Harry and Sue's Nissan Leaf. Photo courtesy of Sue Norden.

The Evergreen Nissan Leaf

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Harry and Sue have had their Nissan Leaf for over 12 months now and are more than happy with it. In fact, they told me that if they had to replace it, they would definitely buy another Leaf. The Nissan Leaf stands out as one of the early electric pioneers, alongside the BMW i3 and the Renault Zoe. I don’t know why, but I have never gotten around to driving one, so it was refreshing to hear their story. It is wonderful that it is still on the market.

My main interest has been the importing of used Leafs from Japan by the Good Car Company. You can read about that here and here.

Sue and Harry initially checked out the Kia EV6, but found that the dealer knew less about the car than they did and didn’t really want to talk to them. A younger salesperson tried to help, but eventually they walked out, frustrated. They then went to Moorooka Nissan and had a totally different experience with Gary, the salesperson there. There was a Leaf on display and they fell in love. Initially, they were told that they would have to wait 6 months for one. It ended up being 8 months due to COVID, but it was well worth it.

When I spoke with Gary from Moorooka Nissan this morning, he told me that most people who are interested in electric vehicles have done a fair bit of research before they get to the dealership. His job is to confirm the details, show them the features, and allow them a test drive. At present, the dealership is experiencing a lot of interest from fleet buyers, both government and private. Unfortunately, stock is still hard to get. I pressed him for news on the Ariya, but sadly there is no word on when it will be brought to Australia.

Nissan Ariya. Photo by Kyle Field.

The price for the Leaf purchase was quoted as AU$45,000, but ended up at $55,000 once GST (10% in Australia) was added, along with premium paint, security cameras front and back, and the usual on-road fees. Sadly, Harry and Sue bought before the government rebate of $3,000 was available.

They asked, “What can we get if we pay with cash?” Gary offered a free tank of petrol, and they all had a good laugh. He told them to email if they had any questions and offered plenty of support. Compared to their Mitsubishi ASX, the Leaf is quieter and has more pick-up. (“Those long-haired louts have no chance,” Sue says.) It has regenerative braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping. She still has to use the brakes at times. The Leaf is a little smaller than the ASX, but that has not been an issue.

When I first met them, at a coffee and cake morning at the Sirromet winery (they have Tesla chargers), their conversation was around concerns that public CHAdeMO chargers would be phased out. They asked about adapters from CCS2 to CHAdeMO. I didn’t have the technical expertise to answer their question. Sue and Harry are trying to organise meetups with other Leaf owners to expand their knowledge of the car. With only 2150 Leafs sold in Australia over 10 years, it is proving difficult. “Manuals don’t help!”

The evergreen leaf
Charging with CHAdeMO. Photo courtesy of Harry Darby.

However, Sue brightened up as she told me about her discovery of the Queensland Electric Super Highway. “Every town has one now and they have CHAdeMO.” They are planning a road trip north in June and hope to get as far as Townsville — 1335 km (830 miles). I invited them to the EV events that will be staged in Rockhampton, Gladstone, and Bundaberg in Queensland’s winter.

The Leaf was serviced recently and I was curious about what was actually done. Sue and Harry graciously sent me a copy of the invoice. The software was updated, refreshing the dash display, and every conceivable part of the car was checked over. Sue and Harry say having the car checked at regular intervals gives them peace of mind. Cost? About $250.

Sue washed and vacuumed the car before she took it in for service, then found out the car got a complimentary car wash. “Next time I will take it in dirty,” she said. They frequently get comments about the car from the general public: “Ooo, an electric car!” “Yes,” Sue says, “We’re pensioners and haven’t had to pay for petrol for the last year.” Before they retired, Sue and Harry were paying up to $100 a week for petrol.

For their Townsville trip, they are using A Better Route Planner. This can be set for the type of car and the charger required. They like to keep the battery charge above 20% and will be using the QESH network. Once, on a trip, they let the battery get down to 7%, but it wasn’t stressful, as they were close to their destination. And, yes, the car does give you warnings about low battery charge.

The evergreen leaf
The Leaf dash. Photo courtesy of Sue Norden.

At home, they charge during the day from their rooftop solar power system using a normal power point (10 amps). A level 2 charger came with the car, but it is more expensive to use at 26¢ per kWh. Any excess power produced by their solar system feeds back into the grid, but they only receive a miserable 6.6¢ per kWh. It makes good financial sense to use the solar power for the car.

Here is some background on the Leaf from Wikipedia:

“The Nissan Leaf is a compact five-door hatchback battery electric vehicle (BEV) manufactured by Nissan. It was introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, and its second generation was introduced in October 2017. The Leaf’s range on a full charge has been increased gradually from 117 km (73 miles) to 364 km (226 miles) (EPA rated), due to the use of a larger battery pack along with several minor improvements.

“Among other awards and recognition, the Leaf has won the 2010 Green Car Vision Award, the 2011 European Car of the Year, the 2011 World Car of the Year, and the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Japan. Global sales totalled 577,000 Leaf’s by February 2022. As of September 2021, European sales totalled more than 208,000 units,[3] and, as of December 2021, over 165,000 units had been sold in the U.S., and 157,000 in JapanThe Leaf listed as the world’s all-time top selling plug-in electric car through December 2019. The Tesla Model 3 surpassed the Leaf in early 2020 to become the all-time best selling electric car.”

The evergreen leaf
Charging up the Leaf. Photo courtesy of Harry Darby.

I look forward to hearing more stories of Sue and Harry’s travels in their Leaf.

Related stories from CleanTechnica writers:


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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

David Waterworth has 738 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth