Nissan Leaf vs Nissan Juke (Cost Comparison)

Update: the 2013 MPGe rating for the Leaf is actually 116 (not 99), so the calculations below are actually heavily biased in favor of the Juke. Feel free to play around with the spreadsheet to see more accurate comparisons.

About a month ago, I asked readers which gasoline-powered cars were most similar to some popular EVs on the market. I’m finally using that feedback and updated 2013 EV numbers to run new cost comparisons between these EVs and their gasoline-powered cousins. To start with, in this first post, I’m going to run down a few cost comparison scenarios for the Nissan Leaf and Nissan Juke. The next post will do the same for the Nissan Leaf and Nissan Rogue. And I will eventually publish more articles comparing other EVs to their closest gasmobiles.

As always, what matters in a cost comparison is what you actually compare (which factors you choose to include), and what assumptions you make. I’m going to be very conservative in my calculations (as in, lean in favor of gasmobiles). I’m doing so for a few reasons:

  1. I think anyone who really cares about human health and the environment is already going to be biking, using mass transit, or at least driving an EV.
  2. I’m obviously in favor of EVs, in general, so I don’t want to be (or come across as) biased towards EVs in my comparisons.
  3. For simplicity’s sake. Adding in the extra costs I’m going to note below would be more challenging and time consuming. (Of course, if you’re really comparing the costs of these cars in an OCD cost-benefit analysis way, you can add in more variables.)

Now, real quickly, here are some of the factors that are not being included in the cost comparisons below:


  • The benefits to your health, and public health as a whole, from not emitting the pollution that comes from burning gas. (That’s a huge cost, and if you were to add that in, EVs would be the hands-down winner in almost all comparisons.)
  • Same thing for the climate. (Again, if you add climate costs in, EVs would be the clear winners.)
  • The benefits that come from greater comfort. (EVs are nearly silent and offer a smoother ride.)
  • The benefit of not having to stress about gas price swings.
  • The benefit of not being as affected by inflation.
  • If you have solar panels, being even more protected again inflation and increases in “fuel” prices.
  • The time savings from not going to the gas station, not getting oil changes, and bringing your car in for maintenance less often.
  • The benefits of reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil, and thus improving national security.
  • Of course, the good feeling that comes with all the benefits above is a benefit in itself.


  • If financing, more likely with an EV since the sticker price is higher, you pay more to the bank/financer.
  • If driving a long distance, you have to plan intelligently and take more breaks (or rent a car, if the company you bought your EV from doesn’t offer that for free).

Anything to add? Drop a note in the comments.

On to the fun:

nissan leaf


nissan juke 2013

After taking the $7,500 federal tax credit, below are 5 hypothetical cost comparisons between the Nissan Leaf and the Nissan Juke (feel free to conduct your own experiments / change the assumptions using this spreadsheet). Maintenance costs per mile and battery replacement costs are kept constant in my 5 comparisons — see the spreadsheet for assumptions.

Comparison #1 Assumptions:

  • Don’t live in California. (Californians can get an extra $2,500 tax credit.)
  • $4.00/gallon of gas. (Average over the course of ownership, but used from Day 1.)
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity. (Currently, the nationwide average, but can vary greatly from region to region and based on time of day. Also, some utilities actually offer extremely low or $0/kWh EV-charging electricity rates.)
  • 13,476 miles driven per year. (The nationwide average based on the DOT’s last count.)
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.


Nissan Leaf is cheaper after just over 1 year of ownership. Save almost $7,000 after 5 years of ownership.

nissan leaf vs nissan juke 1

Comparison #2 Assumptions:

  • Live in California.
  • $4.00/gallon of gas.
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity.
  • 13,476 miles driven per year.
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.


Nissan Leaf is cheaper within 1st year of ownership (and ever after). Save almost $10,000 after 5 years of ownership.

nissan leaf cheaper than nissan juke

Comparison #3 Assumptions:

  • Live in California.
  • $4.50/gallon of gas.
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity.
  • 13,476 miles driven per year.
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.


Nissan Leaf is much cheaper within 1st year of ownership (and ever after). Save over $10,000 after 5 years of ownership.

nissan leaf crushes nissan juke

Comparison #4 Assumptions:

  • Don’t live in California.
  • $3.50/gallon of gas.
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity.
  • 17,000 miles driven per year.
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.


Nissan Leaf is cheaper within 1st year of ownership (and ever after). Save over $7,000 after 5 years of ownership.

nissan leaf vs nissan juke comparison

Comparison #5 Assumptions:

  • Don’t live in California.
  • $4.00/gallon of gas.
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity.
  • 10,000 miles driven per year.
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.


