Nissan's Leafy EV

Richard Chen
by Richard Chen

A month ago, a diagram of the just-announced Nissan Leaf EV appeared on the web. Unlike the Tesla S, the Nissan EV appears to be a fairly conventional front motor/front drive (FF) vehicle, with the battery pack in front of the rear axle. A shovel nose appearance, thanks to the small electric engine, results in a aerodynamically advantageous tiny frontal area. A degree of crush space is maintained for the pedestrian-cum-hood-ornament that will inevitably occur with the Leaf’s quiet powertrain. The distinctive snout, combined with some distinctive curves at the beltline and rear, give the Leaf a, ahem, unique visual identity. If Nissan was trying to create the Prius of EVs, they’ve succeeded. Now, if they had only stamped plant-like veins in the sheet metal . . .


Recharging times of the 24 kWh lithium battery pack are 8 hours at 220V, and 30 minutes with an unspecified high-voltage power source. Two power plugs are located in the nose under the Nissan logo, reminiscent of GM’s EV1, with max range estimated at 100 miles. The Leaf’s pack is mostly underfloor with room for three in the back seat. By comparison, the $40K-ish and 40-mile EV range-ish Chevrolet Volt has a smaller 16 kWh battery pack that that intrudes into the rear passenger compartment. The cost of the battery pack is not included in the Leaf’s price, which is rumored to be south of $30K but before the federal $7500 EV tax rebate. Although Renault/Nissan is in cahoots with Better Place, no announcement has been made as to whether the Leaf’s battery pack will be leased or swapped through BP. From factories in Japan as well as eventual production in Smyrna, TN, arrival is slated for the end of (yes, you guessed it correctly) 2010.

Richard Chen
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  • Martin Schwoerer Martin Schwoerer on Aug 04, 2009

    gslippy and niky, you guys are right, the economics of electric propulsion don't look exceedingly good for the U.S. Even though people drive awfully much. From my vantage point of course, I can't disregard that gasoline currently costs around $7.20 per gallon here in Germany, that some utilities offer cut-rate prices for vehicular electricity, and that in addition everybody already has 220V or 230V in their household.

  • IceWendigo IceWendigo on Aug 05, 2009

    Great news I do Not like the leasing Unless; A) Other manufacturers can offer batteries(eventually). If 3 years after you buy the car a battery manufacturer comes up with a battery that is comparable in performance and reliability but costs 1600$ to buy completely instead of a leased 10,000$ battery and you can buy that instead that would be great. So battery manufactureers can compete and you get more choice, the same way you can choose the tires and arent bound to buy/lease "Nissan tires", you can pay more for a performance tire, less for an economic model or choose one that is best suited for your climate(ex:snow&ice tires). Some people may be inclined to pay more, others might say I dont mind having a 120km range instead of 160km if I save more money. I think this issue, propriatery-anti-competition-bondage vs choice is important for the public to start being aware of and start demanding. B) And provided you are NOT bound by long term contracts (otherwise point A is moot, you could buy any brand of tire for your car you want but have to lease the Nissan tires for 10 years first otherwise you have a 6000$ contract penalty)

  • AZFelix 2015 Sonata Limited72k when purchased, 176k miles currentlyI perform all maintenance and repairs except for alignment, tire mounting, tire patching, and glass work (tint and passenger left due to rock hit). Most parts purchased through rockauto.com.Maintenance and repairs during three years of ownership:Front rotors and all brake pads upgraded shortly after purchase.Preparing for 17th oil change (full synthetic plus filter c.$50), one PCV valve.Timing & accessory belts, belt tensioner.Coolant full flush and change.Fibrous plastic material engine under tray replaced by aftermarket solid plastic piece $110.One set of tires (c.$500 +installation) plus two replacements and a number of patches due to nails, etc. Second set coming soon.Hood struts $30.Front struts, rear shocks, plus sway bar links, front ball joints, tie rod ends, right CV axle (large rock on freeway damaged it and I took the opportunity to redo the rest of items on this list).Battery c.$260.Two sets of spark plugs @ $50/set.Three sets of cabin and engine filters.Valve cover gasket (next week).Averages out to c.$1400 per year for the past three years. Minor driver seat bolster wear, front rock chips, and assorted dents & dings but otherwise looks and drives very well.
  • 3-On-The-Tree 2014 Ford F150 Ecoboost 3.5L. By 80,000mi I had to have the rear main oil seal replaced twice. Driver side turbo leaking had to have all hoses replaced. Passenger side turbo had to be completely replaced. Engine timing chain front cover leak had to be replaced. Transmission front pump leak had to be removed and replaced. Ford renewed my faith in Extended warranty’s because luckily I had one and used it to the fullest. Sold that truck on caravan and got me a 2021 Tundra Crewmax 4x4. Not a fan of turbos and I will never own a Ford again much less cars with turbos to include newer Toyotas. And I’m a Toyota guy.
  • Duke Woolworth Weight 4800# as I recall.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X '19 Nissan Frontier @78000 miles has been oil changes ( eng/ diffs/ tranny/ transfer). Still on original brakes and second set of tires.
  • ChristianWimmer I have a 2018 Mercedes A250 with almost 80,000 km on the clock and a vintage ‘89 Mercedes 500SL R129 with almost 300,000 km.The A250 has had zero issues but the yearly servicing costs are typically expensive from this brand - as expected. Basic yearly service costs around 400 Euros whereas a more comprehensive servicing with new brake pads, spark plugs plus TÜV etc. is in the 1000+ Euro region.The 500SL servicing costs were expensive when it was serviced at a Benz dealer, but they won’t touch this classic anymore. I have it serviced by a mechanic from another Benz dealership who also owns an R129 300SL-24 and he’ll do basic maintenance on it for a mere 150 Euros. I only drive the 500SL about 2000 km a year so running costs are low although the fuel costs are insane here. The 500SL has had two previous owners with full service history. It’s been a reliable car according to the records. The roof folding mechanism needs so adjusting and oiling from time to time but that’s normal.
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