The cheapest Leaf these days has a 40kWh battery, which is quite an upgrade from the 24kWh offered in the original Leaf when it was first launched in 2011. The 40kWh version is the most popular and is said to give a 168 mile range according to the official figures. We reckon you should be able to go for 150 miles without getting in too much of a sweat. The recently-introduced 62kW version is almost £5,000 more expensive and is only available as the range-topping Tekna trim, but gives an official range of 239 miles – we’d say that should comfortably translate to 210-220 real-world miles.
Nissan has been making electric car batteries since 2011 and there have been almost no incidences of them failing in the UK – they seem to be extremely reliable. Like in most electric cars, the battery pack sits underneath the passenger compartment, keeping in safe in an accident and making sure the centre of gravity is low to make the car feel stable.
The Leaf battery has received some criticism for it's lack of a cooling system though. It means that cars which have been driven at motorway speeds and then rapid charged more than once in a day can experience delays as the protection software restricts the charge speed to prevent overheating.
The Leaf’s charging port is in the nose of the car, which makes it very easy to plug in if your chosen charger is at the front of a parking bay, but can be tricky if you have to stretch back to the side or rear of the car.
The charger flap contains two different ports. The first accepts what’s known as a Type 2 charger and is used with your home or a public charger. All Leafs now accept up to 6.6kW as standard, so should be fully topped up from empty in around six hours.
The second larger socket is for a 50W CHdeMO rapid charger, as found at Nissan dealers, motorway services and many other public places.