Leaf Performance Upgrades: Enhancing Your Nissan Leaf

Contrary to popular belief, Nissan Leaf owners are not just tree-huggers. In fact, many Leaf enthusiasts are more likely to wear Piloti driving shoes than Birkenstocks, and they are eager to mod their Leaf for better performance and a cooler look. If you’re an EV-Gearhead looking to add some upgrades to your Leaf, you’re in luck. With the Leaf sharing its platform with other Nissan vehicles, there are plenty of options to enhance aerodynamics, suspension, brakes, lighting, and more. Let’s explore some DIY modifications that any Leaf owner can accomplish.

Aerodynamics: Slicing Through the Air

The Nissan Leaf already boasts a sleek design with a drag coefficient of 0.32. But why stop there? You can further improve its aerodynamics by adding modified front and rear cowlings, side skirts, and solid wheel disk covers. These modifications not only improve the way your Leaf cuts through the air but also provide better handling. One popular option among Leaf owners is the Aero Style modification.

Leaf with aerodynamic mods

Suspension Mods: For a Smoother Ride

The Nissan Leaf shares its platform with several other Nissan and Renault cars, which means you have a wide variety of compatible suspension components to choose from. Shocks, springs, and sway-bar components designed for other B-platform cars such as the Nissan Juke, Cube, and Altima can be easily installed in your Leaf. Some Leaf owners have even adapted air bag adjustable suspensions initially designed for the Juke, giving their Leaf a truly unique upgrade.

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Leaf owners with modified suspension

Brakes: Stopping Power Matters

If you’re looking to improve your Leaf’s braking performance, you’ll be pleased to know that Nissan has standardized mounting hardpoints for braking systems across its vehicles. This means you can swap in larger brakes from other Nissan or Infiniti cars with ease. Upgrades from the Nissan FM platform, such as those found on the Nissan Z or Infiniti G cars, are a popular choice for Leaf owners.

Leaf with upgraded brakes

Lighting: Illuminate the Way

Upgrading your Leaf’s lighting is a simple and effective way to enhance its appearance and visibility. Consider replacing the headlights with LED conversion bulbs for a brighter and more energy-efficient lighting solution. LED interior lights are also a popular upgrade among Leaf owners. Not only will these upgrades make your Leaf look cooler, but they will also provide better visibility on the road.

Leaf with LED headlights

Trailer Hitch & Racks: Expand Your Transportation Options

Believe it or not, adding a trailer hitch to your Leaf can be a practical and stylish choice. While you may not be towing anything substantial, a Class 1 trailer hitch can support the weight of a bicycle rack. This allows you to transport your bicycle and showcase your dedication to the zero-emission lifestyle. Plus, having a bicycle handy can be a lifesaver when your Leaf’s battery runs low.

Leaf with a trailer hitch and bike rack

Wheels and Tires: Roll in Style

Nissan vehicles, including the Leaf, share the same wheel bolt pattern, offering a wide variety of wheel options. Upgrading your brakes often goes hand in hand with upgrading your wheels. Popular choices for Leaf owners include wheels designed for the Nissan Juke, Cube, and even Infiniti cars. Just make sure to choose wheels with the appropriate offset to avoid rubbing issues. Additionally, equipping your Leaf with wider and stickier tires can significantly improve its handling, but it may come at the cost of slightly reduced battery range.

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The Next Level: Battery Upgrades

While you may not be able to tweak the Leaf’s electric motor or transmission, battery upgrades are a game-changer. With the warranty for earlier Leaf models expiring, many owners are opting to upgrade to larger and more powerful battery packs. Gen three 40/62 kWh battery packs are being used as donor packs to give older Leafs a boost. These upgrades provide improved range and performance, taking your Leaf to the next level.

Leaf with upgraded battery pack

Remember, these modifications can enhance your Leaf’s performance and appearance, but it’s essential to consider your specific needs and consult with experts before making any changes. Don’t forget to enjoy the process of customizing your Nissan Leaf and embracing the exciting possibilities of electric vehicle ownership.

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(Note: Images and some content sourced from Gary Lieber / eBay Motoring)