We traded in our last internal combustion car for a Nissan Leaf last week. We got off to a rocky start when during the first charging cycle something went very wrong. The information on the CAN bus was garbage so the car wouldn't run or charge or provide meaningful diagnostics. After trying everything they could think of and making slow progress with Nissan corporate the dealer replaced our Leaf with a new one. This was after only three days of trying to diagnose the first car. Kudos to Boulder Nissan!
We don't have many miles on it yet, but here are my first impressions:
- I love it. When you press your foot on the gas it goes. Take your foot off the gas it slows. Put your foot on the brake and it goes into regeneration mode and slowly stops. Best of all when you are sitting at a stop light it is utterly quiet. Not idling. Just quiet. Everything is smooth and efficient. No gear changes. No vroom-vroom. No tail smog.
- Eco-mode is a trip. Both my wife and I have tried to calm our driving styles over the years. Eco-mode enforces this. During acceleration I am just keeping up with traffic. There is no top speed limit in eco-mode, of course. It just takes longer to get there. If for some reason you are in a hurry non-eco-mode is always available.
- Running the climate controls does put a load on the battery. I needed defogging during a snow storm yesterday and as soon as I turned on the heating unit the range dropped from 90 to 70 miles. This tells me two things: to be judicious with the use of these accessories and the unbelievable waste of gas cars that they can warm the interior of the car to tropical temperatures on cold days with just waste energy. Argh!
My life style doesn't involve much driving. I do a lot of walking and bicycling both because I enjoy it and because we all need regular exercise and this is the easiest way for me to get it. I'll probably drive only a little more now, but when I do it will be a delight to do it in a vehicle such as this.