Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf 001.JPG
Manufacturer Nissan
Production 2010–present
Assembly Japan: Oppama, Tochigi, Yokohama
United Kingdom: Sunderland (2013)
United States: Smyrna, Tennessee (late 2012)
Body style 5-door hatchback
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Electric motor 80 kW (110 hp), 280 N·m (210 ft·lb) synchronous motor
Transmission Single speed direct drive[1]
Battery 24 kW·h lithium ion battery
Range 117 km (73 mi) (EPA)
175 km (109 mi) (NEDC)
76 to 169 km (47 to 105 mi) (Nissan)
Wheelbase 2,700 mm (106.3 in)[1]
Length 4,445 mm (175.0 in)[1]
Width 1,770 mm (69.7 in)[1]
Height 1,550 mm (61.0 in)[1]
Curb weight 1,521 kg (3,354 lb)[2]

The Nissan Leaf (also formatted "LEAF" as a backronym for Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car[3]) is a five-door hatchback electric car manufactured by Nissan and introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010.[4][5][6] The US Environmental Protection Agency official range is 117 kilometres (73 mi), with an energy consumption of 765 kilojoules per kilometre (34 kW·h/100 mi) and rated the Leaf's combined fuel economy at 99 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (2.4 L/100 km).[7][8] The Leaf has a range of 175 km (109 mi) on the New European Driving Cycle.[9]

Deliveries to individual customers began in the United States and Japan in December 2010, in Ireland in February 2011 and the UK in March 2011. As of September 2011 the Leaf deliveries had also taken place in Portugal, the Netherlands, France and Canada. Worldwide cumulative sales reached 16,600 units by October 2011.[10] Sales in Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, and Norway are to follow in the second half of 2011, Denmark in early 2012, and global market availability is expected for 2012.[11] According to Nissan initial availability is limited in quantities and to select markets and only for customers who made online reservations. The availability will be increased by the second quarter of 2011, with US production planned for 2012, and UK production planned for 2013.[12][13][14]

The retail price of the 2011 Leaf in Japan starts at ¥3.76 million and US$32,780 in the United States. The price in the United Kingdom is GB£30,990 and around €35,000 in the other European countries where it was launched first. These prices include the price of the battery package. Most countries have applicable tax incentives or subsidies for eligible buyers that reduce the effective cost of purchase below the retail prices listed by Nissan.[15][16][17][18]

As an all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf produces no tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas emissions at the point of operation, and reduces dependence on petroleum.[19][20] Among other awards and recognition, the Nissan Leaf won the 2010 Green Car Vision Award award,[21] the 2011 European Car of the Year award,[22] the 2011 World Car of the Year,[23] and as of October 2011 ranks as the most efficient EPA certified vehicle in the U.S. for all fuels ever.[24]


History of development

The Nissan Cube-derived EV-01 test car was Nissan's first prototype with the all-electric drive train later used in the Leaf.
The EV-12 test car was based on the Nissan Tiida/Versa.

Nissan introduced its first battery electric vehicle, the Nissan Altra at the Los Angeles International Auto Show on 29 December 1997.[25] The Altra EV was produced between 1998 and 2002, only about 200 vehicles were ever produced, and it was mainly used as a fleet vehicle for companies such as electric utilities.[26][27] Nissan also developed the Nissan Hypermini, run a demonstration program and sold limited numbers for government and corporate fleets in Japan between 1999 and 2001.[28] A small fleet of Hyperminis was also field tested in several cities in California between 2001 and 2005.[29]

Unveiled in 2009, the EV-11 prototype electric car was based on the Nissan Tiida (Versa in North America), but with the conventional gasoline engine replaced with an all-electric drivetrain, and included an 80 kW (110 hp)/280 N·m (210 lb·ft) electric motor, 24 kW·h lithium-ion battery pack rated to have a range of 175 kilometres (109 mi) on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's LA-4 or "city" driving cycle, navigation system, and remote control and monitoring via a cellphone connection through Nissan's secure data center to the car.[30] The technology in the EV-11 was previously developed and tested in the EV-01 and EV-02 test cars, built with an all-electric powertrain that used the Nissan Cube (Z11) as a development mule.[31][32] The EV-11 prototype was on display July 26, 2009.[30] A week later, on August 2, 2009, Nissan unveiled its production version at its Yokohama headquarters and committed to begin retail sales in both the North American market and Japan at end of 2010.[33][34]



The Leaf's frontal style is characterized by a sharp V-shape design with large, up slanting light-emitting diode (LED) headlights that create a distinctive blue internal reflective design. The headlights also split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, which reduces wind noise and drag. The headlights consume 50% less electricity than halogen lamps.[35] Nissan sought to make the Leaf appealing to mainstream drivers by giving it a familiar sedan- and hatchback-like design.[36] The bottom of the car has aerodynamic paneling to reduce drag and improve aerodynamics as much as possible.[37]

Leaf interior
Leaf electronic control unit


Nissan says that the car has a top speed of over 150 km/h (93 mph). Its motor is rated at 80 kilowatts (110 hp) and 280 newton metres (210 lb·ft).[38] Unofficially, 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) performance has been tested at 9.9 seconds.[2]

The Leaf uses a front-mounted electric motor driving the wheels, powered by a 86 megajoules (24 kW·h) lithium ion battery pack rated to deliver up to 90 kilowatts (120 hp) power.[39] The pack contains air-cooled, stacked laminar battery cells with lithium manganate cathodes.[40][41] The battery and control module together weigh 300 kilograms (660 lb) and the specific energy of the cells is 140 W·h/kg.[38] Each battery pack costs Nissan an estimated US$18,000 (as of May 2010).[42][43] Under its five-cycle testing, the United States Environmental Protection Agency found the Leaf's energy consumption to be 765 kJ/km (34 kWh/100 miles) and rated the Leaf combined fuel economy equivalent at 99 MPGe (2.4 L/100 km), with an equivalent 106 mpg-US (2.22 L/100 km; 127 mpg-imp) in city driving and 92 mpg-US (2.6 L/100 km; 110 mpg-imp) on highways.[44][7][8]


The 24 kWh battery pack consists of 48 modules and each module contains four cells, a total of 192 cells, and is assembled by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) – a joint venture between Nissan, NEC and NEC Energy Devices, at Zama, Japan.[45][46][47]

The Leaf's design locates the battery, the heaviest part of any EV, below the seats and rear foot space, keeping the center of gravity as low as possible and increasing structural rigidity compared to a conventional five-door hatchback.[2][47][48]

The battery pack is expected to retain 70% to 80% of its capacity after 10 years but its actual lifespan depends on how often fast charging (440-volt) is used and also on environmental factors.[41] Nissan said the battery has a "lifespan of 5–10 years under normal use".[49] The Leaf's battery is guaranteed by Nissan for eight years or 100,000 miles (160,000 km)[50][51] (see Warranty sub-section below under United States for limitations).

