When the original Nissan Leaf was launched in late 2010, it was the first (current era) mass produced fully battery electric vehicle (BEV) to be designed from the ground up. (The Mitsubishi iMiEV was based on their earlier petrol i-car, and the only Tesla then available was based on a Lotus Elise body).
Ground-breaking in many ways the Nissan Leaf won a multitude of motoring awards around the world.
However, updates to the first Leaf have been slow in coming, particularly so here in Australia where only 2011/12 Leafs were ever officially brought in by Nissan. Australia therefore missed out on the upgraded battery chemistry in 2014, a larger battery charger, as well as the increase in battery size to 30kWh in late 2016. (Although some of these later first generation Leafs have come to Australia as ‘grey imports’.)
Only in early 2018 was a major upgrade to the Leaf released – the Leaf 2.ZERO. The major changes were a 40kWh battery along with a number of interior and exterior styling changes. The Leaf 2.ZERO was followed in early 2019 by a minor upgrade called the 3.ZERO and the 3.ZERO+.
The 3.ZERO+ in particular included the much anticipated 63kWh battery that finally allowed it to catch up to Leaf’s major competitors.
The new generation Leaf that finally launched for sale in Australia in August 2019 is effectively the Leaf 2.ZERO – it doesn’t include the minor improvements of the 3.ZERO, nor the 3.ZERO+ 63kWh battery option.
Nissan Leaf ZE1 Variants
|Variant||Battery (kWh)||WLTP Range (km)||EPA Range (km)||Power Output (Nm)||Maximum Torque (kW)||Plug Types (AC/DC)||Max Charge Rate (AC/DC)||Price|
|Leaf ZE1||40||270||240||110||320||Type 2 (AC) /CHAdeMO (DC)||7/50||$49,990+|
|Leaf ZE1 e+||62||385||364||160||340||Type 2 (AC) /CHAdeMO (DC)||7/50||$60,490+|
The ZE1 Leaf has a quoted range of 270 km under the new European WLTP test cycle# and 315 using the current Australian mandated test cycle. Real world driving range however is closer to 240 km.
For instance the Leaf would, at its limit, make a round-trip from the Melbourne CBD to Ballarat and back – provided neither the heating or air conditioning were used. For this sort of trip, a 30 min to 1hr top-up AC charge over lunch in Ballarat, or a 5 – 10 min DC fast charge (none yet available on this route) would be recommended.
# WLTP range figures are not yet mandated in Australia.
The ZE1 Leaf is fitted with a Type 2 AC socket and a CHAdeMO socket for DC charging.
Note: the ZE1 Leaf can be charged at any Type 1 or Type 2 AC EVSE, however an adaptor will be needed to use EVSEs fitted with Type 1 plugs.
Although fitted with the 3 phase type 2 AC socket, the ZE1 Leaf charges using single phase AC only at a maximum of 7kW (32A).
Charging speeds vary on the capacity of the EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) it is connected to and the chosen battery size. Charging times are shown in the table below.
DC fast charging
The ZE1 Leaf uses the CHAdeMO fast-charge connector.
The only remaining car manufacturers using CHAdeMO are Nissan and Mitsubishi. Most other EVs fitted with DC fast charge use the CCS2 socket – which is becoming the majority type of DC fast-charge connector in both Australia and overseas.
Nissan Leaf ZE1 Time to Charge (hrs)
|Variant||Battery size (kWh)||15A socket 1 Phase (2.4kW)||16A 1 phase (3.6kW)||32A 1 phase (7.2kW)||16A 3 phase (11kW)||DC Fast Charge (50kW)||DC Fast Charge (100kW)|
|Leaf ZE1||40||24h||14h||7.5h||14h||60m (to 80%)||60m (to 80%)|
|Leaf ZE1 e+||62||27h||10h20||10h20||3h||90m (to 80%)||45m (to 80%)|
HOME CHARGING CONSIDERATIONS
To get the shortest home charging time for a ZE1 Leaf, a 7kW AC EVSE would be needed.
However, depending on your existing power supply and/or charging needs, a lower rated EVSE may only be practicable, or needed. (See notes below). Lower capacity EVSEs will increase charging times, as shown in table 1 above.
The ZE1 Leaf also comes with a Mode 2 portable EVSE for plugging into a 15A power point. Charging with this EVSE will take approx. 24hrs to reach full-charge from empty.
Nissan Leaf ZE1 Specifications
|Variant||Cargo space (litres)||Cargo Space with rear seats folded (litres)||Length (mm)||Width (mm)||Width with mirrors (mm)||Height (mm)||Tow Rating (braked / unbraked)|