2011 Nissan Leaf At Two Years: 32,000 Miles, No Signs Of Age Page 2

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2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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Carwings and charging

It would be nice to report that Nissan has improved its Carwings telematics service over the past two years. But it hasn't, and the service remains the weakest link of owning a Leaf. 

To start, Carwings’ charging-station information remains patchy and inaccurate (though this may vary by country; it is certainly the case in the U.K.).

In November, while on the way to a business meeting, inaccurate Carwings data directed me to a charging station that simply did not exist. Without the range to make it to the next charging station, I was forced to look for a standard outlet to charge at.

Ultimately, the car ended the day on the back of a tow truck after I failed to find an alternative place to charge.

Carwings’ inaccuracies don’t stop there. According to the odometer in our Leaf, it has traveled a little more than 32,000 miles since new. Carwings reports that it has only traveled 25,000 miles.

Moreover, its range predictions haven’t improved despite a software upgrade. On one occasion, less than 10 minutes after we'd quick-charged the battery to 98 percent, Carwings proudly warned us that, laden with two adults, two children, two dogs and luggage, our car wouldn’t reach its destination.

Thirty minutes later, we arrived safely at our destination, with at least 15 miles to spare. (Carwings failed to apologize.)

The iPhone Carwings app has also been a trial. For three months, it refused to connect to the Carwings servers, making remote monitoring and presetting the climate control only possible through a third-party app, LeafLink

It took Nissan U.K. two months to rectify the issue. 

Performance and handling

Almost two years after leaving the dealer, our 2011 Nissan leaf still performs as it did when new--accelerating well under most conditions, with only a hint of sluggishness when battery charge or temperature is low.

We replaced the factory-standard Ecopia E150 tires with aftermarket Michelin Energy Saver tires, and our now Leaf performs and handles far better than it did when new. The body roll is reduced, handling feels more precise, and grip seems improved.

And with longer tread life, we’ve already managed almost as many miles on the Michelins as we did on the original Ecopias--with half the tread on the newer tires still remaining.

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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Our verdict: No regrets

After nearly two years and more than 32,000 miles, our 2011 Nissan Leaf still performs as we had hoped it would when we bought it.

Our dealer experience has been good, with our local dealer still offering exemplary servicing for a very reasonable price. 

Including servicing, insurance, electricity, and loan payments, our 2011 Nissan Leaf has cost us somewhere in the region of $18,000 so far. 

It has also saved us more than $10,000 in gasoline costs compared to our previous car, a 1992 Volvo 240 Wagon. 

As for regrets? There are none.

In fact, driving the Leaf has become such a part of our family life that we’ve now invested in a second electric car: a 2013 Renault Twizy microcar.

Which means our gas-guzzling 2008 Toyota Prius is now relegated to the lowly position of long-distance third car. 

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