Test Drove a Leaf Today

Discussion in 'Nissan/Infiniti Hybrids and EVs' started by stevemcelroy, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    Nissan held one of their traveling events to promote the Leaf today in Philly and I got a chance to drive the car. The event was pretty well run, but in a strange twist of fate it was my wife (who does some magazine writing) who was invited and not me who signed up and left a deposit for the car over a year ago when they were accepting reservations.

    The car itself rocked. They had a couple mile city course set up and the car drove very well - the torque from the start was terrific in the city. I pushed the car as much as possible and came away impressed. I think that Nissan hit the mark from the standpoint of design - it is unique looking and will be instantly identifiable in the same way the Prius has a unique look - though I think the Leaf is a far better looking car. The inside was well appointed and snazzy and the trunk area had a good amount of room. I think it genius that they decided against a spare tire - as long as the patch kit is easy and works as advertised it was a smart move.

    The downside - the price. My wife bought a new car last week and one of the brands that we looked at was Mazda - the Leaf seems very similar to a Mazda 2 - I did not drive it as this was not on the list, but I did sit in one. Figure that after tax benefits you will be spending about $27k for a base Leaf and a home charger. The Mazda 2 starts at just over $14k and the highest trim is $16,400 the Leaf is just so much more.
     
  2. Paul58

    Paul58 Mileage Miser

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    Hmmm, $10K buys a LOT of gas and doesn't increase your electric bill! :rolleyes:
     
  3. billnchristy

    billnchristy Active Member

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    If you are thinking Mazda 2 check out the Fiesta. Much better gas mileage (my current all city tank is reading 35.6 which should be around 33.5 to 34 when calculated).

    I got ours for 16.6k and has sync & aluminium 15" wheels.

    People are far exceeding EPA with this car and it is very nice.
     
  4. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Remember the maintenance cost of the gas engine. Oil, engine filter, Spark Plugs, PCV, serpentine belt, timing chain, etc... None of those exist in Leaf.
     
  5. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The other One Percenter.....

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  6. Paul58

    Paul58 Mileage Miser

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    Okay, I'll give you 4 oil changes per year, but most new cars won't require anything further until well over 50K miles (some spark plugs are even rated to 100K now). Leaf is so new, do we really know what maintenance is required? Are those motors brushless, or will they need some maintenance? Not knocking the Leaf, I'm sure it's awesome at the niche it's intended to fill, but for my needs a gas engine just allows way more flexibility without any of the limitations placed on the current full EVs... :love:
     
  7. bedrock8x

    bedrock8x Senior Member

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    For $10K, you can afford many oil changes. Spark plugs, PCV serpentine belt, timing belt will not need replacement for at least 100K mile, for the Leaf, you are looking for a $5K battery replacement at 100K miles.

     
  8. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Yes, Leaf's maintenance schedule is available here.

    Maintenance is just the tires, brakes and cabin air filters. At 105k miles, you replace coolant. That's all. Simple, isn't it?

    My biggest concern is the battery life due to the depth of it's discharge. It supposed to hold 80% of the original capacity after 5 years. Per industry standard, that's the end of life. However, Nissan has 8 years / 100k miles warranty without specifying the percentage that would trigger a replacement.
     
  9. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    I hear you - I threw out the Mazda 2 simply because it is a car that I had been in about 3 weeks ago and figured that was a good comparison - if the Leaf had a gas engine it would be comparable to either the 2 or the Fiesta. While the Leaf is super cool I just do not think that I could get past the fact that it is almost twice what the 2 or Fiesta costs (base).

     
  10. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    But Leaf has a mid-size interior. Mazda 2 is a few class lower.
     
  11. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    The Leaf is classified as a compact as far as I know - the Mazda 2 is a sub-compact, but when sitting in them they feel so very similar front & back and they have a similar amount of room behind the rear seats. Nissan left out a spare tire (they give you a compressor an a tube of tire fix goop) which gives you a very deep rear storage compartment - I would not be surprised if that is what bumped the Leaf up to compact.

     
  12. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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  13. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    Could be.

    The leaf is
    Passenger Volume​
    90 ft3 ​
    Luggage Volume​
    23 ft3 ​
    and midsize starts at 110 ft^3 combines so the last 3 cubic feet in the luggage volume pushed it into midsized.

    The EPA size ratings are better than nothing but are better indication of the ability to carry small pieces of dry goods like wheat than they are of people room.

    Edit: Mazda 2 is 87 ft^3 passenger volume (almost the same as a Leaf) and 13 ft^3 luggage, much smaller than a Leaf.
     
  14. dbcassidy

    dbcassidy Toyota Hybrid Nation, 8 Million Strong

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    I looked at the Leafs' maintenance schedule, it is interesting in the back of the book is the Li-ion replacement log. Wondering if the cost of repacing these batteries should be considered in the cost of driving the Leaf?

    DBCassidy
     
  15. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    Cool - I stand corrected. They were also showing off the 2012 Versa - it seemed bigger than the Leaf and was also was way less expensive.

    The fact that Nissan got so much room into such a small package is pretty amazing.

     
  16. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I noticed it too. The schedule ended at 105k miles, right after the warrenty ends. I don't get the impression that it is a mature automotive grade battery that can last 10 years / 150k miles with 80% capacity at the end. There is a reason Toyota is being conservative.

    Both Nissan and GM were late to the hybrid game so they have to rush Leaf and Volt. In the meantime, Toyota can take their time and get it right the first time. For those that can't wait for EV, Toyota will be using Tesla to transfer risk. Tesla can afford to take risk since they have a lot to gain.

    We'll find out the condition of Leaf and Volt battery pack in about 5 years and see who did the homework and who fudged it!
     
  17. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    At the event they had a cut-away of the battery and spoke of the fact that it was designed at last at least 10 years, though they made no mention of what the capacity after that point was.

    When the Leaf's details were announced a couple of years back I believe that Nissan made mention that the company bee doing work on battery packs for the past 15 to 20 years and that was why they could come to the market so quickly and keep the price down (relatively speaking). That being said - I agree with the point that you do need to go into this with your eyes open about the possibility of battery issues down the line - my guess though is that Nissan will be pretty proactive regarding battery issues down the line as they have so much invested in the program.
     
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