15, 2012. The test confirmed that the Leaf has poor instruments, but the test also found significant loss of range in some cars reflecting battery capacity loss. The worst affected Leaf showed around 60 to 65% of its original battery capacity remaining, and was only capable of driving 95 km (59 miles) before running out of charge.[271][272][273]

Based on a complete evaluation that Nissan Americas conducted with seven different Leafs in its Arizona Testing Center, the carmaker found that the common link among the seven Leafs from Arizona was that all of them had covered much higher mileage than the 20,100 km (12,500 miles) Nissan used to estimate the rate of battery capacity loss over time. All of them had covered at least 50% more than Nissan estimated average, with 31,500 km (19,600 miles) as the average mileage for the cars evaluated. According to Nissan, that average is "more than double the average Phoenix customer mileage of 7,500 miles per year." Nissan concluded that "the cars and the battery packs are behaving as we expected."[274][275] As a result of this assessment, Nissan published an open letter to Leaf owners explaining the results of the assessment and the details of normal battery capacity loss expected over time. The company also decided to set up an independent advisory board to study how the company may improve its communication with customers about the performance of the Leaf. The group will be led by Chelsea Sexton, known for its prominent role on the marketing of the GM EV-1 electric car. She will select the members of the advisory board that would make recommendations to Nissan.[275] By late September Nissan reported that around 450 Leafs have been sold in Arizona, and in the interest of customer satisfaction, two units with battery loss problems were repurchased using the buyback formula modeled on Arizona's lemon law.[276][277] One of the owners that had their Nissan Leaf repurchased established a blog in order to persuade other potential Nissan Leaf buyers in hot climates to reconsider buying this particular vehicle.[278] By mid September, Nissan's CEO Carlos Ghosn announced that there is an improved second generation battery coming online that will cost less than the previous one.[279]

On September 17, 2012, a federal class action lawsuit was filed by California Leaf lessee Humberto Daniel Klee and Arizona Leaf owner David Wallak, accusing Nissan of concealing in its advertising that its Leaf vehicles have a design defect that causes them to prematurely lose battery life and driving range. The class action suit says that "before purchase or lease, Nissan failed to disclose its own recommendations that owners avoid charging the battery beyond 80% in order to mitigate battery damage and failed to disclose that Nissan’s estimated 100 mile range was based on a full charge battery, which is contrary to Nissan’s own recommendation for battery charging."[280]

In January 2013, Nissan USA announced that it will offer an extended battery warranty on the 2013 model year Leaf and will include 2011 and 2012 model years as well.[50]

A 2015 report by insurance company Warranty Direct, stated that of 35,000 Leafs sold in Europe, three had a battery failure. That is 0.01% immobilized compared to 0.255% for internal combustion engined cars.[281]

On July 7, 2015, U.S. Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima of the 9th Circuit U.S. approved the class action settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, valued at $24 million.[282]

Airbag failure

In March 2014, Nissan is recalling nearly one million vehicles for a problem with the airbags. The occupant classification system (OCS) may incorrectly think that the passenger seat is empty when it is occupied by an adult, failing to activate the airbag in a collision. Cars affected include the 2013–14 model year Leaf, Altima, Pathfinder and Sentra, as well as the 2013 NV200, 2013 JX35, 2014 QX60 and the 2014 Q50. Recall documents say that due to the sensitivity of the OCS software calibration, the system may not sense a passenger. That combined with high-engine vibration at idle when the seat is empty and then becomes occupied, or unusual occupant seating postures, can cause the system to fail. If the car crashes during this time, the airbag won't deploy. Nissan will notify owners, and dealerships will fix the OCS software free of charge.[citation needed]

Related cars[edit]

Leaf Aero Style

Nissan unveiled the Nissan Leaf Aero Style concept car at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon. The Leaf Aero Style exterior has a new front bumper, extended side skirts, restyled mirrors, LED daytime driving lights, and special wheels.[283][284]

Leaf Nismo

Nissan unveiled the Leaf Nismo RC (Racing Competition) demonstration car at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. This electric car has the same battery pack and motor as the Leaf but is designed and constructed as a racing car with a full carbon fiber monocoque body which makes it about 40% lighter than the production Leaf.[285] Leaf Nismo RC is projected to have a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions, and in preliminary testing it accelerated from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 6.85 seconds and has a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h).[286][287] Nissan built eight of these rear-wheel drive cars.[285]

