2011 Nissan Leaf One Week In: Five Things We Like

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The First customers (and fans) of the 2011 Nissan Leaf in the U.K.

The First customers (and fans) of the 2011 Nissan Leaf in the U.K.

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As you may have seen earlier this week, I’ve been a proud owner of a 2011 Nissan Leaf since late last month. Today marks ten days since we took delivery.  

We’ve already shared the five things that we hate about the 2011 Leaf, so now it’s time to share the things we really like. 

Level 3 Fast Charging Is a Game-Changer

Remember the days when an electric car took all day to recharge? So do we. 

At the top of our favorite list is the ultra-fast charge option on SL models. Capable of charging the Leaf from empty to 80% full, or 50-100% full in less than 30 minutes, it revolutionizes the way the Leaf can be driven. 

That is, if you happen to live near any $20,000 level 3 fast chargers. With so few in the wild, the bonus of ultra-fast charging is one that not every Leaf owner gets to share. 

Admittedly, Nissan warns against excessive use of its fast chargers, but for those who need the occasional fast-charge to make longer trips possible we can’t fault the system and wish it came standard of every electric car. 

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

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Road Noise Really is Minimal

It’s easy to speed in the 2011 Nissan Leaf, not because of its 80 kilowatt motor, but because of the just how quiet the car is at speed. 

Part of the Leaf’s low noise comes from the obvious lack of an internal combustion engine, but looking beyond that the specially designed windshield wipers, headlamps and wing mirrors all help to reduce the wind noise the Leaf creates driving along. 

The net result is a car which is calming to drive and which encourages energy efficient driving. 


Smooth, Instant Power Delivery

Thanks to the lack of conventional gearbox, the 2011 Nissan Leaf accelerates smoothly from standstill, enabling quick getaways off the stop light and instant torque for overtaking maneuvers. 

Unlike the lag present on hybrids like the 2011 Toyota Prius, the throttle response is instantaneous, meaning you’re never left in a sticky situation without the power to get out of it. 

Remote Pre-Cooling/Heating

2011 Nissan LEAF iPhone App

2011 Nissan LEAF iPhone App

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While we knew we’d like the remote pre-cooling and heating of the Leaf we didn’t know just how much until we’d lived with it a few days. 

Setting your car’s air conditioning to come on ten minutes before you leave home or even on your way back to the parking lot really does add a level of comfort never before known to most car drivers. 

It Feels Like a $35,000 Car

We all know that the Leaf’s high price-tag is at least in part down to the car’s 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack.  But unlike the European version of the 2011 Mitsubishi i which feels like a $10,000 car with a $25,000 drivetrain bolted on, the 2011 Leaf feels like a $35,000 car. 

Everything from the sound of the door slam to the soft trim and the sound system lets you know you’ve purchased a high quality car. 

Sure, the light colored seats stain easily and the hockey-puck gear shifter may not be to everyone’s taste, but the fit and finish reminds you that the Leaf is not a car Nissan have cut corners to make. 

Do you have a 2011 Nissan Leaf? What are your favorite points about Nissan’s first all electric hatchback? Let us know in the Comments below.

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Comments (13)
  1. "...and the hockey-puck gear shifter may not be to everyone’s taste..."
    Ha, that's funny. It's not a gear shifter, as you said earlier "Thanks to the lack of conventional gearbox..." it's actually nothing more than a mode switch.

  2. MIT studies claim that fast charging has no ill effects for the battery or its lifespan. I doubt that Nissan knows very much about batteries. I'd sure like to hear the reasons for a $20K price tag for a level 3 charge station. By the way, how much do gas pumps cost?

  3. Why does Nissan warn against excessive use of its fast chargers? Where have they previously talked about this?

  4. I'm a proud owner of a Nissan LEAF for 1 week now. All I can say is amazing! Yes, the car is very well equipped and feels like a $35K+ vehicle. It's very fast, has amazing turning radius and even does onboard text-to-voice RSS feeds too. Best of all, I now save $400/mo on gasoline...freedom from oil, yeah!
    Plus, in the short time I've owned this car, I've already convinced 3 people to purchase one themselves - this car sells itself.

  5. nice article and definitely better than the "dislike" article (JK!!) now, i have to say i like the "Luxury" comments although the stereo is not what i like it to be especially since my 2010 Prius is definitely better.
    the other thing is the QC warning from Nissan. i have always thought it to be a psych ploy from Nissan since they knew upfront that it would be decades for some parts of the country before they see any QC stations and Nissan did not want that fact to hamper sales in the US Heartland

  6. ""..and the hockey-puck gear shifter may not be to everyone’s taste..."
    Ha, that's funny. It's not a gear shifter, as you said earlier, it's actually noth ing more than a mode switch." Yep, and a gear shifter is nothing more than an RPM range adjuster.

  7. @Doug - You've convinced three people to buy one? That's very cool - I didn't know you could just walk into the dealership and get one or even get on the closed reservation list. :-) I can't wait to get mine - I've been waiting since last April - I wish I were your friend since you certainly must have some magic powers.

  8. @Kent Beuchert "I doubt that Nissan knows very much about batteries"
    LOL. Nissan has been doing R&D on car batteries for more than 15 years. They were the first to sell a car run on Li ion batteries in the 90s.

  9. there has never been any doubt in my mind that evs will take over.

  10. I have had my LEAF since January 11 and have put over 2000 miles on it and I still look forward to driving to work each morning. It really is fun to drive and with the great torque at start up I have plenty of zip to get around town.
    Bottom line...This is a GREAT car.

  11. Well, looks like early buyers are largely happy with their all-electric LEAF, but have we heard about those facing problems restarting the LEAF. It is pretty gross, and to add to the misery is the erroneous reading on the miles gauge meter...
    But Nissan LEAF is the first of its kind. It wasn't likely that the vehicle could have sailed smooth without these initial glitches. The need of the hour for Nissan is to respond to these issues at the earliest, to the total satisfaction of early and potential buyers.

  12. Fast charging almost always accumulates heat which is bad for long term battery life. I'm sure that if MIT claimed it did not harm battery life, they were fast charging a system with cooling. Does the leaf battery pack have some sort of liquid cooling? I would not be surprised if it did.

  13. Congratulations!

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