Nissan Leaf EV in Snow & Winter Driving (Explained)

The Nissan Leaf is an electric car and that means it has different capabilities than a gas-powered vehicle. The key will be the battery and how much power you have left over.

For short trips, this can be an excellent snow-driving vehicle but it is not made for long trips. The reason it is good for short trips is because of the weight distribution. This technological design helps avoid spin-outs and fishtails.

But with the heater and other electrical devices running, your snow trip may be short-lived.

Is the Nissan LEAF good in snow?

Although it is a front-wheel drive, you should have solid traction throughout your drive. When it has power, this car can be very good in the snow. Its weight is evenly distributed in the middle of the vehicle. This design does not make it heavy at one end like a gas-powered vehicle.

Nissan Leaf in Snow Pictures

The biggest problem you will have is that the cold weather cuts the range of the car. From roughly 65 miles at 80 degrees F to 36 approx. At -13 degrees F.

The colder you get, the lower the distance you can drive. It is not just the cold that shortens the distance but all the accessories that run on battery power that is needed in the winter that does the trick.

Do electric cars work in extreme cold?

Yes, they do but their range is cut to almost half of what you would get in the summertime. Part of the reason for this drop in performance is that you are running more accessories longer as you drive.

For example, the heater draws power from the battery and you will have that on from the start of your drive to the end. Then if you add lights to the equation, you lose more battery power and your car won’t go as far.

You have one battery to do it all. The car will work but plan extremely short trips.

Which Nissan Leaf Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

There are a few features that may help out when you drive in the snow. One is a traction control technology. This feature controls the power to the tires when it senses a tire spinning. In the end, the tire spin is reduced.

Then there is the action ride control that can apply the brakes and adjust engine torque when you go over bumps. This feature helps smooth out your ride.

Finally, the ProPilot assist watches the road for you and can respond to different situations for you.

Does Nissan Leaf Have Snow Mode?

There was no mention of snow mode in any of the spec sheets. Snow mode may be a Ford invention and the technology may not have reached Nissan yet. But that doesn’t matter.

The Nissan Leaf has those other features that assist your driving when you need it most, including driving in the snow. Just look at a spec sheet to see all the features this car comes with. They should make it easier for you to drive when it is snowing out.

Pro Tips: When driving in snow, it’s a good idea to select Eco mode and activate the ePedal, so you’ll get better handling.

Does Nissan Leaf Need Snow Tires?

Yes, this car would need winter tires when driving in the winter season. But only if you live in an area that gets lots of snow and ice on the road. For those regions of the country that are warm year-round, you do not need to buy any.

The winter tires will help[ provide the traction your Leaf needs to get from your home to the office safely, and back again. When you are driving in snow, it is best to have winter tires on your car.

Or at least carry some chains with you if you have not bought your set yet.

How Much Snow Can A Nissan Leaf Handle?

This car has good ground clearance so you should be able to drive in fairly deep snow. However, you should be cautious as to how deep of snow you drive in.

At best guess, probably 6 to 8 inches deep would be the best you could hope for. The car will handle fairly well in that deep snow but any deeper and you are asking for trouble.

This is not a pickup truck that can handle very deep snow. Its high clearance is still not as high as a pick-up truck.

Is Nissan Leaf reliable?

From all that has been written about this vehicle, it is a very reliable car. In cold weather, it starts right up and the battery still does its job in cold weather. The problem you will face will be the range.

Expect to see a drop in range when the cold winter months hit. Plan your outings accordingly so you do not get caught far from a charger. The battery power is not going to last as long as a gas-powered vehicle.

Some final words

When you want to do something for the environment buy the Nissan Leaf. This is not a hybrid vehicle that uses gas on the side. The only drawback will be the shortened range you get in cold weather. But if you plan well, you will be able to do your activities even in cold snowy weather.