New owners - Helpful hints for acquainting yourself with a Nissan LEAF

I own a 2012 Nissan LEAF in Brisbane, Australia. Below are suggestions based on my experiences. The LEAF is an awesome car, but does have a few quirks.

Options (that I would purchase)

  • Rear and Front Parking sensors (useful as you can't see the corners of the car)
  • Floor Mats

Distance needed for everyday commute

  • I believe you need to calculate the usable distance with a degraded battery in mind (unless you lease, then you don't care). This car is suitable for a return commute of about 80 km. At 75% capacity (9 capacity bars) a 80% charge will take you approximately 95 km. If you have a longer commute, you will need to use 100% charging or charge twice per commute.


  • Watch the black plastic inserts in the doors and centre console, it scratches easily. Especially from watches and zippers.
  • Carwings is useful, but some features can be unavailable for weeks at a time (usually features that need to contact the car). I avoid depending on it for charging and pre conditioning (use the timers instead).
  • The charger maps are not always updated, so use Plug Share ( ) and the Chargepoint ( ) phone applications. 
  • Keep the car battery as cool as possible. It lasts longer. I like carports as he car sits outside in the cool, but is still protected. If in a garage, then try not to park it next to a hot ICE car, they radiate heat for hours.
  • Become familiar with the parking brake, it can be a bit quirky. The parking brake will auto release when you put it in gear and press on the accelerator (in D mode), but in reverse it acts differently. Try parking on a steepish hill with the nose down, then try to reverse up the hill without rolling forward. Good to get used to how it works.
  • Watch the grabby brakes (very infrequent).  When in stop start traffic, if you press, don't fully release and press again, it can apply the breaks too hard. If it gets grabby, take you foot off the brake and press again.
  • Hard brake pedal on start (very infrequent). If you start the car and the brake pedal feels hard (before you have selected D or R with the hand brake still applied), then take your foot off the brake, turn the car off, then on again. It should go soft (normal feel for a LEAF). If you don't wish to restart the car, mash the brake down hard to get the feel before releasing the handbrake. After a bit it will go back to soft.
  • The heater will eat power, so avoid using it from cold, use the preheating while connected to the mains, then you only need to maintain the heat. Also, there has been a three failures I know of in the heaters, so if new, crank the heat up and test it works.
  • The Reversing Camera gets wet when it rains, so the view becomes unusable, not much you can do.
  • Purchase a 12V accessory USB adapter ( onboard USB supports .5A, but some devices need 2A ).


  • Order a chargepoint card (or you will not be able to use many chargers, even tho they are free).
  • Fill to 80% (longlife mode). If you need 100%, then try to use the car once the charge finishes (I try to use it within 30 minutes). If left at 100% for too long, your battery will start damaging reactions.
  • Try not to use the bottom two power bars if possible.
  • Use the charging timers. I start charging at midnight and it is normally at 80% by 5am. But this is also a pain. If you want to charge outside those hours, you have to press the timer override, which then fills to 100%, Doh!
  • Get an EVSE. I prefer the Keba chargers from Recharging NSW (  ). They are really good and reasonably priced, but you need to purchase a cable to use them. Also the Aerovironment is good (  ).  You need to add freight and installation (I paid about $400 for installation).
  • You never know when you need to charge, so always have the brick in the boot.
  • Purchase a 10AMP to 15AMP socket convertor so you can use the brick anywhere ( )
  • Watch out for chargers in places that have nothing to do (e.g. the charger at forest glen on the sunshine coast does not have much to do for 3 hours while charging. But the chargers near the beach have heaps to do).


  • Make sure you know how far, how fast and how hilly your route is. You need this to work out charging requirements.  Also check the wind, as you have to add it to your speed. Use can use this chart for estimate power consumption. ( )
  • Watch your energy consumption, try to keep energy usage about 0.1 kWh / km to get the most distance (if needed).
  • On highways, I keep to 90 km/h, is not too slow and doesn't eat too much energy. The faster you go, the more power you will consume.
  • Check tyres before leaving. Under inflated tyres eat range.
  • Check the sat nav directions with google maps. Sometimes the sat nav gets confused (or the maps are out of date). I have changed the default route calculation to minimum motorway (tho sometimes this can use more energy).
  • Check the chargers you are going to use are working (some can be seen in the chargepoint app, some in the plugshare app).

Internet Forums

I find these forums very useful

Youtube Channels

These are videos from owners of different electric cars

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