In addition to the main battery, the Leaf also has an auxiliary 12-volt lead-acid battery that provides power to the car computer systems and accessories such as the audio system, supplemental restraint systems, headlights and windshield wipers.[52] The small solar panel on the Leaf rear spoiler (in the United States, only comes with SL trim[53]) helps to charge this accessory battery.[54]

Nissan recommends owners the following preventive actions to help maximize the lithium-ion battery’s useful life and its ability to hold a charge:[52]

  • Avoid exposing a vehicle to ambient temperatures above 120 °F (49 °C) for over 24 hours.
  • Avoid storing a vehicle in temperatures below −13 °F (−25 °C) for over 7 days.
  • Avoid exceeding 70 to 80% state of charge when using frequent (more than once per week) fast or quick charging.
  • Allow the battery charge to be below at least 80% before charging.
  • Avoid leaving the vehicle for over 14 days where the Li-ion battery available charge gauge reaches a zero or near zero (state of charge).


According to Nissan, the Leaf's expected all-electric range is 160 kilometres (100 mi) on the EPA city driving cycle and remains the same as the EV-11 prototype.[55] However, the United States Environmental Protection Agency official range is 117 kilometres (73 mi) based on the five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls.[7][8] The Federal Trade Commission, which is supposed to label all alternative-fuel vehicles, disagrees with the EPA rating, and considers that the correct range is between 96 to 110 miles (154 to 180 km). Although the FTC does not conduct its own tests as EPA does, it relies on a standard set by SAE International and the results reported by automakers.[56] The Leaf has a range of 175 km (109 mi) on the New European Driving Cycle.[9]

Based on third-party test drives carried out in the US, reviewers have found that the range available from a single charge can vary up to 40% in real-world situations; reports vary from about 100 kilometres (62 mi) to almost 222 kilometres (138 mi) depending on driving style, load, traffic conditions, weather (i.e. wind, atmospheric density), and accessory use.[57][58] Nissan tested the Leaf under several scenarios to estimate real-world range figures, and obtained a worst case scenario of 76 kilometres (47 mi) and a best case scenario of 222 kilometres (138 mi). The following table summarizes the results under each scenario tested using EPA's L4 test cycle and presents EPA rating as a reference:[59][60]

Summary of the Nissan's results using EPA L4 test cycle
operating the Leaf under different real-world scenarios[59][60]
Speed Temperature Total Drive
Range Air
mph km/h °F °C mi km
Cruising (ideal condition) 38 61 68 20 3 hr 38 min 138 222 Off
City traffic 24 39 77 25 4 hr 23 min 105 169 Off
Highway 55 89 95 35 1 hr 16 min 70 110 In use
Winter, stop-and-go traffic 15 24 14 −10 4 hr 08 min 62 100 Heater on
Heavy stop-and-go traffic 6 10 86 30 7 hr 50 min 47 76 In use
EPA five-cycle tests[7] n.a. 73 117 Varying

Consumer Reports tested a Leaf loaner under cold-weather driven as a daily commuter. The average range obtained was 105 kilometres (65 mi) per charge with temperatures varying from 20 to 30 °F (-7 to -1 °C). The magazine also reported one trip under a temperature of 10 °F (−12 °C) that began with the range panel indicator showing 32 kilometres (20 mi) remaining. After 13 kilometres (8 mi) the Leaf drastically lost power and dropped its speed and continued to run slower until the last stretch was completed almost at walking speed. Consumer Reports concluded that the Leaf works as designed under cold temperatures but a more accurate range indicator is desirable.[61]

In June 2011 Nissan reported, based on data collected through the Leaf's advanced telematics system, that most Leaf owners in Japan and the United States drive distances less than 60 miles (100 km) per day.[62] Nissan also found that on average owners charge their electric cars for two hours a night, and occasionally some owners drive two days on one charge.[63] In October 2011 Nissan North America reported that based on a bigger sample of 7,500 Leafs on the U.S. roads, the typical driver averages 37 mi (60 km) a day and the average trip length is 7 mi (11 km), measured as the distance between power on and power off.[64]


The Leaf has two charging receptacles: a standard SAE J1772-2009 connector for level 1 and 2 charging (120/220 volts AC)[65] and a JARI high-voltage DC connector designed by TEPCO for DC fast charging (480 volts DC 125 amps)[66] using the CHAdeMO protocol.[67]

The Leaf's charging port with two inlets is located at the front of the car.

Using the on-board 3.3 kW charger[68] the Leaf can be fully recharged from empty in 8 hours from a 220/240-volt 30 amp supply (5.2 kW allowable draw[69]) that can provide the on-board charger its full 3.3 kW of usable power.[70][71]

In North America and Japan using a standard household outlet (120-volt, 15 amp breaker, 12 amp maximum allowable draw,[69] 1.4 kW) and the 7.5-meter (25 ft)[72] cable included by Nissan, the Leaf will regain approximately 5 miles of range per hour. This type of charging is intended for convenience use when making stops or for emergency charging if you are within a short range of the charging destination.[70]

United States electrical regulations require a 240-volt charging station to be permanently wired to an AC outlet unless proper interlock mechanisms are available to ensure the charging current can be safely turned on and off.[69] Nissan selected AeroVironment to supply its charging dock and installation services in North America[73] (see the United States section below for more details).

