The Nissan Leaf has been around since 2011 and more than 26,000 have been sold in the UK, so there are plenty around on the used car market. Dealers have been incentivised to sell Leafs new and to have a fleet of demonstrator cars for customers. These are often sold on when just a few months old and will have a useful chunk of discount compared to the new cost. If you are financing the purchase, be careful to check that it’s not more sensible to take Nissan’s incentives on a new car though, as it may well work out cheaper!
The Leaf was given substantial revamp in 2017, with a new look and more technology. The cars made before this, with the vertical lamps at the front and rear, are the cheapest and most plentiful. They are available with two battery sizes – if you can cope with a range of around 100 miles, then the 24kWh battery models are usefully cheaper.
The very earliest cars, from 2011 until 2013, were made in Japan and are easily identified by their beige-coloured interiors. These didn’t have the advances used in later models and the batteries will be quite old, meaning the range could be only around 60 miles. If you can live with it, these offer cheap and reliable motoring.
It’s worth checking the service history carefully. As cars get older, owners might have been tempted to have them serviced by someone other than a Nissan dealer. This isn’t necessarily a problem, as long as it’s been done by someone who understands electric cars – and there aren’t many specialists out there yet.
Finally, check the condition of the battery. Look at the battery meter (the electric car equivalent of the fuel gauge). There should be twelve dots next to the charge level bars – any less and it means the battery has lost capacity and your car will have a lower range.