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Introducing the Nissan LEAF Electric Car

Updated on March 6, 2015

Finally! An Electric Car for Consumers

The highly anticipated Nissan LEAF started selling in December 2010. For years, there has been talk of alternative energy vehicles to help wean the U.S. off foreign oil dependence, as well as to clear the air of high levels of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

While electric cars are nothing new, selling them mainstream certainly is. Years ago, GM was accused of "killing" the electric car, and naysayers have flooded the airwaves and chat rooms with talk of gutless, slow cars that can hardly even get you across town, let alone from state to state.

Today, however, the 2011 Nissan LEAF is one of several new electric vehicles to hit auto showrooms. The Nissan LEAF is a 100% electric car, not a plug in electric hybrid like the Chevy Volt.

Will this model show us the way to becoming energy independent, or will we choke with range anxiety and continue to forego turning over a new leaf?

The 2011 Nissan LEAF electric car
The 2011 Nissan LEAF electric car | Source

About the Nissan Leaf

About the NIssan LEAF Electric Car

Deliveries of the 2011 Nissan LEAF began in mid-December 2010 to customers that had pre-ordered the electric car, and the car hit showrooms in five states in the U.S. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rated the Nissan Leaf as "Best in Class" for energy efficiency and "Best of the Environment" based on its lack of tailpipe emissions.

The Nissan LEAF is the world's first mass-produced 100% electric vehicle. Nissan claims that the LEAF is the most energy efficient vehicle available today with an estimated equivalent of 99 miles per gallon. As stated on the review of the Nissan LEAF:

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is not a low-volume slice of automotive exotica like a Tesla Roadster, nor is it an electrified version of a conventional gasoline car like the Mitsubishi i MiEV, and it is certainly not a plug-in hybrid like a Chevrolet Volt or a conventional hybrid like a Toyota Prius. The 2011 Nissan Leaf is a brand-new, purpose-built, mass-produced, battery-powered family car and, as such, the very first of its kind in the world.

  • Power: 100% electric, no gasoline - runs on 48 lithium-ion battery modules mounted under floor
  • MSRP Cost: $32,780 with starting cost of $25,280 including tax incentives of $7,500
  • Seats: 5 adults (2 front, 3 back); the Nissan LEAF has a spacious interior cabin
  • Electronic Dashboard includes state-of-the-art graphics that include information on how much power is remaining in the batteries
  • Maximum torque is always and instantly available, which means that the LEAF has a mid-range punch on par with a sedan powered by a 2.5-liter V6

How does the Nissan Leaf Drive?

Sleek and emissions free:  the 2011 Nissan LEAF
Sleek and emissions free: the 2011 Nissan LEAF | Source

Learn About the 2011 Nissan LEAF Directly

Why not test drive or purchase a new Nissan LEAF for yourself. As of the date of this publication, more than 20,000 people reserved one of these new electric cars, which number even exceeded the expectations of Nissan.

Finally, why not participate directly in the reviews of Nissan LEAF cars? Join the online panel group, and give your feedback through online surveys, or invitations to focus groups and/or interviews about once a month.

Grid-connected 2011 Nissan LEAF
Grid-connected 2011 Nissan LEAF | Source

What do you think about the 2011 Nissan LEAF

See results

Myths About Electric Cars

1. Myth: The range of electric cars will limit my ability to get places I want to go. Fact: New electric vehicles can travel 40-100 miles on a single charge, which is well within the distance of most commutes. Then, the cars can be plugged in and recharged during the day to be ready for the commute home in the evening.

2. Myth: Electric cars lack power and speed. Fact: Even though you won't need to reach speeds of 100 MPH on American roads, you could do so if needed.

3. Myth: Electric cars won't be any cheaper than gas-fueled vehicles. Fact: Consider this information from the Cal-Cars website.

We say above that you can fill up your “electric tank” for less than $1/gallon. How? Using the average U.S. electricity rate of 9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), 30 miles of electric driving will cost 81 cents. If we optimistically assume the average US fuel economy is 25 miles per gallon, at $3.00 gasoline this equates to 75 cents a gallon for equivalent electricity. Compared to a regular hybrid’s real-world 45 miles per gallon, it’s effectively $1.20/gallon.

PHEVs are meant to plug-in at night. In many areas of the country, overnight power is available at a lower cost. As PHEVs start to enter the marketplace, we’ll see increasing support from electric utilities, as they’ll offer reduced nighttime rates to incentivize off-peak charging. In some areas where wind and hydropower is wasted at night, the rate can be as low as 2-3 cents per kWh. That’s 20-25 cents a gallon.

