A New Leaf (Nissan) In The Garage
A Nissan Leaf has joined the Acuras in our garage. The oldest Acura actually lost its parking place in the garage…sorry Legend. Where the Legend used to park now sits an all-electric 2013 Nissan Leaf. Plugged into the wall into the wall. I never dreamed we would have an electric car but here we are.
Adding a third driver in our family precipitated the move. We had been borrowing a Honda Odyssey minivan from generous relatives. The problem was, they needed back on occasion and it burned through gas at a rate of maybe 18 miles per gallon. We had been considering our options and a few family members recommended considering a lease. All our cars are paid for so we didn’t like the idea of payment, but then we heard a deal that was worth further investigation. Nissan is offering massively subsidized leases to get more Leafs on the road. Apparently they are getting money from taxpayers to fund growth of electric vehicles. I asked the Nissan dealer what his best deal was and he told me for $0 down and around $200 a month we could be driving a Leaf. Since we were already spending $100 or more per month on gas for the minivan, the idea sounding very appealing.
We picked up the Leaf this past Sunday. A quick test drive at the dealership, papers signed and we were out the door in an hour. Driving home was surreal. I got on Northbound I-5 and found myself going a dime over the speed limit in no time. The “gas” gauge was fairly accurate even though I was on the freeway at higher speeds. It shows remaining miles and the amount of energy you are using at the moment. A separate display shows how well you’ve driven on the trip. If you stay off the accelerator and drive somewhat conservatively, trees grow on a little display next to the speedometer.
My first impressions of the Nissan Leaf
- Range – 100 miles. This sounds limited but the reality is most days I’ll be back home charging again before I drive 100 miles.
- Charging is simple. It comes with a 110VAC trickle charger which takes about 10 hours to charge the Leaf.
- Alternatives to home charging are everywhere. There are at least three iPhone apps that map out chargers. Last night we went to a Mariner’s game and charged the car in the Century Link parking lot while we watched the game. Nissan dealers offer free charging during business hours and some have the newer Fast Charge units which can charge the car from 0% to 80% in 30 minutes. PCC in Edmonds has free charging.
- Extremely quiet and actually relaxing to drive. With no gas engine the vibration and noise is nearly non-existent.
- Roomy enough for me (6’4″) plus at least three other adults plus storage space in rear hatch compartment.
- Video game sounds at start up are fun for now but will probably get annoying over time.
- Keyless locks and ignition are very convenient.
- Stereo sounds great with lots of options.
- Back up camera is helpful as the view out the back is limited.
- Fit and finish is good…seat material looks like it will last. Carpets probably will not. We’ll need some rubber floor mats.
- My only gripe – the USB port for the stereo is in a bad spot and hard to plug in. I’ll probably just plug one in and leave it to avoid the issue.
Overall, our Nissan Leaf experience has been great. I’ll provide updates in the future about our Leaf experience.