Another concept from Nismo was unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the Leaf Nismo Concept. It was designed as normal highway-capable automobile and uses the same 80 kW electric motor as the Leaf.[288] In January 2013, Nissan announced that the Leaf Nismo will be produced in low volumes by mid-2013, and sold in Japan only. The Leaf Nismo uses the Leaf's all-electric drive train with no extra power or performance improvements, but has an aerodynamic body kit with styling influenced by the electric Leaf RC demonstrator, new alloy wheels, and interior improvements.[289]

Infiniti LE

The Nissan Infiniti LE concept all-electric car was unveiled at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. It is based on the same platform as the Leaf, but it is expected to become Nissan's luxury electric car. It was expected to go into production in 2014.[290] In May 2013 the company said that it was waiting for inductive charging industry standards before launching the vehicle.[291][292]

Venucia e30

Nissan and its joint venture partner Dongfeng Motor unveiled a production version of the Venucia e30 electric car at the 2012 Auto Guangzhou. An earlier version, the Venucia E-Concept, was unveiled at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. The car was initially scheduled for production in China by 2015. The Venucia e30 shares the bodywork, dimensions, electric-drive specifications and several other aspects of the Leaf. Dongfeng Nissan started pilot projects in 15 Chinese cities to promote the Venucia e30 with local governments.[293][294] A total of 216 units were delivered in December 2013. These units were marketed as Venucia Morning Wind and they were badged Leafs since local production had not begun at the time.[223] In April 2014 Dongfeng Nissan announced that retail sales of the Venucia e30 were going to begin ahead of schedule.[295]

The Venucia e30 was launched in the Chinese market in September 2014.[296] The e30 has the same 24 kWh lithium ion battery as the Nissan Leaf, with an energy consumption of 14.6 kWh/100 km and a range of 160 km (99 miles).[297]

Nissan Leaf Aero Style 
Nissan Leaf Nismo RC 
Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept 
Infiniti LE concept car 
Venucia e30 (China) 
Autonomous car
Nissan installed its autonomous car technology in a Nissan Leaf for demonstration purposes.
A 2011 Leaf won the Electric Production Class at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

In August 2013, Nissan announced its plans to launch several driverless cars by 2020. The company is building in Japan a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground, to be completed in 2014. Nissan installed its autonomous car technology in a Nissan Leaf for demonstration purposes. The car was demonstrated at Nissan 360 test drive event held in California in August 2013.[298][299] In September 2013, the Leaf fitted the prototype Advanced Driver Assistance System was granted a license plate that allows to drive it on Japanese public roads. The testing car will be used by Nissan engineers to evaluate how its in-house autonomous driving software performs in the real-world. Time spent on public roads will help refine the car’s software for fully automated driving.[300] The autonomous Leaf was demonstrated on public roads for the first time at a media event held in Japan in November 2013. The Leaf drove on the Sagami Expressway in Kanagawa prefecture, near Tokyo. Nissan vice chairman Toshiyuki Shiga and the prefecture’s Governor, Yuji Kuroiwa, rode in the car during the test.[301][302]

Motorsport[edit]

An Electric Production Class was formed for the 2011 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and Chad Hord raced a Leaf in the event.[303] The off-road racing driver ascended the 19.99 km (12.42 miles) course in 14 minutes and 33 seconds to win the class.[304] The interior of the car was removed and replaced with mandatory racing seats, safety harness, and a roll cage.[305]

Reception[edit]

There were 20,000 pre-orders in the United States for the vehicle's debut.[306] After hitting this milestone in September 2010, Nissan stopped taking reservations in the United States until many of the initial orders had been delivered in early 2011.

