Almost two years ago, I took delivery of one of the very first 2011 Nissan Leafs to be imported into the United Kingdom.
With its two-year anniversary approaching, and more than 32,000 miles on the clock, has our family's opinion of the Nissan Leaf changed?
What has life with the car been like? And do we regret buying it?
Just as we said last year, our 2011 Nissan Leaf has generally aged appropriately.
But let's start at the beginning.
In late March 2011, we drove our new family car 45 miles home from the dealership, plugged it in for the first time, and named the resplendent red car Hiro Nakamura--after the earnest Japanese superhero on NBC’s Heroes.
Wear and tear
Since that report a year ago, nothing else has broken. A few things have either required replacement due to standard wear and tear, or niggle at us on a daily basis.
2011 Nissan Leaf
2011 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Range and battery life
Unlike Nissan Leafs in much warmer climates (Phoenix, Arizona, for example), the generally temperate U.K. climate has so far been kind to the battery pack of our Nissan Leaf.
Despite six months of daily 80-mile freeway commutes with twice-daily recharging, our Leaf has shown no noticeable signs of battery degradation.
No battery capacity bars have disappeared, and the Leaf is easily capable of 75 to 80 miles on a full charge, depending on how it is driven, the type of road, and the temperature.
Even more impressive is the fact that several long-distance trips during the past year--covering thousand miles and requiring multiple quick-charges in a single day -- have also had no noticeable impact on the battery health either.
Because few rapid chargers exist in the U.K., we often had to recharge the battery not to the recommended 80 percent but to 98 percent of capacity--something Nissan doesn't recommend.
But regardless of the frequent quick-charging, the most recent battery health report from our dealer gave the car a five-star rating overall.
Four stars were given for “charging when already at a high level of charge,” no doubt caused by the rapid charging from 80 to 98 percent full. No warnings were issued for battery health or charging behavior.
Also worth of note: Despite numerous low-battery and very-low-battery warnings, our car has never entered the fabled ‘turtle mode’.