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General Discussion => Welcome and General Discussion => Topic started by: sol on March 05, 2016, 12:05:10 AM

Title: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 05, 2016, 12:05:10 AM
I just bought a free car for $7700.

Nissan Leafs are all-electric family cars with a range of about 80 miles between charges, and they are dirt cheap right now.  We bought a 2012 Leaf SL (http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/channels/Leaf-Press-Kits/presskits/US-2012-nissan-leaf-press-kit) with only 30k miles for $7700, and it has a 7 inch touch screen with GPS navigation, heated seats front and back, remote control from your phone, keyless push-button start, LED headlights, heated mirrors and steering wheel, and oh yeah it never uses gasoline at all.  Craigslist is full of them.  Check out the KBB values (http://www.kbb.com/nissan/leaf/2012/sl-hatchback-4d/?vehicleid=365938&intent=buy-used&mileage=34490&condition=very-good&pricetype=private-party&persistedcondition=very-good).

Why has this super fancy modern technological marvel depreciated by 80% in only 30k miles of driving?  How is this amazing bargain possible?
In part it's because your tax dollars subsidized a $7500 federal tax rebate off of the MSRP when they were new, in part because the newer model years came out with improved range at reduced cost, in part because of falling gas prices, and in part because the market is currently flooded with lease returns from the 3-year lease term that the manufacturer was pushing when these cars were new.  Basically every single lease return was sent to auction instead of resold by the leasing dealers, so there are a ton of these cars for sale everywhere right now.  Asking prices have dropped over $1000 in the past two months and may continue to fall.  By August, the new 2017 model will be released with ~130 miles of range, and any unsold 2012 cars will be worth even less.

What about that limited range, is that a problem? 
My family drives less than 25 miles in a typical day of commuting, kid activities, and any errands we have to run.  We expect to drive even less once we're retired.  We still have our old SUV for family road trips and Home Depot runs, but my biggest worry is going to be remembering to take it around the block every two weeks to keep it in good working order.  The Leaf will handle all of our average daily driving while only using about 1/3 of its battery capacity, so I feel confident the range won't be an issue most of the time.  I'll report back.

Wait, you said this car was free, how does that work?
Electricity for the car costs less than 3 cents/mile.  Gas for my old SUV costs about 12 cents/mile while gas prices are under $2/gallon, and closer to 25 cents/mile if gas price go back to where they were two years ago.  After figuring in the additional cost of licensing plus insurance on a second vehicle, reduced repair costs on the old SUV, and our expected mileage, I figure we're saving a bit more than $100/month in total operating costs to have two vehicles instead of just one.  At $7700 out of pocket, if I drive the Leaf for at least six years then I will have spent less money to have two cars than I would have spent on just one vehicle over those same years.  If I drive it a very mustachian 10 years, I figure it will save me about $5k in operating cost which I can apply towards my next vehicle.  Any charging I do at free public charging stations, instead of at home, will only improve that number.

Your car looks funny.
So do you.  Pictures are below.

Why did you buy a 2012?
The Nissan Leaf underwent an invisible redesign for the 2013 model year.  The battery and charger and heater got better, they changed the trim lines and added leather seats, and they added more rear cargo space (by shrinking the battery) without making any changes to the exterior of the car.  As a result of these changes, the buyer demand for the "inferior" older cars plummeted.  Resale prices for 2013+ model year Leafs are currently about $4k higher than for the 2011/12 model year versions, because people seem to think that charging in 4 hours instead of 8 hours is really important to a car that is parked for 10 hours in a garage every night.  I don't get it either.  If I really want leather seats, I'll buy leather seat covers and they won't cost $4k.

How do you charge it?
Nissan recommends that you spend $500 to buy a 220V charger (http://www.homedepot.com/p/AeroVironment-TurboCord-240-Volt-16-Amp-Plug-In-EV-Charger-Charging-Station-23075-020/205430044) that plugs into a dryer/stove outlet, which will charge the 2012 leaf from empty to full in 8 hours (or 4 hours for the 2013+ version).  All Leafs come with an emergency trickle charger that plugs into a regular 110V wall outlet and will charge the battery from empty to full in about 20 hours.  Or you can always use the "quickcharge" port at public charging stations, which will give you 80% charge in 30 minutes and typically cost you ~$7.50 to do it, but at that price the cost/mile is almost as bad as buying gasoline so I'm not planning to do that unless I actually have to drive more than ~100 miles in a day.  In our case, we haven't decided if it's even worth it to spend the $500 to get the 8 hour 220V charging station for our garage, because at only 25 miles per day the included 110V trickle charger seems sufficient to get us back to a full charge while the car is parked overnight, and we still have a second vehicle for backup if necessary.

What about battery replacement costs?
All cars wear out eventually.  In a normal gasoline car you can expect an engine and/or transmission rebuild about every 200k miles.  In a Nissan Leaf the lithium-ion battery slowly degrades over time, losing capacity and thus reducing the driving range, until you're down to about 70% of the original range after 120k miles.  If 58 miles in a day isn't enough for you then you have to replace the battery, which Nissan currently charges $5,500 to do.  This means that while you're only spending 2.8 cents/mile for electricity, you're technically spending 4.5 cents/mile on the eventual battery replacement cost.  This is at least double the cost/mile of a typical car's engine/tranny rebuild cost, but it's also totally optional and will never leave you stranded with a thrown rod or blown head gasket.  As the battery ages, the range slowly decreases and you can decide to replace it or not as your needs and finances dictate.

What are the other maintenance costs?
An electric car has no alternator, spark plugs, fuel pump, radiator, serp belts, distributor, or starter motor to maintain/replace.  The engine only has one moving part.  It doesn't need regular oil changes, and it never needs a valve job (no valves) or clutch replacement (no clutch).  It uses brake pads much more slowly, due to the regenerative braking.  You still need to rotate the tires and clean the air filter.  They're mechanically much more simple machines than gasoline cars, so I'm optimistic that long term maintenance costs will be low.

How is it to drive?
More fun than I was expecting!  Electric cars have 100% of their torque available at zero rpms, which means smooth instant acceleration (with no pauses due to shifting gears). There is no delay between stomping the peddle and feeling the lurch because there is no engine spin-up time and no clutch slip.  It doesn't have the V6 passing power above 80 mph that our SUV does, but for around town driving I actually find it much more pleasant to drive.  And I like that it is nearly silent.  It's very much like riding a bicycle in traffic, in that you are much more aware of the engine noises around you.  And it's roomier than I was expecting (I'm 6'4" and fit just fine, which is not true for all small cars). 

Why did you buy a new (used) car?
We've always been a single car family, but my oldest kid is approaching driver's ed age and a second set of wheels would come in handy about once per month.  Over the course of my marriage there has been exactly one instance when we wanted a second car badly enough to go rent one for a few days.  I think all of you folks with three cars are crazy.  And as long as you have at least one gasoline car in your garage, I think an electric car is a viable primary vehicle for around-town driving for virtually everyone who lives in a town. 

So are you like a smug (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnFAAdOBB1c) eco-hippie?
Yes, yes I am.  Last year I installed solar panels (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/solar-panel-installation/) on my roof that generate more power than my home uses, by about the same amount I expect our electric car to require.  My home will still consume some natural gas, and we're still paying for the carbon pollution inherent in the things we buy, but our overall household carbon footprint just dropped dramatically by reducing our gasoline consumption to near zero.  About 80% of the world's petroleum is owned by places that actively support terrorism or are otherwise hostile to America, so every time you fill up your F-150 you're sending part of your paycheck to Al Qaeda and ISIS or dirty Communists or whatever.  You're supporting terrorists, and I'm not.  You're a bad person and you should feel bad (http://cdn.meme.am/instances/64463125.jpg).

Surely there are some drawbacks?
Of course. 
1.  The remote access app for controlling the car from your phone was recently discovered to have a security flaw (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35642749) that could allow someone to turn on your heater (and thus drain your battery) remotely from the internet. They have disabled new registrations for the app until that gets fixed, but that doesn't affect used cars so not an issue for me.
2.  Because EVs have so much more low-end torque than comparable small cars they tend to go through tires faster.  The OEM Bridgestones that came on the car mostly went bad in less than 30k miles.  My car came with new ones recently installed, as should basically any used Leaf, but I'm expecting about $100/year for new tires.
3.  The door-side arm rest is about an inch lower than I want it to be.  That will take some getting used to.
4.  In North America, the telematics for updating the GPS maps and locations of public charge points runs on AT&T's 2G network, which is being discontinued at the end of 2016.  Upgrade prices haven't been announced yet, but owners of older cars will probably have to purchase a replacement part (https://transportevolved.com/2016/02/29/telematics-system-in-2011-2015-nissan-leaf-electric-cars-will-need-3g-upgrade-before-next-year-and-you-may-have-to-pay-for-it/) or do without updated telematics.
5.  The older 2011/12 cars use battery chemistry that is more sensitive to heat than the 2013+ cars.  If your car routinely sees temperatures above 95F then the battery will degrade more quickly.  Nissan's warranty (http://) will replace it for free if you hit 8 bars (out of 12) before 60k miles, but so far only people in the desert southwest who abused their batteries have seen that kind of loss.  Colder climates mean your range per charge is reduced a little, but your battery capacity won't diminish as rapidly.

Why did you write all of this?  It must have taken you like an hour.
I just love you guys that much.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RobFIRE on March 05, 2016, 03:50:11 AM
Great! I am currently without a car, probably won't need one for a couple of years, have decided if/when I do get another car it will be an EV. So am basically planning to do more or less what you've just done. By the time I'm buying I may get one of the new 30 kWh ones at 3 years old.

For us data-driven people, have you got the detailed battery data, what is the battery condition? Though as you say for 25 miles a day you could still easily use it at ~50% battery in 10 years' time.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on March 05, 2016, 11:26:27 AM
Good luck with the battery.  Nissan's approach to battery management can best be described as, "Cross your fingers and hope."

Though, as you note, it's more of an issue in hot climates.  It'll be interesting to see how yours holds up.

I might pick one up once I can find a $4k beater, but I'm more likely to find something odd and rebuild the battery pack myself...
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: act0fgod on March 05, 2016, 11:41:29 AM
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on March 05, 2016, 11:58:51 AM
It's not really a "fly-and-drive" kind of car, is it? :p

I'm actually considering, long term, trying to resolve that issue over in Idaho.  Get a double car trailer, drive out to Seattle or Portland, buy cheap Leafs, bring them to Idaho, and resell them.

For a "rural runabout," they're pretty much perfect if they've got decent range.  Full, every morning, with enough range to get to town and back.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 05, 2016, 05:34:13 PM
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.
www.PlugShare.com
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Telecaster on March 05, 2016, 07:04:00 PM
That was a great, great post.  I've starting thinking about buying a Leaf and that answered a ton of questions.  My wife has a short commute (mileage wise) and can charge at work. 

But one question:  I just checked the Seattle craigslist and there are indeed a blue million 2012 Leafs for sale, but it looks like all of them are for sale by dealer, interestingly no private ones at the moment.  All of them appear to be listed at $8995, or $9995 if they have the quick charge option.   So, if I plunk down $7700 cash will the dealer probably go for it?   

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RWD on March 05, 2016, 07:14:17 PM
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.

Similiar story here. There isn't a single used Nissan Leaf for sale on Autotrader within 100 miles of my zip code for any price. There are about 50 within 250 miles though, some of which are under $10k. Average price of $11.7k.

I still want a pure electric car though.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 05, 2016, 08:26:48 PM
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.

Similiar story here. There isn't a single used Nissan Leaf for sale on Autotrader within 100 miles of my zip code for any price. There are about 50 within 250 miles though, some of which are under $10k. Average price of $11.7k.

I still want a pure electric car though.
I repeat: PlugShare.
For a car you're going to have for years, why would you let a few hours of charging hold you back?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RWD on March 05, 2016, 09:46:31 PM
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.

Similiar story here. There isn't a single used Nissan Leaf for sale on Autotrader within 100 miles of my zip code for any price. There are about 50 within 250 miles though, some of which are under $10k. Average price of $11.7k.

I still want a pure electric car though.
I repeat: PlugShare.
For a car you're going to have for years, why would you let a few hours of charging hold you back?

The gaps in coverage (according to PlugShare) around my city are (approximately) 70 miles to the north, 60 miles to the south, 60 miles to the east, and 85 miles to the west. With a range of 73 miles (when new for a 2011 Leaf) that's cutting it a bit close. The distance problem wouldn't stop me though, just isn't as convenient as it would be were I living somewhere else.

I'm really excited about electric cars and will probably buy one when it makes sense for our situation. Currently we do less than 1,000 miles of city driving per year.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 05, 2016, 10:27:52 PM
Good luck with the battery.  Nissan's approach to battery management can best be described as, "Cross your fingers and hope."

I think Nissan's approach to battery management could also be described as "8 years or 100,000 mile warranty," which is better than what you get on the engine of most gasoline cars, but I know what you're saying.  The Leaf does not have a battery cooling system, like some other electric cars do, and especially on the 2011/12 cars the older battery chemistry is temperature sensitive.  It doesn't like to get hot. 

Fortunately I live in place where it doesn't get very hot, and I have a nice shady garage to park in.

there are indeed a blue million 2012 Leafs for sale, but it looks like all of them are for sale by dealer, interestingly no private ones at the moment.

CL sometimes defaults to dealer sales only, depending on your platform.  Be sure to check "all" sales to see private party sales too.'

Quote
All of them appear to be listed at $8995, or $9995 if they have the quick charge option.   So, if I plunk down $7700 cash will the dealer probably go for it?   

That depend on your negotiating skills, I suppose.  Around here, most dealers are asking $9-11k for a car with mid-30k miles, some are asking $8500, and there are a few dealer cars listed for under $8k but they're mostly 40k+ miles.  Generally speaking, each additional 10k miles on the clock reduces the price about $500.

But asking prices are not selling prices, and dealer prices are not private party prices.  I spent about two weeks trolling CL watching cars come and go to get some idea of what was actually selling.  All those $9-11k Leafs have been listed for weeks because nobody is buying at those prices.  I watched a couple of Leafs go (quickly) for under $7k.  Don't expect to just hop on Craigslist and see cars advertised for their real selling prices.  There is haggling to be done.

Around here, private party sales are typically about $750 cheaper than dealer sales right now.  I suspect that's because a person selling his car wants to sell it, and a dealer selling a car wants to get the highest price possible even if that means not selling it this week.  One dealer I went and visited had a car with ~40k miles listed for $8500, and I offered him $8k for it.  After an hour of protracted negotiations, he wouldn't come down below $8150 so I walked out on him.  The next day, he listed the same car for $7997.  The Seattle area CL has 4 Leafs with asking prices under $8k right now.

I also emailed with like four different area dealers.  I told them what I was looking for and what I wanted to pay, and every single of one of them wrote back to me with offers for their cars of between $500 and $1000 below their advertised CL price (though still more than I wanted to pay).  So I'm pretty comfortable saying you can negotiate at least $500 off of those prices just by asking.

The car I bought privately needed to be washed and detailed.  I figure the dealers put at least $100 of labor into their vehicles to make them look as shiny as possible, and they will do the title/registration for you and thus save you a trip to the DMV.  I didn't think that those two things were worth paying an extra $750, so I bought from a private party, washed and vacuumed the car myself, and spent 30 minutes at the DMV paying my taxes and fees (about $1k on top of the $7700 I paid the seller).

There isn't a single used Nissan Leaf for sale on Autotrader within 100 miles of my zip code for any price.

I suspect that electric cars are more sensitive to local market conditions than gasoline cars, for precisely the reasons you've identified.  People are less willing to buy one from 300 miles away because they don't understand the charging requirements.  If you're on a major interstate, a 4 hour drive becomes a 6 hour drive if you have to stop and quickcharge along the way. 

But so far, the charging options have been great in my area.  When I want to the DMV to transfer the title, they had free charging in a primo parking spot right up front.  Score. 

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 05, 2016, 10:33:51 PM
With a range of 73 miles (when new for a 2011 Leaf) that's cutting it a bit close.

Keep in mind that the 73 mile range estimate is what EPA revised it down to when they learned that Nissan was recommending owners only charge to 80% of full battery capacity unless they were going to need more range that day, in order to preserve battery life.  The 2011 Leaf is rate to 84 miles on a full charge, and it will do substantially more than that if you're using Eco-mode, not using the climate control, and driving under 65mph.

The problem is that if you charge your battery to 100% full and let it sit there for long periods of time, the battery capacity degrades faster.  It's better to only charge to 80% if that's all the range you need on most days, and if you do need 100% of the range then use the charge timer so that the car reaches 100% full right before you need it, rather than 24 hours ahead of time and then sits around at 100%.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: tobitonic on March 05, 2016, 10:35:19 PM
Sweet thread. I've thought about the Leaf now and then, but I really like my Sienna, as well as being able to carry all of our present/future kids in it at once. If we were retired and in a more urban environment, though, I'd be tempted.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on March 05, 2016, 10:50:02 PM
Keep in mind that the 73 mile range estimate is what EPA revised it down to when they learned that Nissan was recommending owners only charge to 80% of full battery capacity unless they were going to need more range that day, in order to preserve battery life.  The 2011 Leaf is rate to 84 miles on a full charge, and it will do substantially more than that if you're using Eco-mode, not using the climate control, and driving under 65mph.

A feature which Nissan then removed.

Relevant, I wrote up some summaries of factors in battery longevity and how different manufacturers are doing things a few months ago.

http://syonyk.blogspot.com/2016/01/electric-car-battery-packs-and-longevity.html
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 05, 2016, 10:56:43 PM
if I plunk down $7700 cash will the dealer probably go for it?

As a general rule, dealers prefer that you finance their vehicles.  They make money off of the interest, they spread out the payments to help smooth out their business cashflow, and they always have the chance to repossess if you fall behind, which they love.

Plus dealers will always try to screw you with fees.  Around here, the use tax on a used car purchase is 9.5% in most places, and some places get an extra 0.3% RTA tax.  The title and licensing will run about $200 total, including Washington State's $100 "EV-owners-are-rich-fucks fee" designed to offset losses from gas taxes.  One dealer tried to charge me $275 for title and licensing, plus $300 for "theft deterrent treatments" that he applied to the car that I didn't want, plus $150 for a "documentation fee" that I'm pretty sure was just a little extra profit margin for signing paperwork with me.  Fuck that noise, man.

