2018 Nissan Leaf

by Ben N on June 25, 2018

On my way to the MREA Energy Fair this last weekend, I stopped at a Nissan dealership to top off the battery on my electric car. While there, I got to take a look at a 2018 Nissan Leaf with pretty much all the bells and whistles. What a nice car!

Pulling into Bergstrom Nissan, I drove around the back of the building and plugged in my car. After that, I headed straight to the 2018 Leaf, which was parked right out front. First off though, I did NOT take it for a drive. The car was parked in, and we would have had to do quite some shuffling to get it out.

Starting from the outside, the 2018 got a complete restyling of the exterior. The rear hatch area looks sporty and the front now has lights that actually LOOK like Nissan headlights.

The particular car that I got to see was the SV trim level with the All Weather and Technology packages added. Essentially, it’s the SL trim, only missing the “Birds Eye View” camera system.
The big specs on the car are a 40kWh battery pack which is good for 150 miles per charge, powering a peppy 110 kW electric drive motor. The car’s internal charger is capable of up to 6.6kw charging, and it also includes CHAdeMO DC fast charging. Another neat upgrade is that the included EVSE (charging cord) is capable of 120V OR 240V charging! It has an adapter for the popular NEMA 14-50 connector, meaning that you could use the included EVSE for home use at 120 or 240V or for travel, including charing at RV park connections.

IMG_9287The Technology Package adds a number of advanced driver assist features, including Lane Keeping and Intelligent Cruise Control. That gives the car the ability to automatically come to a complete stop in a traffic jam, and then accelerate again (automatically) once traffic begins moving. Lane Keeping will keep you between the lines on the interstate no matter how curvy the road gets.

Standard on the Leaf is the “E-Pedal”. A switch near the gear selector activates this feature. Once enabled, the driver can pilot the car completely with just the accelerator. Letting off the accelerator will automatically slow the car, activate the brake lights, and can even bring the car to a full stop. It feels a bit strange to drive a car like this, but a person can get used to it really quick! It certainly makes for a different driving experience, and I imagine it would be fantastic for city driving and traffic jams. (Please forgive me, but the video clip covering this feature was accidentally deleted, so it didn’t make the cut into the video!)

IMG_9338Once I was at the Energy Fair, I met Jeff, who was showcasing his 2018 Leaf. His was the SL model, but otherwise happened to be the same color, also have the cloth seats, and by any other stretch of the imagination, his car and the one at the dealership were identical (except for the birds-eye-view cams!). Jeff told me a bit about the advanced driver assistance tools on the car, ending the conversation with “It’s basically an autonomous car.” He was thrilled to have a car with those types of features WITHOUT the expense and waiting period of a Tesla Model 3.

This particular car comes in at a MSRP of $36,855. $900 of that is the All Weather package (heated seats, heat pump, heated mirrors, etc.) and $2,200 for the Technology package. Beside the driver assist features, the Technology Package also upgrades the headlights to LED, the EVSE to 120/240 compatibility, and gives you an 8-way power driver’s seat. Assuming you can benefit from the $7,500 tax credit (consult your tax professional,) that brings the cost down to just under. $30,000. Although Wisconsin doesn’t offer any additional incentive, some other states do and some utilities or other parties can also add discounts.

I also have to say that I was impressed speaking with the sales person at the dealership. It actually turned out that he was also the general manager there. He was more than happy to speak with me about the car and was knowledgable about all it’s features. Unfortunately, MOST dealerships just DON’T know how to sell electric cars. It was refreshing to have professional staff who knew what they were selling!

If you haven’t yet seen the new Nissan Leaf, please take a look. The larger battery pack and autonomous features are nice upgrades. While it doesn’t have the range that the Chevy Bolt or Tesla Model 3 have, it’s certainly a contender, and it’s the flagship electric car of the first mainstream car company to really throw their weight behind a full 50-state release of an all electric vehicle.

Until next time, stay charged up!


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