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Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Very little has been mentioned thus far regarding the curb weight of the Nissan Leaf. Our initial shot at the vehicle's poundage came way back last year when we estimated, from information provided by Nissan, that the Leaf would be somewhere around 3,000 pounds. Now, the more we know about the Leaf, the more inaccurate that early estimate appears to be. So... here's our new shot at getting it right, but this time we've got a little bit of help from the gents over at HybridCars and a lot more working knowledge of the Leaf to go on. According to HybridCars, which cites an undisclosed Nissan representative, the Leaf will tip the scales right around 3,500 pounds. Coincidentally, that's also the approximate weight of the upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

Here's why we think that 3,500 pounds is at least close, if not spot on. The Leaf is built on a lengthened Versa platform. The Versa tips the scale between 2,500 and 2,800 pounds, give or take. The Leaf's battery pack weighs 660 pounds. The gasoline engine removed from the Versa is replaced by inverters, additional cabling, an electric motor and extra equipment found on the Leaf, but absent on the base Versa. All of these extras found in the Leaf should make up for the mass of the displaced Versa powerplant, leaving just the weight of the battery and lengthened platform to account for. So, starting with a 2,800-pound Versa, add 660 pounds of battery and the weight associated with lengthening it, and you've got your 3,500-pound Leaf. As always though, we'd like to hear what you think, so let us know if we're spot on or dead wrong?



Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2009 Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: HybridCars]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think Nissan likes to play the hero. Just like the price estimates a few months ago. $35k -$40k were the estimates that the "experts" agreed would be the price of the Leaf. Then Nissan dropped the bombshell.

      It seems like a smart marketing move. Hush, hush to build suspense and speculation... knowing all along that "experts" will over estimate. Get everyone talking and hyping that the Leaf will be a heavy beast. Then, drop the bombshell. Under 3000 lbs!

      ---------------

      It seems to play out like a script. I could be wrong. But I just want to go on record.


      paulwesterberg was right... ABG used faulty logic to only compare the EV components minus battery to ONLY the engine.

      "transmission, clutch, flywheel, radiator, alternator, starter, fuel pump, water pump, oil pump, exhaust pipes, catalytic converter, fuel filter, air filter, oil filter, gas lines, hoses, belts. Fluids can be quite heavy, you are removing gas, radiator fluid & engine oil."

      ------------

      The main thing is that the Leaf is designed from the ground up. They would have been smart to have been thinking "mass" right from the get go. Unlike the Versa which was not built specifically to be light.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Joe,
        You might be right and the Leaf is a light car.
        I hope not though, as if it is fairly heavy that means that Nissan have concentrated their R & D resources on the powertrain, and that we can expect that in future they can switch resources to weight saving and get still better performance for a given battery pack.
        • 5 Years Ago
        For instance...

        If Nissan simply "announced officially" that the Leaf curb weight was under 3000 lbs... then the MANY critics would still compare the Leaf to lighter vehicles (in the 2500 lbs - 3000 lbs range) that were cheaper or performed better in certain ways.

        If they allow speculation and "experts" to claim 3500 lbs... then the comparisons will be vehicles in the 3000 lbs - 3500 lbs range. Countless studies (from folks like Ward's Auto, WSJ, and other EV haters) will crop up that show how the Leaf is inferior to other cars in that weight class.

        Then Nissan makes an official statement that blows everyone away (like they did with the price). And public opinion dismisses the "weight argument", because it is perceived to be a Nissan victory against the EV skeptics.

        A brilliant marketing tactic. Nissan is no fool.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And whenever Autobloggreen gets information from an "an undisclosed Nissan representative" be VERY skeptical.

        Either, somebody is not who they say they are... or Nissan wants to spread this information "specifically" through back channels. Most likely to play the "hero" role... when they announce several hundred pounds under the "expert's" speculations.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is nonsense. The projected added weight is more than the converted Fluence. The Leaf is a dedicated EV chassis- designed from the ground up to be an EV. It does not need the additional bracing for swappable batteries like the Fluence. It should be significantly lighter than the Fluence EV- which comes in at 3400lbs. I would say 3200lbs for a LEAF is a pretty conservative estimate.

      The Volt is based on the Cruze, " loaded models would be in the 3,375-pound EPA test weight class, so that would likely put it somewhere between 3,125 and 3,375 pounds."
      http://www.autoblog.com/2010/04/19/2011-chevrolet-cruze-quick-spin/

      If you figure 3300 lbs to start with on the Cruze (a significant jump over the Cobalt and one of the heaviest cars in its class)- there is no way adding all of the electric drivetrain, over 500 lbs of batteries, additional sound dampening, etc., without deleting any major ICE component only ads a couple hundred pounds to the package. The Volt should end up coming in around 4000lbs (I think that's pretty optimistic).