If you're in the Seattle area, expect to pay 9.8% tax plus $200 in DMV fees, so if he agrees to your $7700 offer but then tries to charge you more than $8650 O.T.D, then he's just playing typical dealer games hiding his profit in bullshit add-on fees and you can tell him to get fucked before you walk out.  The market is flooded with these cars right now, don't get hung up on any particular one.

Having said that, you might consider paying more than $7700 for the right car.  If the miles are under 30k and the body/interior are immaculate and it has brand new tires on it and it's the color you want?  I'd be happy to offer $8k (translates to <$9k O.T.D., don't fall for hidden fees).

I had to keep reminding myself that I didn't really need a second car.  At least not right away.  If you can wait six months to buy a car, and are patient with craigslist, prices will fall and the right car will come along.  Dealers are asking you to pay full retail, not scoop a deal, so don't fall for that unless you're backed into a corner and need to buy one this very week.  Like everything else in life, only suckers pay retail.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RobFIRE on March 06, 2016, 02:00:32 AM
Don't know the US market but seems that in the UK there are a fair number of 2 to 4 year old LEAFs for sale. Out of curiosity I have been looking at UK listings over the last month or so and there are lots of LEAFs sitting there not selling (I would assume dealers are tying to sell cars within weeks). Reason being, I think: if you're somebody/a family who does 1500+ miles a month in a regular car, the fuel cost is GBP 150+ a month, so leasing a new leaf at GBP 200 or so a month is like a "free" car. So leasing from new is popular, hence there are lots of LEAFs that have been returned from lease after 2 or 3 years. So it seems there is a much smaller pool of people who realize what an economical option a used LEAF is (typical used price GBP 9000 or so for mid-spec moderate mileage 2013 model, maybe GBP 2000 more than a similar sized petrol car of similar age, so I suppose most people don't think it through so are putt off by the higher initial price, but fuel savings for 1500 miles a month for 5 years would be ~GBP 9000 in itself).

In the US there have been bigger discounts on new LEAFs, and you have both federal and state EV incentives/tax rebates, so for most people the new LEAF maybe looks more appealing.

So those wondering about sale prices, if in that position I would contact the dealers, particularly those with multiple LEAFs available, and say something like (politely): "when it's your sales bonus deadline and those LEAFs are still sitting there, call me with a price around X and I'll buy cash"
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: UKMustache on March 06, 2016, 02:57:09 AM
Don't know the US market but seems that in the UK there are a fair number of 2 to 4 year old LEAFs for sale. Out of curiosity I have been looking at UK listings over the last month or so and there are lots of LEAFs sitting there not selling (I would assume dealers are tying to sell cars within weeks). Reason being, I think: if you're somebody/a family who does 1500+ miles a month in a regular car, the fuel cost is GBP 150+ a month, so leasing a new leaf at GBP 200 or so a month is like a "free" car. So leasing from new is popular, hence there are lots of LEAFs that have been returned from lease after 2 or 3 years. So it seems there is a much smaller pool of people who realize what an economical option a used LEAF is (typical used price GBP 9000 or so for mid-spec moderate mileage 2013 model, maybe GBP 2000 more than a similar sized petrol car of similar age, so I suppose most people don't think it through so are putt off by the higher initial price, but fuel savings for 1500 miles a month for 5 years would be ~GBP 9000 in itself).

In the US there have been bigger discounts on new LEAFs, and you have both federal and state EV incentives/tax rebates, so for most people the new LEAF maybe looks more appealing.

So those wondering about sale prices, if in that position I would contact the dealers, particularly those with multiple LEAFs available, and say something like (politely): "when it's your sales bonus deadline and those LEAFs are still sitting there, call me with a price around X and I'll buy cash"

I'd be interested to know how that works out.
Drop me a message if this is successful?

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Northwestie on March 06, 2016, 01:59:45 PM
if I plunk down $7700 cash will the dealer probably go for it?

Plus dealers will always try to screw you with fees.  Around here, the use tax on a used car purchase is 9.5% in most places, and some places get an extra 0.3% RTA tax.  The title and licensing will run about $200 total, including Washington State's $100 "EV-owners-are-rich-fucks fee" designed to offset losses from gas taxes.  One dealer tried to charge me $275 for title and licensing, plus $300 for "theft deterrent treatments" that he applied to the car that I didn't want, plus $150 for a "documentation fee" that I'm pretty sure was just a little extra profit margin for signing paperwork with me.  Fuck that noise, man.

If you're in the Seattle area, expect to pay 9.8% tax plus $200 in DMV fees, so if he agrees to your $7700 offer but then tries to charge you more than $8650 O.T.D, then he's just playing typical dealer games hiding his profit in bullshit add-on fees and you can tell him to get fucked before you walk out.  The market is flooded with these cars right now, don't get hung up on any particular one.


Thanks -  appreciate the overall view from someone who has done their homework
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: brooklynguy on March 07, 2016, 09:52:10 AM
Last year I installed solar panels (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/solar-panel-installation/) on my roof that generate more power than my home uses, by about the same amount I expect our electric car to require.

If this usage projection pans out, does it mean the math might favor disconnecting your home from the grid?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: BlueMR2 on March 07, 2016, 09:56:30 AM
I'm interested in one, but it would be sitting outside.

How long of a cord does it have?  Is it safe to have the cord running through standing water to an outdoors outlet?  We get a lot of rain/snow/ice and I'm concerned about having it plugged in during those conditions with it having to be out in the elements.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 07, 2016, 10:12:58 AM
If this usage projection pans out, does it mean the math might favor disconnecting your home from the grid?

Definitely not.  The timing of my solar panel power delivery is all wrong for my household's use, both daily and seasonally.  In December we use substantially more power than we generate when it's dark for 15 hours per day.  My car charges at night while it's parked.  The costs associated with a home battery big enough to fix these timing problems far outweigh my grid connection fee, and the grid greatly simplifies the whole operation by soaking up excess and supplying  my deficits.

How long of a cord does it have?  Is it safe to have the cord running through standing water to an outdoors outlet?  We get a lot of rain/snow/ice and I'm concerned about having it plugged in during those conditions with it having to be out in the elements.

You can buy chargers of various cord lengths.  I think the default trickle charger is 16 feet. 

The 220V level 2 charging stations are all designed for outdoor installation, though I know of one Leaf owner who parks in his driveway and runs the cord out under his garage door.  The plugs are all rated for all-weather use.  All of the public charging stations are outdoors in the elements.  I don't think precip should be a problem.

Very cold temperatures aren't ideal, though.  If the car sees temperatures below -13F, it will use wall power to warm the battery before charging.  It still works fine, but it raises your power costs per mile because you're using power to heat it up instead of drive places.  Maybe if you live in northern Canada you have to accept that.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: myhotrs on March 07, 2016, 10:13:33 AM
I've been driving my 2012 since it was new and absolutely love it!! I leased it for $200/month and like Sol its basically free to drive (factoring in the rebate I got and gas savings) plus I get to use the POV lane which is huge on my commute. I live in LA where commutes are long and everything is spread out but I've never had any range issues (we do have a gas car for longer trips). My wife keeps stealing it because its so much fun to drive.

One huge thing to note is that Nissan is doing a free warranty replacement for any Leaf battery that declines to 70% of capacity (loses 4 bars of 12).

One more thing - I've driven all 30k miles with only the provided trickle charger.

Quick look at CR in SoCal shows over 300 cars, including this gem:
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/ctd/5457885149.html
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 07, 2016, 10:44:59 AM
I leased it for $200/month

I looked at the leasing options on the new cars, but I couldn't make the math work out when the older ones are so cheap right now.  The lease seems to be a way to reassure people who are concerned about the battery going bad, by giving them an easy out, but the prices are so low on the 2011/12s right now that it's actually cheaper to just buy an upgraded replacement battery fro $5500 if yours has problems than it is to lease and then have to return the car. 

The same argument applies against buying one of the newer models.  If you can get a 2012 SL for $8k, and then maybe-or-maybe-not put a new 2015 upgraded battery in it for $6k, you're still coming out about the same as buying a 2013/14/15 SL for $14-16k.  And chances are you won't need the new battery for years anyway.  Depreciation on those older cars has been brutal, so nothing else seems to make as much sense to me right now.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: spud1987 on March 07, 2016, 11:23:53 AM
Congrats and welcome to the EV family!

I leased a Chevy Spark EV late last year. Same range and other key stats at your Leaf. I've driven 2k miles in the past three months and so far so good.

My lease is 36 months for 80/month. I had to pay $1500 down but got a $2500 rebate from CA (the fed rebate goes to the dealer, which is why the lease is so cheap).

It also came with a free Bosch EVSE (about $500).

So my total cost over three years is: $1800 plus the cost of electricity. This is cheaper than any other new (and most used) cars out there, even with gas at $2.25/gallon in CA. I'm also not counting the time I save commuting since I have an HOV sticker (about 15-20 minutes per day).

I decided to lease instead of buy because of two issues: battery degradation and technological advances. I don't want to own the car past 30k miles. Instead, I'll keep leasing as long as CA offers the $2500 rebate.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: myhotrs on March 07, 2016, 11:47:59 AM
Well I got mine in 2012, no one knew the resale market would be so bad. Nissan certainly didn't or I think the lease terms would be different!

Currently though, yes buying is much better than leasing. I've even seen some cars on CL with brand new batteries (warranty replacement I would guess) selling for under 10k.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Telecaster on March 07, 2016, 02:01:47 PM
Here's just a post for some calibration.  There are 58 Leafs (Leaves?) in the Seattle area on CL.  All of them appear to be at dealers.   Prices are about $8550 to about $11700.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/search/see/cta?sort=rel&auto_make_model=nissan%20leaf&max_auto_year=2012&min_auto_year=2012&query=nissan%20leaf
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 07, 2016, 03:17:47 PM
Here's just a post for some calibration.  There are 58 Leafs (Leaves?) in the Seattle area on CL.  All of them appear to be at dealers.   Prices are about $8550 to about $11700.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/search/see/cta?sort=rel&auto_make_model=nissan%20leaf&max_auto_year=2012&min_auto_year=2012&query=nissan%20leaf

You and I must be using CL differently.  I had to go double check myself.
$6500 http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/5472535205.html
$6995, http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ctd/5470084126.html
$7850, http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/ctd/5457393245.html
$7997, http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/ctd/5480685905.html
$8200, http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/5473242270.html

And several of those are private party sales.  Did none of those come up in your search?

For reference, the Leaf that I bought for $7700 was listed for sale at $9000.  And every single dealer I emailed knocked between $500 and $1000 off of their listed CL prices before I even showed up on the lot, so take that into account when looking at listed prices. 

I agree that dealer ads are more common.  Over the two weeks that I watched prices, I usually only saw one or two private party Leafs offered for sale at any one time. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: chloe1733 on March 07, 2016, 03:20:52 PM
We also bought a 2012 Leaf last month. Ours has 21k miles on it, and we paid around 10,300 (but got $4,500 in trade-in from our 2006 Honda Accord). So out of pocket, less than $6k.

The hubby has a very non-Mustachian commute, unfortunately - 20 miles each way. The Leaf handles that really well though! And we still have my old, paid-off car for longer trips and visiting relatives and whatnot.  We're pretty damn smug about the whole thing too.

BUT...

There are a few drawbacks, most of which we find pretty inconsequential.
1. The Leaf has the dinkiest horn sound in the world.  It's like a child's toy. "Bink! Bink!"
2. Since it makes no sound, people will literally walk right in front of your car without noticing that you're about to run them over.  And then you have to honk your dinky horn, and they laugh.
3. You definitely get "range anxiety". My hubby's first question before we go anywhere now is "how far is that?"
4. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Leaf only shows you the projected # of miles remaining instead of the actual amount of Kw remaining. Which would have been a much more useful thing to include in the display than stupid made-up "eco-trees" that you "grow" as you drive.
5. Unless you have a fast charging station put in, it takes a good 12-14 hours to fully charge up.  So it's not the car you want to take out for all-night-partying around town if you also are going to need it to make your 40-mile roundtrip commute in the morning, as there won't be enough charging time.
6. You have to agree to the terms of the navigation system every time you turn the car on, which is kind of annoying.

Overall we're really happy though.  Great purchase!
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Abel on March 07, 2016, 04:25:25 PM
Really great info, Sol. I am curious: do you know of anyone using EVs like the Leaf for side-hustles as Uber or Lyft drivers? Seems to me like a match made in heaven, but I haven't considered it too deeply.

"Oh, I've got a couple free hours on my hands and half a charge left on the car...why not drive some customers around for a bit before turning it into the garage for the night?" Sounds like a winner to me...
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Northwestie on March 07, 2016, 06:22:57 PM
We also bought a 2012 Leaf last month. Ours has 21k miles on it, and we paid around 10,300 (but got $4,500 in trade-in from our 2006 Honda Accord). So out of pocket, less than $6k.

The hubby has a very non-Mustachian commute, unfortunately - 20 miles each way. The Leaf handles that really well though! And we still have my old, paid-off car for longer trips and visiting relatives and whatnot.  We're pretty damn smug about the whole thing too.

BUT...

There are a few drawbacks, most of which we find pretty inconsequential.
1. The Leaf has the dinkiest horn sound in the world.  It's like a child's toy. "Bink! Bink!"
2. Since it makes no sound, people will literally walk right in front of your car without noticing that you're about to run them over.  And then you have to honk your dinky horn, and they laugh.
3. You definitely get "range anxiety". My hubby's first question before we go anywhere now is "how far is that?"
4. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Leaf only shows you the projected # of miles remaining instead of the actual amount of Kw remaining. Which would have been a much more useful thing to include in the display than stupid made-up "eco-trees" that you "grow" as you drive.
5. Unless you have a fast charging station put in, it takes a good 12-14 hours to fully charge up.  So it's not the car you want to take out for all-night-partying around town if you also are going to need it to make your 40-mile roundtrip commute in the morning, as there won't be enough charging time.
6. You have to agree to the terms of the navigation system every time you turn the car on, which is kind of annoying.

Overall we're really happy though.  Great purchase!

Hmmm.  Must admit I had some doubts about the Leaf but the overall view seems to be good - particularly if it matches up well for your needs - in city driving regular commute.  Thanks
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: act0fgod on March 07, 2016, 07:13:31 PM
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.
www.PlugShare.com

Lots of good info in this thread.  Reading quickly online I can't really tell if you can plug the Leaf into a Tesla charger (is the "quickcharge" Teslas "supercharge").  Looks like the Tesla has an adapter to plug into leaf chargers, but reading conflicting info on the Leaf into Tesla (maybe some changes recently?).

Looks like in 2014 there was discussion on getting a common EV charge system in place, has that happened or are there still proprietary issues?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Telecaster on March 07, 2016, 07:31:10 PM


You and I must be using CL differently.  I had to go double check myself.


Clarification:  I was only looking at the 2012 Leafs.  So unless I'm truly missing something....

Anyway, I've really enjoyed this timely thread.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: randymarsh on March 07, 2016, 07:31:26 PM
Really great info, Sol. I am curious: do you know of anyone using EVs like the Leaf for side-hustles as Uber or Lyft drivers? Seems to me like a match made in heaven, but I haven't considered it too deeply.

"Oh, I've got a couple free hours on my hands and half a charge left on the car...why not drive some customers around for a bit before turning it into the garage for the night?" Sounds like a winner to me...

I think this could be a problem. Drivers don't know where you're going until you get in the car (Lyft does let you put in a destination, but after a driver has accepted your request I think) The fare you pick up could want to go 5 miles or 30. The Denver airport for example is a good 20 miles from downtown and even further from other neighborhoods where the Uber demographic lives.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 07, 2016, 07:33:44 PM
We also bought a 2012 Leaf last month. Ours has 21k miles on it, and we paid around 10,300

Was that the OTD price?  I would expect a 21k mile Leaf to go for somewhere in the $8500-9000 from a dealer, which gets you close to $10.3k with taxes and fees. 

Though prices have come down like $1k in just the past few months, so maybe you bought before the curve?

Quote
1. The Leaf has the dinkiest horn sound in the world.  It's like a child's toy. "Bink! Bink!"

I don't generally use my horn, because I'm not an asshole driver.  But the stock horn on the Leaf is, I think, very appropriate for city driving.  It's a much more polite sort of "excuse me" than the typical SUV "fuck you" noise.

With that said, horn upgrades are cheap and easy to do yourself, and a horn replacement is one of the common Leaf mods that users do.  Lots of people like this one:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000DLBIGG/

Quote
2. Since it makes no sound, people will literally walk right in front of your car without noticing that you're about to run them over. 

You do know that the car comes with a pedestrian warning sound?  Yours may be disabled, but you can turn it back on if you read the manual to learn how.  It's designed to address this specific problem, so it's only on at speeds under about 20 mph.

Quote
4. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Leaf only shows you the projected # of miles remaining instead of the actual amount of Kw remaining.

It will also display the actual battery state if you dig into the energy settings in the center console.  I agree that it's not super easy to find, though.

Quote
5. Unless you have a fast charging station put in, it takes a good 12-14 hours to fully charge up.

Are you using the 110V emergency charger?  Because Nissan really prefers you to use the 220V level 2 chargers, which should charge an empty 2012 battery to full in 8 hours.  In our case, our battery never gets totally empty and we never charge to totally full, so the 110V emergency charger has been fine for us so far.

Quote
6. You have to agree to the terms of the navigation system every time you turn the car on, which is kind of annoying.

This seems like the kind of thing they should be able to fix with an OTA software update, but I suspect that if they've left it this way for so long then it's probably a deliberate decisions.  I'm guessing for liability reasons.

But yes, I've seen other owners complain about having to touch OK on the screen before the nav system will work.  I've never owned any other cars with built in navigation screens, so I don't know how common this is.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 07, 2016, 07:43:19 PM
I can't really tell if you can plug the Leaf into a Tesla charger (is the "quickcharge" Teslas "supercharge").  Looks like the Tesla has an adapter to plug into leaf chargers, but reading conflicting info on the Leaf into Tesla (maybe some changes recently?).

No, the Leaf can't use the Tesla superchargers.  Tesla has struck out on their own, and there are no other cars that can use their charger network. 

Fortunately this isn't really a problem.  There are only a few hundred Tesla superchargers nationwide, as compared to thousands and thousands of regular EV charging stations (http://www.plugshare.com/).

