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Nissan Leaf

Carpedia  ·  June 3, 2021

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is much more than a zero-emissions car. It is one of the "greenest" cars you can get in today's market, and everyone who cares about the environment should appreciate the effort of Nissan engineers. This hatchback is made chiefly from recyclable materials. It uses recycled aluminium, copper and steel. It also uses recyclable lithium batteries, while some seat materials are made from recycled PET bottles. In fact, 99% of the materials are recyclable at the end of the car’s lifespan.

The Leaf isn't the first EV we've seen, but it is probably the first one that became mainstream. The reason lies in the fact that this was the first electric car that could compete with internal combustion cars in terms of functionality. We are talking about a 5-door hatchback that is spacious, practical and comfortable. 

Ten years after its launch, it is still a relevant player on the market.

The First Generation of Nissan Leaf (2010-2017)

Design and Production

This EV was originally introduced in 2010, while 2012 was the first model year of Nissan Leaf in Australia. It’s not the first all-electric car (not even from Nissan), but the importance of the first-generation Leaf is huge. Before this model, electric cars were characterised by some pretty odd styling solutions and weren't particularly functional. We presume that designers wanted to accentuate their all-electric nature, but the outcomes were usually terrible. 

Nissan engineers decided to change this practice, and they came up with a design that wasn't much different from traditional, internal-combustion cars. We saw a familiar layout, a 5-door hatchback that was decently sized, spacious and practical. Moreover, even the styling was good - pretty similar to other Nissan models of the time.

With 2,700 millimetres in wheelbase, the original Leaf was a typical compact hatchback. Nissan engineers designed a completely new architecture, called Nissan EV Platform, which is used for the second-generation model as well. This was one of the first EV models to feature a battery placed under the floor, with no sacrifices regarding interior space. 

The suspension setup was also pretty decent, with the torsion beam at the rear end. Still, a few things were done to save production costs, mainly in terms of interior materials. The cabin design is probably the weakest point of the first generation.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase: 2,700 mm 

Length: 4,445 mm 

Width: 1,770 mm 

Height: 1,550 mm 

Curb weight: 1,521 kg 

Interior Dimensions

Passenger Volume: 2,617 L

Seating Capacity: 5

Front Legroom: 1,069 mm

Rear Legroom: 846 mm

Cargo Space: 410.6L/679.6L

Engine, Performances and Range of the Nissan Leaf

The first generation was in production for nearly eight years, and the basic drivetrain setup remained pretty much the same all the time. There is a single electric motor mounted on the front axle, with a max output of 80kW. It comes paired with a single-speed transmission, as well as with a 24-kWh battery pack. 

The initial version was able to make around 117 kilometres on a single charge. In the following years, we saw improvements, even though the battery capacity remained the same. In 2013, the Nissan Leaf range was increased to 121 kilometres, while the final model years were good for about 135 km.

Nissan Leaf Engine Specification

Engine Type: Synchronous Electric Motor

Max Power: 80 kW

Transmission: Single-speed

Battery Capacity: 24 kWh

Max Range: 117 km (2012MY), 121 km (2013MY), 135 km (2016MY)

Acceleration (0-100km/h): 10.0s

Top Speed: 150 km/h

The Second Generation of Nissan Leaf

Design and Changes

The second generation debuted in 2017 in Japan, while the Australian version arrived in 2018 for the 2019 model year. Compared to the first generation, we saw many changes and improvements, even though a lot of mechanics remained the same. The new model uses the same platform and even features the same wheelbase (2,700 mm). However, the overall size is slightly bigger, while the suspension setup has been slightly modified.

The real changes were about aesthetics, and we can say the second generation looks way better than the original. Practically, it follows Nissan’s latest design language, based on the well-known V-Motion grille. The attractive exterior design is followed by a pretty nice cabin design, which features notably finer materials than its predecessor. 

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase: 2,700 mm 

Length: 4,490 mm 

Width: 1,788 mm 

Height: 1,530 mm 

Curb weight: 1,580–1,640 kg 

Interior Dimensions

Passenger Volume: 2,617 L

Seating Capacity: 5

Front Legroom: 1,069 mm

Rear Legroom: 851 mm

Cargo Space: 668L/850L

Engine, Performances and Range

The second generation came with considerable improvements in terms of performance. There is a new electric motor, which now features a max output of 110kW. That’s enough to move this hatchback from zero to 100km/h in less than 8 seconds. Also, there is a new, much bigger battery package with a capacity of 40 kWh. As a result, the max range has been increased to 270 kilometres, according to WLTP.

Nissan Leaf Engine Specification

Engine Type: Synchronous Electric Motor

Max Power: 110 kW

Transmission: Single-speed

Battery Capacity: 40 kWh

Max Range: 270 km

Acceleration (0-100km/h): 7.9s

Top Speed: 144 km/h

Nissan Leaf E+

In 2020, a new version called Nissan Leaf E+ arrived. This model came as a response to the growing EV market, and as you may presume, engineers focus on improving performances and range. As a result, this version came with a more powerful, 160-kW electric motor and a bigger, 62-kWh battery pack. According to EPA, the difference in performance is more than notable, considering that the range has been improved to 364 km.

Nissan Leaf E+ Specification

Engine Type: Synchronous Electric Motor

Max Power: 160 kW

Transmission: Single-speed

Battery Capacity: 62 kWh

Max Range: 364 km

Acceleration (0-100km/h): 7.1s

Top Speed: 160 km/h

Nissan Leaf Model Range

In most parts of the world, Nissan Leaf comes with various trim levels on the offer (Acenta, N-Connecta, Tekna etc.). On the other hand, things are much simpler in Australia. You can choose between two versions - base Leaf and Leaf E+. 

The base model comes with a 40-kWh battery and a 110 kW electric motor, and the Nissan Leaf price in Australia starts at around $50,000. The E+ combines a bigger 62-kWh battery with a 160-kW electric motor, and it is available at about $60,500.

How long does the Nissan Leaf battery last?

The original Nissan Leaf was introduced a decade ago. At the time, batteries were nowhere near as good as they are today. Not only that; the original capacity and range look very modest by today’s standards, but the battery tends to lose a lot of its capacity after just a couple of years, according to numerous Nissan Leaf reviews

On the other side, the second generation is far better in this aspect. It has a much bigger capacity and features new technology that should improve longevity. As the current generation has been around for just a couple of years, we could say that the new battery still needs time to prove its quality. A good thing to know is that you may count on a factory warranty of 8 years or 160.000 kilometres. 

Why is the Nissan Leaf so Cheap?

If you look at the price of used Nissan Leaf (first generation), you may notice it is very affordable, even when compared to similar cars with internal combustion engines. The main reason is the battery. As we've just mentioned, it isn't particularly great and loses capacity pretty quickly. In other words, you will probably have to replace it once you buy a used Nissan Leaf

That would cost you a lot of money, probably over $10,000. Still, a good thing to know is that the first-generation Leaf doesn't have any bigger issues other than the battery. This car is reliable and cheap to run, so installing a new battery might actually be a smart move. 

Need replacement parts for Nissan Leaf?  

If you own Nissan Leaf and need replacement parts, we can help you find the best deals. Simply fill out this online form, and we’ll initiate the searching for you. You will then receive quotes from suppliers across Australia. Our service is free, and you get to choose from competitive offers. Get a quote now!

By Nebojsa Grmusa

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