The Nissan Leaf had been the best selling EV in the world for many years. It is a compact 5-door fully electric hatchback manufactured by Nissan.
It was introduced in Japan and US commencing in 2010. The Leaf is not the first EV car manufactured by Nissan as their earliest EV produced was actually in 1946.
The Leaf itself was preceded by the Nissan R’Nessa from 1997 to 2001. In that way, Nissan has an enviable record in the EV arena.
Here are some of the most interesting facts about the Nissan Leaf.
1. The car has won multiple awards. It garnered the 2010 Green Car Vision Award, the 2011 European Car of the Year Award, 2011-12 Car of the Year Japan award, amongst many others.
2. United States is its biggest market with 126,000 units sold up to end 2018. Japan and Europe registered 100,000 units each by 2018. Only the Tesla Model 3 has more sales than the Leaf in the entire decade ending 2019.
3. The Leaf sold very well globally with over 400,000 units. Its design had been refreshed in multiple year models and is now into its second generation from 2017.
4. Nissan Leaf has a familiar 5-door hatchback design with its battery situated below the seats and rear foot space. This keeps the center of gravity low and gives better structural rigidity and driving stability.
5. The body has sharp V shaped design with bulging headlights which direct air away from the side mirrors. This reduces drag and noise. Even the bottom has aerodynamic paneling. The drag coefficient of this car is a compelling 0.28 – 0.29.
Electrical System of the Nissan Leaf
6. The 2011 model Leaf had 80 hp electric synchronous motors driving the front wheels. Torque was rated at 207 lb-ft (280 N.m). Initially, the battery size was 24 kWh but later increased to 30 kWh to give a range of 150 miles. The battery also has a guarantee of eight years or 100,000 miles which is pretty standard for many EVs nowadays.
7. Nissan’s Lithium-ion battery is manufactured by the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation of Japan. Basically, the battery comprises individual book-shaped modules of 3.7 V and 500 Wh each. These modules are then connected in series to the desired voltage of about 400 V. The battery has no active cooling system for the cells. They were proven to be robust with minimum degradation in capacity even with 40,000 miles recorded according to various owners reports.
8. Special Leaf variants are available in certain markets (especially in the USA) where battery capacities of 62 kWh are offered. Also, bigger CHAdeMO chargers of up to 100 kW are fitted.
Performance of the Nissan Leaf
9. The Nissan Leaf showed a history of a series of steady and incremental improvements to its performance with each new succeeding model.
10. The 2011/12 model Leaf had a top speed of 93 mph. The reported time for accelerating from 0 to 60 mph was 9.9 seconds. Its range was 73 miles.
11. The 2013 model Leaf has extended range due to better heating system, better regenerative braking, weight reduction and improved aerodynamics. The range improved to 75 miles.
12. Leaf’s 2014-2015 model improved its range from 75 to 84 miles.
13. The 2016 model Leaf came with the increased 30 kWh battery.
14. Nissan has also kept up with the pace of chargers improvements. Models which came with the 3.6 kW charger can be fully charged in 8 hours from a suitable 240-V charger. Those with a 6.6 kW charger can be fully charged in 4 hours.
15. The 2017 model Leaf is a Second Generation Leaf. This came with a 40 kWh battery with a range of 151 miles. The electric motor has power of 147 hp and could generate a torque of 236 lb.ft. Besides the normal charger offered in earlier models, a 50 kW CHAdeMO charger is available. It has the ability to send electrical power back to the grid.
16. For the US market, a special Leaf Plus variant was offered in 2019. It has a larger 62 kWh battery with a range of 226 miles and a new 150 kW motor. It also featured CHAdeMO chargers up to 100 kW.
Nissan Leaf – The Future
17. The Nissan Leaf appears to be initially aimed at small urban families that have limited outstation travels. Over the years, the Leaf with its increasing ranges has evolved into a vehicle that can make inter-city travel a breeze. With an appealing appearance, together with comfort and ease of driving, it will appeal to many more buyers who are looking for a good and solid EV. With a good price point, the Leaf will continue to do well in the EV arena.
18. Even more appealing would be a good number of used Leaf that will come into the market. This occurs when satisfied owners upgrade to the latest Leaf models. Even with the cost of replacement battery included, with the attractive prices of used units, buyers who are buying second hand Leaf may stumble on some very good deals for this car. This is especially considering that newer batteries of higher kWh can be fitted in the original space provided.