Using DC fast charging, the battery pack can be charged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes.[74] Nissan developed its own 500-volt DC fast charger that went on sale in Japan for ¥1,470,000 (around US$16,800) in May 2010 and plans to install 200 at dealers in Japan.[75][76] 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.[41] Other companies make compatible charging stations, and companies and local government have various initiatives to create networks of public charging stations[70][77] (see electric vehicle network).

Nissan plans to double the power of the on-board charger to 6.6 kW by sometime in 2012 (2012 or 2013 model year). They are also studying the possibility of offering upgrades for the 2011 year model.[78]


Nissan Leaf SL spoiler-mounted solar panel

The Nissan Leaf employs an advanced telematics system called "Carwings" which originally was only available in Japan.[79][80] The system sends and receives data via a built-in GPRS radio similar to the connectivity of mobile phones. Carwings is connected any time the car is in range of a cell tower and it makes possible several user functionalities, such as position and possible range on a map and which charging stations are available within range. The system also tracks and compiles statistics about distance traveled and energy consumption and produces daily, monthly and annual reports of these and several other operational parameters. All information is available in the Leaf's digital screens.[79][81] Users' mobile phones can be used to turn on the air-conditioner and heater, and reset charging functions even when the vehicle is powered down. This remote functionality can be used to pre-heat or pre-cool the car prior to use while it is still charging so that less energy from the battery is used for climate control. An on-board remote-controlled timer can also be pre-programmed to recharge batteries at a set time such as during off-peak rates.[82] The Leaf's SL trim has a small solar panel at the rear of the roof/spoiler that can trickle charge the auxiliary battery.[83]

Leaf's main dashboard digital display showing driving range (on right) and other performance parameters

Due to significant noise reduction typical of electric vehicles that travel at low speeds, the Leaf includes digital warning sounds, one for forward motion and another for reverse, to alert pedestrians, the blind, and others of its presence.[84][85] For this purpose Nissan created the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) system, which also will be used in the upcoming Nissan Fuga hybrid, due in 2011. The system developed makes a noise easy to hear for those outside in order to be aware of the vehicle approaching, but the warning sounds do not distract the car occupants inside. Nissan explained that during the development of the sound, they studied behavioral research of the visually impaired and worked with cognitive and acoustic psychologists.[85][86][87] The sine-wave sound system sweeps from 2.5 kHz at the high end to a low of 600 Hz, an easily audible range across age groups. Depending on the speed and if the Leaf is accelerating or decelerating, the sound system makes sweeping, high-low sounds. The sound system ceases operation when the Nissan Leaf reaches 30 kilometres per hour (19 mph) and engages again as car slows to under 25 kilometres per hour (16 mph). The driver can turn off sounds temporarily through a switch inside the vehicle, but the system automatically resets to "On" at the next ignition cycle. The system is controlled through a computer and synthesizer in the dash panel, and the sound is delivered through a speaker in the front driver’s side wheel well.[85][86][88] After the new sounds were publicized, the US National Federation of the Blind commented that "while it was pleased that the alert existed, it was unhappy that the driver was able to turn it off."[85]


The Nissan Leaf qualified as winner of "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Leaf received the 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.[89][90] The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) awarded the Leaf the highest five star car safety rating, earning the following ratings for each criteria:

Euro NCAP test results
Nissan Leaf (2011)[91]
Test Points %
Overall: 5 / 5 stars
Adult occupant: 32 89%
Child occupant: 40 83%
Pedestrian: 23 65%
Safety assist: 6 84%


2011 Leaf's frontal view
2011 Leaf's rear view

The first vehicles sold in the US were produced at Nissan’s plant in Oppama, Japan, which started production on October 22, 2010.[46][92] The plant is said to have an annual production capacity of 50,000 vehicles.[46] In early March 2011, shortly before the earthquake in Japan Nissan stated that 10,000 Leafs would be produced by the end of March, and production would reach 4,000 cars per month.[78] Production for May 2011 was expected to be limited only by parts availability.[93]

Commercial US production is slated to begin in late 2012 at Nissan's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee. This US plant will be modified with a US$1.4 billion loan granted by the US Department of Energy to allow the manufacturing plant to produce the Nissan Leaf and its advanced batteries. The retooled plant is expected to create 1,300 jobs.[94][95] The Smyrna plant is expected to produce up to 150,000 vehicles and 200,000 battery packs annually.[95]

The Leaf will also be produced at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, England, beginning in 2013.[96] Nissan will benefit from a GB£20.7 million grant from the British government and up to GB£220 million from the European Investment Bank.[96][97] The plant will produce 60,000 lithium-ion batteries a year, and it also is expected to deliver 50,000 Leaf EVs a year.[96] Once production starts at the Sunderland plant, Nissan expects to reduce the Leaf price in the European market by 2013.[98]


Nissan officially introduced the Leaf in a ceremony held at its global headquarters in Yokohama on December 3, 2010.[5] The first US customer delivery took place in Northern California on December 11, 2010[4] and the first delivery in Japan took place at the Kanagawa Prefecture on December 22.[99] Deliveries to individual customers began in Ireland in February 2011, in the UK in March 2011, and in France in August 2011.[100][101][102] Deliveries to corporate customers began in Portugal in December 2010,[103] in the Netherlands in March 2011,[104] and in Canada in July 2011.[105] Sales to individuals are scheduled to begin in Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, and Norway in the second half of 2011, with global market availability planned for 2012.[15][11] As of July 2011, more than 6,000 Leafs had been delivered in Japan,[106] more than 700 units in the UK as of August 2011,[107] and 8,066 units sold in the US through October 2011.[108][109] Worldwide cumulative sales since December 2010 reached 16,600 units by October 2011.[10]

The Leaf does not have the Renault-Nissan's QuickDrop battery swap feature, but the alliance's partnership with Better Place influenced Nissan's distribution plan for the US which was based upon availability of electric vehicle networks.[110][111]