The Leaf SL has two charge ports.  The one on the right will charge using 220V (level two chargers) or110V (level one, the included emergency charger).  The one on the left is the "quickcharge" port that uses the chademo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CHAdeMO) standard and will charge the car in about 30 minutes using 500V DC current at crazy high amps, but there are only about 1600 of those stations in the US (http://www.chademo.com/wp/usmap/).
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: chloe1733 on March 07, 2016, 08:51:43 PM
We also bought a 2012 Leaf last month. Ours has 21k miles on it, and we paid around 10,300

Was that the OTD price?  I would expect a 21k mile Leaf to go for somewhere in the $8500-9000 from a dealer, which gets you close to $10.3k with taxes and fees. 

Though prices have come down like $1k in just the past few months, so maybe you bought before the curve?

Quote
1. The Leaf has the dinkiest horn sound in the world.  It's like a child's toy. "Bink! Bink!"

I don't generally use my horn, because I'm not an asshole driver.  But the stock horn on the Leaf is, I think, very appropriate for city driving.  It's a much more polite sort of "excuse me" than the typical SUV "fuck you" noise.

With that said, horn upgrades are cheap and easy to do yourself, and a horn replacement is one of the common Leaf mods that users do.  Lots of people like this one:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000DLBIGG/

Quote
2. Since it makes no sound, people will literally walk right in front of your car without noticing that you're about to run them over. 

You do know that the car comes with a pedestrian warning sound?  Yours may be disabled, but you can turn it back on if you read the manual to learn how.  It's designed to address this specific problem, so it's only on at speeds under about 20 mph.

Quote
4. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Leaf only shows you the projected # of miles remaining instead of the actual amount of Kw remaining.

It will also display the actual battery state if you dig into the energy settings in the center console.  I agree that it's not super easy to find, though.

Quote
5. Unless you have a fast charging station put in, it takes a good 12-14 hours to fully charge up.

Are you using the 110V emergency charger?  Because Nissan really prefers you to use the 220V level 2 chargers, which should charge an empty 2012 battery to full in 8 hours.  In our case, our battery never gets totally empty and we never charge to totally full, so the 110V emergency charger has been fine for us so far.

Quote
6. You have to agree to the terms of the navigation system every time you turn the car on, which is kind of annoying.

This seems like the kind of thing they should be able to fix with an OTA software update, but I suspect that if they've left it this way for so long then it's probably a deliberate decisions.  I'm guessing for liability reasons.

But yes, I've seen other owners complain about having to touch OK on the screen before the nav system will work.  I've never owned any other cars with built in navigation screens, so I don't know how common this is.

So...I think you missed the part where I called these all "relatively inconsequential problems".  Or perhaps you like arguing for the sake of arguing. Just giving a second (and largely corresponding) opinion on the whole experience. So no need to come out of the shoot implying that we honk our horns like assholes and don't understand how to read the manual.  But you seem like a real gem!

Anyways, to answer your questions, for the benefit of other slightly less-agro forum visitors:

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: clarkevii on March 07, 2016, 09:52:57 PM
Congrats on your Leaf.

I love mine.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 08, 2016, 12:32:11 AM
no need to come out of the shoot implying that we honk our horns like assholes and don't understand how to read the manual.  But you seem like a real gem!

Okay, I could have worded that response more diplomatically.  Sorry.  I wasn't trying to discourage participation.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: gimp on March 08, 2016, 03:19:18 AM
Yeah, leafs are insanely cheap right now. I suspect fiat 500s will be as well in a few years, they're pushing $100/month leases very heavily where I live.

Kind of a piece of shit car if you like driving for its own sake, but a great car if the bottom line is the total cost of ownership.

Also, for what it's worth, you should take your other car to run on the highway, not just around the block. Around the block is good and all, but it most likely doesn't even recharge your battery the amount you used to start it; and with everything staying pretty cold by the time you shut it off, it's quite a bit of wear. Cold oil keeps water in it too, carbon deposits never get burned off, that sort of thing. If you can, I'd recommend at least once a month giving it a good ten miles on the highway / ten minutes at fully heated operating temperatures, and try to rev it a little for at least a short amount of time.

(If you're thinking, "well, that seems like a lot of fucking work to just keep the old car," it kind of is. Keeping a car in disuse takes an hour a month or so to do properly.)
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: tonysemail on March 08, 2016, 10:21:36 AM
saw this article in the morning and thought it had relevance to this thread.
colorado tax credits and good bargain hunting allowed this guy to buy a new 2015 S for $8500.
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1102675_why-i-bought-a-new-nissan-leaf-electric-car-2-hours-from-home-8500-net-cost
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 09, 2016, 10:07:05 AM
With a range of 73 miles (when new for a 2011 Leaf) that's cutting it a bit close.

Keep in mind that the 73 mile range estimate is what EPA revised it down to when they learned that Nissan was recommending owners only charge to 80% of full battery capacity unless they were going to need more range that day, in order to preserve battery life.  The 2011 Leaf is rate to 84 miles on a full charge...
...and hypermiling will get you over 100 if you can take side roads on a moderate-temp day.

Lots of good info in this thread.  Reading quickly online I can't really tell if you can plug the Leaf into a Tesla charger (is the "quickcharge" Teslas "supercharge").  Looks like the Tesla has an adapter to plug into leaf chargers, but reading conflicting info on the Leaf into Tesla (maybe some changes recently?).

Looks like in 2014 there was discussion on getting a common EV charge system in place, has that happened or are there still proprietary issues?
Well, I'll try to give you the short version (there's no short version).

EV charging is often referred to by "levels" - 110V or Level 1, is any wall outlet, and every EV comes with something that can use it (as long as the circuit can support the amperage).

For the most common Level 2 charging (220V), virtually every EV out there uses the J1772 standard, which specifies everything from voltage to communications protocols to physical connectors. Tesla's cars use J1772 signaling with a nonstandard physical form factor that also corresponds to their Level 3 implementation, aka Supercharger. Thus, they can use the widely available public J1772 stations with a very simple passive adapter that comes with the car. Simple physical adapters also allow a wide variety of aftermarket charging devices to push L2 to an EV from a dryer plug, an RV plug, and other kinds of existing outlets - a big advantage in providing low-cost accessibility, even if not technically standardized. I have a dual-voltage TurboCord that I connect to all of those things as well as 110v outlets on a regular basis to charge my Volt, and any other car could do the same.

Level 3, or DC Fast Charging / Quick Charging is where things went off the rails. In Tesla's early days, they got impatient with the rest of the industry and built their own standard, which they later offered to share with other OEMs (no takers). Soon after that, a consortium of mostly Asian OEMs settled on the Japanese ChaDeMo standard, leveraging existing connector technology to accelerate the rollout. ChaDeMo is by far the most common in the US, and has been widely fielded by Nissan dealers and many charging networks in parts of the nation - tons along the coast and other early-adopter regions, none elsewhere. It's a totally separate connector, and thus many LEAFs and other cars have two ports. Tesla needs a $500 adapter to use ChaDeMo, and plenty of cars can't use it under any circumstances. And just to thoroughly fudge things up, a mostly European consortium later developed a connector that could overlap with the J1772 standard in one plug, called Combined Charging Standard (CCS), or SAE Combo. Stations are far fewer in the US but currently being installed faster, with complete networks expected to cover at least the I-5 and I-95 coastal corridors in the next year or two. CCS is regarded by many as technically superior but has a huge first-mover advantage to overcome. GM is about to start mass-producing cars with CCS options, which may help drive demand.

All the L3 standards are high-voltage DC, but everything else about them is different. And L3 is of course the most critical roadblock to mass EV adoption, since it's what you need for road trips, unless and until battery range exceeds most of our daily limits, which can easily be 5-700 miles or more. For this reason, multi-connector stations and adapters are expected to proliferate for years while the debate plays out.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1095062_now-thats-combo-quick-charging-chademo-ccs-tesla-supercharger
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: dandarc on March 09, 2016, 11:34:16 AM
Damnit Sol.  I had just talked myself out of dropping $4-5K + my 2006 Sentra to get a Leaf.  Probably doesn't make sense with my 5K or less miles I put on the Sentra now.  Which is also why the Leaf would fit our use perfectly.

Seriously want one of these.  Maybe when the Sentra finally kicks it there will be tons of "50-mile" Leafs for dirt cheap that will also fit our usage just fine.  Basically, if I could get an enclosed, street-legal, electric golf cart that could do 45 (there isn't a route to my work that doesn't involve a small stretch at 45) and had a 30+ mile range, it could replace my car.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on March 09, 2016, 12:00:20 PM
Congrats on the purchase. I have a very un-mustachian 40 mile roundtrip commute to work everyday. I have considered the leaf but I do worry about it's range. There are rare times where some heroin addict decides to jump behind the wheel of a car and kill themselves during rush hour (happened 2 weeks ago). And thus my commute suddenly turns into 2.5 hours and about 50 miles. Also my current Civic gets about 34 miles/gallon.

Awesome job on the solar. Did you install yourself? I installed a 28 panel array on our previous house. Thinking about adding solar to our current house. Roof orientation sucks, but I am considering pergola mounted, or something similar. 

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 09, 2016, 12:13:02 PM
This thread has me crunching some numbers and thinking about swapping out a gas guzzler for a Leaf.

Maybe this will help:

My car is getting 3.9 miles per kWh of electricity, and I pay* 7.41 cents per kWh from my utility company, so my "fuel" costs are just under 1.9 cents per mile.

At that price a 20mpg SUV would have to buy gas at 38 cents per gallon to be cost competitive.  Or your hybrid car would have to get 105 mpg (at today's low gas prices).

My big SUV with AWD and three rows of seats gets 17mpg.  At $2/gal that would be 11.7 cents per mile in fuel.  If I were to drive the Leaf 1000 miles per month, the cents/mile difference would save $98/mo in fuel costs alone (more if gas prices go back up). 

And you never pay for oil changes.

The problem is that most people here are low mileage drivers so the cost benefits are somewhat muted because you aren't paying for much gas anyway.  Fortunately, with purchase prices under $8k you aren't really paying a premium for the lower operating costs, so I think it still makes sense.


* I said I "pay" 7.41 cents per kWh for electricity, but I have solar panels (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/solar-panel-installation/) that generate surplus electricity that I sell back to the grid through a net metering agreement, so it's more accurate to say that I "get paid 7.41 cents less" for every kWh of electricity that my Leaf uses.  The net cost to my household budget is the same either way.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 09, 2016, 12:31:15 PM
Congrats on the purchase. I have a very un-mustachian 40 mile roundtrip commute to work everyday. I have considered the leaf but I do worry about it's range. There are rare times where some heroin addict decides to jump behind the wheel of a car and kill themselves during rush hour (happened 2 weeks ago). And thus my commute suddenly turns into 2.5 hours and about 50 miles.

The LEAF is at its best at low speeds, so I don't know why the traffic jam would be a concern. Unless you're using a lot of energy on accessories, having to slow down and/or take side streets only increases range.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on March 09, 2016, 01:01:12 PM
Congrats on the purchase. I have a very un-mustachian 40 mile roundtrip commute to work everyday. I have considered the leaf but I do worry about it's range. There are rare times where some heroin addict decides to jump behind the wheel of a car and kill themselves during rush hour (happened 2 weeks ago). And thus my commute suddenly turns into 2.5 hours and about 50 miles.

The LEAF is at its best at low speeds, so I don't know why the traffic jam would be a concern. Unless you're using a lot of energy on accessories, having to slow down and/or take side streets only increases range.

I don't have much option for side roads. Unless I want to stretch my commute out really far. Even getting around traffic jams usually involves taking different interstates/2 lane roads.

My wife on the other hand takes mostly side streets. I have tried to convince her the leaf would be great. She is very stubborn though. Doh! It's difficult to convince her there are far better means of doing things when it doesn't seem to "jive" with what everyone else is doing (that includes retiring early). I am pretty sure the Leaf could have a 200 mile range and she would find an excuse not to get one.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 09, 2016, 01:08:24 PM
If you're in the Seattle area, expect to pay 9.8% tax plus $200 in DMV fees, so if he agrees to your $7700 offer but then tries to charge you more than $8650 O.T.D, then he's just playing typical dealer games hiding his profit in bullshit add-on fees and you can tell him to get fucked before you walk out.  The market is flooded with these cars right now, don't get hung up on any particular one.

It is somewhat frustrating that the sales and use tax exemptions for Leafs (and similar vehicles) in Washington are restricted to new vehicles. I guess that is designed to get more of them on the road, but still....
It's also factored into the price you pay for a used one - that's half the reason why they're so cheap used. Just mentally add $7500 back to the price and subtract it for your own benefit.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: prodarwin on March 09, 2016, 01:30:23 PM
I've considered the LEAF as well.  I like them and I do think they are a bargain.  Problem is, if you are already a huge cheapass and drive a beater like I do, its difficult to save.  I expect in a couple more years this will change though.

I do not have a "mustachian" commute at ~9.5 miles each way. Last year I spent $733.64 on fuel for my car.  I also did 2 oil changes, brake pads, an air filter, and exhaust isolators at a total cost of $130.

Something in the $8500 range (after taxes, tags, fees, etc.) is going to cost me >$500 just from the time value of the money.  Add in depreciation (significant), higher property tax, insurance, etc. and it ends up being more expensive to own than my current daily driver.

The risk of catastrophic battery failure down the road is of concern as well.  Battery replacement in a LEAF is an order of magnitude more expensive than motor/transmission replacement for my daily driver.  Hell, its more expensive than replacing my whole car.  Several times.

A LEAF would sure be a lot less hassle though (except when I have to fly for work - airport is ~85 miles each way).  Plus, that slightly used car smell is a lot better than 20yr old beater smell :)
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 09, 2016, 01:53:02 PM
Hell, its more expensive than replacing my whole car.  Several times.

I agree that it's hard to beat the price of a $1000 beater, especially of you're doing all the work yourself.  The Leaf is a relatively new, modern car.  It's cheap to buy and operate compared to other newish modern cars with comparable luxury features, but not cheaper than an '85 Toyota Tercel (my first car) that you can work on in your garage.

If lowest cost is your primary criteria in transportation, get a bike, then an old beater and learn how to wrench.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on March 09, 2016, 01:55:10 PM
Sol,

Have you looked into ways of "fixing" the battery rather than replacing it? For instance, the Prius typically has bad cells, which can be replaced individually, much MUCH cheaper that replacing the entire battery. It takes a little leg work to find out which cells are bad, but you can purchase them for a fraction of the entire battery.

I don't know much about the Leaf's battery. With it being an EV, as opposed to a Hybrid, that might not be possible.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 09, 2016, 09:47:45 PM
Sol,

Have you looked into ways of "fixing" the battery rather than replacing it? For instance, the Prius typically has bad cells, which can be replaced individually, much MUCH cheaper that replacing the entire battery. It takes a little leg work to find out which cells are bad, but you can purchase them for a fraction of the entire battery.

I don't know much about the Leaf's battery. With it being an EV, as opposed to a Hybrid, that might not be possible.
That distinction doesn't inherently make any difference. All EV packs are made of many small cells just like the Prius pack. None of the OEMs WANT you to do that kind of repair, but all the vehicles make it theoretically possible for the skilled and dedicated.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: gimp on March 10, 2016, 01:25:14 AM
Sol,

Have you looked into ways of "fixing" the battery rather than replacing it? For instance, the Prius typically has bad cells, which can be replaced individually, much MUCH cheaper that replacing the entire battery. It takes a little leg work to find out which cells are bad, but you can purchase them for a fraction of the entire battery.

I don't know much about the Leaf's battery. With it being an EV, as opposed to a Hybrid, that might not be possible.
That distinction doesn't inherently make any difference. All EV packs are made of many small cells just like the Prius pack. None of the OEMs WANT you to do that kind of repair, but all the vehicles make it theoretically possible for the skilled and dedicated.

Quite right. They basically all use commercially available lipo cells.

I would highly dissuade anyone from doing home repair on their lipo battery pack unless / until you've put _serious_ research into it. This isn't something that you want to just put on a jack, start disassembling, and see where it goes. You need a plan, and you need to understand the danger points, which are quite different from the normal mechanical parts of the car.

Of course it can be done, but all I'm saying is that it ain't like dealing with a little 12v lead acid battery, this shit is serious electrical stuff. It can arc, it can short, and unlike your normal car, it's gonna do a lot more than just spark a little when it does.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on March 10, 2016, 05:35:22 AM
Sol,

Have you looked into ways of "fixing" the battery rather than replacing it? For instance, the Prius typically has bad cells, which can be replaced individually, much MUCH cheaper that replacing the entire battery. It takes a little leg work to find out which cells are bad, but you can purchase them for a fraction of the entire battery.

I don't know much about the Leaf's battery. With it being an EV, as opposed to a Hybrid, that might not be possible.
That distinction doesn't inherently make any difference. All EV packs are made of many small cells just like the Prius pack. None of the OEMs WANT you to do that kind of repair, but all the vehicles make it theoretically possible for the skilled and dedicated.

Quite right. They basically all use commercially available lipo cells.

I would highly dissuade anyone from doing home repair on their lipo battery pack unless / until you've put _serious_ research into it. This isn't something that you want to just put on a jack, start disassembling, and see where it goes. You need a plan, and you need to understand the danger points, which are quite different from the normal mechanical parts of the car.

Of course it can be done, but all I'm saying is that it ain't like dealing with a little 12v lead acid battery, this shit is serious electrical stuff. It can arc, it can short, and unlike your normal car, it's gonna do a lot more than just spark a little when it does.

Oh absolutely! I would actually suggest finding someone skilled in the electrical field and knowledgeable and comfortable performing such service. Like any electrical type stuff you might work with, there are always precautions to take.

I've looked into it, but I am en Electrical Engineer by trade.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: lithy on March 10, 2016, 06:00:57 AM
I've been sitting on this fence for a long time. 

Every time they look good to me, I get into actually pricing it out as a replacement for my still running 2003 Ford Taurus with 215k miles that cost me 4k 7 years ago and just can't justify it. 

The maintenance is still nothing major and the car is "not quite dead yet".

So I guess I just soldier on until the car dies and then take the bus and ride a bike as needed until I can find the right replacement.

As a question, you mention the change in battery packs on the 2011s.  Do you have any idea if when you need to replace the pack if you'll be getting an upgraded model from later years?  Just curious if it is something to keep an eye out for in the future.  An older model Leaf with a newer battery.