Nissan Leaf with the 2011 European Car of the Year logo

The Leaf has received awards from multiple organizations. Notable awards include the inclusion by Time magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of 2009.[307] At the 2010 Washington Auto Show, the Leaf was given the 2010 Green Car Vision Award by the Green Car Journal (GCJ), who noted that the Leaf "will provide the features, the styling, and the driving experience that will meet the needs of a sophisticated and demanding market, while producing zero localized emissions and requiring no petroleum fuels."[308] Popular Mechanics, upon awarding the Leaf its 2010 Breakthrough Award, explained that the Nissan Leaf is "not the first pure EV, but [...] hits the mainstream like none of its predecessors." Popular Mechanics also alluded to the Leaf's 160 km (100 miles) range, which is said to be "enough for most commuters for the price of an average vehicle – and with a much lower operating cost than gasoline-powered vehicles."[309]

Other awards received by the Leaf include the 2011 European Car of the Year,[310] EV.com’s 2011 EV of the Year,[311] 2011 Eco-Friendly Car of the Year by Cars.com,[312] 2011 Green Fleet Electric Vehicle of the Year,[313] it was listed among the 2011 Greenest Vehicles of the Year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy,[314][315] also listed by Mother Earth News among its "Best Green Cars" of 2011,[316] and also was ranked first in Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Green Cars for 2011.[317] The Leaf won the 2011 World Car of the Year,[318] and was a finalist for the 2011 World Green Car.[319] Ward's Auto listed the Leaf's 80 kW electric motor in Ward's 10 Best Engines for 2011.[320] Until October 2011 the Leaf was ranked as the most efficient EPA certified vehicle for all fuels ever.[321][322] In December 2011, the Leaf was awarded with the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Japan at the Tokyo Motor Show.[323]

Criticism[edit]

In 2009, a former Tesla Motors marketing manager criticized Nissan about the cooling system chosen for thermal management in lithium-ion battery packs.[324] He also claimed there may also be an overestimation of the 160 km (100-mile) range that was computed using LA-4 or "city" mode, which may underestimate the energy draw during highway driving conditions.[324][325]

Nissan Leaf with Level 2 recharging station unit displayed at the 2010 Washington Auto Show

The American magazine Consumer Reports noted that while charger costs vary between US$700 and US$1,200, an at-home charger and its installation cost more than US$2,000 even for simple installations.[326] Nissan estimates a typical charger installation costs US$2,200. The article did not mention that home charger installations are eligible for a 50% federal tax credit up to US$2,000.[327] Consumer Reports noted that the first 5,700 Leaf buyers will get free chargers with federal support in 13 cities. The consumer group also reminded that many older houses with only a 60–100 amp supply may need a panel upgrade to install a 240-volt circuit, which can cost several thousand dollars.[326] The additional 220–240-volt charger is only required for countries (mainly the North / South American continent) that do not have a 220–240-volt domestic grid and want faster charging than under 110–120-volt.

There are a variety of EVSE manufacturers for the Nissan Leaf including SPX, Schneider, Leviton, Aerovironment, Blink and GE. Some are priced at less than $850. Since the on-board charger in the Leaf can draw as little as 15 amps, many home installations can be as simple as adding a dedicated 20 amp circuit and receptacle in the garage.