Fleet deliveries in Canada began on July 29, 2011.[105] The 2011 Leaf price was set at CAD 38,395, and the initial roll-out is limited to selected markets and in very limited quantities.[112] Deliveries to individuals began in late September 2011,[113][114] and a total of 27 Leafs were sold during October 2011, the first full month the electric car was in the market.[115] Nissan expects to deliver about 100 model year 2011 Leafs before the arrival of the 2012 models.[105] The order process for individual began on August 27, 2011, and the only 40 model year 2011 Leafs were allocated in two hours. For the 2012 model Nissan expects to release only around 600 Leafs in Canada.[116][117]

The 2011 Canadian Leaf comes with additional equipment useful for colder weather, such as heated front and rear seats, steering wheel, and outside mirrors. Other modifications include a battery heater system and a HVAC duct to the rear seating area.[112]

Ontario residents will be eligible for a rebate of CAD 8,500. The rebate is available for purchasing or leasing a plug-in electric vehicles to the first 10,000 applicants who qualify.[118][119] Residents of the Province of Quebec are eligible for a CAD 8,000 refundable tax credit that will be replaced with a purchase or lease rebate program on January 1, 2012.[120] Communauto, the oldest carsharing service in North America, will add 50 Nissan Leaf to its fleet in Quebec when the vehicle becomes available to the Canadian market.[121]


In September 2011 Nissan announced it has received government's approval to begin selling the Leaf in China by October 2011. The Leaf is expected to be sold at around RMB 200,000 (US$$31,270).[122][123][124] Initially Nissan plans to release the Leaf in limited quantities to government customers.[125]


The Leaf was launched in Europe in early 2011.[15] European prices, which include the cost of the battery, are almost €10,000 more than the US price.[126] Most countries, except the Netherlands, have government incentives at the point of sale. Nissan also said that "the Leaf would allow owners to save €600 a year in fuel costs compared with an equivalent internal combustion model."[126] Nissan explained that its decision to launch in the selected four countries first is due to the existing government incentives for electric cars and the ongoing efforts to deploy charging infrastructure. The Leaf will be available in the other major Western European countries by late 2011.[18] According to Nissan, 12,000 European customers signed up to receive regular updates, and the company began taking orders in Portugal and Ireland on July 30, 2010. The process started in the UK in September 2010.[15]

Nissan Leaf sales price by market
(without any government tax credits or grants)
Country Sales
 Japan[17] ¥3.76 million US$46,990 Dec 2010
 United States US$32,780 (MY 2011)[17] Dec 2010
US$36,020 (MY 2012)[127] Sep 2011
 Portugal[15] €35,250 US$50,425 Jan 2011
 Ireland[15] €34,995 US$50,060 Feb 2011
 United Kingdom[15] GB£30,990 US$50,170 Mar 2011
 Netherlands[128] €34,990 US$50,050 Mar 2011
 Canada[105][112] CAD 38,395 US$40,375 Jul 2011
 France[100] €35,990 US$51,485 Aug 2011
 China[123] 200,000 yuan US$31,270 Oct 2011
 Norway[129] 255,000 kr US$47,110 Oct 2011
 Switzerland[130] SFr 49,950 US$58,860 Nov 2011
 Spain[131] €35,950 US$51,430 3Q 2011
 Belgium[132] €36,990 US$52,915 3Q 2011
 Germany[133] €35,000 US$50,050 Feb 2012
 Sweden[134] SEK 369,900 US$55,305 Early 2012
 Denmark[135] 290,690 kr US$56,535 Early 2012
Note 1: Exchange rates as of June 21, 2011.

Leaf deliveries in the Belgian market are scheduled for the third quarter of 2011 at a price of €36,990 including VAT and before a federal income tax credit of up to €9,190 is applied. The Wallonia regional government provides an additional €4,500 eco-bonus for cars registered before December 31, 2011. The reservation process will start in late June 2011 and Nissan is charging a fully refundable €300 reservation fee.[132]


The Leaf is scheduled for deliveries in Denmark by early 2012, at a price of 290,690 Danish kroner (kr) including VAT. Even though the government does not have any purchase rebates, as an all-electric vehicle weighing under 2,000 kg, the Leaf is exempted from the new car registration tax, which can amount to more than 130,000 kr on a vehicle the size of a Leaf, and is also exempt from public parking fees and toll payments.[135][136]


Leaf deliveries in the French market began in August 2011 at a price of €35,990 before a €5,000 government subsidy is applied.[100]


Due to the lack of government purchase subsidies, Germany is one of the last European countries where the Leaf will be deployed. The only incentive available is an exemption from the annual circulation tax for a period of five years from the date of first registration. The launch is planned for February 2012.[133]


The Leaf was launched in Ireland in February 2011 at a price of €29,995 after a €5,000 government incentive is applied.[15][126] Buyers are exempted from the vehicle registration tax.[18] The first Leaf was delivered on February 21, 2011.[101]


According to Nissan, the Leaf roll-out in the Netherlands was rescheduled from December 2010 to June 2011 due to the high demand.[15] The price is €34,990.[128] Existing incentives include total exemption of the registration fee and road taxes, which result in savings of approximately €5,324 for private car owners over four years[128] and €19,000 for corporate owners over five years.[18] Leaf buyers will also have access to parking spaces in Amsterdam reserved for battery electric vehicles, so Leaf buyers will avoid the current wait for a parking place in Amsterdam, which can reach up to 10 years in some parts of the city.[126]

Nissan Leaf recharging at an on-street public station in Amsterdam

Deliveries to fleet customers began in March 2011, and the first Leafs were delivered to LeasePlan, the City of Amsterdam and BAM Building Contractors. These first units are part of a pilot program that Nissan had agreed on with the City of Amsterdam.[104]