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: chubbybunny on March 10, 2016, 06:17:34 AM

Quite right. They basically all use commercially available lipo cells.

I would highly dissuade anyone from doing home repair on their lipo battery pack unless / until you've put _serious_ research into it. This isn't something that you want to just put on a jack, start disassembling, and see where it goes. You need a plan, and you need to understand the danger points, which are quite different from the normal mechanical parts of the car.

Of course it can be done, but all I'm saying is that it ain't like dealing with a little 12v lead acid battery, this shit is serious electrical stuff. It can arc, it can short, and unlike your normal car, it's gonna do a lot more than just spark a little when it does.

I first bought a prius in 2005 (new).  Seemed like everyone had an opinion that it was a terrible idea because the battery would fail and it would cost $10,000 to replace.  Well, it's got 130,000 miles on it now and we're still waiting for it to need replacement.  It'll still costs thousands of dollars to have a dealer repair, but I've seen a couple places around here that will repair or replace for $850.

I also got a new 2014 leaf after the 2015's came out. We had a $5000 credit here in Georgia, so out the door it cost us $12,500. At the time it was cheaper to buy a new one because the used market hadn't developed enough.  I guess I should have waited!  I'm learning that lesson with a tesla.  I'm still waiting for the used ones to drop down to my price zone.  Might be awhile, LOL.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: ender on March 10, 2016, 06:35:39 AM
As a general rule, dealers prefer that you finance their vehicles.  They make money off of the interest, they spread out the payments to help smooth out their business cashflow, and they always have the chance to repossess if you fall behind, which they love.

Plus dealers will always try to screw you with fees. 

Heh completely unrelated, but this reminds me of the last car I bought from a dealer. I meticulously negotiated the price and fees (I think I only paid about $75 for total fees, paid sales tax when I registered). Then we talked through my trade-in and what they would give me for that.

After all that, where I felt I had gotten a pretty good deal, I told them I was not going to need their financing. They were clearly pretty annoyed but hey, we had an agreement already ;)
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 10, 2016, 09:26:18 AM
I first bought a prius in 2005 (new).  Seemed like everyone had an opinion that it was a terrible idea because the battery would fail and it would cost $10,000 to replace.  Well, it's got 130,000 miles on it now and we're still waiting for it to need replacement.  It'll still costs thousands of dollars to have a dealer repair, but I've seen a couple places around here that will repair or replace for $850.

Yeah, there is massive disinformation about hybrid and EV packs, some of it loosely based on facts and the rest just pulled out of some Fox News anchor's third point of contact to round out the 24-7 news cycle. In a Volt discussion group I follow, people regularly report being discouraged from buying them, based on wildly inaccurate information about the lifespan and cost of batteries, sometimes even by dealers themselves. Meanwhile, one member just hit 300K miles (100K on battery/200K in hybrid mode) with negligible capacity loss and no performance degradation. GM is showing something like $2400 for the pack and a few hundred in labor, last I looked.

Quote
I also got a new 2014 leaf after the 2015's came out. We had a $5000 credit here in Georgia, so out the door it cost us $12,500. At the time it was cheaper to buy a new one because the used market hadn't developed enough.  I guess I should have waited!  I'm learning that lesson with a tesla.  I'm still waiting for the used ones to drop down to my price zone.  Might be awhile, LOL.
You got a good enough deal, no need to be greedy. Thanks for helping push new EVs to market. ;)
I'm watching Tesla prices too. CPO inventory has all disappeared though, people tell me it's cyclical and the next wave could bring better prices... we'll see.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RWD on March 10, 2016, 10:53:09 AM
Quote
I also got a new 2014 leaf after the 2015's came out. We had a $5000 credit here in Georgia, so out the door it cost us $12,500. At the time it was cheaper to buy a new one because the used market hadn't developed enough.  I guess I should have waited!  I'm learning that lesson with a tesla.  I'm still waiting for the used ones to drop down to my price zone.  Might be awhile, LOL.
You got a good enough deal, no need to be greedy. Thanks for helping push new EVs to market. ;)
I'm watching Tesla prices too. CPO inventory has all disappeared though, people tell me it's cyclical and the next wave could bring better prices... we'll see.

I'm excited for the official Model 3 reveal this month.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 10, 2016, 11:34:31 AM
I'm excited for the official Model 3 reveal this month.
I'm equally excited for the Bolt hitting production later this year. Wouldn't be happening without TSLA driving innovation and continually inviting competition from the established OEMs.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: AZDude on March 10, 2016, 11:54:46 AM
I'm excited for the official Model 3 reveal this month.
I'm equally excited for the Bolt hitting production later this year. Wouldn't be happening without TSLA driving innovation and continually inviting competition from the established OEMs.

I agree. Latest Volt model allegedly has 200 mi all electric range. A game changer for electric cars. Too bad it will still cost $40K.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: gimp on March 10, 2016, 06:30:31 PM
I've been sitting on this fence for a long time. 

Every time they look good to me, I get into actually pricing it out as a replacement for my still running 2003 Ford Taurus with 215k miles that cost me 4k 7 years ago and just can't justify it. 

The maintenance is still nothing major and the car is "not quite dead yet".

So I guess I just soldier on until the car dies and then take the bus and ride a bike as needed until I can find the right replacement.

I agree - the math doesn't work out to dump a functional car. Let's see, a 2003 taurus with 215k miles in good running condition - well, it depends on the state, but I'd call that $2000-2500 in CA and $1500ish in other states. If you don't live in CA, spending almost $8k on a leaf is a difference of ~$6k.

$6k in gas is a cool 3000+ gallons at today's prices... even if it's only 2500 gallons, at ~23 combined mpg, that's another 60k miles if the leaf costs you nothing to charge. A bit hard to justify the upgrade IMO, though certainly justifiable.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: myhotrs on March 10, 2016, 07:48:52 PM
Came across this on CL while wasting time:http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/cto/5468473466.html

Might help justify that Tesla purchase of it generates cash.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RedmondStash on March 10, 2016, 09:19:58 PM
I've been debating getting a Leaf myself. My current commuter car is a 1997 Toyota Corolla LE, 107,000 miles, great condition. It was a rental car for a year, and then I bought it reconditioned from a dealership for $15k in late 1997. It's been a sturdy beast. My commute is currently about 20 miles RT, though for most of my career, it was closer to 10, and I often worked from home.

There's nothing wrong with my car, but it won't last forever. Its annual maintenance costs are already increasing. I wouldn't mind getting in on some upgraded safety features, not to mention an all-electric car. My Corolla also currently has no collision insurance, but collision insurance might make sense for a newer, more valuable car, so that would be another extra expense.

Kelly Blue Book says my car is worth maybe 1-2k, but Craigslist in my area shows similar cars on offer for anywhere from 3-5k. I generally just drive cars into the ground, so the idea of buying while I could still get some money out of my current car is appealing.

To me, the essence of Mustachianism isn't not spending money, it's being sure that the trade-off between time and money is conducive to the greatest happiness payout. I honestly can't figure out whether keeping my old warhorse makes more sense than spending thousands of dollars on a new(ish) hotness. I'll have to get another car eventually, and used Nissan Leafs seem surprisingly affordable, especially compared to used Corollas. But buying any car would push back my FI date; there just aren't many good options for less than $10k in the Seattle area.

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 10, 2016, 09:45:04 PM
the math doesn't work out to dump a functional car.

I think that totally depends on what car you're dumping.  I think it makes sense to buy an $8k Leaf to replace an $8k SUV that gets 15mpg.

I also think it makes sense if you care about things other than the finances.  If you care about air quality, blood money for terrorists who profit by selling oil, greenhouse gas emission that impact our climate, energy independence, carcinogenic fumes while refueling, and helping to promote the transition to a clean energy economy, then maybe it makes sense to pay a little more than the subsidized prices for gasoline cars that conceal the true costs of their technology.

I also think it makes a lot of sense if you're comparing it against buying other modern cars of equivalent features.  Compared to my 2012 Leaf, for example, a comparably loaded 2012 Honda Civic or Accord costs almost twice as much to buy, and more than twice as much to operate.  It also has like 5x the range, so if the long driving range is really important to you (for example because your household only has one vehicle and you take a lot of long trips) then you should expect to pay twice as much for that privilege.  We still have a gas car for road tripping.

And that's the crux of it, I think.  The extant generation of low-cost EVs with <100 miles of range are probably insufficiently advanced to be the only vehicle for most households, but they make a ton of sense for big families like mine that typically have two cars.  The next generation of low-cost EVs, like the above mentioned Tesla 3 and Chevy Bolt, will hopefully provide the ~200 mile range that's needed to truly be your only car, and then in three or four more years they'll also be dirt cheap just like the older Leafs are today.  I suspect this means that most single mustachians will have to wait ~5 years before truly kicking their carbon-burning addiction.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Chaplin on March 10, 2016, 10:50:31 PM
Cars generally cost more in Canada, but the difference for Leafs is big. I'm seeing $15K to $17K for 2012s. That's $11K to $13K USD at current exchange rates. It may be because the incentives here have generally been lower so the original owners paid more out-of-pocket.

Here's a funny line I saw in one add: "Surprise the neighbour whoís in your bed when you come home with the super quiet, 100% electric powered, Nissan LEAF!"
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 11, 2016, 05:05:36 AM
I agree - the math doesn't work out to dump a functional car.
I would suggest doing the math before concluding that, and definitely avoid sweeping generalizations. There are some cases where it does and some cases where it doesn't. Lower operating cost is a given; the question is whether other costs will offset that, and if they don't, how long it takes to pay back the cost of the trade.

I have friends who spent quite a bit more than Sol on their EVs and still recouped the cost, or expect to do so in time, via reduced fuel and maintenance costs. But, as noted above, the less you drive, the longer it takes.

Came across this on CL while wasting time:http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/cto/5468473466.html

Might help justify that Tesla purchase of it generates cash.
That's really cheap. Last time I looked, it was $500+/day if you could get one at all xD
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: daverobev on March 11, 2016, 01:38:39 PM
Cars generally cost more in Canada, but the difference for Leafs is big. I'm seeing $15K to $17K for 2012s. That's $11K to $13K USD at current exchange rates. It may be because the incentives here have generally been lower so the original owners paid more out-of-pocket.

Here's a funny line I saw in one add: "Surprise the neighbour whoís in your bed when you come home with the super quiet, 100% electric powered, Nissan LEAF!"

Yeah seeing this thread made me check kijiji and autotrader - nothing comes close. Just wondering if it'd be worth importing one... how much is shipping from the PNW/Cali to Ontario?!
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: tonysemail on March 11, 2016, 01:47:23 PM
I also think it makes sense if you care about things other than the finances.  If you care about air quality, blood money for terrorists who profit by selling oil, greenhouse gas emission that impact our climate, energy independence, carcinogenic fumes while refueling, and helping to promote the transition to a clean energy economy, then maybe it makes sense to pay a little more than the subsidized prices for gasoline cars that conceal the true costs of their technology.

Well stated, Sol.  I would like to claim that I gave the decision that much thought... but I didn't.  I swapped to an EV just because it makes me happier.  Some of those reasons are probably at the root of it though.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: gimp on March 11, 2016, 04:05:44 PM
You got me. I was tired when I wrote that. I meant it doesn't work out to dump an _inexpensive, and inexpensive to operate_ functional car. Obviously if you could get good money for it, sure, but a functional beater is just too cheap.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Chaplin on March 11, 2016, 06:45:06 PM
Yeah seeing this thread made me check kijiji and autotrader - nothing comes close. Just wondering if it'd be worth importing one... how much is shipping from the PNW/Cali to Ontario?!

Interesting question. There would be some other fees too such as doing the purchase in person and import fees.

I should have mentioned that gas in Canada is more expensive so the payback will be significantly improved. According to gasbuddy.com, it's almost twice as expensive after converting units and currency. If your only savings is gas (which isn't the case), that would support paying almost double for the same payback period.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on March 12, 2016, 11:50:12 AM
Yeah, there is massive disinformation about hybrid and EV packs, some of it loosely based on facts and the rest just pulled out of some Fox News anchor's third point of contact to round out the 24-7 news cycle. In a Volt discussion group I follow, people regularly report being discouraged from buying them, based on wildly inaccurate information about the lifespan and cost of batteries, sometimes even by dealers themselves. Meanwhile, one member just hit 300K miles (100K on battery/200K in hybrid mode) with negligible capacity loss and no performance degradation. GM is showing something like $2400 for the pack and a few hundred in labor, last I looked.

The Volt pack is solid.  GM is using a well understood chemistry, seriously short stroking it (using the middle 10.6kWh of a 16kWh pack), and doing wonderful thermal management.  It's easily going to last the life of the car with what they're doing, and it's a small pack to replace - $2400 sounds about right.  LiMn isn't that expensive right now.

I also think it makes sense if you care about things other than the finances.  If you care about air quality, blood money for terrorists who profit by selling oil, greenhouse gas emission that impact our climate, energy independence, carcinogenic fumes while refueling, and helping to promote the transition to a clean energy economy, then maybe it makes sense to pay a little more than the subsidized prices for gasoline cars that conceal the true costs of their technology.

If you care about those things, using a car at all is not the most useful thing on the planet.  A good electric cargo bike uses 1/10th the energy per mile of electric cars (30Wh/mi on my lazy person's commuter), 1/100th the embodied energy or so (~50 lbs vs ~5000 lbs), and helps promote bike infrastructure instead of road infrastructure.

Replacing "gas burning cars" with "electric cars" is not going to magically make industrial civilization sustainable.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 12, 2016, 03:46:18 PM
Replacing "gas burning cars" with "electric cars" is not going to magically make industrial civilization sustainable.

Of course not, but it's a step in the right direction.  A big step, I might add.

Electric cargo bikes are cool, but they don't replace cars for a family like mine.  Not even close.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on March 12, 2016, 04:15:45 PM
Of course not, but it's a step in the right direction.  A big step, I might add.

I don't think it's that huge a step.  Using a few thousand pounds of metals (and now even nastier to mine metals like cobalt and nickel!) to move a few hundred pounds of payload is silly and wasteful.

That said, I don't think electric cargo bikes are sustainable either, in that they're using some of the same metals.  Just radically, radically less.  I view them as a transition technology towards a lower energy future in that they still allow people to get around on our current roads, are rather tolerant of really bad roads, use radically less energy, and open up efficient, two wheeled transportation to far more people than can manage it (currently) as a pure pedal bike.  They're also, unlike electric cars, quite easy to charge off a small solar array, as the energy used is quite small.

Quote
Electric cargo bikes are cool, but they don't replace cars for a family like mine.  Not even close.

Ok.  Enjoy.

You've spent lots of money and purchased your Green Consumer Trinket, so have fun, feel good about yourself, and Conspicuously Conserve away while supporting the very systems that are unsustainable.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Ricky on March 12, 2016, 05:40:12 PM
You've spent lots of money and purchased your Green Consumer Trinket, so have fun, feel good about yourself, and Conspicuously Conserve away while supporting the very systems that are unsustainable.

I'm not sure sol's intention was to create some elementary show-and-tell. I respect the write up for what it is - I don't see him as touting his superiority over anyone who drives a car at all.

Can you not just give him a break and recognize that he bought a very compact car which uses much less resources to operate than an equivalent gasoline version? It's a step in the right direction - he never claimed to be a saint for driving an EV vs gasoline-powered. I'm pretty sure most here, including MMM, aren't willing to outright dump a somewhat car-dependent lifestyle. If it were up to most of us here, I'm sure we'd manufacture much more economical vehicles than what exists. But alas, we don't, and we have to make choices. I guess I just don't understand why you're trying to knock his mentality on this.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Telecaster on March 12, 2016, 11:49:23 PM
I don't think it's that huge a step.  Using a few thousand pounds of metals (and now even nastier to mine metals like cobalt and nickel!) to move a few hundred pounds of payload is silly and wasteful.

That said, I don't think electric cargo bikes are sustainable either, in that they're using some of the same metals.  Just radically, radically less.  I view them as a transition technology towards a lower energy future in that they still allow people to get around on our current roads, are rather tolerant of really bad roads, use radically less energy, and open up efficient, two wheeled transportation to far more people than can manage it (currently) as a pure pedal bike.  They're also, unlike electric cars, quite easy to charge off a small solar array, as the energy used is quite small.


Ok.  Enjoy.

You've spent lots of money and purchased your Green Consumer Trinket, so have fun, feel good about yourself, and Conspicuously Conserve away while supporting the very systems that are unsustainable.

The chances of America transitioning to mainly bicycle, even electric bicycle, as a primarily mode of transportation is 0.0000000%.    Note the high degree of precision of my prediction. 

Sol's example is indeed a big step in the right direction, and instead of stomping on a victory, you should embrace it.  Pocket the gains, and then move onto working for the next victory. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on March 13, 2016, 09:07:55 AM
The current recall is brake related.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 13, 2016, 10:18:47 AM
The current recall is brake related.

More specifically, it's effects 2013+ model years (not my car) and is related to a booster relay in the brake system that can freeze in very cold temperatures.  If it freezes, you have to press the brakes harder but they still work.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/03/12/nissan-leaf-brake-recall/
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 16, 2016, 11:23:01 AM
I've been doing some additional reading on Leafs and came across this review of the 2011 on Car and Driver.
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2011-nissan-leaf-sl-long-term-road-test-review-introduction-page-2

Man, are they not the target audience for this vehicle. But, there were some interesting points in the comments section. One of the ones that stuck out to me was that Leaf owners more or less have to go to the dealer at this point for service issues because they are still new enough that there isn't a good network of EV mechanics. Dealerships give me the willies. Any input on this facet?

My current strategy is to skim craigslist occasionally and pull the trigger if a too-good-to-pass up deal comes along. At the current used price it still doesn't pencil out and the range is still less than I would need for more than just the straight commute.

Yea, car mags like style and performance.  The Leaf is kind of funky looking, and while the performance is zippy for city driving, it loses to muscle cars in their power bands.  Of course, I rarely redlined my old car so peak hp wasn't so important to me anyway.

The dealer comment is something I don't know about yet.  I took the car to the dealer to have a second key programmed and cut, but that problem applies to all Nissans, not just electrics.  Only dealers can program the keys.

