2016 Nissan LEAF Acenta Electric
The future is here and it's electric; most people just haven't realised yet
I wanted a Leaf when they were first announced in 2011, but the range of the 24KWh battery in the initial offer was 85 miles, not enough for my 100 mile round trip commute, so I had to wait and stick with a petrol Ford.
Then in 2015 Nissan announced they were releasing a bigger capacity battery 30KWh with 155 mile range.
The car is available in three model specs Visia, Acenta and Tekna which vary in trim levels, like sat-nav and cruise control on Acenta and leather heated seats on the Tekna.
The engine and drive train is the same on all cars.
I took a leap of faith and in April 2016 ordered my 30KWh battery Nissan Leaf Acenta, took delivery on May 31st.
So 18 months and 18000 miles later (Nov 2017) I feel qualified to review this car.
The car is Ford Focus sized and the driving position is similar, I find the seats comfy and it has all the regular knobs and buttons I expect. Climate control, auto headlights, auto wipers, sat-nav, bluetooth to hook up your phone and electric windows.
It has 2 pedals (like an automatic) for driving and a 3rd foot parking brake down by the side of the centre console.
To drive you walk up to the car (key in pocket or bag), press a little button on the door handle, which unlocks the car. Sit in the drivers seat, push the foot brake and press the start button, blue lights come on and a jingle is played. This became irritating quite quickly, but you can disable it in the car settings, so I did, now my car turns on silently.
The ‘gear’ lever is a little round joystick type in the middle with 2 selections; forward puts the car in drive, backward puts it into reverse. It also has a ‘P’ button on the top to put it in park, so I rarely use the foot parking brake (only when on steep hills for extra security). Lift your foot from the brake and the car will move.
Acceleration off the mark is very swift and silent, as revs build and internal combustion engines get louder, the Leaf remains silent. It is very civilised.
I found the 100 mile commute easy, the car can do 155 miles if you drive at 30mph, real world driving shows the range to be 120 miles, but I found this to be remarkably consistent.
As winter came and the temperature fell, I experienced a feature of batteries and cold weather, range reduces by about 20% when the temperature drops below 5 degrees C (41 F). I guess this is partly due to the heater drawing more power and partly due to batteries not liking the cold. The coldest we get here in Southern England is about -5C (23F) and the batteries didn’t degrade further, it’s like a switch at 5 degrees, above that fine, below that 20% reduction. As soon as Spring came and the temperature rose, the car was back to normal.
I have fairly regularly driven bigger distances for work and regularly use rapid chargers on the way. When I first got the car the only vendor in the market was Ecotricity who provided Rapid chargers at motorway service stations, but the network has increased considerably over the last 18 months and new providers have appeared. So if a Rapid is busy or out of service you usually have another fairly close. My car charges very quickly at a rapid and typically will go from 8% to 90% in 30 minutes, the final 10% slows considerably so really isn’t worth bothering with. I changed my job and now drive 200 miles each way, which requires two 20 minute stops at rapids.
In terms of costs I pay an £8 per month subscription to Polar-Network which allows me to use their chargers for 11p per Kwh; if I have to use a different provider (rarely) a rapid charge is about £6. Over the 18000 miles fuel has cost 1.6p per mile (about $0.02).
So in the UK my fuel costs about 20% of the cost of a frugal ICE car.
The car has been 100% reliable, service costs are £75 on odd years (1,3,5…) and £150 on even years (2,4,6…) because they change the brake fluid then. (Though I got the first 3 years included in the cost of the car).
Regenerative braking means the brake pads will probably last the life of the car, there is no oil or filter, no air filter, no radiator, timing belt, valves or exhaust (tail) pipe.
The battery is guaranteed by Nissan for 8 years.
So what did it cost me?
List price was £30k, the dealer put a £5k contribution toward it and the Government have a £4500 grant. When I purchased Nissan had a £1k discount offer and the dealer gave me £500 for being a returning customer.
The result £19k, over 3 years with a £10.5k GMFV, £220 per month.
I love electric cars and can’t see me ever downgrading to an ICE car :-)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th November, 2017
2nd Dec 2017, 18:58
I’ve been curious about electric cars for a while and your review of your Leaf is well written and very informative. One thing bugs me but no one seems to be able to answer this. Here in Yorkshire we can get very cold winters with ice on all of the windows; you scrape off what you can and the heat from the engine does the rest - how does this work in an electric car with no heat (by-product of the engine)?
Kind regards, James.
23rd Dec 2017, 05:01
A superb review, thank you. You got a great deal as well.