My Beef with the Leaf
So you’ve heard me rave about how much I love my Nissan Leaf, but it’s time for a little rant. Here are some gripes I have with the Leaf, and why I plan to trade this one in as soon as it is paid off.
First of all, the Leaf has THE worst battery management of ANY electric car currently sold on the U.S. market.
This is the biggest one. and results in Leaf batteries suffering battery degradation much, much higher than other EV’s on the market. All it would have taken is for Nissan to have incorporated some kind of battery cooling. As it stands, when the Leaf battery heats up, the battery’s capacity starts to die.
CHAdeMO is a dead end!
Essentially, there are three fast charging standards. Tesla, CCS, and CHAdeMO. Tesla is doing their own thing, CCS is what almost everyone else uses, and CHAdeMO is the Betamax of the charging world. While one could prossibly write an entire paragraph praising the benefits of the CHAdeMo standard, virtually no one else is using it. Even Nissan’s new SUV is equipped with CCS. Combine that with the fact that CHAdeMO chargers are almost non-existent in the Midwest, and it’s easy to see that the CHAdeMO port is almost as useful as tits on a bull.
No “Hilltop Reserve” anymore.
It’s bad enough that the battery is going to degrade faster than any other, but unless you pull out early, it will always charge to 100%. Older Leafs used to be able to automatically stop at 80%, and this would go a long way towards extending the longevity of the vehicle’s battery. Sadly, Nissan decided they wanted to make damn sure their batteries went South as quickly as possible. Since few people will hover over their car as it charges in order to “pull out” at the right moment, most owners simply acquiesce to fully charge their cars. Great for tomorrow morning’s range, but devastating to next year’s range.
Sorry, there are no aftermarket upgrades.
Of course here is where I should have done a little better research, and this applies to EVERY electric vehicle out there. Unless something goes catastrophically wrong while the car is still under warranty, the battery that comes with the vehicle will stay with the vehicle for the life of the vehicle. Yes, battery swaps exist, but few people will ever have the wherewithal for upgrades and battery swaps. You get what you get.
With a firm understanding of that latest revelation, here is my revised advice for determining the necessary range of any EV you are considering: Think about how far your longest typical drive would be. By typical, I’m referring to the longest drive you actually make on an occasional basis, not a hypothetical what-if scenario. Now double that number. If the number is not greater than 250, do not buy an EV with less range than that. If the number is greater than 250, don’t buy anything less than a 250 mile range.
So you don’t like your Leaf anymore?
No, I am not saying I don’t like my Leaf. I love this car. When my Plymouth Breeze was on its last legs, I knew I wanted to replace it with an EV, and a used Leaf is simply the most affordable EV with the most bang for your buck. But after a few months I’ve realized that while there are many wonderful benefits I adore, there are also a few drawbacks I abhor, and they should be considered before making this kind of major financial decision.
Thanks T.O.R. and Darin. The submission page is at your disposal. I’ll keep moving them over to the queue as I find time.
You know, I finally realized the header images for this site were woefully dated. Maybe one of you could give me a heads up some time? And let me know if the new look isn’t working.