The other service the car is expected to need is tire rotation and then eventually brake pads.  Neither of those seems particularly unique on an electric car, so I don't know why a regular mechanic (or a DiYer) would struggle with them.  If there were problems with the EV system I would take it to a dealer, but do far the Leafs haven't had any significant mechanical problems.  The oldest ones are only 5 years old, so we'll have to wait to see what comes up.  Most of the regular service that gasoline or hybrid cars need is on parts that an EV doesn't even have.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: zephyr911 on March 16, 2016, 11:41:34 AM
I've been doing some additional reading on Leafs and came across this review of the 2011 on Car and Driver.
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2011-nissan-leaf-sl-long-term-road-test-review-introduction-page-2

Man, are they not the target audience for this vehicle. But, there were some interesting points in the comments section. One of the ones that stuck out to me was that Leaf owners more or less have to go to the dealer at this point for service issues because they are still new enough that there isn't a good network of EV mechanics. Dealerships give me the willies. Any input on this facet?

My current strategy is to skim craigslist occasionally and pull the trigger if a too-good-to-pass up deal comes along. At the current used price it still doesn't pencil out and the range is still less than I would need for more than just the straight commute.
Next model year will have ~50% more range, and that is just a quick stop on the way to 200+, which will be the new benchmark very soon. Keep waiting if that's what you need, those will get cheap too.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: PathtoFIRE on March 16, 2016, 12:29:02 PM
My car is getting 3.9 miles per kWh of electricity, and I pay* 7.41 cents per kWh from my utility company, so my "fuel" costs are just under 1.9 cents per mile.

The efficiency of the trickle charger is in the neighborhood of 70-75%, so you are probably paying closer to 10 cents per kWh of actual battery charge. The level 2 chargers have efficiences of greater than 90%, but still isn't enough for me to pay ~1000 for a 220v outlet in the garage plus a charger. My commute is 40 miles roundtrip, and have no problem only using the trickle charger. Also, with practice, you should be able to get that miles/kWh up, I average greater than 5.0, and it's that in low in part because I don't try as hard on the way back home as I do on the way into work.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: JordanOfGilead on March 16, 2016, 01:27:20 PM
I'm still laughing at "you're a bad person and you should feel bad."
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 06, 2016, 09:12:46 AM
I've been trying desperately to convince my wife to buy an EV. She has her sights set on a Prius, but her commute is only like 28 miles roundtrip, mostly city driving. I think the range scares her (although I have no ideal why). Right now she drives a 14 year old gas guzzling 4Runner that's costing her serious bucks to maintain.

It's been difficult to find a Leaf around me but I've found a couple roughly 100 miles away, including this one
http://www.columbusautosource.com/car-details.cfm?carKey=69910

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Chris22 on April 06, 2016, 09:26:51 AM
me to pay ~1000 for a 220v outlet in the garage plus a charger.

Is that $1k for the 220v or for the 220v AND charger?  Because $1k for a 220v is insanity.  It will cost me about $100 to put one in my garage, and my panel is literally in the opposite corner of my house from the garage (most of the cost is heavy-gauge wire).  And DIYer should be able to do this easily.  Pay an electrician $50 if you must to get someone to actually tie it into the panel, but you can do all the hard word (fishing lines) yourself with hand tools.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 06, 2016, 09:42:16 AM
me to pay ~1000 for a 220v outlet in the garage plus a charger.

Is that $1k for the 220v or for the 220v AND charger?  Because $1k for a 220v is insanity.  It will cost me about $100 to put one in my garage, and my panel is literally in the opposite corner of my house from the garage (most of the cost is heavy-gauge wire).  And DIYer should be able to do this easily.  Pay an electrician $50 if you must to get someone to actually tie it into the panel, but you can do all the hard word (fishing lines) yourself with hand tools.

Some places (such as those Nissan steers you towards) will charge you $2500 for the charging station and install. I installed my own 50A/240V circuit and outlet for <$100 in materials (I could have saved a bit by only going 40A but wanted the flexibility for a higher load in the future) and the 7.2KW charging station was $550. I added a plug to it for flexibility if I wanted to charge at an RV park. But you can buy them with plugs already installed.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 06, 2016, 03:20:40 PM
It's been difficult to find a Leaf around me but I've found a couple roughly 100 miles away, including this one
http://www.columbusautosource.com/car-details.cfm?carKey=69910

Prices have already come down since I bought my car last month, but that car isn't terribly priced.  With miles that low, it's probably worth around $8k here.  I'd check Craigslist to see what they go for around you before walking into that stealership.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Northwestie on April 06, 2016, 03:48:59 PM
Even being in the environmental field I poo-pooed the EV thing given the odd minerals needed to dig up for the battery, the life of the battery, and dealing with the toxic left-overs.

But I have to admit the curve has bent. The price has been dropping, there are some great track records of battery life (besides a few flukes) and for a city commuter it seems hard to beat.  Especially out in the Pacific Northwest where we get our electricity from hydro which is pretty cheap.  Picking up a low mile used one seems a good idea.  Who cares what the acceleration rate is - that's not why you are buying it.   

Seems a solid, low cost and environmentally friendly option for around town.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 06, 2016, 04:06:34 PM
Who cares what the acceleration rate is - that's not why you are buying it.   

While I agree with you in principal, the Leaf is actually a pretty quick car, for a family hauler.  0-60 is listed at 7 seconds, which is faster than than a civic or camry.  And much faster than the Volt or any Prius, since they have a lot of extra gasoline engine weight to haul around.

And the real fun is in the 0-40 range anyway, since that's where you do most of your city driving.  And EVs excel at the low end acceleration game.

They toned the Leaf down (http://www.plugincars.com/2013-nissan-leaf-dials-down-ev-torque-127288.html) a little bit for the 2013+ model years, because there was just too much torque for the low rolling-resistance tires to handle and it was too easy to spin the wheels.  The 2011/12 cars are supposed to be more fun, though.

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/22/unofficial-nissan-leaf-does-0-60-mph-in-7-seconds-tops-out-at/
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Chris22 on April 06, 2016, 04:08:54 PM
So here's a loaded question: in IL, most of our power is nuclear. 

Does that make electric cars more or less 'ethical' from a tree-hugger perspective?  :)
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 06, 2016, 04:17:33 PM
So here's a loaded question: in IL, most of our power is nuclear. 

Does that make electric cars more or less 'ethical' from a tree-hugger perspective?  :)

You'd have to ask a bunch of tree huggers, I think.

From my perspective, nuclear energy is cleaner, safer, and cheaper than gasoline so it looks like an easy win.  But there are a lot of people, mostly folks who don't know much about it, who are convinced nuclear power is evil.  They are typically the same people who think GMO food is evil, yet buy bottled water (which genuinely IS evil).  People are funny when it comes to their environmental and ethical blind spots.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 06, 2016, 05:10:31 PM
So here's a loaded question: in IL, most of our power is nuclear. 

Does that make electric cars more or less 'ethical' from a tree-hugger perspective?  :)

You'd have to ask a bunch of tree huggers, I think.

From my perspective, nuclear energy is cleaner, safer, and cheaper than gasoline so it looks like an easy win.  But there are a lot of people, mostly folks who don't know much about it, who are convinced nuclear power is evil.  They are typically the same people who think GMO food is evil, yet buy bottled water (which genuinely IS evil).  People are funny when it comes to their environmental and ethical blind spots.

I don't know if I qualify as a tree-hugger exactly. But I care about the environment. I think existing nuclear plants are fine and should keep running. I'm not sure about new plants though because I'm not sure if they make economic sense in addition to the potential environmental problems. Wind and solar are getting so cheap that nuclear is having trouble competing on cost today. And a new nuke plant takes about 20 years to bring on line. By then wind and solar are going to blow it out of the water on a cost basis. Wind and solar definitely have intermittency issues, but I think those will be solved in part by intermittent charging of vehicles (which I believe will be widespread and become nearly 100% of new vehicles in the next 10-20 years), intermittent demand (anything with a low capital cost and high energy usage), and better electric storage (whether it's pumped storage, batteries, or something else). I don't know exactly what the future looks like, but I'm not sure nuclear makes sense for the long run. I'd be happy to have my car being charged by it today though.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: FIREandMONEY on April 06, 2016, 05:23:31 PM
Man, considering I get free electricity, I should be doubly interested in getting one of these. 

Hmmm....

I have a 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.  And I do use it for hauling things occasionally, and I use it as part of my hobby (BBQ competitions).  maybe I could sell it, pocket the 18K, then buy an older truck with a lot of miles and buy a leaf as well.  Use the truck sparingly and use the leaf as my commuter. 

Hmmm...I'll have to do the math to see if that would work out. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on April 06, 2016, 05:32:10 PM
I've been trying desperately to convince my wife to buy an EV. She has her sights set on a Prius, but her commute is only like 28 miles roundtrip, mostly city driving. I think the range scares her (although I have no ideal why). Right now she drives a 14 year old gas guzzling 4Runner that's costing her serious bucks to maintain.

It's been difficult to find a Leaf around me but I've found a couple roughly 100 miles away, including this one
http://www.columbusautosource.com/car-details.cfm?carKey=69910

Get a Volt.

Enough battery range for common use and the motor for her comfort/long range work.

Toyota blew it with not turning the Prius into what the Volt is.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 06, 2016, 06:20:30 PM
Man, considering I get free electricity, I should be doubly interested in getting one of these. 

Hmmm....

I have a 2010 Ford Explorer Sport Trac.  And I do use it for hauling things occasionally, and I use it as part of my hobby (BBQ competitions).  maybe I could sell it, pocket the 18K, then buy an older truck with a lot of miles and buy a leaf as well.  Use the truck sparingly and use the leaf as my commuter. 

Hmmm...I'll have to do the math to see if that would work out. 

The Leaf can tow a trailer. On the Leaf forum someone showed how they installed a hitch and tow around a flatbed trailer. I think it set them back a few hundred bucks. If you wanted to tow a boat, maybe not. But some BBQ equipment for sure.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 06, 2016, 07:01:49 PM
Posting to follow - I still want a Leaf....sometime between now and September I think.  DH wants that Model 3 Tesla.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RedmondStash on April 06, 2016, 10:03:34 PM
I may still get a Leaf. I kinda want to wait until the fall, though. Apparently the time to get the best prices is at the end of the year, both for quotas and for getting rid of extra inventory to make room for newer models.

I doubt I'll buy a new one. A friend of mine didn't like the side mirrors; she said they felt too short, and she couldn't see enough of the road to feel safe. I looked at some in a parking lot, and yeah, the side mirrors do look kind of small. I haven't test-driven one yet, but I'll have to give that a try sometime.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 06, 2016, 10:27:41 PM
I doubt I'll buy a new one. A friend of mine didn't like the side mirrors; she said they felt too short, and she couldn't see enough of the road to feel safe. I looked at some in a parking lot, and yeah, the side mirrors do look kind of small. I haven't test-driven one yet, but I'll have to give that a try sometime.

I had the same reaction, the first few times I drove it.  They are definitely smaller than my old car, but after week of driving it I didn't even notice any more

Of equal concern to me is the C pillars and rear headrests reduce rear visibility more than I'm used to in small cars.  I'd take the headrests off and put them in the trunk if I didn't carry four people every day.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 07, 2016, 07:21:35 AM
I doubt I'll buy a new one. A friend of mine didn't like the side mirrors; she said they felt too short, and she couldn't see enough of the road to feel safe. I looked at some in a parking lot, and yeah, the side mirrors do look kind of small. I haven't test-driven one yet, but I'll have to give that a try sometime.

I had the same reaction, the first few times I drove it.  They are definitely smaller than my old car, but after week of driving it I didn't even notice any more

Of equal concern to me is the C pillars and rear headrests reduce rear visibility more than I'm used to in small cars.  I'd take the headrests off and put them in the trunk if I didn't carry four people every day.

I haven't noticed a problem with either of these. I have my mirrors adjusted in the Blindzone/Glare Elimination Setting developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers. I don't actually even need to turn my head to see if the next lane over is clear--just my peripheral vision and the mirrors is enough. I still look though out of caution. And the backup camera is nice to just make sure there's no little kid or something behind me while backing up.

https://trafficschoolonline.com/blog/how-to-adjust-side-mirrors-for-best-visibility
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 07, 2016, 07:25:30 AM
The one inconvenient thing about having the Leaf is that it's too convenient. Meaning that since going to the gas station is no longer a thing, and you don't need to charge every day, you can forget to plug it in sometimes. This isn't a problem if you just plug it in every day. But since we have 2 and we are trying to only charge overnight during super off peak hours and we are also trying to not keep the batteries at a high state of charge too often and we don't really drive very far, we don't charge every night. DW forgot to charge last night. So she had to telework for about 25 minutes while charging up a bit before heading off to work this morning. Since we can add about 10 miles of range in 20 minutes, even forgetting to charge is not too bad.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: PathtoFIRE on April 07, 2016, 08:11:47 AM
Yeah, definitely need to be on top of charging. My car only gets intermittent 2g cell coverage in the garage (apparently), so I can't rely using the app to check, so I make a habit as I'm winding down at night of peeking in the garage for the tell-tale blinking blue lights.

The Leaf is actually a little on the heavy side for compact cars, and while you don't really notice it looking at one by itself, they definitely sit a little higher than many compacts. One thing that I've notice and wonder if anyone else has too is that especially sensitive to crosswinds, to an extent I hadn't noticed in my previous cars (VW Passat and Jetta wagen).
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 07, 2016, 08:32:11 AM
Yeah, definitely need to be on top of charging.

This complaint kind of surprises me, because I have the exact opposite experience.  I plug in out of habit every time I park in the garage (because the earlier cars have the option to charge to only 80%) and that includes many times when I shouldn't.  If I'm only going to be home for an hour before heading out again, I really don't need to plug in but I almost always do.  Then I have to unplug before I leave again, and even though that only takes a few seconds I grumble about it every time I have to do it unnecessarily.  I want the charging to take the absolute minimum amount of time necessary, which is to plug in once per day and unplug once per day.  Some days it gets plugged in three times, and I waste like a whole 30 seconds all together.

And we've never forgotten to plug in overnight.  Every night before I go to bed I stick my head into the garage to make sure the garage door is closed, and the car is right there shining it's little blue dash lights at me to confirm that it's charging.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MMMarbleheader on April 07, 2016, 08:37:37 AM
I appreciate the Leaf conversation.

When I got into the full MMM mode, I was very anti-car commuting as I work in Boston and the cost to commute into the city + pay for parking in crazy.

Recently I was offered a new position in my company that comes with parking + the garage has free chargers. The thing about Boston is that public transport is also really expensive. If I can get the monthly Lead cost below $300 I think I may just do it. This will give me the ability to get into work at 6am which I cannot do with public transport. Leaving at 230-300 instead of 330 to 4 will do a lot for my family life.

I actually think the e-golf might be the cheapest option with the $159/mo lease plus MA will give me $2500.

The Chevy Spark is not available here.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 07, 2016, 09:16:13 AM
And we've never forgotten to plug in overnight.  Every night before I go to bed I stick my head into the garage to make sure the garage door is closed, and the car is right there shining it's little blue dash lights at me to confirm that it's charging.

I agree that the charging is super convenient. It's only a little thought required for us because we 1) have 2 cars and only 1 L2 charging station, 2) are trying to charge only while we're asleep, and 3) charge to 100% and are trying to baby the batteries a little. Usually we just plug it in when we get home if the battery is pretty low, but DW forgot yesterday because of being distracted by something else.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: PathtoFIRE on April 07, 2016, 10:51:56 AM
Initially I was plugging in every time I came home too, but now I try to just plug in on my last return, not for any particularly good reason. Well, I tell myself that the fewer times I plug in, the less wear on the port and the charger, but then again, I've been encouraging my little kids to the plugging/unplugging for me, so that probably negates any effort I've made on that end. I'm using the trickle charger, and those bad boys seems very expensive to replace right now, which I think is weird since my understanding is that the actual charger itself is built into the car.

I've forgotten to charge overnight twice. Once, it made no difference, I had plenty of battery left for the next day as well as getting it charged fully after that. However, the other time, we had planned an outing of 80 miles roundtrip, and while we started out with just over 80 miles on the guess-o-meter, this was mostly highway traffic, so we clearly weren't going to make it all of the way back home. So we stopped at a dealership, let it charge for a half hour, and enjoyed some frostys next door. I though it worked out just fine, but DW was still upset with me.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 07, 2016, 10:57:40 AM
It's been difficult to find a Leaf around me but I've found a couple roughly 100 miles away, including this one
http://www.columbusautosource.com/car-details.cfm?carKey=69910

Prices have already come down since I bought my car last month, but that car isn't terribly priced.  With miles that low, it's probably worth around $8k here.  I'd check Craigslist to see what they go for around you before walking into that stealership.

I wouldn't even drive the 120 miles to see the car unless they made me an offer that's tough to beat. Highly unlikely. I've been watching Craigslist like a hawk everyday for several months. Rarely do I see a Leaf even within 100 miles. Only one on their currently and they want 10K for it (2011). Way overpriced. I'll keep watching.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RedmondStash on April 07, 2016, 08:28:33 PM
I appreciate the Leaf conversation.

When I got into the full MMM mode, I was very anti-car commuting as I work in Boston and the cost to commute into the city + pay for parking in crazy.

Recently I was offered a new position in my company that comes with parking + the garage has free chargers. The thing about Boston is that public transport is also really expensive. If I can get the monthly Lead cost below $300 I think I may just do it. This will give me the ability to get into work at 6am which I cannot do with public transport. Leaving at 230-300 instead of 330 to 4 will do a lot for my family life.

I actually think the e-golf might be the cheapest option with the $159/mo lease plus MA will give me $2500.

The Chevy Spark is not available here.

Speaking of leasing, what do you folks think about leasing vs. buying electric cars? The idea of "lease" kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies (all that money, just thrown way!), but this is new technology, improving all the time. So I'm torn.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 07, 2016, 09:37:57 PM
Speaking of leasing, what do you folks think about leasing vs. buying electric cars? The idea of "lease" kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies (all that money, just thrown way!), but this is new technology, improving all the time. So I'm torn.

Some new friends of mine just leased a leaf, and they were horrified that I had bought one outright.  The lease incentives are really good in some places, like under $200/mo.  I tried to explain that at my purchase price of $7700, I'll have a free car after they will have been leasing for 3 years and the months.  But they can't see the total cost to own, only the monthly recurring payment, and from that perspective they are saving more in gas than they are paying on their lease.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 08, 2016, 06:53:39 AM
Speaking of leasing, what do you folks think about leasing vs. buying electric cars? The idea of "lease" kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies (all that money, just thrown way!), but this is new technology, improving all the time. So I'm torn.

