The Nissan Leaf (Japanese: 日産・リーフ, Nissan Rīfu), stylised by manufacturer Nissan as LEAF, is a compact five-door hatchbackbattery electric vehicle (BEV), introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, and now in its second generation, introduced in Japan in October 2017.
During its product life cycle, the Leaf's range on a full charge gradually has been increased from 117 km (73 miles) to 243 km (151 miles) (EPA rated), thanks to several minor improvements but mainly to the use of a larger battery pack.
Global sales totaled over 470,000 Leafs by May 2020. As of December 2019[update], Europe is its largest market (150,000), followed by the United States (141,907), and Japan (close to 140,000). The European market is led by Norway (~62,000).
The Leaf listed as the world's top selling plug-in electric car through December 2019. The Tesla Model 3 surpassed the Leaf in early 2020 to become the new all-time best selling electric car, with more than 500,000 delivered by March 2020.
MY 2011-15 and MY 2016 S trim 24 kWh lithium-ion battery MY 2016 (SL and SV trims) 30 kWh lithium-ion battery
MY 2011/12 117 km (73 miles) EPA 175 km (109 miles) NEDC MY 2013 121 km (75 miles) EPA 200 km (120 miles) NEDC MY 2014/15 135 km (84 miles) EPA MY 2016 with 24 kWh battery 135 km (84 miles) EPA with 30 kWh battery 172 km (107 miles) EPA
MY 2011/12 1,521 kg (3,354 lb) MY 2013 1,493 kg (3,291 lb) MY 2017 1,500-1,538 kg (3,307-3,391 lb)
Dashboard: power meter at the top which shows either battery usage or battery charging via regenerative braking, battery temperature at left, at the center is indicated a time of 4:30 to full charge, at the right is indicated a 101 km range, at the far right the battery health indicator at 12/12.
Nissan sought to make the Leaf appealing to mainstream drivers by giving it a familiar five-door hatchback design. The body has a sharp V-shape design with large, up slanting headlights that split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, and the bottom of the car has aerodynamic panelling. The battery, the heaviest part of most electric vehicles, is situated below the seats and rear foot space, keeping the center of gravity as low as possible and giving the car better structural rigidity than a conventional five-door hatchback.
There is no active cooling of the battery pack, only passive cooling by radiation.
There is a battery refurbishment program in Japan, but not in the US.
According to a 2015 report by Warranty Direct, of 35,000 Leafs sold in Europe, three had had a battery failure, compared to a failure rate 25 times higher for internal combustion engined cars.
Nissan reports the 2011 Leaf has a drag coefficient of Cd=0.29 and the 2013 model Cd=0.28. The Leaf is generally cheaper to operate than gasoline and hybrid cars. However, since the Leaf costs significantly more than similar gasoline-powered vehicles, it may take a long time for the fuel savings to cancel out the increased initial cost, even after government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles.
The body features bulging headlamp enclosures which direct wind away from the side mirrors, reducing drag and noise.
Some trims initially came equipped with the telematics system CarWings. From 2011 to 2015 this used the 2Gcellular network. 2G has been decommissioned in many areas, requiring an upgrade of the telematic control unit to use newer networks. Rebranded NissanConnectEV in 2016, it is provided free of charge to owners, if equipped, depending on year and trim. As of 2017 it offers GPS data for routing, and for locating charging stations. It may also provide two-way communication with the car which enables remote control of the climate system, and monitoring of charging status,
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rated it 21.2 kWh/100 km and had a range of 73 miles. It is 175 km (109 miles) on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). US-market S and SV trims had an SAE J1772 connector for (120/220 volts AC). Using mains electricity and the included cable, the car regains about five miles of range per hour. The SL trim had a CHAdeMO port with which it can be charged from fully discharged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes. Nissan warns that if fast charging is the primary way of recharging, then the normal and gradual battery capacity loss is about 10% more than regular 220-volt charging over a 10-year period. Other companies make compatible charging stations, and companies and local government have various initiatives to create electric vehicle networks of public charging stations.
The 2011/12 model Leaf has a top speed of over 150 km/h (93 mph). The motoring press has reported a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration time of 9.9 seconds. About a dozen Leaf Nismo RC (Racing Competition) vehicles were produced, with the same motor but otherwise optimized for racing.
The 2013 Leaf has extended range due to a more efficient heating system, better regenerative braking, weight reduction, and improved aerodynamics. The EPA rating is 121 km (75 miles), a slight increase from 117 km (73 miles) in 2011 and 2012 models also due to technicality in the rating system.
The 2013 model year Leaf has a dashboard display of the battery's charge percentage. A 6.6-kW onboard charger, available as an extra-cost option on the base model, reduces charging times using 240-volt power, so a charge from empty to full takes about four hours, instead of seven. The onboard charger is more compact and located under the hood, increasing cargo volume.
There are three trim levels. A new trim level, Leaf S, has a lower price and 16-inch steel wheels and fewer accessories.
In Europe Nissan offered a battery leasing option for all trims produced at Sunderland which lowered the price.
The official EPA range for the 2014 and 2015 model year Leaf, increased from 121 to 135 km (75 to 84 miles).
The 2014 Leaf is largely the same as the 2013 model year, except for standard rearView monitor and updated EV-IT functionality with voice destination entry and SMS readout.
In China, Dongfeng-Nissan's Leaf-based Venucia e30 went on sale in September.
Beginning in late 2016, all three trims (S, SV, and SL) came equipped with both charging receptacles. A larger 30 kWh battery in the US-market SL and SV trims boosted range to 172 km (107 miles).
The S trim initially kept the 24 kWh battery found in earlier Leafs, and received the upgrade midway through the 2016 model year.
With the new battery pack Nissan extended the warranty to 96 months or 160,000 km (100,000 miles). This means that if a car lost four of the 12 bars on its capacity gauge before that period is up, Nissan would replace or repair the battery free of charge.
Global sales in 2017 fell to about 47,000 units, in anticipation of the second generation. As of January 2018[update], the Leaf was available in more than 60 countries in four continents.
In February 2014, the Automotive Science Group (ASG) published the result of a study conducted to assess the life-cycle of over 1,300 automobiles across nine categories sold in North America. The study found that among advanced automotive technologies, the Nissan Leaf holds the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market with minimum four-person occupancy. The study concluded that the increased environmental impacts of manufacturing the battery electric technology is more than offset with increased environmental performance during operational life. For the assessment, the study used the average electricity mix of the U.S. grid in 2014.
In December 2014, Nissan announced that Leaf owners have accumulated together 1 billion kilometers (625 million miles) driven. This amount of electric miles translates into avoiding 180 million kilograms of CO 2 emissions by driving an electric car in comparison to travelling with a gasoline-powered car. In December 2016, Nissan reported that Leaf owners worldwide achieved the milestone of 3 billion kilometers (1.9 billion miles) driven collectively through November 2016, saving nearly 500 million kilograms of CO 2 emissions.
Models with an on-board 3.6 kW charger can be fully charged in eight hours from an appropriate 240-volt charger, while models with an on-board 6.6 kW charger can be fully recharged in 4 hours.
In July 2019 Green NCAP assessed 2019 40 kWh N-CONNECTA Nissan Leaf, noting that the eco driving mode made no noticeable difference in energy consumption, and noting that the car's average and maximum energy consumption were bested by Hyundai Ioniq.
Nissan LEAF (2019) 40 kWh N-CONNECTA 4x2 electric automatic
Clean Air Index: 10/10
Energy Efficiency Index: 8.5/10
Limited options for replacement battery packs
After the original battery packs degrade, owners may wish to refurbish, replace, or upgrade their battery packs instead of purchasing a new electric car. However, there are few options globally for this process. In August 2019, Automotive News reported that "more than a year after launching a battery refurbishment program for Leaf customers in Japan, Nissan remains noncommittal about offering the program in the brand's largest market — the U.S." Nissan previously offered a replacement battery back for the Leaf for $5,499 plus installation in the U.S., but then later raised the price to $8,500. As of January 2020, Leaf owners began reporting that Nissan had lowered the cost of the 24kWh batteries to $5,500, with a $1,000 trade-in credit for the return of the original battery, making the battery $4,500 plus the cost of labor and tax.
NHTSA rates the 2011 and 2012 model years as five out of five stars overall. It won the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's "Top Safety Pick" in 2011. It received top ratings of "Good" for front, side, and rear impact crash tests, and also on rollover protection. All injury measurements except one were rated good, indicating a low risk of significant injuries in crashes according to the scale of severity employed in the IIHS's testing. The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) awarded the Leaf the highest five-star car safety rating, earning the following ratings for each criterion:
In the case of an accident in which the airbags are deployed, the Leaf automatically disconnects the high-voltage system. In December 2010, Nissan also advised first responders to manually disconnect both the high voltage and 12 V systems before performing any first response actions.
