Throughout the 20th Century, automotive manufacturers have experimented with the idea of a fully electric vehicle. While the outcomes varied heavily, often resulting in some less than practical products, the overall necessity and interest in this type of alternative vehicle has only increased. As we broke through into the 21st Century, the combination of our untenable relationship with fossil fuels and breakthroughs in lithium batteries helped pave the way toward a realistic answer to the electric car. An excellent example of the updated approach to the electric car can be found in the impressive Nissan Leaf. Starting as the short-lived Altra, which debuted in 1997, Nissan would slow down on their electric vehicle production to focus further on refining its design.
Since its long-awaited debut in 2010, the Nissan Leaf has stood as a shining example of what an affordable and practical electric vehicle can be. Through years of updates and improvements on its original design, the Leaf has become a car that is pushing toward a brighter future by eliminating many of the long-standing doubts behind electric-powered vehicles. In this article, we will take a look at the various models of this vehicle over the past decade and why even if you’re not in the market for a new car, looking around for a used Nissan Leaf for sale may be just as smart a decision.
Due to its relatively short lifespan up until this point, the Nissan Leaf only has two distinct production generations. However, each one of these can be broken down year by year, when the car received minor iterations and upgrades. Let’s take a closer look at each of these years, what changed between them, and what Nissan did to continuously set itself apart from the electric competition.
After years of research, development, and testing, the Nissan Leaf was finally ready for its debut on the worldwide commercial stage. Nissan put a lot of thought into the design of the vehicle, with its traditional five-door hatchback format and aerodynamic trim to make sure that consumers viewed this first as foremost as a car, not a novelty.
This original model runs on a 24 kWh electric battery. In addition to this, the Leaf also uses an auxiliary 12-volt battery that provides power to the car’s accessories and onboard CPU. If you decided to splurge for the SL trim in the United States, these accessories could be powered by a small solar panel installed on the rear spoiler. Nissan sold the original Leaf with the expectation that their batteries would retain 70-80% of their overall capacity after ten years of driving, though the company has recently made statements saying that the majority of these initial cars are still running perfectly well. If you do find a used Nissan Leaf for sale that has everything going for it but the battery, Nissan offers a battery replacement program that could ultimately save you a good chunk of money.
After some relatively small changes for the 2011 model of the Leaf, Nissan took some big steps forward to bringing their tiny electric car into the mainstream. By adding a more efficient heating system, weight reduction, and overall improved aerodynamics, Nissan was able to drastically increase the Leaf’s travel distance on a single charge. Through their tests, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that the 2013 Leaf was capable of 75 miles on a single charge, a large step up from the 62 of the previous year.
After the more significant changes made in the 2013 model, Nissan buckled down on small changes to refine the overall leaf design and most importantly, help improve engine efficiency. The models from these two years took another firm step forward, increasing the official EPA range for the leaf from 75 to a commendable 84 miles.
Another unique feature of the 2015 Nissan Leaf was its ability to utilize intelligent charge scheduling. This means that you can schedule certain times for your Leaf to charge, even if it’s plugged in all night. The advantage of this is that you can instruct your Leaf to only start using power during off-peak hours. This will ultimately save you a hefty amount on your electric bills in the long run.
It begs to mention here that the 2014 iteration of the Nissan Leaf is still the company’s most successful year to date in the west. The 2014 Leaf sold over 30,000 units in the United States alone, almost 10,000 more than any other sales year.
After six years of Leaf production, Nissan had refined their initial design significantly. For the 2016 model, Nissan finally introduced an available 30 kWh battery. This new power source provided an impressive EPA-rated 107 miles of travel on a single charge while the energy usage was minute compared to its 24 kWh counterpart.
Announced in 2017 and brought to western markets in February of 2018, the second generation of the Nissan Leaf is the most available current model. The second generation comes standard with the 40kWh battery pack, now capable of a whopping range of 151 miles on a single charge. The upgraded engine also produces a commendable 147 horsepower. The new generation of the Leaf also focuses heavily on providing much of the technology and amenities that are now standard in gas-guzzling cars. The Leaf offers quiet-cabin technology, plush leather upholstery, and ample cargo space, just to name a few. Now that Nissan has made such strides in the way of electric engine technology, they’re bringing the Leaf into the present day in every way that they can.
Recently announced at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the 2019 Nissan Leaf represents the next step forward for commercial electronic vehicles. The most impressive of the duo of 2019 releases is the 2019 EV Leaf Plus. For the sake of truly highlighting the most recent breakthroughs in electric transportation, this is the one we’ll be taking a closer look at.
To start, the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus features a larger and more efficient engine than ever before. The new 62kWh battery offers an EPA range of up to 226 miles. The new generation also offers B-Mode, which you can activate on downhills to help add some charge back to your battery as you drive.
The new generation of Leaf also offers the convenience of the proprietary NissanConnect app powered by SiriusXM. This app allows you to wirelessly connect to your vehicle from your smart device and change a number of options remotely. So, whether you want to change the cabin temperature from your living room, receive accurate updates on how much range your battery has left, or remotely begin charging your car, this incredible app has you covered.
The last thing we’ll cover for the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus is the high level of care and attention that went into making this car comfortable. Like we’ve said before, the electric cars have somewhat of an uphill battle to contend with in order to present themselves not only as a novelty but as a legitimate vehicle. The 2019 model boasts amenities such as a heated steering wheel, heated seats, an available Bose energy efficient premium audio system, and a 60/40 back seat split for added storage. The point here is, once you’re charged up and ready to go, you can take this car on the road and face whatever the world has to throw at you.