Some new friends of mine just leased a leaf, and they were horrified that I had bought one outright.  The lease incentives are really good in some places, like under $200/mo.  I tried to explain that at my purchase price of $7700, I'll have a free car after they will have been leasing for 3 years and the months.  But they can't see the total cost to own, only the monthly recurring payment, and from that perspective they are saving more in gas than they are paying on their lease.

Similarly, in GA the incentives made it really attractive to lease (until the incentives were axed). And everyone was leasing and thinking it was free because the gas savings paid for the lease cost (about $100/mo after incentives if you got a good deal). But I knew that the tax credit was going away soon so after 3 years, it would get more expensive to get another car. And Nissan was also offering huge cash back for purchases and 0% financing (since I borrowed the full amount and pocketed the $12,500 in tax credits per car, I still have negative cash in both cars) because they were doing so many leases. The people at the dealership were surprised I wanted to buy outright (90% of Leaf sales were leases at that time). And I got a big discount on the purchase price too.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 08, 2016, 12:51:33 PM
We have two homes, one we plan to FIRE to in 7 years.  It is 102 miles away.

90% of the miles are highway miles and the speed limit is 70 MPH.  We will still have a gas powered car that would be the normal method of reaching the house for the next few years. 

I had thought there was a charging station at the 1/2 way point.  I was wrong....which stinks.  There are actually only two on the way - one is 73 miles from the house, and the other is 19 miles from the house.  You would imagine that the electric infrastructure would grow in the future as this is along Highway 80. However, given the Leaf's maximum 84 mile range even new, if we did "have" to take the electric car in an emergency, could we leave the house with a fully charged 2012 Leaf, drive 19 miles - charge for 1/2-1 hour and then drive 57 miles to the next charger?  How long would I need to stay at a CHAdeMO plug to get the last 25 miles to the house?  There's a grocery store next to the last charger where we'd probably spend about 1/2 hour shopping, but I would think it might take longer than that to charge.  DH would not be amused if this was the case.  There is also a rental car company near our house that often has $9.95/day weekend specials on cars.  I might consider renting a car on those rare times we needed to use the car as I'd hate to run out of juice along the way.

Sol and ForuMMM, and any other owners, I'd appreciate input as to whether that drive is doable, or whether I'd look stupid driving my Leaf 40 MPH on the freeway trying to conserve battery.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 08, 2016, 01:57:50 PM
Any thoughts on how to confirm battery function and capacity short of driving until it stops? I googled a bit, but that was more or less what was recommended with a lot more words.

You can get a bluetooth OBDII port reader (I think that's the acronym) and the free LeafSpy Lite app and see the values from your battery on your phone. Ideally you would do some driving to see how it changes as you drive. But it does provide some data on individual cells and state of health, etc.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 08, 2016, 02:02:26 PM
We have two homes, one we plan to FIRE to in 7 years.  It is 102 miles away.

90% of the miles are highway miles and the speed limit is 70 MPH.  We will still have a gas powered car that would be the normal method of reaching the house for the next few years. 

I had thought there was a charging station at the 1/2 way point.  I was wrong....which stinks.  There are actually only two on the way - one is 73 miles from the house, and the other is 19 miles from the house.  You would imagine that the electric infrastructure would grow in the future as this is along Highway 80. However, given the Leaf's maximum 84 mile range even new, if we did "have" to take the electric car in an emergency, could we leave the house with a fully charged 2012 Leaf, drive 19 miles - charge for 1/2-1 hour and then drive 57 miles to the next charger?  How long would I need to stay at a CHAdeMO plug to get the last 25 miles to the house?  There's a grocery store next to the last charger where we'd probably spend about 1/2 hour shopping, but I would think it might take longer than that to charge.  DH would not be amused if this was the case.  There is also a rental car company near our house that often has $9.95/day weekend specials on cars.  I might consider renting a car on those rare times we needed to use the car as I'd hate to run out of juice along the way.

Sol and ForuMMM, and any other owners, I'd appreciate input as to whether that drive is doable, or whether I'd look stupid driving my Leaf 40 MPH on the freeway trying to conserve battery.

If you drove 65 on the freeway with no A/C and windows up you should be OK to go 57 miles even in a 2012. But it depends on how degraded that battery is (and it will get more degraded, slowly over time). An L3 going from almost empty would give you 25 miles within 5-10 minutes (L3 becomes as slow as L2 over about 90% charged). An L2 would take more like 50 if you have an onboard 6.6kW charger.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RedmondStash on April 08, 2016, 06:04:51 PM
Similarly, in GA the incentives made it really attractive to lease (until the incentives were axed). And everyone was leasing and thinking it was free because the gas savings paid for the lease cost (about $100/mo after incentives if you got a good deal). But I knew that the tax credit was going away soon so after 3 years, it would get more expensive to get another car. And Nissan was also offering huge cash back for purchases and 0% financing (since I borrowed the full amount and pocketed the $12,500 in tax credits per car, I still have negative cash in both cars) because they were doing so many leases. The people at the dealership were surprised I wanted to buy outright (90% of Leaf sales were leases at that time). And I got a big discount on the purchase price too.

May I ask how big a discount? I have literally never bought a new car, so I don't know how seriously to take sticker prices. Right now, I'm seeing $29,010 as the starting MSRP for a 2016 Nissan Leaf S, but I'm not sure what that includes.

I'm currently planning to buy a used Leaf, not a new one, but a hefty discount (on top of federal rebates) might just change my mind, given that the electric-car tech is still so new and changing so rapidly.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 08, 2016, 06:50:18 PM
Similarly, in GA the incentives made it really attractive to lease (until the incentives were axed). And everyone was leasing and thinking it was free because the gas savings paid for the lease cost (about $100/mo after incentives if you got a good deal). But I knew that the tax credit was going away soon so after 3 years, it would get more expensive to get another car. And Nissan was also offering huge cash back for purchases and 0% financing (since I borrowed the full amount and pocketed the $12,500 in tax credits per car, I still have negative cash in both cars) because they were doing so many leases. The people at the dealership were surprised I wanted to buy outright (90% of Leaf sales were leases at that time). And I got a big discount on the purchase price too.

May I ask how big a discount? I have literally never bought a new car, so I don't know how seriously to take sticker prices. Right now, I'm seeing $29,010 as the starting MSRP for a 2016 Nissan Leaf S, but I'm not sure what that includes.

I'm currently planning to buy a used Leaf, not a new one, but a hefty discount (on top of federal rebates) might just change my mind, given that the electric-car tech is still so new and changing so rapidly.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/nissan-leaf-almost-paying-me-to-drive-it/

I paid under invoice less holdback (i.e. less than what the real price the dealer paid). But the dealer did OK because it helped them hit end of month bonuses. Same for the salesman.

$29,500 (including everything except state fees)
-$7,500 (federal)
-$5,000 (state)
-$3,500 (Nissan)
=$13.5k
I financed the 26k plus state fees (GA taxes you upfront when you acquire a vehicle and then there's no annual tax) at 0% for 6 years.

I got the $12.5k when I filed my taxes. But since I financed this part of the purchase price, Nissan is lending me the money at 0% so I can invest it until the payments catch up to it over 3 years.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RedmondStash on April 08, 2016, 08:23:37 PM
Similarly, in GA the incentives made it really attractive to lease (until the incentives were axed). And everyone was leasing and thinking it was free because the gas savings paid for the lease cost (about $100/mo after incentives if you got a good deal). But I knew that the tax credit was going away soon so after 3 years, it would get more expensive to get another car. And Nissan was also offering huge cash back for purchases and 0% financing (since I borrowed the full amount and pocketed the $12,500 in tax credits per car, I still have negative cash in both cars) because they were doing so many leases. The people at the dealership were surprised I wanted to buy outright (90% of Leaf sales were leases at that time). And I got a big discount on the purchase price too.

May I ask how big a discount? I have literally never bought a new car, so I don't know how seriously to take sticker prices. Right now, I'm seeing $29,010 as the starting MSRP for a 2016 Nissan Leaf S, but I'm not sure what that includes.

I'm currently planning to buy a used Leaf, not a new one, but a hefty discount (on top of federal rebates) might just change my mind, given that the electric-car tech is still so new and changing so rapidly.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/nissan-leaf-almost-paying-me-to-drive-it/

I paid under invoice less holdback (i.e. less than what the real price the dealer paid). But the dealer did OK because it helped them hit end of month bonuses. Same for the salesman.

$29,500 (including everything except state fees)
-$7,500 (federal)
-$5,000 (state)
-$3,500 (Nissan)
=$13.5k
I financed the 26k plus state fees (GA taxes you upfront when you acquire a vehicle and then there's no annual tax) at 0% for 6 years.

I got the $12.5k when I filed my taxes. But since I financed this part of the purchase price, Nissan is lending me the money at 0% so I can invest it until the payments catch up to it over 3 years.

Wow, that's impressive. That's what a 2013-2015 Nissan Leaf goes for around here. Food for thought. Thank you.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 08, 2016, 11:00:24 PM
We have two homes, one we plan to FIRE to in 7 years.  It is 102 miles away.

90% of the miles are highway miles and the speed limit is 70 MPH.  We will still have a gas powered car that would be the normal method of reaching the house for the next few years. 

I had thought there was a charging station at the 1/2 way point.  I was wrong....which stinks.  There are actually only two on the way - one is 73 miles from the house, and the other is 19 miles from the house.  You would imagine that the electric infrastructure would grow in the future as this is along Highway 80. However, given the Leaf's maximum 84 mile range even new, if we did "have" to take the electric car in an emergency, could we leave the house with a fully charged 2012 Leaf, drive 19 miles - charge for 1/2-1 hour and then drive 57 miles to the next charger?  How long would I need to stay at a CHAdeMO plug to get the last 25 miles to the house?  There's a grocery store next to the last charger where we'd probably spend about 1/2 hour shopping, but I would think it might take longer than that to charge.  DH would not be amused if this was the case.  There is also a rental car company near our house that often has $9.95/day weekend specials on cars.  I might consider renting a car on those rare times we needed to use the car as I'd hate to run out of juice along the way.

Sol and ForuMMM, and any other owners, I'd appreciate input as to whether that drive is doable, or whether I'd look stupid driving my Leaf 40 MPH on the freeway trying to conserve battery.

If you drove 65 on the freeway with no A/C and windows up you should be OK to go 57 miles even in a 2012. But it depends on how degraded that battery is (and it will get more degraded, slowly over time). An L3 going from almost empty would give you 25 miles within 5-10 minutes (L3 becomes as slow as L2 over about 90% charged). An L2 would take more like 50 if you have an onboard 6.6kW charger.

Thank you. Since Nissan has $4K back now I was tempted by the '16 with the further range, alas IL no longer has the $4K state incentive, and it makes more sense to do the '12 used with no incentives(for the 2-3 times a year I "might" need to rent a car).
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 13, 2016, 03:24:05 PM
OK smart EV people - if you had a choice between a 2012 Leaf with 21K miles and a 2013 Leaf with 41K miles for the exact same price with the exact same options, which one would you buy? One is red/burgundy (2012) and one is silver (2013), but color is irrelevant to me.  The price is fair - under $8K for either. Help me choose.

The newer car with more miles has a younger battery.  Should it get slightly higher range? Range is important to me.

I will drive under the average number of annual miles in the car myself so over the next 5-6 years it should still end up with low mileage. 

ETA - KBB of 2013 is $10.7, KBB of 2012 is $10.2.  KBB says the 2013 is the better deal, but KBB is not mustachian.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 13, 2016, 04:51:24 PM
OK smart EV people - if you had a choice between a 2012 Leaf with 21K miles and a 2013 Leaf with 41K miles for the exact same price with the exact same options, which one would you buy? One is red/burgundy (2012) and one is silver (2013), but color is irrelevant to me.  The price is fair - under $8K for either. Help me choose.

The newer car with more miles has a younger battery.  Should it get slightly higher range? Range is important to me.

I will drive under the average number of annual miles in the car myself so over the next 5-6 years it should still end up with low mileage. 

ETA - KBB of 2013 is $10.7, KBB of 2012 is $10.2.  KBB says the 2013 is the better deal, but KBB is not mustachian.

If you'll drive few enough miles to keep the 2013 under 60k before it's 60 months old (for battery capacity warranty purposes), I guess I would go with that one.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 13, 2016, 05:27:01 PM
OK smart EV people - if you had a choice between a 2012 Leaf with 21K miles and a 2013 Leaf with 41K miles for the exact same price with the exact same options, which one would you buy? One is red/burgundy (2012) and one is silver (2013), but color is irrelevant to me.  The price is fair - under $8K for either. Help me choose.

The newer car with more miles has a younger battery.  Should it get slightly higher range? Range is important to me.

I will drive under the average number of annual miles in the car myself so over the next 5-6 years it should still end up with low mileage. 

ETA - KBB of 2013 is $10.7, KBB of 2012 is $10.2.  KBB says the 2013 is the better deal, but KBB is not mustachian.

If you'll drive few enough miles to keep the 2013 under 60k before it's 60 months old (for battery capacity warranty purposes), I guess I would go with that one.

Sound advice...the warranty goes that far. I drive about 7,000 miles per year, so it would be close on mileage....although since my company instituted a WFH unless necessary to be in the office philosophy, that mileage will probably go down to 5,000-6,000 per year.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RedmondStash on April 13, 2016, 06:57:42 PM
OK smart EV people - if you had a choice between a 2012 Leaf with 21K miles and a 2013 Leaf with 41K miles for the exact same price with the exact same options, which one would you buy? One is red/burgundy (2012) and one is silver (2013), but color is irrelevant to me.  The price is fair - under $8K for either. Help me choose.

The newer car with more miles has a younger battery.  Should it get slightly higher range? Range is important to me.

I will drive under the average number of annual miles in the car myself so over the next 5-6 years it should still end up with low mileage. 

ETA - KBB of 2013 is $10.7, KBB of 2012 is $10.2.  KBB says the 2013 is the better deal, but KBB is not mustachian.

I believe the 2013 has some substantial improvements, including battery & range, which is part of why the 2011 and 2012 tend to be much cheaper now.

And I think more improvements were made for the 2015 & 2016, which I'm hoping will drive down prices of the 2013 even more for when I'm ready to buy.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 13, 2016, 07:18:35 PM
The 2013+ cars do have some improvements.  Most of them are under the hood and invisible to an average user.

The resistive heater was replaced with a heat pump, so using the climate control takes less of a toll on the battery, which is why they are reported to get slightly better range.  They lowered the floor in the back, giving you a little more cargo area.  They also introduced the S trim in 2013, which as the smaller screen on the console (which I didn't like).  They introduced the black interior (which I did like).  They detuned the torque output so it's harder to do accidental burnouts.

But the big difference is that they changed the battery chemistry.  The 2011 and 12 Leafs use a battery chemistry that is more sensitive to higher temperatures, so if you live in a place that routinely sees 90 degrees or hotter, I'd go with the 2013. 

Based on my own analysis of used Leaf prices, I determined that each 10k miles on the odometer was worth about $500 in purchase price.  So car with 20k extra miles should be $1,000 cheaper. 
 
That's complicated in your case because of the model change between 2012/13.  Around here, the 2013+ cars of identical feature and mileage were going for at least $3k (like 40%!) more than the 2012 cars.  So you're looking at a car that would be worth $3k more on the open market (based on other buyer's opinions of fair price) and loses about $1k of that to mileage, so is "worth" maybe $2k more.  This is probably why kbb is saying it is a better deal at the same price.

But if it were me, I'd buy the 2012 unless you live somewhere with hot summers.  If you don't care about the heater efficiency, the extra few inches of rear cargo space, or the black interior, and you want more power, then you're better off just getting the lower mileage battery.  Battery replacement costs are likely to be comparable in scale to your electricity costs for charging that battery, over it's lifetime, so the longer you can put off battery replacement the better.  At your usage, you'd be getting an extra 3+ years of use out of buying the 2012 even though it is one year older.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 13, 2016, 07:40:08 PM
sol and RedmondStash, Thank you for the feedback.  We hope to have a decision this weekend - and if one of them sells in advance, then I guess the decision will be easy.  I am still waiting for final shipping quotes since I have to move it across the country.  I've got one for $395 - and based on feedback from MMM (the real one!), this looks like a good deal for shipping. (Full disclosure, it's probably cheaper because we've referred business to them over the years and we told them it could be anywhere in the next month when they have room on the truck.  My mom will keep the car until we're ready to ship.)

It will be weird buying a car I've never even test driven or seen/smelled in person, but my BIL is a car guy and he's done the honors. We do have hot summers and I do like heaters.  I don't care about more power.

If IL would just bring back the $4K charging station tax incentive, we would be golden.  :-)
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 13, 2016, 08:20:58 PM
You should find out how many battery capacity bars the cars have.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 13, 2016, 09:02:15 PM
You should find out how many battery capacity bars the cars have.

Yes I agree he/she should do that, but I can probably predict the answers.

A car with only 20k miles on the odometer should have all 12 bars (on the far right battery capacity guage).  They are hard to count, but the top one should be above the little "1" at the top of the meter, like this (http://www.pluginamerica.org/surveys/batteries/leaf/soc-display.jpg).

A car with 30k miles has probably lost it's 12th bar, and the far right gauge will look like this (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-m8Xa6mvxCp4/U3xIyzeeIJI/AAAAAAAAECA/jtpup8KhqIE/s1600/2014-05-11+14.40.28.jpg).  Generally speaking those early cars lose their 12 bar somewhere around 30k miles, with some cars kept in hot climates losing it as early as 16k miles and some cars in cold Scandanavia keeping it until well past 50k.

And I wouldn't worry about the smell.  Smells can be fixed.  The best deals on a car I've ever gotten was from buying smoker's cars that nobody else wanted because it was stinky, and rehabbing the interior.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 13, 2016, 10:15:10 PM
You should find out how many battery capacity bars the cars have.

Yes I agree he/she should do that, but I can probably predict the answers.

A car with only 20k miles on the odometer should have all 12 bars (on the far right battery capacity guage).  They are hard to count, but the top one should be above the little "1" at the top of the meter, like this (http://www.pluginamerica.org/surveys/batteries/leaf/soc-display.jpg).