Consumer Reports also called buyers' attention to the fact that the Leaf's total out-of-pocket costs include a US$595 acquisition fee and a US$395 disposition fee. The consumer group also emphasized that the lease price of US$349-a-month applies only to buyers with good credit (Tier 1, or a FICO score of 700 or above); for those with less than optimum credit, the monthly rate would increase. They reminded buyers that the lease comes with a 23,000 km/year (15,000-mile-per-year) allowance, but additional miles will cost extra.[328]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  202. ^ Eric Loveday (2012-01-04). "Tally of Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt Sales for 2011". PluginCars. Retrieved 2012-01-04.  A total of 9,674 Leafs were sold during calendar year 2011.
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  206. ^ Kane, Mark (2016-02-05). "Worldwide Nissan LEAF Sales Down To 43,651 In 2015 (From 60,000) As Weak Numbers For Japan Are In". InsideEVs.com. Retrieved 2016-02-05.  Leaf sales in Japan totaled 9,057 units in 2015. A total of 2,503 units were sold in January 2016. As of December 2015, cumulative sales totaled 57,699 units since the Leaf introduction in December 2010.
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  210. ^ Ståle Frydenlund (2014-01-02). "7.882 nye elbiler registrert i 2013" [7882 new electric cars registered in 2013] (in Norwegian). Norsk Elbilforening (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association). Retrieved 2014-08-23.  Sales during 2013 totaled 4,604 new Leafs.
  211. ^ Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) (January 2015). "Bilsalget i 2014" [Car sales in 2014] (in Norwegian). OFV. Retrieved 2015-02-04.  Click on "Modellfordelt" to display the top 20 selling new cars in Norway: A total of 4,781 new Leafs were sold in 2014.
  212. ^ Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) (January 2016). "Bilsalget i desember" [Car sales in December] (in Norwegian). OFV. Retrieved 2016-02-07.  Leaf registrations in Norway totaled 3,189 new units in 2015 and 4,781 in 2014. On the heading "Registreringsstatistikken t.o.m. desember 2015" click "2015, des, Personbiler, Merkefordelt"
  213. ^ Mat Gasnier (2013-02-01). "UK Full Year 2012: Now with Top 350 All-models ranking!". Best Selling Cars Blog. Retrieved 2013-02-07.  635 Leafs sold in 2011 and 699 in 2012.
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  219. ^ Kraftfahrt-Bundesamtes (KBA) (January 2013). "Neuzulassungen von Personenkraftwagen im Dezember 2012 nach Marken und Modellreihen" [New registrations of passenger cars in December 2012 by make and model series] (PDF) (in German). KBA. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  220. ^ Kraftfahrt-Bundesamtes (KBA) (January 2014). "Neuzulassungen von Personenkraftwagen im Dezember 2013 nach Segmenten und Modellreihen" [New registrations of passenger cars in December 2013 by segment and model series] (PDF) (in German). KBA. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  221. ^ Kraftfahrt-Bundesamtes (KBA) (January 2015). "Neuzulassungen von Personenkraftwagen nach Segmenten und Modellreihen im Dezember 2014" [New registrations of passenger cars in December 2014 by segment and model] (PDF) (in German). KBA. Retrieved 2015-02-05.  A total of 812 Leafs were registered in Germany in 2014.
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  225. ^ RAI. "Verkoopstatistieken 2009, 2010, 2011 en 2012" [Sales Statistics 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012] (in Dutch). RAI Vereniging. Retrieved 2014-08-16.  Download pdf file for detailed sales in 2011 ("Download nieuwverkoop personenautos 201112") and 2012 ("Download nieuwverkoop personenautos 201212").
  226. ^ RAI (2015-01-27). "Verkoopstatistieken" [Sales Statistics] (in Dutch). RAI Vereniging. Retrieved 2015-01-31.  Download the pdf file for detailed sales by model during 2013 ("nieuwverkoop personenautos 201312") and during 2014: "nieuwverkoop personenautos 201412".
  227. ^ RAI (December 2015). "Nieuwverkoop Per Merk/Model 2015/11" [New Sales By Brand / Model Nov 2015] (in Dutch). RAI Vereniging. Retrieved 2016-01-22.  A total of 436 Leafs were sold between January and November 2015.
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  233. ^ "Ventas en España de coches híbridos y eléctricos en 2011" [Hybrid and electric car sales in Spain in 2011] (in Spanish). Motor Pasión Futuro. 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-05-13.  59 Leafs were sold in 2011.
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  239. ^ Luca Moroni (2013-01-03). "I dati di vendita di auto elettriche e ibride a dicembre 2012 in Italia" [Sales figures of electric and hybrid cars in Italy through December 2012] (in Italian). Green Start. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
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  243. ^ De Danske Bilimportører (January 2016). "Statistik – Nyregistreringstal – Personbiler – Pr.model: januar – juni 2015" [Statistics – Passenger cars by model: January – June 2015] (in Danish). Bilimp. Retrieved 2016-01-22.  Select januar – december 2015" and "2014/2013/2012/2011 – Hele året" for the corresponding year and click on "Pr. model" for details of sales by brand and model.
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  245. ^ Jose, Pontes (2015-01-06). "Ireland December 2014". EVSales.com. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  246. ^ Jose, Pontes (2016-01-06). "Ireland December 2013". EVSales.com. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
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  249. ^ Justin Aschard (2012-11-30). "Inmatriculations VP et VUL Belux à fin Oct. 2012 (2010–2012)" [Registrations of passenger cars and utility vehicles in Belux (Belgium and Luxembourg) through October 2012 (2010–2012)] (PDF) (in French). France Mobilité Électrique. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
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