Leaf sales in the Norwegian market began in October 2011 at a price of 255,000 krone. There are no direct government subsidies to the purchase price, but the Leaf, as all other electric cars, is exempt from all non-recurring vehicle fees, including sales tax (VAT), the annual road tax, all public parking fees, and toll payments, as well as being able to use bus lanes.[129] During the first three days since it went on sale, a total of 600 Leafs were sold and deliveries are scheduled to begin in November 2011.[137]


Leaf retail deliveries in Portugal began in January 2011 at a price of €30,250 after a €5,000 government subsidy.[15] Some consumers might benefit from an additional €1,500 incentive if they turn in their used car as part of the down payment for the new electric car.[126][138] As of May 2010 there are only about a dozen recharging stations in the country, but the government expects to deploy 320 before the end of 2010 and 1,300 by the end of 2011.[138] On December 22, 2010 in Lisbon Nissan delivered the first nine Leafs to its commercial customer the MOBI.E consortium, and another unit to the Portuguese government as a loan for trial purposes. Deliveries for individual customers will begin in early 2011.[103][139]

Nissan Leaf in Barcelona's first public quick charging station

The Leaf is scheduled to be launched in Spain in September 2011 at a price of €35,950 before a €6,000 government subsidy is applied. The reservation process began in May 2011 and Nissan is charging a fully refundable €300 reservation fee.[131][140][141]


Leaf deliveries in the Swedish market are scheduled to begin in early 2012 at a price of SEK 369,900 including VAT and before a SEK 40,000 government subsidy is applied. All Leafs will be equipped with the cold-weather package.[134]


The Leaf is scheduled to be launched in November 2011 at a price of SFr 49,950. [130] The Swiss government does not have any subsidies or incentives for purchasing plug-in electric vehicles.[142]

United Kingdom

The Leaf went on sale in the United Kingdom at a price of GB£23,990 which includes the new 20% VAT and after discounting the Plug-in Car Grant of GB£5,000 that came into effect in January 2011.[15][143] Despite the government incentive, at that price the Leaf is still around GB£4,000 more expensive than the price of a basic Toyota Prius.[143]

On February 24, 2011, it was reported that on March 1, 2011 the price of Leaf would increase by GB£2,000 (about US$3,238). Orders and pre-orders placed before that date would receive the old price.[144] Nissan delayed the beginning of deliveries in order to remove the Leaf's electric warning sound for pedestrians, as UK law mandates that any hazard warning sound must be capable of being disabled between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am, and the Leaf's audible warning system does not allow for such temporary deactivation.[145] Deliveries to individual customers began on March 21, 2011.[102][146]

As of August 2011 there were only 26 Nissan dealers selling and equipped to service the Leaf, and more than 700 Leafs have been sold in the UK. Nissan expects that by 2013, when the Sunderland plant starts production, all dealers in the country will be equipped to sell the electric car.[107]


The price of the Leaf in Japan starts at ¥3.76 million (approximately US$44,600) before any current tax breaks.[16][17] The Leaf is eligible for a ¥770,000 government tax credit if current incentives continue through fiscal year 2010, which reduce the net price to ¥2.99 million (US$35,500). The Leaf is also exempted from the car-weight and car-acquisition taxes.[16]

Kumamoto City incorporated Nissan Leafs to its taxi fleet in February 2011

Nissan offers customers various purchasing methods, including a financing program that allows consumers to pay ¥2.4 million (US$28,500) and then a monthly fee of ¥10,000 (US$119), which includes electricity costs.[16] Other services that are available include assistance from Nissan dealers to customers in the installation of charging facilities in their homes. Nissan committed to install 200-volt regular chargers at 2,200 Nissan dealers nationwide before December 2010; about 200 dealers would also have quick-charging facilities that provide 80% of battery capacity in less than 30 minutes. Nissan guarantees the availability of at least one quick-charge unit within a 40-kilometer radius throughout the country.[16][75] The 220 V quick charger went on sale on May 2010 for ¥1,470,000 (around US$17,800) excluding taxes and installation. The quick chargers were developed by Nissan but they also work with electric cars from other automakers. Nissan offers variants built for hot and cold climate for ¥1,732,500 (US$20,964) and ¥1,543,500 (US$18,677) respectively.[75]

The Leaf pre-order process began on April 1, 2010 through Nissan dealers across Japan.[16][147] During the first three weeks, individuals accounted for 64% of the pre-orders, and fleet orders represented the remaining 36%. Among individuals, older consumers (age 50 and higher) accounted for 61% of the orders.[147] As of late May 2010, Nissan claimed it had already received 6,000 pre-orders,[148] which allowed it to reach its Japan sales target for FY2010.[147] The first Leaf delivery took place at the Kanagawa Prefecture on December 22, 2010. Ten units were delivered to the Kanagawa Prefecture Government, which decided to assign six Leafs for official use and the other four will be available for the car rental service run by the local government.[99][149] As of July 2011 more than 6,000 Leafs have been sold in Japan since December 2010.[106]

United States

US smartphone app showing range, state of charge and time to complete a full charge
US smartphone app to turn on remotely the climate control

Nissan offers the 2011 model year Leaf in SV and SL trim levels. The SV trim level includes an advanced navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle. The SL trim level adds features, including rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler, fog lights, and automatic headlights for an additional US$940.[17][53] An optional CHAdeMO fast charge receptacle can be added for US$700, but is only available as a factory installed option, only on the SL model, and it is not compatible with the SAE J1772 standard connector now in use in the US.[150] A cold weather package is available, standard in some states, optional in others. The package includes a temperature management system for the lithium ion battery, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, rear seat heat duct and heated outside mirrors.[151] According to Nissan, the 2012 model year is expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2011, and the Leaf's exterior and powertrain will not have any significant modifications. Minor upgrades for the 2012 Leaf include a quick charge port that will be standard on the SL trim, and the cold weather package will be standard on all Leafs;[152][153] but pricing for both trims of the 2012 model year Leaf was increased.[127] Nissan explained that these changes reflect customer preferences in the US based on actual orders of the 2011 model in the seven initial launch market states, as the SL trim was chosen by 95% of the buyers, and of those Leaf SLs, 90% had the DC quick charge.[154][155]

Charging Options
Nissan's level 2 charging station available in the U.S.