The Nissan Leaf's battery pack is shielded from crash damage by structural steel reinforcement. In December 2011, Nissan reported that none of the around two dozen Leafs destroyed in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami caught fire, and that their batteries remained intact. As of December 2011[update], no fires after a crash have been reported in the U.S. associated with the Leaf or other plug-in electric cars available in the market.[needs update]
In 2011 electric vehicle warning sounds, to alert pedestrians of the Leaf's quiet movement relative to traditional motor vehicles, were introduced in anticipation of legislation mandating it in Europe, Japan, and America. This sound varies according to direction and acceleration, and is only active at low speeds. It can be disabled on some models. Actual legislation requiring this did not come into effect until 2019 in the EU; it will take effect in September 2020 in the US.
At the 2010 Washington Auto Show, the Leaf was given the Green Car Vision Award by the Green Car Journal, which said that the Leaf "will provide the features, the styling, and the driving experience that will meet the needs of a sophisticated and demanding market, while producing zero localized emissions and requiring no petroleum fuels." Popular Mechanics, upon awarding the Leaf its 2010 Breakthrough Award, explained that the Nissan Leaf is "not the first pure EV, but [...] hits the mainstream like none of its predecessors." Popular Mechanics also alluded to the Leaf's 160 km (100 miles) range, which is said to be "enough for most commuters for the price of an average vehicle – and with a much lower operating cost than gasoline-powered vehicles."
An Electric Production Class was formed for the 2011 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and Chad Hord raced a Leaf in the event. The off-road racing driver ascended the 19.99 km (12.42 miles) course in 14 minutes and 33 seconds to win the class. The interior of the car was removed and replaced with mandatory racing seats, safety harness, and a roll cage.
The production version was unveiled in August 2009. After receiving 20,000 pre-orders in the United States, Nissan stopped taking reservations in the United States until early 2011. Production in Japan started in October 2010, and delivery in the US and Japan began in December, with deliveries in other markets beginning in early 2012.
The Leaf was the world's best selling electric car from 2011 to 2014 and 2016. Sales fell in 2015 with overall sales led by the Tesla Model S. As of December 2019[update], the Leaf listed as the world's all-time best selling plug-in electric car. By early 2019, the Tesla Model 3 surpassed the Leaf to become the new best selling electric car in history, with more than 500,000 units delivered worldwide by March 2020.
As of May 2020[update], more than 470,000 Leaf cars have been sold globally. As of December 2019[update], Europe listed as the biggest market (150,000), followed by the United States (141,907), and Japan (close to 140,000). The European market is led by Norway with almost 62,000 units by May 2020.
Nissan Leaf sales by top national markets between 2010 and 2017
In October 2017, for the 2018 model year, Nissan launched the new generation Leaf in Japan, and deliveries in the U.S. and Europe began in February 2018. In 2018, global sales reached a record level of 87,149 units, third behind the Tesla Model 3 and the BAIC EC-Series.
Mechanically, the second generation Leaf is similar to the first, while adding longer range, and more power. Stylistically, it is a major departure from the previous model. The interior adds Apple CarPlay.
Propilot Assist, a lane centering system, is available on the two highest trim levels for an additional cost, and has automatic parking in some markets. The car offers one-pedal braking where easing off the accelerator pedal causes significant regenerative braking, to the point where the vehicle can be brought to a complete stop without the driver touching the brake pedal, at which point hydraulic brakes are automatically applied, to hold the vehicle in position.
From 2019, a Leaf e+ (Leaf Plus in North America) variant has been offered. It has a larger 62 kWh battery providing a range of 364 km (226 miles), and a new 150 kW motor with 33% more power. It can use CHAdeMO chargers up to 100 kW.
^Musk, Jonathan (19 December 2019). "Nissan drops Leaf pricing". Fleet World. Retrieved 19 May 2020. With almost 440,000 sold since 2010, the model remains the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, and also in the UK where it has received more than 32,000 orders. European sales currently stand at 150,000, the company said.
^Kane, Mark (11 January 2020). "The Top 10 Plug-In Electric Cars In U.S. - 2019 Edition". InsideEVs.com. Retrieved 19 May 2020. At the end of 2019, the all-time top selling plug-in cars in the U.S. were the Tesla Model 3 with 300,471 units, Tesla Model S with 157,992, Chevrolet Volt with 157,054 units, Nissan Leaf with 141,907 and the Toyota Prius PHV with 109,003 (by September 2019).
^Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) (January 2015). "Bilsalget i 2014" [Car sales in 2014] (in Norwegian). OFV. Retrieved 4 February 2015. Click on "Modellfordelt" to display the top 20 selling new cars in Norway: A total of 4,781 new Leafs were sold in 2014.
^Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) (January 2016). "Bilsalget i desember" [Car sales in December] (in Norwegian). OFV. Retrieved 7 February 2016. Leaf registrations in Norway totaled 3,189 new units in 2015 and 4,781 in 2014. On the heading "Registreringsstatistikken t.o.m. desember 2015" click "2015, des, Personbiler, Merkefordelt"
^Bil Sweden (2 January 2014). "Nyregistreringar december 2013 prel" [New registrations in December 2013 prel] (in Swedish). Bil Sweden. Retrieved 20 January 2014. Download file "Nyregistreringar december 2013 prel.pdf" see table "NYREGISTRERADE SUPERMILJÖBILAR DECEMBER 2013" with summary of PEV sales by model for 2013 and 2012.
^Bil Sweden (2 January 2015). "Nyregistreringar december 2014 (prel)" [New registrations in December 2014 (preliminar)] (in Swedish). Bil Sweden. Retrieved 4 January 2015. Download file "Nyregistreringar december 2014 (prel)" see table: "Nyregistrerade supermiljöbilar december 2014" with summary of plug-in passenger car registrations by model for 2013 (revised) and 2014.
^Bil Sweden (4 January 2016). "Nyregistreringar december 2015 def" [New Registrations December 2015 (final)] (in Swedish). Bil Sweden. Retrieved 22 January 2016. Download the pdf file "Nyregistreringar december 2015 def" See table: Nyregistrerade miljöpersonbilar december 2015
^Asociación Nacional de Importadores de Automóviles, Camiones, Autobuses y Motocicletas (ANIACAM) (12 December 2012). "Datos de Mercado: Diciembre 2012 – Matriculaciones de automóviles" [Market data: December 2012 – Automobiles registrations] (in Spanish). ANIACAM. Retrieved 19 January 2013.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)Download the file DossierAutomóviles_diciembre12.xls with current month and cumulative sales for 2012.
^Asociación Nacional de Importadores de Automóviles, Camiones, Autobuses y Motocicletas (ANIACAM) (January 2015). "Datos de Mercado: Diciembre 2014 – Matriculaciones" [Market data: December 2014 – Registrations] (in Spanish). ANIACAM. Retrieved 4 January 2015.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)Download the file "DossierAutomóviles_diciembre14.xls (929KB)*" with current month and cumulative sales for year 2014.
^Asociación Nacional de Importadores de Automóviles, Camiones, Autobuses y Motocicletas (ANIACAM) (January 2014). "Datos de Mercado: Diciembre 2013 – Matriculaciones de automóviles" [Market data: December 2013 – Automobiles registrations] (in Spanish). ANIACAM. Retrieved 20 January 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)Download the file "DossierAutomóviles_diciembre13.xls (929KB)" with current month and cumulative sales for 2013.
^Asociación Nacional de Importadores de Automóviles, Camiones, Autobuses y Motocicletas (ANIACAM) (January 2016). "Datos de Mercado: Diciembre 2015 – Matriculaciones" [Market data: December 2015 – Registrations] (in Spanish). ANIACAM. Retrieved 22 January 2015.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)Download the file "DossierAutomóviles_diciembre15.xls (929KB)*" with current month and cumulative sales for year 2015.
^Pontes, Jose (16 October 2015). "Australia September 2015". EV Sales. Retrieved 23 January 2016. Leaf sales totaled 109 units between January and September 2015.
^Vereinigung Schweizer Automobil-Importeure. "Autoverkäufe nach Modellen – Modellstatistik" [Passenger cars by model – Statistics by model] (in German). Auto Schweiz Suisse. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2016. Under "Modellstatistik Januar – Dezember 2015" download the xls file "ModellePW2015" for 2015 sales, and under "Modellstatistiken 2009–2014" click "2014 Statistik" to download the file "ModellePW2014" with sales by model for 2014. Click the tabs "2013 Statistik," "2012 Statistik" and "2011 Statistik" to download the files with 2013, 2012 and 2011 sales by model.