Nissan Leaf is cheaper within 1st year of ownership (and ever after). Save nearly $5,000 after 5 years of ownership.

leaf juke year 5

Previous comparisons can be viewed here:

17 thoughts on “Nissan Leaf vs Nissan Juke (Cost Comparison)

  1. If you’re going to list the problems of foriegn oil as a part of the pros of electric, you should probably add “The reliance upon Chinese Lithium supplies to produce batteries, putting us in the hands of a nation which doesn’t play fair and doesn’t like us.” to the cons of electrics. Most of the world’s known Lithium is in China.

    1. Wrong fish Mako.

      Chile provides 61% of lithium exports to the US, with Argentina providing
      36%, says the US Geological Survey (USGS), with Chile having estimated reserves
      of 3m tonnes, and Argentina about 400,000 tonnes. Bolivia’s reserves, however,
      are projected at about 5.4m tonnes. The Andean areas between Bolivia, Argentina
      and Chile are referred to as the Lithium Triangle.

      At the 2009 Lithium Supply & Markets conference, held in Santiago,
      Chile, in January, global lithium reserves and resources were estimated at
      nearly 30m tonnes, with 7.6m tonnes from mining, and 17.6m in continental
      brines. Other lithium producing countries include Brazil, Canada, China,
      Finland, Portugal, Serbia, the US (in Nevada) and Zimbabwe.

      1. Zachary Nice work. Your inflation assumpionts for gasoline over the next ten years? Are you using $4/gal avg for the whole ten years? thirteen years? Gas inflation has been 7% CAGR the last ten years. This would make gasoline $8/gallon by 2024 or year 11 of your projections. I’m looking for the ‘spreadsheet’ you reference. Where is the link to it? Thanks.

        1. tbh, i kept it very simple. could use a changing figure for each year, but I just use different figures ($3.5/$4/$4.5) for all years. in any case you use, the overall assumption is going to be highly uncertain, since we don’t really know what will happen with the price of gas.

          while we could use 7% CAGR, there’s the question as to how high the price can go before it stifles demand so much that it’s worth more for corporations to eat more of their profits than raise the price.

          of course, if i’m wrong, happy to be corrected and supplied with better assumptions.

          spreadsheet is linked in the article, but i just added it to the top to be easier to find, and it’s here:

        1. it’s an increasingly hyped myth. lithium is really not the issue some people are making it out to be. but as the myth is still young(ish), the rebuttals are few and far between.

      2. >>and 17.6m in continental brines

        Hmm. Would you happen to know what they mean by this? Distributed through the ocean? Would that even be usable?

  2. This analysis ignores battery wear and tear. Because pack replacement prices have not been disclosed by Nissan, an accurate calculation of the total cost of ownership is not possible. It would be a more fair comparison to assume that the LEAF and the Juke were leased, since this implicitly factors in the entire cost of ownership.

    1. the projected cost of a battery pack in 2021 (from the DOE) is what i added in after 8 years (given 8-yr warranties). no one knows what the actual cost will be then, but i trust the DOE as much as anyone on this topic. anyway, it doesn’t really matter, since the Leaf is cheaper long before the battery warranty expires.

      1. Zach, thanks for clarifying that. The 8-year warranty is a limited warranty, which does not cover battery capacity. When you look at the new warranty coverage announced last December, 70% of the original capacity are guaranteed for 5 years and 60K miles. While some owners will do better than others, I would take that as a baseline assumption for battery replacement timeframe. There were a few owners clamoring for pack replacements after just two years. While this might not be the norm, I would take care not to include too many assumptions in the calculation. If you asked me the same question two years ago, I would have enthusiastically endorsed your article. I learned to be a bit more cautious with my projections. While your data is more realistic than I thought, I would still advise to compare vehicle leases. This will take the question of battery longevity and replacement cost is completely out of the picture. Why guess when there is no need to? I’m sure that the LEAF will come out ahead in that comparison also, and you will steer clear of assumptions, which could turn out wrong.

        1. Thanks! Yes, I just read and wrote yesterday that the new UK Nissan Leaf battery warranty covers capacity loss*. I did not realize that wasn’t the case previously. Ugh.

          Overall, though, yes, comparing leases sounds like a much better idea. I’ve never been drawn to leasing, so I didn’t really pay it much attention up until recently, but it seems like a very good option for EVs.


          1. Yes, indeed! Leasing is a new paradigm for many of us. Although I argued against it couple of years ago, I really believe that it’s the way to go. I don’t know much about other countries, but in the US, federal and state EV subsidies help take the edge of the initial depreciation, and make leasing quite affordable.

          2. and with the way that EV (esp. battery) technology is advancing, i’d feel more comfortable going with a lease now and waiting a few years to see where things settle.

            personally, if i’m in the market for a car again within the coming few years, think i’d give it a shot. at the moment, though, i basically have 0 need for a car.

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