4. Myth: Electric cars are too expensive to justify the cost. Fact: While it is true that you’ll spend from $2000-$4000 more for an electric car, the cost gap is addressed in part through incentives, subsidies and rebates. In addition, EVs may be allowed to have special access to car-pool lanes. Over the life of the car, you’ll spend far less time at gas stations and can expect lower maintenance costs than with your gas-guzzler.

5. Myth: The hype over electric cars will pass and then I’ll have an obsolete vehicle. Fact: Gas prices have gone up too much, our national debt is too high, and unrest in the Middle East simply is not worth our addiction to oil. Auto manufacturers, government and influential corporations like Microsoftare all working to get EVs on the road, with appropriate infrastructure to ease consumer use. In addition, celebrities like Tom Hanks are also helping to spread the word about how wonderful it is to own and drive an electric car.

6. Myth: I don’t have the right kind of plug for an electric car. Fact: Yes you do! Electric cars are plugged right into ordinary household outlets (220 volts). Most can be re-charged in 30 minutes or less. In addition to home recharging, you can find convenient re-charging stations on streets, in parking garages and at park-and-ride facilities, as well.

7. Myth: Owning an electric car will not improve the environment. Fact: Electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF emit 67% fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline cars, and this figure climbs even higher when renewable energy sources such as solar power are used to generate electricity.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      1] One hundred clicks in Australia is like a drop in the ocean. We can travel 1,500K in one sitting from say Adelaide to Canberra. The battery like of the LEAF is fairly pathetic in that light. Now Nissan want to virtually make their car owners pay for the sun’s free energy by renting the battery packs.

      2] Australian governments claim they want to make a difference to the environment so why don’t they subsidize purchases of solar cars like Nissan’s LEAF. A vast majority of Australians want to make a difference to environment but simply can't afford 30K so we drive second hand petrol cars.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 

      6 years ago from Cape Cod

      What is in a name? Actually everything. A "Rocky" by the handle, "Percival" probably would not win the World's Heavyweight Championship. A "Marion Morrison" stands much less of a chance at a movie career than a "Duke" Wayne.

      When I think 'leaf' I think of something that withers in the Autumn and is blown away by the wind. Datsun (aka Nissan) should probably reconsider the moniker. Were I working for the company and they asked me; I would give them a name with a much stronger image..... I might brand the vehicle as the "Killer-Watt"!

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 

      7 years ago from California

      I haven't seen any electric stations popping up yet. What happens when I go on vacation? Do you need a special outlet or sill a normal wall one work. I know nothing, but thinking about purchasing a hybrid or electric as my next vehicle. Trying to see if it will work within my budget and perameters.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks - I agree that if I was purchasing an electric car, I'd go for the Leaf over the Volt for the same reasons: cost and the fact that the Leaf is 100% electric. We live in a relatively small town, so driving long distances is not usually a concern during the commute. However, if I had a scooter, that would be awesome! :) Best, Steph

    • strkngfang profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice write up. Although I'm not sold on electric cars yet, I still think the practicality isn't quite there yet? I do like the Leaf over the Volt. The Volt might look sportier, but it is a lot more expensive and can only go half as far on electric power. It may have a 300mi range but its on premium gas. For short commutes, the Leaf makes more sense. For now I'm sticking with my Honda Fit and 250cc scooter :)

    • Auto Buddy profile image

      Auto Buddy 

      8 years ago

      good job debunking these myths about electric cars

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi nifty - timely comment! I just got to see the Nissan LEAF today in person at the NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) in Detroit. Its a great looking car and comfortable to sit in. Nissan says they are working on additional electrified vehicles for the coming years, so stay tuned! Best, Steph

    • nifty@50 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub stephhicks68! Very well researched & written! I'm interested in this car, but commute is slightly more than 100 miles round trip and my employer doesn't have a recharge option. I'm hoping in the near future the Batteries will improve to a 200 mile plus range.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Jacqueline - I agree! Electric cars are on the way. We're going to see more of them in 2011 and hopefully they will be mainstream in the next 24 months. Best, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Charles, I have high hopes that - within the next 2 years - electric cars will be as affordable as gasoline-powered options. And, by then, there should be some used options out there too. We are planning on trading in one of our aging cars for an EV in the next few years. Best to you, Steph

    • charlesroring profile image


      8 years ago

      I am dreaming of having an electric car. If I can have one, I will write tons of articles about it. Unfortunately I still cannot afford to buy one. Your article is really good in opening our horizon about how important it is to reduce our CO2 emission and how our addiction to fossil fuel is bad for our environment, our economy and world security/ stability. Let's go green through electric vehicle whose energy is supplied by wind, and solar power.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you, tcfsu!

