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Long Term

Living with Leaf: Nissan Leaf Owners Suggest Improvements

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author photo by Joni Gray

The popularity of online owner forums has helped manufacturers gain instant access to its customers in a casual, open environment and Nissan Leaf owners are no exception.

A club leader started a thread in the popular forum, mynissanleaf.com, to ask forum members to make a list of likes and dislikes in order to share this information with a Nissan engineer traveling from Japan. The executive will be visiting members of the San Francisco area owners group in early December looking for owner feedback on future improvements.

Since the owners have grown from just under 1,000 to 6,000 in just one year, it was interesting to peruse this list in light of my own experience with the car. Although the cheers and jeers were all over the map, I could relate to at least three in each category:


  1. Low cost to operate
    Nothing feels sweeter than avoiding gas stations and their random cost per gallon signs that move ever upward year after year.
  2. Excellent acceleration when needed
    The thrill of taking off in drive mode in my Leaf is one of the main reasons I don't score well in the rankings that compares me to other drivers on Carwings. Worth it.
  3. Quiet, smooth ride
    Car companies spend untold millions to make internal combustion engines drive smoother and more quietly - this car has both qualities completely covered naturally and without any over-engineering.

Need improvement:

  1. Need more range
    Several folks complained that the range should increase if not be doubled, to at least have a full 100 miles or 120 miles to comfortably drive in. I think this is reasonable and I hope Nissan is able to be first to achieve it.
  2. Change "miles remaining" to "SOC" (state of charge)
    This is a huge issue for all Leaf owners. Nissan uses an algorithm of past driving history and average trip information to guess how many miles remain on your car, but it fluctuates wildly. Most people want an actual gauge showing you how much charge is left in the car.
  3. Need additional way to open charging door
    The locked charging door in the front of the car has only one latch to open it - inside the car in a very low, awkward place. A remote button on the key would be nice.

Perhaps future Nissan Leaf owners will benefit from suggestions made for the car's future. Although, some of the suggestions seemed silly even to other owners in the forum, such as the request for a solar panel that would provide 1kW to the car's power. Another owner answered, "Do you know how much area would be required for 1kW of generation? How big do you want them to make the Leaf 'RV edition?'"

Want to learn more? Follow our long-term test of the Nissan Leaf.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.