I’m not a car blogger and I never will be, but this was too good not to talk about, so let me start at the beginning….
Last weekend, Brad and I had the opportunity to use a Nissan Leaf for the afternoon.
The Leaf is Nissan’s all-electric car. It uses no gas. None. It also completely blows my mind because there are a lot of counter intuitive things about this car that make. complete. sense. At least when you step out of your I’ve only ever driven a gas-powered car before mindset.
If you want to know how an electric car works, this is not the blog for you to read. I want to tell you about the experience of driving one for the afternoon.
We got in the car with a “range” of 101 miles and headed to Costco. We parked the car in a space somewhere in the middle of the vast sea of vehicles. When we got out a man and his son came walking over and asked, “Is that Nissan’s electric car?” When Brad answered that yes it was, the guy had a bunch of questions about it so we talked for awhile, said good day, then did our shopping. When we walked out to the car, there was a family exciting their vehicle, staring at it. I heard the man say, “That’s the Nissan Leaf. It doesn’t take gas” to the woman with him.
We hopped on the highway to head home and couldn’t count the number of people checking out the car. Not that it’s a flashy vehicle, it just looks a little different (and the ZERO EMISSIONS graphic doesn’t let you blend in).
A car with a couple of young men in it passed us and the passengers waved at us and gave us a thumbs up. (The last time I got a thumbs up while driving is when I was at a stop light next to someone driving the exact same car I was… and it was my mom’s car.)
It was incredibly interesting to see and hear people recognize a gas-less car. The only people to scowl at the car were driving a Prius.
We returned the Leaf with a little more than half the range on it and we had run our errands, traveling about 50 miles and using absolutely no gas and creating no pollution.
The Nissan Leaf is in its second model year and is available throughout the U.S. As of January, there had been 10,000 Leafs sold in the US (source), but I imagine that number has grown some. I would totally count this vehicle as unique transportation though.
It is a small vehicle, but as Nissan says, it is as “5-door family hatchback with seating for 5” (source). We had four adults in the car comfortably. The backseat sits a little higher because of the battery packs underneath, but my husband who is over 6-feet-tall sat in the back seat with no issues.
Going into the whole thing, I kind of expected to be driving something much more space-age-y, but it really felt like a normal car. But it was super quiet!
Want more pictures? Here you go:
Note: Nissan (including the dealership that allowed us to test drive the Leaf for the afternoon) did not request, sponsor or even know I would be blogging about our experience. I am receiving no compensation for this post and we test drove the vehicle for reasons other than blog material. This is solely my opinion/experience. Also all pictures were taken by either me or my husband.
Update: This car is now my husband’s primary vehicle.
Wow, that’s pretty cool. I haven’t seen one of those around my area. It definitely piques my interest though. Nice to hear from a “real” person (not a “paid spokesperson” on TV) that it’s so roomy.
I never have space issues in cars, but we sometimes have headroom trouble with my husband, so it was surprising. They are pretty interesting cars. Nissan has some sort of test drive event where they take them to different cities and let people test drive them. They had one in Columbus last summer but we couldn’t go.
I have been interested in the Nissan Leaf since it came out, soley for the fact that it is environmentally friendly. I don’t believe in gasoline. Now if only the price would come down just a bit, it’d be perfect 😉 Did it get up to speed pretty quickly? Was it good for highway? I actually was reading up on the Leaf several days ago, then I saw this blog! Thanks for sharing your experience with the Leaf.
It’s a really nice vehicle… which is why we bought it. The zero emissions is nice not only to the environment but also to the wallet because it doesn’t take gasoline. With our electricity costs, it’s about $1.50 per “fill up.” Getting up to speed is not an issue and it performs fine on the highway, but it’s actually made for the in town, stop-and-go traffic since it has regenerative brakes. Until electric vehicles can have a range of more than 120 miles, we decided that one of us would need to keep a gas-powered vehicle for longer trips. Brad’s commute is about 35 miles in stop and go traffic so the Leaf was perfect. In a few years the cost will come down, especially as more 100% electric cars come out.
So you own it now? That’s awesome. We are green here so seeing green cars become more mainstream and affordable is awesome.
It’ll probably take a few years, but as more electric and hybrid models are made competition and the availability of used cars will drive the prices a bit lower.