A car with 30k miles has probably lost it's 12th bar, and the far right gauge will look like this (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-m8Xa6mvxCp4/U3xIyzeeIJI/AAAAAAAAECA/jtpup8KhqIE/s1600/2014-05-11+14.40.28.jpg).  Generally speaking those early cars lose their 12 bar somewhere around 30k miles, with some cars kept in hot climates losing it as early as 16k miles and some cars in cold Scandanavia keeping it until well past 50k.

And I wouldn't worry about the smell.  Smells can be fixed.  The best deals on a car I've ever gotten was from buying smoker's cars that nobody else wanted because it was stinky, and rehabbing the interior.

I am hoping this is a not too hot area car.  DH would not like seeing the battery charge under the 12, so maybe the 2012 is the better option... My BIL will look at it on both of them - and if they aren't fully charged when he goes in to look at them, he'll have them charge them and come back the next day (it's only 3-4 miles from his house).  I am very sensitive to smells - someone smoked in the garage of our current house (which we didn't spend much time in on the walkthrough in January in IL) and 9 years later I can still smell it, especially in the summer.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: myhotrs on April 13, 2016, 10:56:29 PM
My 2012 Leaf has lost 3 bars, I'm at 30,000 in hot Los Angeles. Its a lease so I never took it easy on the battery always charge to full and only use trickle charger.

One more bar and I get a new battery (though I only have 8 months left on my lease)
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 14, 2016, 09:15:28 AM
You should find out how many battery capacity bars the cars have.

And having lost a few bars is not necessarily bad. If it's lost 4 and still under warranty, that's actually good because you'd get a brand new 2016 model battery (which is supposed to be very resistant to heat-related losses). But if it's down 2, you might be cramped in the short run for range (since you mentioned range being an issue) and may not get to the 4th bar loss before the warranty ends. Just something to be aware of.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on April 17, 2016, 06:26:34 PM
Or buy something with a competent battery thermal management system.

Which would be literally anything but the Leaf.

http://syonyk.blogspot.com/2016/01/electric-car-battery-packs-and-longevity.html

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 18, 2016, 09:27:43 AM
Or buy something with a competent battery thermal management system.

Which would be literally anything but the Leaf.

http://syonyk.blogspot.com/2016/01/electric-car-battery-packs-and-longevity.html


It's a tradeoff. TMS requires added cost and uses more energy (i.e. shortens your range). If you live in Phoenix, it's more valuable to have a little A/C for your battery. If you live in a moderate climate, the added cost probably isn't worth it. And you don't really have a lot of options. Teslas are too expensive for most people. And pretty much all the other EVs are more expensive than the Leaf or not widely available. I'm OK with accepting some battery degradation. Eventually I'll get a new battery--hopefully when they are much cheaper/lighter/degrade more slowly, etc.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 18, 2016, 10:57:12 AM
I did a lot of reading about battery degradation before I bought my Leaf, and I decided it wasn't a relevant issue in my climate.  I fully expect the battery to slowly lose range over time, and I'll probably have to replace it about ten years from now. 

I also expect the cost of that replacement in ten years to be much lower than the $5.5k it is today (thanks Elon!), but even if batteries don't get any cheaper I will still have come out way ahead of buying any other EV.

If I lived in Arizona out Florida I might have made a different decision, or even decided to buy Nissan's battery protection plan.  It guarantees you a lifetime of free battery replacements for $100/month.  So far almost nobody has taken them up on that offer, though, because the batteries have held up remarkably well despite the doomsayers like syonyk.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 18, 2016, 02:06:06 PM
I emailed a stealership today. They have a 2012 Leaf with 22K miles marked down to $7750. Been on the market for nearly 3 months. They have reduced the price 3 times now. Unfortunately it's also 180 miles away. Delivery quotes were a little less than $300. I am afraid between the fees and the delivery charge, it will kill the deal for me. Never hurts to try though.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 18, 2016, 02:16:23 PM
I emailed a stealership today. They have a 2012 Leaf with 22K miles marked down to $7750. Been on the market for nearly 3 months. They have reduced the price 3 times now. Unfortunately it's also 180 miles away. Delivery quotes were a little less than $300. I am afraid between the fees and the delivery charge, it will kill the deal for me. Never hurts to try though.

You should totally be able to move this car yourself pretty cheap. You have a couple options.

1) Borrow a friends' car with tow hitch and a Uhaul trailer. Drive it there and pick it up. Drive back.  360 miles RT@10 miles per gallon = 36 gallons X $2.50 = $90.  Trailer rental $20. 

2) Drive your current car there with a friend and let them drive home while you "slow" drive back.  I would think you could go 40 miles per charge and lookup the quickcharge stations. Read a book or hang out with our friend as you come back while charging.  360 miles RT @ 20 miles per gallon = 18 gallons X $2.50 = $45.

Alas, my Leaf purchase is now delayed to September, when DS will get his license.  But, it's because we decided to pay off our house this month instead with extra cash we had on hand.  We'll need those 5 months to save up our cash again. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on April 18, 2016, 02:33:53 PM
Uhaul likely won't let you tow a car with a car. You'd need a friend with a truck.

They're picky about things like tow ratings.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 19, 2016, 07:00:33 AM
I emailed a stealership today. They have a 2012 Leaf with 22K miles marked down to $7750. Been on the market for nearly 3 months. They have reduced the price 3 times now. Unfortunately it's also 180 miles away. Delivery quotes were a little less than $300. I am afraid between the fees and the delivery charge, it will kill the deal for me. Never hurts to try though.

You should totally be able to move this car yourself pretty cheap. You have a couple options.

1) Borrow a friends' car with tow hitch and a Uhaul trailer. Drive it there and pick it up. Drive back.  360 miles RT@10 miles per gallon = 36 gallons X $2.50 = $90.  Trailer rental $20. 

2) Drive your current car there with a friend and let them drive home while you "slow" drive back.  I would think you could go 40 miles per charge and lookup the quickcharge stations. Read a book or hang out with our friend as you come back while charging.  360 miles RT @ 20 miles per gallon = 18 gallons X $2.50 = $45.

Alas, my Leaf purchase is now delayed to September, when DS will get his license.  But, it's because we decided to pay off our house this month instead with extra cash we had on hand.  We'll need those 5 months to save up our cash again.

Unfortunately there isn't one charging station in my state. So driving it back is out of the question. U-Haul tow dolly is $45, before fees and taxes. Add in the fuel charges and extra money for borrowing a truck that can haul a car and we are well over $100 now. I actually don't know anyone that owns a big enough truck/SUV that can haul another car. So I would have to rent. When all is said and done I don't think I would be saving a whole lot of money. And it is an entire day spent driving.

I appreciate the feedback, but I think the auto transport would save me a lot of time and headache.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Smevans on April 19, 2016, 08:12:41 AM
Should have bought a TDI. They are dirt cheap right now with the "dieselgate scandal". I average 60mpg and with diesel around $2.02 that is roughly $.03 a mile with a 600 mile range =).
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on April 19, 2016, 09:03:05 AM
But Naaawwwwwwx!

:p
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 19, 2016, 09:19:25 AM
Should have bought a TDI. They are dirt cheap right now with the "dieselgate scandal". I average 60mpg and with diesel around $2.02 that is roughly $.03 a mile with a 600 mile range =).

I had a bad experience with a VW Jetta. Great vehicle until I hit about 100K miles and everything under the sun started failing on the car. Won't buy VW again.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: myhotrs on April 19, 2016, 11:04:44 AM
VW's poor quality is legendary. The beauty of pure EVs is the lack of moving parts. You're more likely to have an interior malfunction than powertrain (looking at you Bolt). I've literally not had a single issue with my 4 year old Leaf, though I'm only at 30k miles.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 19, 2016, 11:52:04 AM
Sorry if I am hijacking your thread Sol, but I heard back from the stealership. Out the door price inc. taxes, fees, title is $8600. Doesn't seem too bad for a 2012 with 24K miles. I am still questioning them about battery status, vehicle report and I have to pay for transport. And I asked for a breakdown of all the cost. I am not in any hurry to buy a car. But they might be in a hurry to sell. They have 3 in stock and this one has been on the market for nearly 3 months.   
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 19, 2016, 06:24:23 PM
Sorry if I am hijacking your thread Sol,

Not at all.  You're actually "Buying a Nissan Leaf" and I'm not, so this thread is now yours to use and abuse as you see fit.

Quote
Out the door price inc. taxes, fees, title is $8600. Doesn't seem too bad for a 2012 with 24K miles.

Mine worked out to $8850 after $1050 in taxes and fees, and I had to go to the DMV myself, and it had more miles on it.  Unless the car you're looking at has some cosmetic problem (stained upholstery, scratched paint, etc) then I think it's a fair price.  It's the extra $$ for transport costs that complicates things for you.

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 19, 2016, 07:14:48 PM
Sorry if I am hijacking your thread Sol,

Not at all.  You're actually "Buying a Nissan Leaf" and I'm not, so this thread is now yours to use and abuse as you see fit.

Quote
Out the door price inc. taxes, fees, title is $8600. Doesn't seem too bad for a 2012 with 24K miles.

Mine worked out to $8850 after $1050 in taxes and fees, and I had to go to the DMV myself, and it had more miles on it.  Unless the car you're looking at has some cosmetic problem (stained upholstery, scratched paint, etc) then I think it's a fair price.  It's the extra $$ for transport costs that complicates things for you.

Yep sounded like a good deal. Found out the car has been in a wreck and suffered frame damage. Back to square one.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 20, 2016, 10:00:08 AM
Sorry if I am hijacking your thread Sol,

Not at all.  You're actually "Buying a Nissan Leaf" and I'm not, so this thread is now yours to use and abuse as you see fit.

Quote
Out the door price inc. taxes, fees, title is $8600. Doesn't seem too bad for a 2012 with 24K miles.

Mine worked out to $8850 after $1050 in taxes and fees, and I had to go to the DMV myself, and it had more miles on it.  Unless the car you're looking at has some cosmetic problem (stained upholstery, scratched paint, etc) then I think it's a fair price.  It's the extra $$ for transport costs that complicates things for you.

Yep sounded like a good deal. Found out the car has been in a wreck and suffered frame damage. Back to square one.
Don't know where you are, but there was another thread with one in Seattle

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mustachian-marketplace/2013-nissan-leaf-base-model-coming-off-lease-in-seattle-area/
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 20, 2016, 10:13:34 AM
Sorry if I am hijacking your thread Sol,

Not at all.  You're actually "Buying a Nissan Leaf" and I'm not, so this thread is now yours to use and abuse as you see fit.

Quote
Out the door price inc. taxes, fees, title is $8600. Doesn't seem too bad for a 2012 with 24K miles.

Mine worked out to $8850 after $1050 in taxes and fees, and I had to go to the DMV myself, and it had more miles on it.  Unless the car you're looking at has some cosmetic problem (stained upholstery, scratched paint, etc) then I think it's a fair price.  It's the extra $$ for transport costs that complicates things for you.

Yep sounded like a good deal. Found out the car has been in a wreck and suffered frame damage. Back to square one.
Don't know where you are, but there was another thread with one in Seattle

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mustachian-marketplace/2013-nissan-leaf-base-model-coming-off-lease-in-seattle-area/

Thanks, unfortunately I am about 2300 miles away (Ohio). Shipping is about $900.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 20, 2016, 10:34:01 AM
Do you have a relative you trust in an area with more Leaf availability that's closer? They could complete the purchase for you and get it shipped off. Maybe you can get a discount on the car price to cover the shipping.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 20, 2016, 10:36:41 AM
All my relatives live near me. My son's biological grandparents do live in Texas. So that may be an option to look into. I have a great relationship with them.   
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on April 20, 2016, 10:58:17 AM
It might not be as cheap as shipping it, but you can rent a truck and tow dolly from U-Haul and drive out to pick it up if you don't have any friends with trucks.

... seriously, though, no friends with trucks willing to go pick up a car for gas/diesel cost and a few six packs?  Everyone needs some of those friends.  Or to be that guy. ;)
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: couponvan on April 20, 2016, 06:37:25 PM
BeginnerStash and I should buy cars in CA and drive them to IL/OH together without towing. There's safety in numbers, right!

That being said, there's a guy who wants to move his stuff to CA. I am sorely tempted to have him drive my old minivan to CA with his stuff for $500 - I could trailer my leaf home (I have a towing package, and if it will tie a boat it will tow a leaf) and make money too. Timing is everything!
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on April 20, 2016, 08:04:25 PM
Actually, what there probably is, is a market for hauling 3-4 Leafs at a time into areas with none to sell.

One of those 3 car trailers and a decent truck will work just fine, and there's clearly at least some market.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 21, 2016, 05:59:20 AM
BeginnerStash and I should buy cars in CA and drive them to IL/OH together without towing. There's safety in numbers, right!

That being said, there's a guy who wants to move his stuff to CA. I am sorely tempted to have him drive my old minivan to CA with his stuff for $500 - I could trailer my leaf home (I have a towing package, and if it will tie a boat it will tow a leaf) and make money too. Timing is everything!

Sounds like a plan. You just have to convince my wife that I can leave for a few days. Good luck! My co-worker does have a sister who lives in Malibu.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 22, 2016, 08:31:19 AM
BeginnerStash and I should buy cars in CA and drive them to IL/OH together without towing. There's safety in numbers, right!

That being said, there's a guy who wants to move his stuff to CA. I am sorely tempted to have him drive my old minivan to CA with his stuff for $500 - I could trailer my leaf home (I have a towing package, and if it will tie a boat it will tow a leaf) and make money too. Timing is everything!

I think Leafs need to be towed with all 4 wheels on the trailer. Just check into it before making plans. I looked into it once and the flatbed U-Haul trailer wasn't too expensive ($150 IIRC).
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on April 23, 2016, 03:10:57 PM
They're butt draggers. Can't imagine they'd care about being towed with the rear rolling. That's all the rear wheels do anyway.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 25, 2016, 09:52:32 AM
They're butt draggers. Can't imagine they'd care about being towed with the rear rolling. That's all the rear wheels do anyway.
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1055733_has-your-electric-car-stopped-working-flatbed-it-dont-tow

I haven't really studied the issue, but Nissan recommends against that. However, it may be the case that you'll be fine. Although this says to leave the car on and in neutral.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: dandarc on April 25, 2016, 10:12:43 AM
They're butt draggers. Can't imagine they'd care about being towed with the rear rolling. That's all the rear wheels do anyway.
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1055733_has-your-electric-car-stopped-working-flatbed-it-dont-tow

I haven't really studied the issue, but Nissan recommends against that. However, it may be the case that you'll be fine. Although this says to leave the car on and in neutral.
2012 Roadside assistance guide says

Quote
NISSAN strongly recommends that LEAF be towed with the driving (front) wheels off the ground or that the
vehicle be placed on a flatbed truck.

Then has a diagram showing valid and invalid towing configurations.

http://www.nissanusa.com/content/dam/nissan/pdf/techpubs/leaf/2012/2012-leaf-roadside-assistance-guide.pdf (http://www.nissanusa.com/content/dam/nissan/pdf/techpubs/leaf/2012/2012-leaf-roadside-assistance-guide.pdf)
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on April 25, 2016, 10:27:30 AM
Very helpful. Thanks for posting.

I saw on the Leaf forum that people there had identified a particular jack (maybe a Prius jack?) that worked well for the Leaf and could be bought for $50 IIRC. But we have free Nissan roadside now so I haven't gotten one yet.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Buttons Kaluhiokalani on August 29, 2016, 05:08:52 PM
Used 2011 Leaf near me for $6k, but 70k miles and only 8 out of 12 battery bars (~55 miles).  I only do 25 miles a day, but for value, should I look elsewhere?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: daverobev on August 29, 2016, 06:28:10 PM
Used 2011 Leaf near me for $6k, but 70k miles and only 8 out of 12 battery bars (~55 miles).  I only do 25 miles a day, but for value, should I look elsewhere?

http://www.autotrader.com/car-news/2013-nissan-leaf-gets-new-battery-warranty-201645

Shame, it's almost in warranty but alas.. not.

New batt would be $5500+ http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/nissan-prices-leaf-battery-replacement-at-5500.html
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on August 29, 2016, 06:42:20 PM
Used 2011 Leaf near me for $6k, but 70k miles and only 8 out of 12 battery bars (~55 miles).  I only do 25 miles a day, but for value, should I look elsewhere?

http://www.autotrader.com/car-news/2013-nissan-leaf-gets-new-battery-warranty-201645

Shame, it's almost in warranty but alas.. not.

New batt would be $5500+ http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/nissan-prices-leaf-battery-replacement-at-5500.html

Have you looked into re-built batteries? I replaced our Prius battery last year (admittedly, probably smaller than a Leaf battery) at 1/3 the cost of new. Came with an 18-month warranty.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on August 29, 2016, 08:48:41 PM
The Leaf batteries are a good bit larger/more expensive to replace.  You can do it, but it's not as easy as a Prius or Insight pack.

A 4 bar down one will probably be fine for a while longer at 25 miles, but... eh.  That's a good bit of capacity loss.

The dealership should be able to replace the battery for $5500-ish (plus labor), but that really adds to the price and you'd be better off buying one with a better battery at that point.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Buttons Kaluhiokalani on August 29, 2016, 10:24:16 PM
Thanks for the replies.  Seeing as how a 10+ bar 2013 goes for $8-$10k I think I'll pass on this 8 bar car.  I asked them when it went below 9 bars and they said at 61,500 miles, so they just missed out on a free battery replacement.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: myhotrs on August 29, 2016, 10:28:06 PM
Just look for a car with new warranty batt. I see them in ads all the time by the dash picture not anywhere in the description. I figure a lot of used car dealers don't get electrics. I see these in LA for $8-10k with brand new batts.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: CBnCO on August 30, 2016, 01:51:47 PM
What about battery replacement costs?
All cars wear out eventually.  In a normal gasoline car you can expect an engine and/or transmission rebuild about every 200k miles.  In a Nissan Leaf the lithium-ion battery slowly degrades over time, losing capacity and thus reducing the driving range, until you're down to about 70% of the original range after 120k miles.  If 58 miles in a day isn't enough for you then you have to replace the battery, which Nissan currently charges $5,500 to do.  This means that while you're only spending 2.8 cents/mile for electricity, you're technically spending 4.5 cents/mile on the eventual battery replacement cost.  This is at least double the cost/mile of a typical car's engine/tranny rebuild cost, but it's also totally optional and will never leave you stranded with a thrown rod or blown head gasket.  As the battery ages, the range slowly decreases and you can decide to replace it or not as your needs and finances dictate.