Leaf customers have the option to buy a home charging station through Nissan at cost of around US$2,200 including installation, which was eligible for a 50% federal tax credit up to US$2,000 until December 31, 2010,[17][53] and afterwards the credit was reduced to 30% up to US$1,000 for individuals and US$30,000 for commercial buyers.[156] The charging stations operate on a 240-volt supply and are built and installed by AeroVironment. This one-stop-shop process includes a home assessment by a certified technician to ensure that the buyer's garage is plug-in ready.[53] The Aerovironment charging dock is also available as a cash and carry purchase, with installation by any electrical contractor arranged separately. It was originally available for US$751,[157] but the price was increased in April, 2011 to US$995.

Other options for level 2 charging of the Leaf include the Blink charging dock from ECOtality[158] (also available through the EV Project), the Schneider Electric Square-D,[159] and the Evr-Green unit from Leviton.[160] A complete list of charging stations is available at Plug In America.[161] It is also possible to have the level 1 charging dock which comes with the Leaf modified to support both 120 volt and 240 volt charging, the latter at either 12 amps (US$239) or 16 amps (US$287).[162][163] The 16 amp modification provides the maximum current draw the Leaf can use, and thus charges at the same rate as the Aeorvironment charging dock. Various adapters allow using the modified unit with a wide range of 240 volt sockets. The modified unit provides the cheapest charging solution for those with a 240 volt socket available and is portable for use at other locations. Possible disadvantages include the lack of UL certification and the potential for theft since the unit is not hardwired.

EV Project

The US Department of Energy initially granted US$99.8 million, and later awarded an additional US$15 million, to Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec) for the EV Project, that involves the installation of up to 11,210 charging stations in strategic markets in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; San Diego, California; Portland, Eugene, Salem and Corvallis, Oregon, Seattle, Washington; Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga; Washington D.C.; Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, Texas. Nissan has partnered with eTec on this project and will supply 4,700 vehicles to individual and fleet customers in these areas.[164][165]

The EV Project will collect and analyze data regarding vehicle use under different geographic and climatic conditions, for both commercial and public installations. The effectiveness of the deployed charge infrastructure will also be evaluated as part of the project and the lessons learned will be applied to improve the deployment of the full production number of Leafs and other EVs.[164][165]

The Monroney label shows the United States Environmental Protection Agency's combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 99 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent for the 2011 Nissan Leaf.[7]
Price and government incentives

The base retail pricefor the 2011 model year Leaf in the US is US$32,780 before any applicable tax incentives (federal tax credit).[17][53] Nissan also has 36 month lease option for US$349 a month for the SV trim and US$379 a month for the SL trim, plus an initial payment of US$1,999 in both cases.[166] For eligible customers there is a electric vehicle federal tax credit for up to a US$7,500 established by the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The federal tax credit shrinks by automaker after it has sold at least 200,000 vehicles in the US, and then it phases out over a year.[17] Nissan explained that it priced the Leaf lower in the US than in Japan because it wants to achieve higher sales in that market.[17] Other state and local incentives are available and may further decrease the cost. California initially had a US$5,000 statewide rebate for FY 2010-2011 available through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), and it was decreased to US$2,500 for FY 2011-2012.[167] Georgia has a US$5,000 tax credit, and Oregon has a US$1,500 tax credit.[53]

The base retail price for the 2012 model year Leaf SV was increased to US$36,020 including a US$820 destination charge, and the 2012 Nissan SL is also priced higher, at US$37,250. Both 2012 model trims include more standard equipment than the 2011 model. These prices do not include any federal or local government incentives or tax credits. The three-year lease for the 2012 Leaf SV was increased to US$369, a US$20 increased over the lease rate for a 2011 model.[127][168]

Sales and regional launches

Nissan began the online-only reservation process on April 20, 2010, charging a fully refundable US$99 reservation fee that allowed customers to secure a place on the list to purchase or lease a Leaf. It limited reservations to one per household[12][13][14] and by July 2010 it had received approximately 17,000 reservations.[169] The carmaker reported that more than 55% of the reservations were from what Nissan calls its primary launch markets in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Tennessee, where the carmaker has its US headquarters and an auto factory.[169][170] By September 2010 Nissan announced it had reached 20,000 reservations, and it did not accept any more reservations for the remainder of 2010.[171] In July 2011, Nissan stated that only 48% of Leaf reservations from the initial 2010 process materialized into firm orders.[155]

Firm orders started in August, and deliveries began in select markets and limited quantities in December 2010, with availability increasing throughout 2011, and a full US market rollout scheduled for 2012.[12][13][169] Nissan expects the Leaf to be available in 28 states by the end of 2011.[168] Nissan initially limited Leaf sales among states that are home to the EV Project, which was awarded a grant from the United States Department of Energy and is the largest electric vehicle and infrastructure deployment in the US.[169][172] The first Leaf customer delivery took place in a Nissan dealership in Petaluma, California on December 11, 2010, and it was followed by a commemoration event at San Francisco City Hall Plaza. Nissan explained that the first delivery went to the first person in the United States to place a Nissan Leaf on-line order.[4][173] During the following days similar first delivery events took place in San Diego, California; Arizona; Oregon; and Washington, and Tennessee.[174][175] The first Leaf was delivered in Nashville, Tennessee on December 21, 2010, which completed the first delivery in each of the first launch markets,[176][177] and a total of 19 units were delivered that month.[178] On June 1, 2011, Nissan stated that expects the total number of U.S. deliveries to be between 10,000 and 12,000 by the end of 2011,[179] a drop from its original forecast of 20,000 sales.[180] Cumulative sales through October 2011 reached 8,066 Leafs since its market launch in December 2010.[108][109]

In June 2011, it was reported that customers were frustrated as sales orders were delayed and there was a lack of communication with customers. Some who had placed reservations were dropped from the waiting list without explanation and some were asked to reapply if they couldn’t prove of arranging the installation of home-charging units that can cost more than US$2,000. Some complained their delivery dates kept moving around.[181]

