Nissan Leaf; Love it or hate it.

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I invite you to participate in my dilemma. My house is off the grid, running on solar. I commute less than 30 miles per day on average. I need an electric car. Everything else seems stupid in comparison. I drove Audi, BMW and Porsche all my life, with little regard for the Japanese competition. They just didn’t cut it for me. 

BMW and VW are planning to launch their first E-versions 2013 and 2014 respectively, so nothing there yet. too long to wait. Nissan? Scary. After a little research I find that the Leaf is pretty much the only EV out there worth looking at. So off to the dealer I am.  What’s interesting is that you can actually test drive a Leaf as much as you like. Unlike Tesla, there is no rope or applause when you depart and arrive from the test drive (see my blog about the test ride). 

I made an appointment with a local dealer and here I am looking at the Leaf. My first impression is that this car is not exactly pretty. The term ugly crossed my mind several times. This is about as much of a departure from the clean cut lines of German car design that you could think of. But the greater good of “its electric” clearly dominates my mind so I take a leap of faith and step in. Hmmm. The inside is not much prettier that the outside, but here I may suffer again from being used to German minimalist ergonomics. Clearly not what the designer of the leaf had in mind. I can deal.

Start button and off we go. The absence of the Tesla circus around the test drive already makes this a lot more pleasant. 

Right away, the Leaf is not what I expected. I thought it would feel flimsy. the opposite is the case - it feels strangely “solid”. Something that expected from the Tesla Model S due to its sheer size, but certainly not here on the Leaf.

A very pleasant silent ride. After a few blocks I decide to test the power - amazingly quick and responsive, again way more power I would have expected and certainly more than enough for city and highway driving. Here comes the question from the sales man next to me “So how do you like it?” I answer honestly - “Its ugly, but I love it”.  The sales man gives me a bit of a bewildered look, but then figures that this must somehow be good. It is. It really is.

The statement sums it up. I love the car. Not the looks so much, but the rest is amazing. Great space and has everything else I need. I am sold. 

I decide to buy the Leaf in white to minimize the thermal factor in the blistering heat we live in. Well lease it. I am not ready to buy this car at $38K or so (before the $7,500 federal tax credit), simply because I have no idea what it will be worth in 2 years from now.