RoadflyTV recently spent some time in the history-making 2011 Nissan LEAF electric car. Needless to say, we were very impressed. Join host Ross Rapoport as he reviews the first mass-produced, 100% electric passenger vehicle.
With such a highly-anticipated vehicle, it’s hard to know where to start when discussing the LEAF. As it is a completely battery powered* electric car with zero emissions, reporting on the LEAF is a bit different. Instead of fuel economy and gas prices, the LEAF owner will have to consider battery range and kW/h prices.
The LEAF, in its debut, has a limited range of 110 miles on the battery pack, but for the driver who has a short commute or someone who needs a car just to get around town, the LEAF’s range will not be an issue. Then, when considering the national average of $.12 per kW/h, the cost per year to power the LEAF is only $500, less than half the price of a year of gasoline costs in your typical vehicle.
To charge the Nissan LEAF, the owner has three options. The “Trickle Charge”, “Normal Charge”, and “Quick Charge”. The “Trick Charge” can be done at home with any conventional outlet. While the “Normal Charge” is also done at home, some home improvements will accompany this method as it utilizes a specific 220 to 240 volt charge station. The last and most efficient method, the “Quick Charge”, really only applies to California owners at this point as it uses an actual charging station that can recharge the batteries to at least 80% power in 30 minutes. In addition to the charging indicators on the Nissan LEAF’s dash, the charging cord also has indicators to let you know the progress of the charge.
In addition to its environmentally-friendly features, the LEAF is also a practical hatchback. The feel of the drive/ride of the Nissan LEAF is centered due to the battery placement and the handling exceeds expectations of an electric car. The power of the LEAF is decent, as the battery packs produce 107 horsepower which is in the range of the Toyota Prius and Honda CR-Z. However, the 207 lb-ft of torque that is available at all times makes the LEAF a surprisingly strong vehicle, as that type of torque is usually seen and expected in mid-powered vehicles. That’s more torque than the Ford Fusion, Mazda3, Mazda2, Suzuki Kizashi, and the Nissan Cube to name a few gas-powered vehicles.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, the Nissan LEAF is accessible to anyone at an affordable price point of $35,430 MSRP.
*Buyers should consider the longevity of battery power as batteries tend to lose their ability to hold a full charge over time.