LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 11787
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Read This Before Buying or Leasing A 2018 Leaf!

Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:56 pm

It has become clear that Nissan has put a fairly large number of Leaf SV cars into circulation without the (new for 2018) "Cold Weather Package." This is very unfortunate, and it's something that prospective Leaf buyers and lessees need to understand. First, a little backstory:

Before 2018, all Leaf SV and SL cars made from 2013 on were equipped with a so-called "hybrid heating system," consisting of both the resistance heater found in the Leaf S, and a very efficient, energy-saving heat pump. This heating system, along with the front (and often rear) seat warmers and steering wheel warmer, greatly improves the range of these cars in Winter weather that is above, and even slightly below, Freezing (32F/0C). Below the mid to low twenties Fahrenheit the advantage becomes minimal, but since most Winter driving in the US happens at more moderate temperatures, this has been a real advantage for all Winter drivers of later SV and SL leafs. Until 2018...

When Nissan decided to cut costs as much as possible on the 2018 Leaf, in order to maintain the same MSRP for each model, they did it in two ways. First, they reused as much of the first generation Leaf structure, interior and drivetrain as they could. Great, no problem. Second (and this has gotten much less attention, unfortunately), they stopped equipping the SV cars with a standard heatpump, heated seats, or even heated steering wheel. The 2018 base SV is now essentially a Leaf S with an infotainment system, telematics (remote access) and alloy wheels. In order to get the heat pump - or even seat and wheel warmers! - you have to order or select a car with the "Cold Weather Package." The S now also comes with no seat or wheel warmers, unless you order the Cold Weather Package (CWP) for that model, which provides those, but with no heat pump.

To make matters worse for drivers in colder climates, Nissan appears to be dumping large numbers of SV cars without the CWP in Northern states, and Nissan dealerships appear to be selling them, in at least some cases, without informing buyers and lessees that they are not getting the very features that make the Leaf superior for Winter driving over most other EVs. In at least one case buyers were apparently told that the 'seat warmers are only needed for the leather seats in the SL' with no mention of the lack of a heat pump.

To sum up, if you live in a locale that experiences Winter, make sure that either the Leaf you buy or lease has the Cold Weather Package, or make very sure that you don't want it. Do NOT rely on Nissan or their affiliated dealerships to help you make an informed choice here, because whenever your interests diverge from theirs (in this case their desire to sell cars not properly equipped for the climate in which they are being offered), they will usually give you the shaft.

On a related, note, if you are looking to drive a 2018 Leaf with the expectation of using it for long trips, with multiple fast charges, think again. A search for "rapidgate" will show you that the 2018 Leaf does not handle multiple QC charges well or quickly.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

ljwobker
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:28 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Aug 2012
Leaf Number: 025408
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Read This Before Buying or Leasing A 2018 Leaf!

Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:34 am

Useful info. Is there a way to authoritatively determine how a car is equipped? VIN number would be ideal, or some other immediately visible thing we could get from decent photos? It would be useful if people could determine this without having to physically inspect the car themselves.

Bouldergramp
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:36 am
Delivery Date: 15 Oct 2018
Leaf Number: 317621
Location: COLORADO

Re: Read This Before Buying or Leasing A 2018 Leaf!

Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:43 am

Well, I didn't read anything before buying my 2018 Leaf S. I went in to my local Nissan dealer, probably the smallest auto dealer in town, two days before the Xcel (our power company) rebate/incentive/whatever supposedly ended. I traded in my flashy Kia Soul which my wife hated and left with a great looking dark grey Leaf with heated seats, steering wheel, and side mirrors and a charge package. Frankly, I had no Idea what I was buying but I was lucky. Apparently, that is just the way the cars were equipped. I was able to use the 240V outlet in my garage (two 40A circuit breakers) that I had installed when our townhome was being built 19 years ago and my charger is more or less permanently installed. The heater works fine and my wife loves the car. Frankly, I rarely drive it. I run around town mostly on my recumbent Terratrike trike. Being a retired electrical engineer, I thought it was time to try an electric car and take advantage of all the rebates, incentives, and tax credits.

I shifted over to Xcel's Peak Demand rate and they installed a new electric meter. Every three or four days my wife plugs in the charger after 9 PM and unplugs it in the morning.

I suspect I am a more typical leaf owner/buyer than most participants in this forum.
Last edited by Bouldergramp on Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

WetEV
Posts: 2797
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 8:25 am
Delivery Date: 16 Feb 2014
Location: Near Seattle, WA

Re: Read This Before Buying or Leasing A 2018 Leaf!

Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:52 am

LeftieBiker wrote:On a related, note, if you are looking to drive a 2018 Leaf with the expectation of using it for long trips, with multiple fast charges, think again. A search for "rapidgate" will show you that the 2018 Leaf does not handle multiple QC charges well or quickly.


If you are looking for an around town car that is unlikely to be fast charged more than once per day, a LEAF is a good choice.
WetEV
#49
Most everything around here is wet during the rainy season. And the rainy season is long.
2012 Leaf SL Red (Totaled)
2014 Leaf SL Red

rogersleaf
Posts: 240
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 7:50 pm
Delivery Date: 22 Mar 2019
Leaf Number: 307726
Location: Kent, Ohio

Re: Read This Before Buying or Leasing A 2018 Leaf!

Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:26 am

ljwobker wrote:Useful info. Is there a way to authoritatively determine how a car is equipped? VIN number would be ideal, or some other immediately visible thing we could get from decent photos? It would be useful if people could determine this without having to physically inspect the car themselves.

Look for the seat heater switches located on the center of the dashboard just above the console and below the heater controls. No switches means it’s not equipped with the Weather package. Should also add that none of the S models have the heat pump even if equipped with the Weather package.

Having leased a LEAF in a colder climate, I agree 100% with leftie. All auto makers make very stupid decisions from time to time to save a few bucks. Just building 2 different HVAC systems on a low-volume car seems generally stupid, especially at this price point. Personally would walk away if shown a LEAF without this package.
2014 SV - Brilliant Silver - returned 1/2017 at end of lease.
2019 SL - White - w/Tech Package

SageBrush
Posts: 3902
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: Colorado

Re: Read This Before Buying or Leasing A 2018 Leaf!

Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:48 am

^^ I presume these cars were built with an eye towards mild climates (looking at you, coastal CA) but when sales were inadequate the cars were shifted to other CARB markets on the East coast.
2013 LEAF 'S' Model with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California
Car is now enjoying an easy life in Colorado
03/2018: 58 Ahr, 28k miles
11/2018: 56.16 Ahr, 30k miles
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2018 Tesla Model 3 LR, Delivered 6/2018

Dooglas
Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:08 pm
Delivery Date: 04 Jan 2017
Leaf Number: 314779
Location: Oregon City, OR

Re: Read This Before Buying or Leasing A 2018 Leaf!

Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:29 pm

SageBrush wrote: I presume these cars were built with an eye towards mild climates (looking at you, coastal CA) but when sales were inadequate the cars were shifted to other CARB markets on the East coast.

I presume those wimps in places like Eureka and Sausalito appreciate heated seats and steering wheels as much as we candy-asses in Corvallis and McMinnville. Setting aside the expensive to install and expensive to repair heat pump systems - I am puzzled and somewhat frustrated that Nissan uses the cheaper cool/cold weather gadgets as a profit center. Things like heated steering wheels are cheap to install at the time of manufacture and could probably be installed across the product range at little more cost than including them as a special order extra on a smaller number of vehicles.
2013 Leaf SV - lease ended, 2016 Leaf S30 - purchased

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