The visibility regarding the rear view camera can be either unclear or just non-existent. However this should’ve been sorted out by Nissan with a software update.
In some cases the Tempered glass for the sunroof can crack, or in some cases even shatter entirely. This can usually be initially identified by a rattling sound. Again Nissan offers a replacement to address this issue.
Inside there’s are reports that the brakes randomly activate due to a faulty or overly sensitive AEB system, and this is most notable on 2018 models. What is more concerning is that it’s not a gradual input either, it’s said to be quite sudden and violent.
There was also a recall regarding a problem with selecting “park” so just make sure that recall has been seen to.
Mechanically (or electronically), by far the biggest concern with the Leaf are the batteries.
Nissan Leafs (or leaves) only have air cooling for the batteries. Other electric cars (like Teslas for example) have a liquid cooled battery. Lithium-ion batteries & heat are not friends. Therefore, in a hot climate like here in Australia that can result in a significant drop in battery performance and longevity.
It should be noted, if you’re looking to buy one you can actually check the battery condition.
On earlier models you count the bars on the main battery display (not the current charge state or percentage). It’s the narrow bars on the side that tell you the battery’s overall health. The later models will require you to scroll through the dash display pages and look for the battery lifetime capacity (again, not the battery’s charge percentage) This is very important to find out before you buy a Leaf.
Typically, 10 bars or more on the scale is what you’re looking for. If the battery is near the end of its life, they can be replaced but it’s not cheap. Nissan Australia are offering exchange batteries for early models for around $10,000.
With the Leaf not being incredibly common here in Australia, second-hand batteries are near impossible to source however in other regions where they are more popular, second hand replacement and even upgraded batteries can be a viable option.
Engines and drivelines (we should say motors) are generally maintenance free and they rarely if ever fail. Thanks to a lack of traditional transmission, there are no concerns with gearboxes or clutches and even the brakes last 3 or 4 times longer than non-electric cars thanks to the regenerative braking doing most of the work.