The Nissan Leaf (also formatted “LEAF” as a backronym for leading environmentally-friendly affordable family car) is a compact five-door hatchback electric car manufactured by Nissan and introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, followed by various European countries and Canada in 2011. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official range for the 2016 model year Leaf with the 30 kWh battery is 172 km (107 miles) on a full battery charge, while the trim with the smaller 24 kWh battery is 135 km (84 miles), the same as the 2014/15 model year.As of December 2015, the Nissan Leaf is the world’s all-time best selling highway-capable all-electric car. Leaf global sales passed the 200,000 unit milestone in December 2015, five years after its introduction. As of December 2015, the top markets for Leaf sales are the United States with over 89,000 units, followed by Japan with over 57,000 units, and Europe with over 49,000 Leafs. The European market is led by Norway with over 15,000 new units, and the U.K. with over 12,000 units registered.As an all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf produces no tailpipe pollution or greenhouse gas emissions at the point of operation, and contributes to reduced dependence on petroleum. Among other awards and recognition, the Nissan Leaf won the 2010 Green Car Vision Award, the 2011 European Car of the Year, the 2011 World Car of the Year, and the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Design.
The Leaf’s frontal style is characterized by a sharp V-shape design with large, up slanting light-emitting diode (LED) headlights that create a distinctive blue internal reflective design. The headlights also split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, which reduces wind noise and aerodynamic drag. The LED low-beam headlights consume less electricity than the halogen lamps. Nissan sought to make the Leaf appealing to mainstream drivers by giving it a familiar sedan- and hatchback-like design. The bottom of the car has aerodynamic paneling to reduce drag and improve aerodynamics as much as possible. According to Nissan, the 2011 Leaf has a drag coefficient of Cd=0.29, which was reduced to Cd=0.28 for the 2013 model year Leaf.
The Leaf uses an 80 kW (110 hp) and 280 N•m (210 ft•lb) front-mounted synchronous electric motor driving the front axle, powered by a 24 kWh lithium ion battery pack rated to deliver up to 90 kW (120 hp) power.The pack contains air-cooled, stacked laminated Lithium ion manganese oxide batterys.The 2011/12 model Leaf has a top speed of over 150 km/h (93 mph). Unofficially, 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) performance has been tested at 9.9 seconds.
The 24 kWh electric vehicle battery (total capacity; usable battery capacity is about 21.3 kWh) consists of 48 modules and each module contains four battery cells, a total of 192 cells, and is assembled by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) – a joint venture between Nissan, NEC and NEC Energy Devices, at Zama, Japan. The battery and control module together weigh 218 kg (480 lb) the specific energy of the cells is 140 W•h/kg.
The Leaf’s design locates the battery, the heaviest part of any EV, below the seats and rear foot space, keeping the center of gravity as low as possible and increasing structural rigidity compared to a conventional five-door hatchback.
The battery pack is expected to retain 70% to 80% of its capacity after 10 years but its actual lifespan depends on how often DC fast charging (480 volts DC) is used and also on driving patterns and environmental factors. Nissan said the battery will lose capacity gradually over time but it expects a lifespan of over 10 years under normal use. The 2011/12 Leaf’s battery was initially guaranteed by Nissan for eight years or 160,000 km (100,000 miles) (see Warranty subsection below under United States for limitations). Nissan stated in 2015 that until then only 0.01 percent of batteries, produced since 2010, had to be replaced because of failures or problems and then only because of externally inflicted damage. There are few vehicles that have already covered more than 200,000 km away. These have no problems with the battery.