- Depending on where you charge it, the Leaf is cheap to recharge
- If you have a home charger and do it overnight, you’ll be quids in
- Depreciation and long-term costs are still an unknown quantity
As with any electric car, the ‘fuelling’ costs of a Nissan Leaf are very low indeed. This is one of the big advantages of a car like this – you don’t pour petrol or diesel into it at a rate of £50-odd a tank. But for those who don’t charge up at home, beware of inconsistent recharging costs. Some private charging companies have recently begun ramping up their fees.
Stick to charging at home, and Nissan claims you'll spend just £300 per year keeping the Leaf topped-up with electricity over an average annual mileage. At the time of writing a full charge on an overnight domestic tariff should cost around £2.
Disappointing Nissan Leaf residual values
One invisible cost to be wary of are Nissan Leaf resale values - they're not great, largely because many second-hand car buyers are sceptical about the longevity of electric cars, and the shelf life of the batteries in particular.
Regardless of trim level, expect a three-year-old Leaf with 30,000 miles on the odometer to be worth just 38% of its new price. In time these figures should climb as there's greater acceptance of electric car technology.
Ongoing running costs
|Servicing period||As determined by the on-board computer|
|Warranty||Three years/60,000 miles; battery pack and BEV-specific components five years/60,000 miles|
|Road tax (12 months)||£0 - £320|
How much is it to insure?
Vehicle excise duty (VED) varies according to the CO2 emissions and the fuel type of the vehicle. For cars registered before 01 March 2001 it is based on engine size. For cars registered on or after 01 March 2001 the VED or road tax is based on the car's CO2 emissions.
The Nissan Leaf produces no tailpipe emissions of any kind – one of its greatest selling points and something that will get increasingly significant as towns and cities begin to look more and more closely at air quality issues. You’re unlikely to ever get banned from driving in a city centre the way you might in a diesel if you’ve got an electric car.
That said, if you want to be truly green, you also need to look at the way you charge it – does your electricity come from renewable sources or pollution-heavy traditional means such as burning fossil fuels?
Nissan is planning to ease these kinds of concerns by creating what it calls an entire electric eco-system, including selling customers solar panel installations and static batteries for off-peak electric storage (using recycled Nissan Leaf battery packs) in order to minimise both the environmental impact and the Leaf’s running costs. Generate enough of your own electricity, and in some idealised scenarios you could end up running your Leaf for free.
- Overall Nissan reliability is above average
- BEVs have fewer mechanical parts to go wrong
- Keep it serviced regularly and it should prove niggle-free
The Nissan Leaf has proven itself reliable and dependable, with owners willingly sharing tales of blissfully problem-free driving in keeping with Nissan’s claims of a 94% customer satisfaction rate – the highest of any of its models.
Notions that electric cars are complex and unreliable is rapidly diminishing, thanks in part to companies like Nissan that build cars to high quality standards, but also due to the increasing realisation that they have fewer mechanical parts to wear out than conventional vehicles.
This makes them cheap and relatively easy to service, leaving the first and second owners to really only worrying about consumables. And there are fewer of these – the Leaf requires no oil and is likely to be much lighter on its brake pads and discs than a conventionally propelled hatchback.
Of course, the Leaf does need to be serviced by dealers with BEV-specific training.
Concern over the longevity of electric car batteries also seems to be unfounded. Nissan has sold 300,000 Leafs, and claims it is yet to have a total battery failure.
Car checklist problem points
|Body||No problems reported|
|Engine / gearbox||No problems reported|
|Other||No problems reported|