Nissan reopened online reservations for the 2011 model year Leaf on May 1, 2011 in the seven initial launch states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.[182][183] Starting on July 27, 2011, Nissan opened up the 2012 model year Leaf ordering process to consumers with existing reservations the second group of launch markets, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Then, on August 4, Nissan reopened the reservation process to the general public in the first and second launch markets. By October of 2011 Nissan had also opened orders for the 2012 Leaf to residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, and Ohio. Deliveries of the first batch of 2012 model year Leafs is scheduled to begin in November 2011.[127]

Nissan Leafs recharging from a mobile generator
Use patterns and owners profile

Based on the aggregate information compiled until late April 2011 through the telematics systems included in all Leafs and reflecting the patterns of early adopters, Nissan found that the average trip length is 7 miles (11 km) and the average charging time is 2 hours and 11 minutes, with most owners charging on a Level 2, 220-volt charger at their homes. Nissan also found that early adopters are a combination of conscientious environmentalists and tech-savvy individuals.[182][183] Additional information compiled until mid July 2011 and based on the owners profile from more than 4,000 Leaf delivered in the US market, Nissan found that the Leaf the primary vehicle for most owners; 60% of Leaf sales in the country took place in California, led by Los Angeles and San Francisco; Leaf owners drive less than 60 mi (97 km) a day; and the Toyota Prius is the number one vehicle also owned by Leaf buyers, with 19%. The information compiled allowed Nissan to build a profile of the first owners, finding that Leaf buyers are college educated; have excellent credit, with an average credit score of 750, and have a combined household income of US$140,000 a year.[155]

Car rental availability

The Nissan Leaf will also be available through two car rental companies and carsharing services in selected markets.[184][185] Enterprise Rent-A-Car initially plans to offer about 500 vehicles at dealerships in Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, and Seattle beginning in January 2011.[184][186] The Leaf became available for rental at their Santa Monica, California location in late March 2011.[187] Hertz Rent-a-Car plans to offer the Leaf and other electric cars at select locations in the US and Europe, including New York City; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco in 2011.[188] The Leaf will also be available at some Hertz on Demand carsharing locations, a service with operations in London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, and 150 locations in the United States.[185] The carsharing rental by the hour of the Leaf was scheduled to begin in New York City on December 15, 2010.[188][189]


The Leaf's battery warranty is for eight years or 160,000 kilometres (100,000 mi).[50][51] The warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship, but does not cover gradual loss of battery capacity, nor does it cover damage or failure resulting from not following the preventive actions recommended in the Leaf Owner's Manual for the lithium-ion battery, such as exposing the car to ambient temperatures above 120 °F (49 °C) for over 24 hours, or storing the Leaf in temperatures below −13 °F (−25 °C) for over 7 days.[190]

Before the Leaf's market launch, Nissan conducted an e-mail survey in July 2010 among the 16,000 individuals that made a reservation in the US and a sample of other potential customers regarding the terms of the battery pack guarantee. The survey was sent two days after General Motors announced that the Chevrolet Volt's battery was guaranteed for eight years or 160,000 kilometres (100,000 mi).[191][192][193] The multiple-choice survey had a batch of battery warranty related questions focused on the responder's preference between a five-year or 97,000-kilometre (60,000 mi) warranty or an eight-year or 160,000-kilometre (100,000 mi) warranty.[191][192] A Nissan spokeswoman commented that the company wanted to hear from future Leaf drivers to ensure Nissan was meeting the expectations of the marketplace before making a decision on its warranty policy.[191][192]

Nissan Leaf used for test drives at the Drive Electric Tour opening in Santa Monica, California

In November 2009, Nissan launched the Zero Emission Tour, with stops in 22 North American cities.[194] At each stop on the tour, visitors were able to view the car and learn about the benefits of zero-emission driving. The first stop of the tour was in Los Angeles on November 13, 2009, a event that marked the unveiling of the LEAF in North America.[195] Other stops on the tour included San Francisco; Seattle; Vancouver; Las Vegas, Nevada; Houston; Washington, D.C.; and Orlando, Florida.[196] The tour ended in February 2010 in New York City after visiting 24 cities, including two (Atlanta and Boston) that were added to the original itinerary due to requests. Nissan estimates that 100,000 people saw the company’s lithium-ion battery car.[92][94]

Nissan conducted a test drive tour—dubbed the Drive Electric Tour—in several cities in the initial US launch markets. The tour began on October 1, 2010, at the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, California, and continued in Anaheim, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Jose. In November, the tour moved to Hillsboro, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and San Francisco. The following month the tour continued in Tucson and Tempe, Arizona; and Austin, Texas. The cities to be visited in 2011 will be announced later, but the promotional tour is expected to end by March 2011.[197][198]

As winner of the Taxi of Tomorrow competition, Nissan will sponsor a pilot program in New York City with six Leafs and their charging stations to study the use of zero-emission electric vehicles as taxis. The Leafs will be deployed in the second quarter of 2012, one year before the winner Nissan NV200 taxis are introduced. The Leafs will be allocated to existing operators through a lease for a year free of charge.[199][200]

Other countries


Leaf sales in Australia are scheduled for 2012.[201]


In April 2010 Nissan signed an agreement with the municipal government of São Paulo to deploy 50 Leafs for use in the city's Traffic Engineering Agency fleet. In exchange, the municipality will conduct feasibility studies regarding the use of the electric car in the city, including the deployment of the charging infrastructure required, and how it will help to reduce air pollution.[202][203] Deliveries are scheduled to begin during the first semester of 2011 and the demonstration project will end on December 2012.[204] According to Nissan, a timeline for retail sales has not been set because of the high prices of electric cars in Brazil. The car maker is pursuing an exemption from the 35% import tax and the enactment of other federal government incentives to make the car affordable and competitive within the Brazilian market.[203][204][205]

