An electric vehicle has an appeal you can only understand once you've owned one. Sure, you might feel good about going green, analyzing every environmental consideration like our Alex Kierstein did recently. But there's a less noble, more immediately tangible reason to buy an EV — it really brings out one's inner cheapskate. There is nothing sweeter than passing up the gas station where you used to throw away a $50 bill every week. Before purchasing a 2013 Nissan Leaf to serve my 35-mile daily commute, I had never imagined how satisfying it would be to whoosh past the pumps. Stuck in Seattle traffic, surrounded by gasoline-powered cars wastefully idling, my only energy loss was from the radio. There was political smugness: It felt kinda great to stick it to Big Oil. Don't have to stop, buy gas, fill up, change oil — don't have to do anything except remember to plug the car in at night. After a year or two, I sold that Leaf, a casualty of a cross-country move involving one too many cars. But I have kicked myself many times since. So, it was exciting to get some wheel time recently in a 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus, the new long-range variant. Let's get something out of the way about range: There's no need for anxiety. There are valid impediments to going electric, the biggest among them right now being poor residual value. (I bought my old Leaf off-lease for a song — it had lost an appalling amount of worth despite just 7,500 miles on the odometer.) But range is not a concern if you are realistic about your needs. That 2013 Leaf was EPA-rated at 84 miles of range on a 100 percent charge. Looking back on it now, that sounds severely limiting, yet the car did a superb job at the task it was given. Charge it to 80 percent (the recommendation for battery longevity), return home at night at around 30 percent depending on side trips, plug it in to 120V (I discovered I didn't need a Level 2 charger), and by morning it was good to go again. Could it do a long highway trip? Nope. We had ICE cars for that. But as a commuter, it was the right tool for the job. Related: The Autoblog electric car buying guide Nissan Leaf review and buying guide Chevy Bolt review and buying guide Kia Niro EV review and buying guide Being mindful of range in an EV is no different than the thought process you go through when your gas tank falls below half. At a party once, I overheard a group of pilots regaling each other with tales of commercial airline flights when they had run low on fuel. Now that's range anxiety. The 2019 regular-range Leaf is EPA-rated at 151 miles, a big improvement. And this Deep Blue Pearl Leaf SL Plus in the driveway is rated at 226 miles. Meaning it could do my old commute all week long …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||124 City / 99 Hwy|
|Power||147 @ 3282 rpm|
Savings without having to haggle for it.
Switch to State Farm and save an average of $536* on your car insurance.