      I would expect the difference in real life to be around 800 lbs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Farah, a GM Volt engineer did an interview with Jay Leno's Garage.. Leno casually mentioned 3900lbs and Farah asserted by nodding his head. The Volt is carrying an extra 600lbs in the inverters, motors and battery pack.. plus a bit more for the cabling and chassis modifications to hold the battery. The Volt is not a Cruze but you will be close if you add 600lbs to the base weight of a Cruze.

        The LEAF is a dedicated chassis, is not a Versa.. the motor and inverter in a LEAF are around 100lbs, the battery is 660lbs.. my guess the ICE and associated components in a Versa are around 600lbs so if you start with a Versa and add a 200lbs plus the bigger chassis you will end up near the true weight of the LEAF

        Thus 2700lbs + 200lbs +200lbs (bigger chassis) = 3100 is my guess for the LEAF.. and probably the reported 3500lbs is the true number.

      • 5 Years Ago
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      • 5 Years Ago
      I thought the Volt was closer to 3,800 pounds?

      I think they both are erring on the side of robust/conservative design. I would hope to see more EV's around the 2,400 pounds range, like the Th!nk City. Looking at the Edison2 Very Light Cars that are in the 650-800 pound range, and add in the 650 pounds for the battery pack, you *could* have EV's as light as 1,400 pounds or so...

      Sincerely, Neil
      • 5 Years Ago
      1) GM *sucks* at making small and/or light cars... proven history. Nissan, a Japanese automaker... nuff said. The Leaf should be lighter even if all else were equal.

      2) The Leaf pack weighs 160 pounds more than the Volt. 600 lbs in the Leaf vs. 440 lbs in the volt.

      + 160 pounds for the Leaf

      3) Curb weight includes a full tank and other fluids. Volt has a gas tank and ICE engine.

      - 80 pounds for the Leaf not having gasoline or other fluids.

      4) 1.4 Liter 4-cylinder Engine with flex fuel capability

      - 200 pounds for the Leaf not needing an ICE

      5) Radiator, exhaust system, and other ICE components are negligible by themselves... but 40 lbs total sounds right.

      - 40 pounds for the Leaf not needing ICE support components.

      5) 53 kW (71 hp) generator attached to the ICE

      -100 pounds for the Leaf not needing an generator other than main drive motor.

      6) The Leaf has a 80 kW (110 hp) Synchronous motor while the Volt has a 111 kW (149 hp) electric motor

      - 40 pounds for the Leaf for a much smaller electric drive motor

      *** Total: The Leaf should be at least 300 pounds lighter than the Volt.

      All other parts should be nearly identical for the EV components.

      --------------

      Also, Nissan is able to adapt the already Lighter Versa (2700 lbs) to an EV platform using less weight.. than adapting the heavier Cruze (2900 lbs) to an EV platform. That is 200 lbs difference in the original platform.

      Bottomline. I think the Japanese will do what they do best, make a lighter car (compared to GM).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not necessarily true about GM at all. The Cruze may be a porkbeast, but their past cars have been much lighter. I remember my Cavalier with the 2.2 and an automatic transmission weighing about 2600lb. That's nothing for a car with that size and power.

        Meanwhile, Nissans in the past have been quite heavy. Think about the 300zx being the size of a honda civic and weighing ~3400lb..

        But cars overall, from 2010 on will be notably heavier due to tightening crash standards. So we'll see how it goes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Real weight is 1545 Kg
      • 5 Years Ago
      Although the Leaf does bear a resemblance to the Versa, Nissan would take exception to the implication that it's just an electric version of the Versa. I'm just sayin'.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I could not feel the extra weight from the passanger seat.

      It feel more like an GTI with the batteries laying low it goes around corners VERY well combined with almost no noise it is very funny.

      See the Leaf in Black and read more:

      http://www.easyecar.com/electric-vehicle-test/nissan-leaf-first-drive/
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would expect the Leaf to be lighter than the Volt. However, I have heard that Nissan uses cells that have lower density and the Leaf does have 8kWh more battery than the Volt (but this still shouldn't weigh more than the engine + generator in the Volt, since judging from existing battery weight estimates, that extra 8kWh should be under 200lbs).

      However, I would be surprised if the production Leaf isn't significantly lighter than the product Fluence Z.E., which seems to have less tweaks and optimizations that the Leaf has.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I guess the fact that a major motor manufacturer is actually
      going to produce and sell an EV is really starting to p*ss some
      people off , and now Autoblogreen is reduced to making up
      facts about this car !

      Being recently involved in the conversion of a Audi A2 to Lithium
      powered electric (16kwh) I can tell you that the weight should
      not be much greater than the ICE version with a full tank of
      juice . If a home builder can get the weights pretty much the same
      then I am sure Nissan will have found a number of ways of shaving
      a few pounds when the car reaches production ! They are not stupid,
      I am sure they realise there is a ratio between kerb weight and range !
      • 5 Years Ago
      "*** Total: The Leaf should be at least 300 pounds lighter than the Volt."

      __________

      I'm still guessing more than that. Probably by a magnitude of 2, maybe even 3.

      There's been a couple of test drives on the volt where the reviewer mentioned the heavy feel.

      When Jay Leno mentioned the Volt's 3900# weight to Farah:

      -- Leno's got a lot of cars, he's a true gear head. He thinks about this kind of stuff and he drives and compares all kinds of cars. He should be a good judge on weight. It's one of the first things that always comes up when gear heads start talking about performance.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you saying 600 lbs - 900 lbs lighter than the Volt??

        I don't think so. That is a stretch for even my imagination. The "Feeling" of heaviness has just as much to do with weight placement as it has to do with total weight.

        The Leaf's pack is all centered very low... and evenly placed between the axles. The Volt has a pack that sits a bit higher (hence the removal of the 5 center seat)... and a bunch of weight still sits in the engine compartment.

        I will leave my bet with 500 lbs lighter at the most (300 lbs for the mentioned items + 200 lbs for Nissan's craftiness) Or 2,950 lbs total.
      • 5 Years Ago
      3500 pounds seems to be in agreement with other estimates...

      "Weight of the Nissan Leaf: Approx. 3,500 pounds"

      http://www.hybridcars.com/news/13-key-questions-and-answers-about-nissan-leaf-battery-pack-and-ordering-28007.html

      "...with an estimated curb weight of around 3,500 pounds."

      http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/reviews/drives/4326806

      "...a Nissan spokesperson casually referenced the weight of the car, a estimated 3,500 pounds. "

      http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/06/01/nissan-leaf-curb-weight/

      If you think the Leaf is too heavy, there are plenty of ways to ditch weight on your own. Aftermarket seats up front, de-content the interior, lightweight wheels, etc. I would be surprised if an extensive aftermarket/modding subculture *didn't* try to maximize the efficiency of the stock Leaf.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yep, Tesla is kind enough to point out that even an extra 30lbs can detract from your range.

        "Similarly, by reducing vehicle mass you see a proportional reduction in rolling loss. So if you reduce total mass by 1% then you would reduce rolling loss by about 1%. In the configuration above, 1% equals about 30 lbs. So it is good to make sure that you are not “accidentally” carrying extra weight in the trunk or elsewhere if you are trying to get the best range possible."

        http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=70

        * which brings up a point of comparison. The Tesla Roadster weighs just over 2700 pounds. Tesla tried very hard to keep weight as low as possible, using Lotus' chassis - one of the world best in terms of weight - and by also limiting the "luxury" accessories that could be spec'd.

        Reducing mass has a number of benefits, including acceleration, handling, and braking and it's one of the easiest things a car owner can do themselves. If I had a Leaf, you better believe I'd put lightweight parts on it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        extra 30lbs? jesus

        Talk about trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.

        few hundred lbs doesn't even make much difference on a gas car. I hauled 500lb. worth of stuff in my BMW for 900 miles and only got 1mpg worse. then the previous time i took that drive.

        Hypermiling will be a way of life for electric car owners until the batteries are up to snuff, i guess. But they'll have to really go off the deep end :P
        • 5 Years Ago
        "If you think the Leaf is too heavy, there are plenty of ways to ditch weight on your own."

        The truth is that it does not matter much in an electric.. the combination of regen braking and low rolling drag tires is what negates the extra weight. The extra weight will lower your acceleration but if you dont insist on driving aggressively then you will be ok. It is estimated an extra 1000lbs of payload on a Volt will reduce the electric range less than 1 mile in the gentle urban LA-4 cycle.

        Obviously this is not so for conventional ICE powered cars, an extra 1000lbs would just kill your mpg.

        Tesla has a good tutorial on this at:

        http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=70
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's an interesting thought.

        There's no doubt that people will be 'hypermiling' these cars to get the kind of range they are really looking for, by doing things like reducing weight, improving aerodynamics, etc.

        Kind of interesting, as hypermiling a gas car is usually to save money.. hypermiling an electric will be to avoid waiting for charging to finish. This certainly gives people more incentive to conserve energy.
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