Day 1: My Week In The Nissan Leaf

Who is laughing now, gas station.
A brand new Nissan Leaf rolled out off a car carrier and into my life earlier today. I plan on spending a good deal of time with this red devil over the coming week. You see, here at CrunchGear, there’s been a raging format war of sorts. Devin, a hipster of a moderate degree, is very fond of the Nissan Leaf. He’s proclaimed on numerous occasions that an EV is perfect car for him and he’s going to replace his ’91 Plymouth Voyager with one whenever they drop in price. I hail from the other side, Team Chevy Volt. I very much respect the  expensive but versatile series hybrid powertrain found in the GM product. We both however agree that the future will not be made up by just one alternative power source and both the Leaf and the Volt are aimed at slightly different markets.

As much as I like the Volt, the Leaf is a very important step in the right direction. Never before has a consumer-level EV been mass produced and sold like the Nissan Leaf. Several different trim levels are available through ten countries. It’s a tad pricey, but first gen products almost always are. The one parked in my driveway (and connected to my power) has a window sticker price of $35,440, which includes the $940 SL package that includes fog lights, rear-view cam, and a solar panel spoiler. That’s not cheap. Thankfully, the Leaf doesn’t feel cheap either.

I just took it for a quick 45 mile cruise and came home satisfied. I was expecting a soulless vehicle. I thought it was going to be something that was more of a tool rather than a car. But it’s not. Of course I’m basing this on one drive so my sample size is rather small. The plan is to park my Dodge Magnum for a week and replace it completely with the Leaf. If the Leaf, with it’s limited range, can’t reach a location, then I guess I’m not going. Living in suburbia just outside of Flint, MI, this might mean some skipped trips.

I understand this isn’t exactly the Leaf’s intended use. It’s marketed as a limited range vehicle, but I want to fully explore how range anxiety affects mundane errands and everyday tasks. I mapped out my first drive on Google Maps to make sure I wasn’t exceeding the Leaf’s range. I expect to do that several more times during my time with this Leaf.

Expect much more Leaf coverage over the next week. There’s actually a lot to show in the vehicle. Feel free to drop questions in the comments below.