Good Car Company have been importing second hand Nissan Leaf electric vehicles (EV) from Japan into Australia since 2019 and many people have found them great value but are they still a good choice compared to a new EV hatchback?
In early 2023 when I took photos of Nissan Leafs on display at the Fully Charged Live Sydney exhibition, there weren’t any affordable new fully electric hatchbacks available for sale in Australia.
Now in mid 2023 that’s not true anymore as the MG4, BYD Dolphin and Ora Cat electric hatchbacks have been launched here and they all have base models priced at sub $40,000 (before on road costs and government rebates for new EV purchases).
There are many benefits of buying one of these three new electric hatchbacks compared to a second hand Nissan Leaf from Good Car Co but the biggest difference for peace of mind is a much better and longer warranty.
Good Car Co Nissan Leafs have:
- 7 day return policy
- Battery Warranty: 12 Months or 12,000 km whichever occurs first
- Mechanical warranty: 6 months or 7000km whichever occurs first
In comparison with a new:
- MG4 – 7 year unlimited km vehicle warranty and 7 year Battery warranty
- BYD Dolphin – 6 Year / 150,000 km Vehicle Warranty. 8 Year / 160,000 km Battery Warranty.
- GWM Ora – 7 year unlimited km vehicle warranty and 8 year Battery warranty
All three new hatchbacks have a range of roughly 300-350km for their base models.
If you plan on driving medium length road trips of several 100km then a second hand Leaf is not a good idea as most of them have a short-ish range and documented problems with overheating battery issues after DC charging, especially during Australian summers.
This is detailed with a case study in an article by Bryce Gaton at The Driven who suggests that:
“The 40 kWh Leaf is great for getting around even the biggest big city with the capacity to do the odd DC fast charge being handy. Personally though, I don’t recommend Leafs for really long distance ‘commuter’ trips where you need to do multiple DC fast charges in one drive day – especially 40 kWh ones as they need to fast-charge more often”.
Besides warranty the MG4, BYD Dolphin and Ora Cat can all charge during longer trips via all non Tesla CCS 2 (fast and ultra fast) DC chargers, with some versions of these cars capable of well above 100kWh charging rate.
Nissan Leafs use the old and obsolete CHAdeMO charging port which has a low fast charging rate of about 50kW compared to all new EV’s and I’ve noticed a lot of new DC fast charging stations either have few CHAdeMO cables or none at all.
When you’re charging at a supermarket, motel or other public AC charger a second hand Leaf can only charge at either 3.3kW or 6.6kW. In comparison the three new EV hatchbacks can AC charge at 6.6kW, 7kW or 11kW rate depending on the model.
Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Ready
Good Car Co says that you can connect the Leaf to your house and use it’s battery because:
“the Nissan Leaf is only 1 of two EVs capable of vehicle to grid functionality”.
What they won’t mention is that the Leaf is only approved for this in South Australia and even there to the best of my knowledge only 1 person is using a Leaf for V2G.
“19/03/2023: Wallbox dropped the bombshell that they’ve ceased production of the Quasar, the only Vehicle to Grid charger available in Australia”.
“Much as I love the car, I bought it primarily for V2G, and compromised on some requirements for that, so I may replace it with a Model 3, Polestar 2 or possibly MG4 and go for a home battery 🙁”
Modern Technology & New Interior
Good Car Co modify their imported Nissan Leafs so the infotainment system works in English but it’s still several year old tech and an interior which has seen some wear and tear compared to a new MG4, BYD Dolphin or Ora Cat new EV hatchback.
So is it worth buying any Second Hand Nissan Leaf?
I feel a bit bad pointing this out as the Good Car Co team have their heart in the right place helping with the fossil car to EV transition and extending the life of pre-owned EV’s but a lot of their Nissan Leafs just aren’t worth it anymore compared to a new MG4, BYD Dolphin or Ora Cat
For the moment there aren’t any new EV’s available in Australia for low 30K’s or below.
If that’s all the money you have to buy an electric car, you understand the limitations of a Nissan Leaf and you only intend on driving short distances in your own town/city, then I think a second hand Good Car Co Nissan Leaf ZE1 (the more premium version) is worth buying up to 33K price maximum driveaway cost.
I don’t think the very short range Nissan Leaf AZE0 sold by Good Car Co is worth considering as these are priced at roughly 20K-30k each and have a tiny range of 90-150km.