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2011 Nissan Leaf At Two Years: 32,000 Miles, No Signs Of Age

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2011 Nissan Leaf: 32,000 mile report

2011 Nissan Leaf: 32,000 mile report

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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.

As the miles piled up, I shared the things we already liked and disliked about Nissan’s first mass-produced battery electric car. 

We also documented Hiro’s life with us, including a visit to the dealer for an official software update recall, various odometer milestones, and a summary one-year drive report.  

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.

 

  • During our second periodic service, the front windshield wipers were replaced because the blades had separated from the wiper.
  • An annoying squeak over rough ground has developed. It seems to originate from the area between the right-hand driver's seat and the center console. As yet, we’ve been unsuccessful in pinpointing exactly what is making the noise.
  • The driver's side floor mat -- an original Nissan accessory -- has lost an eyelet, though it remains securely fastened to the floor.
  • The rear carpets and the backs of the front seats have started to look much more worn than two-year-old interior fabrics should. 
  • The power windows, while functional, remain slow to operate. This is especially noticeable in colder weather. 

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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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’. 


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Comments (12)
  1. Nikki:

    It is fun to read your review as my Leaf was delivered on February 5, 2011 and has just under 35,000 miles today.

    It seems we have had almost the same experience (except I am in San Francisco and Marin County, CA). I still love the Leaf and hope to enjoy it as long as it is practical to do so.

    I have an SV model without a quick-charge port. I also got a 4-star rating on the battery report for the charging while at a high state of charge. I believe this is due to the twice-daily charging and not the quick-charging as you theorized. It would be nice if Nissan could tell us exactly why we got the 4-stars, but I am not holding my breath for a better explanation.

    I hope things are going well at your new job!
     
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  2. This is good to hear. I'm one of the Phoenix owners who had troubles, but I still believe in EV's and now have two, though the Leaf is now gone. Even though I hated the problems, I never disliked the Leaf itself. Wonderful car, fun to drive. Happy motoring:)
     
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  3. Excellent review Nikki, long owner based reviews are the best. Keep up the good work I really enjoy watching Transport Evolved.
     
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  4. Thanks for the report Nikki, it's good to read you again on GCR. I especially like the feedback on the new Michelins as I plan to replace the factory issued tires on my '11 Prius and '12 Plug-In Prius with those exact tires in the near future!
     
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  5. Craig, I also replaced my tires with Michelin tires, the MXV4 model at 30,000 miles. They have improved the handling immensely. They are a bit noisier than the Bridgestone tires, but they handle so much better it is worth it.
     
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  6. I enjoyed reading your review. One nit-picky comment: You cannot reduce body roll by changing the tires. Body roll is a part of the chassis dynamics and unless you also replace rollbars, shocks or springs, body roll remains a constant.
     
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  7. I live in hotter Southern California and have lost a battery bar due to the 110F+ summers that are becoming the norm, translating to about 10 miles lost range at 25,000 miles. Hopefully this summer doesn't reduce it further. The Nissan iphone app is pretty lousy, but if you force it to quit it'll log in quickly the next time (double-click button, hold icon on bottom until a "-" appears, then kill it). Lastly, I've found PlugShare to be a far better app for station location (in my area at least) because it's updated by users for users. Thanks for the update.
     
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  8. Heat is a battery life killer, we are trying to talk Nissan into at least having active air flow with a fan like a computer muffin fan. It would make a world of difference.
    If not maybe someone will start an aftermarket option of LEAF battery cooling !
     
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  9. Well, heat just "accelerates" aging...
     
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  10. just passed 25 months and have about...28,731 miles (went out and checked to be sure) and because I have a GID meter, I can say I have lost 3-5% of my capacity based on the meter which does have the inconvenience of reporting a relatively inexact science of battery charge capacity.

    But everything else has been spot on. I have the same slow windows and ragged carpets. I have also replaced my tires but not as a planned event which has been the only headache for me.

    now, i drive slower to maximize range but actually started doing that with the Prius but am able to get about 88 miles in Summer, 75 in Winter so the "loss" I have experienced has not affected me yet!
     
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  11. Is that 75 miles range in the winter with or without the use of electric cabin heat?
     
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  12. Good news -- but I have to ask: Do you every plan on selling the LEAF? If yes, at what point -- and do you realistically think you'll get reasonable resale given that I'm guessing few people (including me) would be willing to pay anything other than a cut rate price for a used EV with 5, 6, 7 years taken out of the battery life? No one seems to be talking about this issue, but it's a real one, especially in the U.S. with all of the 3-year leases. Who's going to shell out good money for a LEAF with outdated battery technology and tens of thousands of miles taken out of its battery life? And, if they do, will they be able to sell that LEAF a few years later themselves? I say, 'No, not unless the battery pack has been replaced.'
     
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