Four Years And 70,000 Miles Later, 2011 Nissan Leaf Going Strong


2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

The 2011 Nissan Leaf was the first modern battery-electric car to be offered in large numbers, and it still leads the field in terms of sales four years later.

Each sales increase marks a new milestone for electric-car adoption, but how do all of those Leafs fare after a few years of daily use?

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Former Green Car Reports contributor Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield purchased one of the first 2011 Nissan Leaf electric cars imported to the U.K.--and four years and 70,380 miles later, it's still going strong.

In a recent update report on Transport Evolved, she wrote that the Leaf is still running fine, with only some very minor issues.

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

It's also shown that with the proper charging infrastructure, a modern electric car can easily be used for everyday commuting.

Nicknamed "Hiro Nakamura," the Leaf is currently used for a 100-mile round-trip commute, with a three-hour stop at a public charging station during the day.

A DC fast-charging station was substituted for about six months, cutting midday charging times to around 10 minutes.

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DC fast-charging--primarily on the Ecotricity network--is also used for longer trips.

The owner proudly notes that the Leaf has only seen the back of a tow truck a handful of times "when charging infrastructure failed," and once for a flat tire.

Of course, the daily grind eventually takes its toll on any car.

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

At 52,800 miles, the first of 12 battery-capacity indication bars on the dashboard display turned off, indicating a 15-percent capacity loss.

Further checks using the Leaf Spy app show a 20-percent loss.

That's led to some range loss--reducing range to 50 or 60 miles in cold weather--but Gordon-Bloomfield notes that there are now more places to charge than when the Leaf was new, helping to make up the difference.

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The rest of the car has held up pretty well, with just two items--the radio and a USB socket--replaced under warranty, plus regular maintenance items like tires and brakes.

A literal blemish on this record appears to be the paint, which seems to be particularly susceptible to stone chips, dings, and scrapes. Some areas have now been resprayed.

Overall though, the Leaf proved reliable and economical.

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

2011 Nissan Leaf owned by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

Total cost of electricity ownership over four years was pegged at £2,380 (about $3,670), and that's using a somewhat pessimistic estimate of electricity prices.

That's compared to a theoretical cost of £5,907 ($9,111) for a 2011 Toyota Prius over the same mileage, at current average U.K. gas prices.

With all of that in mind, Gordon-Bloomfield says she has no plans to replace the Leaf--meaning her electric car is already on its way to another 70,000 miles.

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