We’d hope it’s safe to say that, if you’re in the market for a Nissan Leaf, you’ll be confident that you can deal with its shortcomings as a conventional family car. In effect, it has to be a second car.
Relative to its conventionally engined opposition – and if you opt to buy the car and its battery pack outright, it is a little pricey for a Focus-sized car, regardless of the fact that it is well equipped. The cheapest Leaf worth considering is probably the mid-range Acenta model with a limited mileage battery lease, which costs around the same price as 10 gallons of fuel.
Moreover, the Leaf costs only a few pounds to charge (Nissan estimates £2 on a cheap tariff) and nothing in road tax. As a company car, it currently exempts its driver entirely from benefit-in-kind tax, although the are government plans afoot to change that.
Throw in conventional servicing costs and acceptable residuals, and ultimately it’s not so hard to make a financial case for the Leaf. Beneath a flap on the Leaf’s nose lie two charging sockets. One is for charging from a domestic supply, which takes seven or eight hours for a full charge. From a designated quick-charging point, an 80 per cent charge can take half an hour, Nissan claims.
The Leaf offers a limited number of factory-fit options. Apart from metallic paint, buyers can choose a 6.6kW on-board charger and a Rapid Charge Port that allows 50kW DC charging. The Visia has the option of a reversing camera, the Acenta headed seats and steering wheel and the Tekna a solar panel on the roof spoiler, which helps to charge the 12-volt battery (for powering accessories), not the main drive batteries.