Hong Kong

In March 2011 an EV Pilot Program was launched in Hong Kong as a collaboration between the government of Hong Kong special administrative region and Nissan. The program began with a four-day test drive event open to the public. Nissan will deliver 200 Leafs to be used by the government, power companies and other private companies.[206]


In October 2009 Nissan reached an agreement with the local government of Mexico City, by which 500 units of the Leaf will be delivered by 2011 for use of government and corporate fleets. In exchange, recharging infrastructure will be deployed by the city government, and an exemption from the ownership tax is being pursued.[207][208] This agreement will allow Mexico to become the first Latin American market where the Leaf will be available.[209] The Leaf will be available for the general public starting in 2012.[210] The city government also reached an agreement with Nissan in November 2010 in order for the first 100 Leafs to be introduced in the country to operate as part of the capital's taxi fleet.[211][212] The first Leafs destined for the taxi fleet were delivered by late September 2011. [213][214]

Problems reported

In April 2011 Nissan announced that customers in the United States and Japan reported problems in restarting their Leaf vehicles after switching the motor off. Nissan said the problem does not pose any accident risk.[215] On April 15 Nissan announced that the problem only affected a small proportion of Leafs. Nissan engineers identified a programming error in an air conditioning system sensor that sometimes triggers an erroneous high voltage alert when the air conditioning unit is switched on, due to the increased demand for power. The system issues an Inhibit Restart command, which does not prevent driving the vehicle, but does prevent it restarting after it is turned off. The solution requires reprogramming of the Vehicle Control Module by a Nissan dealer. Nissan announced a "service campaign" to apply the software fix to all 5,300 Nissan Leafs in operation around the world, but it was not an official recall because it was not a safety issue.[216][217][218] The applied software update also improves the car’s on-board range calculation system, which several Leaf owners reported was overestimating the number of miles left. In addition, the update changes the state-of-charge bars display to provide a true reserve capacity; the driver now has up to five miles to find a charging spot after the car reaches the zero miles remaining mark.[219]

A number of customers have reported safety problems with the Antilock brakes: after an emergency braking event, and once the driver has released the brake pedals, the brakes remain in full force for some amount of time, increasing the risk of rear collisions.[220]

Related concept cars

The Nissan Leaf Aero Style concept car was presented at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon

Nissan unveiled the Nissan Leaf Aero Style concept car at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon. The Leaf Aero Style exterior features a new front bumper, extended side skirts, restyled mirrors, LED daytime driving lights, and special wheels.[221][222]

Nissan unveiled the Leaf NISMO RC (Racing Competition) demonstrator at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. This electric car shares the same battery pack as the Leaf but is designed and constructed as a real racing car with a full carbon fiber monocoque body which makes it about 40 percent lighter than the production Leaf. The Nissan Leaf NISMO RC is projected to have a running time of around 20 minutes under racing conditions, and in preliminary testing it accelerated from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 6.85 seconds and has a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h).[223][224]


The Leaf was enthusiastically received by consumers. There were 20,000 pre-orders in the United States for the vehicle's debut.[225] After hitting this milestone in September 2010, Nissan stopped taking reservations in the United States until many of the initial orders had been delivered in early 2011.

In 2009, a former Tesla Motors marketing manager criticized Nissan about the cooling system chosen for thermal management in lithium-ion battery packs,.[226] He also claimed there may also be an overestimation of the 160-kilometre (100 mi) range that was computed using LA-4 or "city" mode, which may underestimate the energy draw during highway driving conditions.[226][227]

The American magazine Consumer Reports noted that while charger costs vary between US$700 and US$1,200, an at-home charger and its installation cost more than US$2,000 even for simple installations.[228] Nissan estimates a typical charger installation costs US$2,200. The article did not mention that home charger installations are eligible for a 50% federal tax credit up to US$2,000.[229] Consumer Reports noted that the first 5,700 Leaf buyers will get free chargers with federal support in 13 cities. The consumer group also reminded that many older houses with only a 60–100 amp supply may need a panel upgrade to install a 240-volt circuit, which can cost several thousand dollars.[228] The additional 220–240-volt charger is only required for countries (mainly the North / South American continent) that do not have a 220–240-volt domestic grid and want faster charging than under 110–120-volt.

Currently, there is a variety of EVSE, or Charging Docks for the nissan LEAF, these include SPX, Schneider, Leviton, Aerovironment, Blink and GE; some of them are available for less than $850 and as the on-board charger in the LEAF only draws 16 Amps, many home installations can be as simple as adding a dedicated 20 Amp circuit and receptacle in the garage.

Nissan Leaf with Level 2 recharging station unit displayed at the 2010 Washington Auto Show

Consumer Reports also called buyers' attention to the fact that the Leaf's total out-of-pocket costs include a US$595 acquisition fee and a US$395 disposition fee. The consumer group also emphasized that the lease price of US$349-a-month applies only to buyers with good credit (Tier 1, or a FICO score of 700 or above); for those with less than optimum credit, the monthly rate would increase. They reminded buyers that the lease comes with a 23,000 km/year (15,000-mile-per-year) allowance, but additional miles will cost extra.[230]

The Leaf has received awards from multiple organizations. Notable awards include the inclusion by Time magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of 2009.[231] At the 2010 Washington Auto Show, the Leaf was given the 2010 Green Car Vision Award by the Green Car Journal (GCJ), who noted 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."[21] 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 kilometres (100 mi) 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."[232]

Other awards received by the Leaf include the 2011 European Car of the Year,[22]’s 2011 EV of the Year,[233] 2011 Eco-Friendly Car of the Year by,[234] 2011 Green Fleet Electric Vehicle of the Year,[235] it was listed among the 2011 Greenest Vehicles of the Year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy,[236][237] and also was ranked first in Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Green Cars for 2011.[238] The Leaf won the 2011 World Car of the Year,[23] and was a finalist for the 2011 World Green Car.[239] Ward's Auto listed the Leaf's 80 kW electric motor in Ward's 10 Best Engines for 2011. [240] As of October 2011 the Leaf is ranked as the most efficient EPA certified vehicle for all fuels ever.[24]

See also


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