    • tcfsu profile image


      8 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Thanks for all of the helpful information!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi BKCreative,

      I am so excited that you are so excited about the Nissan LEAF! I'm with you, I think that the technology and tax breaks make it worth trying it out. Cheers to you! Steph

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I just did some research into this car - and I am sold. I like that a tax break is also available if you purchase the battery. How cool is it that the car is programmed to let you know where charging stations are - and how much of a charge you have remaining. So much cutting edge technology - it is certainly doable.

      Lots of good positive information here.

      You've covered it soooooo very well. Thanks and rated up! Yay!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Oceans, thanks! Glad you enjoyed reading more about the LEAF. Cheers, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Don, thanks so much! You are not alone as a skeptic. It took me a while to learn more about not only the electric cars and hybrids that are or will be available, but also the huge infrastructure needs. I should write some follow up hubs on recharging stations, the idea of electricity vs. gas and which one is actually cleaner, address concerns people have about the batteries, and whether our grid can handle the additional demand, as well as grid updates.

      I work with (but not for) a few organizations that have been promoting EVs for quite some time. 2011 is going to be an interesting year.

      As to your question on seating 5 adults, I would suspect the experience will be like most smaller cars - somewhat of a tight squeeze. The bonus here is that there is a ton of cargo room in the trunk because of the battery placement.

      Happy driving! :)

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi earnesthub - thank you! I wanted to include reliable reviews on this hub so that people could read from the best when it comes to the Nissan LEAF and electric cars in general. Glad you enjoyed the information!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      This is a great hub, thanks for sharing. It is interesting to see what is new and available for consumers out there.

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 

      8 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      A well-written. I'm skeptical about electric cars but reading the Hub made me want to take the Leaf for a test drive. So it does seat 5 adults? Comfortably? I'll go check it out.

      I've heard Southern California Edison say their next biggest challenge in the coming five years is preparing to service customers for their electric needs because of electric cars, mobile device usage etc.

    • earnestshub profile image


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Hi Steph! You would expected a visit from me when you write a car hub, and this one is a beauty! Very well researched, great road test videos, you have covered this new Nissan leaf very well indeed. I enjoyed learning more about it, thank you.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi anginwu - I'm with you! I think that with other new technology, the price of the Nissan LEAF electric cars will come down over the coming months. Best to you, Steph

    • anglnwu profile image


      8 years ago

      I want to buy one too if not for the steep price tag. I like the fact that it can go 99 miles on one gallon. Yay!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi vrajavala,

      If only the sole reason to buy an electric car was the environment. Its also largely about national security and our endless federal deficit. The more we import foreign oil from unstable regions, the more it puts the USA at risk. Getting off oil is imperative for more reasons than one.

      You are right that its a big political hot potato! Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi katrina and peter - Nissan and other automakers are, of course, hoping that consumers share your excitement for the electric car, or similar hybrids. Remember that there are government incentives. In a few years, you may even be able to get a great deal on a used one!

    • petertheknight profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I saw an ad for this car in Men's Health! I was so excited...I just wish I had the money for one, but maybe in a year or two I can purchase one used. Ever since I can remember I have always wanted an electric car.

      Great article! Thank for posting!

    • vrajavala profile image


      8 years ago from Port St. Lucie

      The Volt travels 300 miles before recharging, because during the carbon gas energy stage, the electricity is recharged. That being said, there was a UN study that showed that cow farts account for way more than cars, in the production of "greenhouse gases". So, becoming vegetarian would be the best way to reduce "greenhouse" gases. Not that greenhouse CO2 is bad. It isn't. It comes from photosynthesis and breathing.

      Greenhouse gases may warm up the climate, but they are balanced by the cooling effects of SO2,

      which, of course, is a pollutant, but China and India are not going to let this nonsense get in the

      way of their GDP.

      The USA has been punked by a bunch of liberal morons.

    • katrinasui profile image


      8 years ago

      i want to buy this car:)...This car is amazing.


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