I saw the $5,500 and that scares me a bit..I am wondering if 6-7 years from now you expect this to be any cheaper than now?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on August 30, 2016, 06:22:09 PM
Probably not. Nissan wants to sell new cars, not replaced battery packs.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Burghardt on August 31, 2016, 12:25:50 PM
Sounds like a lot of fancy electronics to mess with (disconnect).

Any idea how much of that short range is due to battery being drained by the various devices hooked up?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: ysette9 on August 31, 2016, 01:37:08 PM
This is an intriguing thread for me because I am one of the VW TDI owners who will have to part with my beloved Golf at some point and so am thinking of what I will get instead. I love the idea of electric cars and everything that Tesla has done to make them a sexy option in the minds of people who would not otherwise consider them. A friend has a Leaf and really likes it.
HOWEVER, the major stumbling block in my mind is that I love driving a manual transmission and don't want to give it up for anything (so far). Whenever I'm stuck in an automatic I get bored, lose focus, and generally find that I am not as engaged in driving because I don't like it. Most Americans love their automatics for reasons beyond me, so I can't get any decent input on this account. Is giving up a manual transmission worth it to go to electric? Is the car fun to drive?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: forummm on August 31, 2016, 01:50:00 PM
I saw the $5,500 and that scares me a bit..I am wondering if 6-7 years from now you expect this to be any cheaper than now?

Definitely. Costs are dropping by 8-10% per year. And are getting smaller and lighter too. Even if Nissan didn't want to sell you a battery, someone else will. EVs are going to take over the market in a decade or two. Pretty much all the manufacturers will offer one within the next ~5 years.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on August 31, 2016, 02:48:11 PM
Definitely. Costs are dropping by 8-10% per year. And are getting smaller and lighter too. Even if Nissan didn't want to sell you a battery, someone else will. EVs are going to take over the market in a decade or two. Pretty much all the manufacturers will offer one within the next ~5 years.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody is offering aftermarket Leaf packs right now, and I haven't seen any work done on reverse engineering their BMS boards.

Asserting that "someone will sell you a Leaf battery" - and that it will be cheaper, smaller, and lighter - is not backed by evidence right now.

I say this as someone who generates a non-trivial percent of my income doing battery pack rebuilds for older electric bikes.  There's simply not much going on in that space that I can see.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on August 31, 2016, 03:00:35 PM
Definitely. Costs are dropping by 8-10% per year. And are getting smaller and lighter too. Even if Nissan didn't want to sell you a battery, someone else will. EVs are going to take over the market in a decade or two. Pretty much all the manufacturers will offer one within the next ~5 years.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody is offering aftermarket Leaf packs right now.

Hybrid Industries offers a Leaf replacement battery with double the capacity (48kWh) for $6500. It's the only aftermarket battery pack that I'm aware of, but I'd be shocked if prices don't go down and additional manufacturers don't come on board. There's not much to wear out on an electric car besides the battery, and there's already a lot of Leafs on the road, so there will be a market for quite some time.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: hollyluja on August 31, 2016, 03:48:23 PM
I saw the $5,500 and that scares me a bit..I am wondering if 6-7 years from now you expect this to be any cheaper than now?

My friend's Prius was quoted at $5500 battery replacement when he bought it 10 years ago.  The price has halved several times since then, and he still hasn't had to replace the battery.  I expect the Leaf will do something similar.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on August 31, 2016, 03:54:11 PM
Looks legit... or something.

http://hybridindustries.webs.com/

Though I don't think they're doing anything other than adding cells to the existing car.  It looks like they're using stock Leaf cells and just stacking another layer of them, then feeding through the charger.  I'm not convinced it's a core pack replacement.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on September 01, 2016, 06:20:54 AM
Looks legit... or something.

http://hybridindustries.webs.com/

Though I don't think they're doing anything other than adding cells to the existing car.  It looks like they're using stock Leaf cells and just stacking another layer of them, then feeding through the charger.  I'm not convinced it's a core pack replacement.

Yeah, shitty website. The company that I bought my re-built Prius battery from had a shitty website, too, but they also had good reviews and a good warranty. I have no idea what the quality of Hybrid Industries' product is, but you mentioned you weren't aware of anyone making aftermarket batteries, so there you go.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on September 01, 2016, 07:52:39 AM
I'm not sure what they're going. It looks like using standard Leaf batteries to create a secondary pack. That's not the same as producing aftermarket batteries.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on November 08, 2016, 12:20:29 PM
Resurrecting this 2 month old thread. It looks like used Leaf prices just keep dropping. I've seen 2015 Leafs selling for less than 10K these days. Carvana has a constant flow of them and they mostly seem like good deals. Crazy!!!
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: dandarc on November 08, 2016, 01:29:19 PM
Yeah, the market for Leaf's isn't so strong.  You really have to have a full grasp on your driving habits or the range seems like a huge limitation.  Not too many people really think through whether the range is adequate or not.

So opportunity for those who can get past "I can't use this vehicle for a road trip" to save some money.  My personal holdup is I already have a decently efficient vehicle with a lot of life left in it - the payback, even on a used one, isn't fast enough for me.  That and I live in North-Florida.  Would have to have car delivered from a more populous area which adds some cost.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on November 08, 2016, 03:17:42 PM
Yeah, the market for Leaf's isn't so strong.  You really have to have a full grasp on your driving habits or the range seems like a huge limitation.  Not too many people really think through whether the range is adequate or not.

So opportunity for those who can get past "I can't use this vehicle for a road trip" to save some money.  My personal holdup is I already have a decently efficient vehicle with a lot of life left in it - the payback, even on a used one, isn't fast enough for me.  That and I live in North-Florida.  Would have to have car delivered from a more populous area which adds some cost.

I think the new and improved range of the 2016 models has really reduced the value of previous models.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Syonyk on November 08, 2016, 03:44:57 PM
And the Model 3 coming out should shove used prices down a good bit more.

They're sub-9k now and dropping fast.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on November 08, 2016, 03:58:17 PM
And yet, the cart I bought in the post that started this thread has never left me stranded despite only getting 84 miles on a full charge.  And I only charge it to 80% full, most days, because even ~65 miles is significantly more than I drive in a typical day.  Like good mustachians, we live close to work.

But we're a two car family.  I don't think we could get by with 84 miles of range 100% of the time, but we still have the old SUV for road trips and family camping vacations.

Unless you're a single car household, even "short" range EVs make a ton of sense for virtually everyone.  Also, they're way more fun to drive.  I have no regrets about my purchase.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on November 08, 2016, 04:10:49 PM
And yet, the cart I bought in the post that started this thread has never left me stranded despite only getting 84 miles on a full charge.  And I only charge it to 80% full, most days, because even ~65 miles is significantly more than I drive in a typical day.  Like good mustachians, we live close to work.

But we're a two car family.  I don't think we could get by with 84 miles of range 100% of the time, but we still have the old SUV for road trips and family camping vacations.

Unless you're a single car household, even "short" range EVs make a ton of sense for virtually everyone.  Also, they're way more fun to drive.  I have no regrets about my purchase.

I am constantly waffling back and forth. And prices keep coming down. I've crunched the numbers so many times, payback would take several years replacing my fuel efficient Civic. But as you stated earlier in your post Sol, it's not necessarily strictly about money. A lot of it is trying to be more of a good steward to the environment.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: MasterStache on April 19, 2017, 01:21:35 PM
Sol, can you grace us with any updates on the Leaf now that it's been over a year? 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: chubbybunny on April 20, 2017, 07:12:26 AM
I bought my '14 leaf in 2015.  Have yet to be stranded.  Except for 2-3 days a week it is garage kept, so the battery hasn't seen any degradation. I do charge mine to 100%, but only because I am lazy and just plug it in at night.  85 miles is still the range I can expect.  On a really busy day we might drive as far as 60 miles (DH's commute, gymnastics and a trip to the vet all in one day.)

I have pushed the mileage limit a few times, driving 35 miles to a desination with a charger.  I might charge anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours on level 2 and I have no trouble going home.  It always makes me nervous that I won't be able to find a working charger, but that has yet to actually happen.

Only thing on mine that I'm having trouble with is tires.  The first year I kept forgetting to rotate them (no oil change!) I'm on my second set now and they are starting to get worn already.  Not happy about them only lasting 20,000 miles.  I am going to get an alignment and see if that helps. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: PathtoFIRE on April 20, 2017, 07:40:06 AM
Yeah, without oil changes, it's a little harder to remember to have the tires rotated. I had to take my 2015 Leaf in to the dealer last month to switch out the telematics and do a little recall work, and I asked them to rotate the tires, which would have been the only service that I would be paying for. When I go to pick up the car, they tell me they didn't rotate them because they didn't need to! Argh, guess I'll get it down in 6 months when it's time to do the annual battery check.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: shuffler on April 20, 2017, 03:31:42 PM
I do charge mine to 100%, but only because I am lazy and just plug it in at night.
You can set the default to do an 80% charge.  That's what I do.  Just plug it in whenever I feel "low", and it's gentler on the battery that way.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: slugline on April 21, 2017, 11:03:34 AM
Only thing on mine that I'm having trouble with is tires.  The first year I kept forgetting to rotate them (no oil change!) I'm on my second set now and they are starting to get worn already.  Not happy about them only lasting 20,000 miles.  I am going to get an alignment and see if that helps.

Are they wearing unevenly? What brand/model tires?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on April 21, 2017, 02:33:31 PM
Sol, can you grace us with any updates on the Leaf now that it's been over a year?

Over the first year of ownership we drove the leaf for 57% of our car miles (8414 out of 14730 total), which is a lower utilization rate than I was expecting since we sometimes don't drive the SUV for weeks or months at a time.  It's the long summer road trips that made up most of the other 43% in only a few days of driving.

At $2.50 per gallon and 17mpg, vs 7.41 cents per kWh and 3.8 miles/kWh (ignoring any free public charging and including 15% power overages in our lvl1 charger), displacing those miles from the SUV to the Leaf saved us $1,048 in total transportation costs (gas costs minus power costs). 

The SUV gas costs 14.7 cents per mile, the Leaf electricity costs 2.2 cents per mile.

Basically, the leaf costs US about $25 to drive 700 miles, each month.  It saves us about $100/mo in gas, for a net profit of about $75/mo.  We have short commutes, though, and you "save" more if you have to drive more.  We save less by becoming more efficient, because we already drive so little (except for summer vacations).

We had zero maintenance costs for the leaf in the first year.  The SUV cost us about $300 in maintenance last year, to pass emissions and get oil changes.  In previous years, the SUV had averaged closer to $800/yr in maintenance (tires, water pump, radiator, timing belt, batteries, new headlight, wiper blades, fluids...)  It seems likely that our SUV maintenance costs we're lower primarily because we drove it less.

We paid an extra $150 to register the leaf this year, though, because my state has started imposing extra registration taxes on EVs that gasoline powered cars don't have to pay. 

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: chubbybunny on April 24, 2017, 06:43:32 AM
Thanks to the explosive sales of the leaf here in Georgia, they switched from a $5,000 tax credit to a $200 surcharge on our yearly tag renewal.  The extra surcharge is a bit of a kick in the rear, but it's still less than what we were paying in gasoline taxes.  We figured out for our family we are saving about $65/month vs. driving a prius.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 25, 2018, 07:52:11 AM
How have the prices and availability of the 2012 Leafs changed in the 2.5 years since this thread started?  My commute is 7 miles R/T which I usually do twice per day. Throw in a side trip or 2 to the bank or drug store and my maximum daily mileage is 25 miles. So a cheap, battery-degraded Leaf would seem perfect.

For some reason my area has very few at any model year. What are others seeing around the country?
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Panly on August 26, 2018, 09:35:48 AM

unbelievable how dirt cheap vehicles & energy are over there.

A 2012 Leaf with 30K miles costs in Germany >$13500
 electricity retails for 30cent$/kWh or more. 

petrol is today 6,25$/gallon

 however,  second hand Leaf's could still make sense, but the numbers are quite different. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: BicycleB on August 26, 2018, 09:59:28 AM
@sol, how has your Leaf been lately?

Any maintenance costs to date? Is it still saving you money? How's the battery? Do you still like it? Any other thoughts?

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on August 26, 2018, 10:20:26 AM
@sol, how has your Leaf been lately?

Any maintenance costs to date? Is it still saving you money? How's the battery? Do you still like it? Any other thoughts?

I've posted about it in other threads a little bit.  Approaching 60k miles, and the only maintenance it's needed was air in the tires.  I should have them rotated, but haven't bothered yet.

The financial savings have not changed.  Our cost per kWh for electricity have gone down a little bit, which saves us money on the car but costs us money on the solar panel surplus sale back to the grid.  The battery bars have not budged, still at the same displayed capacity as when I bought it.  That may be due to living in a cool garage or just good luck, but either way I haven't had any battery degradation issues in my local climate.  We typically charge to 80% every night, and run it down to about 30-40% with daily driving.

I've picked up a few door dings, and it's full of kid detritus like cheerios and lost homework assignments.  But the interior cleans up really well with a carpet shampooer, and my kids like washing it in the summers so it stays pretty clean on the outside.  I still think it looks better than half of the newer cars in the road.  I'm not terribly impressed with the blah styling of the new generation leaf, but that's just a matter of personal taste.

All of the techno features still work great, like Bluetooth calling and the gps map and the heated seats.  By virtue of being small and zippy it is a very easy car to drive.  My oldest kid is 15 and will be learning to drive on it in a few months. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Eludia on August 26, 2018, 10:54:28 AM
For those concerned about batteries and their life span, Nissan is now offering to install "remanufactured batteries" which are essentially as good as new ones for $2850.  I think they are recycling old battery packs and replacing bad cells to produce these.  This is for the older Leaf models.

We have a 2013, which is down to 75-78 miles on 100% charge so we've considered it as my wife drives 55 miles round trip daily.   But we haven't pulled the trigger yet. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: inline five on August 26, 2018, 11:46:57 PM
For those concerned about batteries and their life span, Nissan is now offering to install "remanufactured batteries" which are essentially as good as new ones for $2850.  I think they are recycling old battery packs and replacing bad cells to produce these.  This is for the older Leaf models.

We have a 2013, which is down to 75-78 miles on 100% charge so we've considered it as my wife drives 55 miles round trip daily.   But we haven't pulled the trigger yet.
A reman is no where near "essentially as good as new ones". It's a used battery with the dead modules replaced.

If you needed tires on your car and put four used tires on that barely passed inspection, is that essentially like having four new tires? No of course not.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 04, 2019, 09:25:54 AM
Last Saturday was the three year anniversary of our Leaf purchase (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/buying-a-nissan-leaf/msg1002227/#msg1002227), so it's time for an update.

In those three years, we have driven Ruby (her name is Ruby) 26,891 miles and saved $3351.53.

Details of that operating cost number:
She drives 3.8 miles per kWh, and we pay 7 cents per kWh for electricity, so she costs 2.24 cents per mile to drive.
The car she replaced got 17mpg around town where Ruby drives, and the average price of gas over the past three years was about $2.50/gallon, so our old operating costs were 14.7 cents per mile.
Subtracting the two, we've saved 12.4 cents per mile by driving Ruby instead of our old gasoline powered car.
Multiplied by the 26,891 miles we've drive, that's $3,351.53.


We paid $7700 for her three years ago, when she only had 30,756 miles.  While getting her up to her current 57,647 miles we have saved $3,351, meaning we still have $4,348 invested and would need to drive an additional 35,068 miles before she pays for herself in fuel savings.  At our current rate of driving, our Leaf will become a "free" car in 3.9 more years, having paid for herself in 61,959 miles of driving.

A comparable gasoline powered car, by contrast, would have cost us more to purchase and more to operate each year, while pumping 15.82 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere since this thread started.

I'm still happy with our purchase.  Maintenance costs are still zero, and we still have the same number of battery bars as we had the day we bought it.  No regerts.

Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache on March 04, 2019, 09:57:14 AM
Thanks for the update. My 2007 Prius is on its last legs as I squeeze every last drop of value from its fully depreciated carcass. A Leaf is super tempting, but I think I'll probably go with a Volt to appease my wife's range anxiety.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: daverobev on March 04, 2019, 11:14:28 AM
Most frustrating that a 2011 Leaf is $8600 or more here in the UK.

I guess the savings are more (petrol = $5.60 a US gallon).

We'll be going down the electric route... when we can.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: BicycleB on March 04, 2019, 11:37:46 AM
Great name! Thanks for the update.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: froggie on March 24, 2019, 07:54:51 AM
I've been considering the Leaf as well, just waiting for the crossover SUV to die :)

Since we're three years into your purchase, would it be a better strategy to look at a later model for someone looking to buy in 2019, if trying to replicate your experience? Say a 2015 model vs. the 2012 you bought?

I know models have changed a lot over the years, so I'm looking for the "sweet spot" if it's changed from when you made your decision...

My commute is mostly zero (work from home, drive to local properties for my real estate business, I drive my son to school (8 mi roundtrip, still trying to figure out carpool, my hours are a bit random, so hard to do!) and occasionally need to pickup friends or family at the airport. So I'd like a range of at least 70 miles. For longer trips, I am prepared to borrow or rent. It's not that frequent.

Thanks for your thoughts!
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Telecaster on March 24, 2019, 10:51:09 AM
I've been considering the Leaf as well, just waiting for the crossover SUV to die :)

Since we're three years into your purchase, would it be a better strategy to look at a later model for someone looking to buy in 2019, if trying to replicate your experience? Say a 2015 model vs. the 2012 you bought?

I know models have changed a lot over the years, so I'm looking for the "sweet spot" if it's changed from when you made your decision...

My commute is mostly zero (work from home, drive to local properties for my real estate business, I drive my son to school (8 mi roundtrip, still trying to figure out carpool, my hours are a bit random, so hard to do!) and occasionally need to pickup friends or family at the airport. So I'd like a range of at least 70 miles. For longer trips, I am prepared to borrow or rent. It's not that frequent.

Thanks for your thoughts!

I'm not really an expert on the current sweet spot, but starting in 2016 most versions got a larger 30 kWh battery, which is probably desirable. 

Many people prefer to lease, so there seems to be lots of availability of three year old cars that just came off leases. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: sol on March 24, 2019, 01:14:27 PM
Since we're three years into your purchase, would it be a better strategy to look at a later model for someone looking to buy in 2019, if trying to replicate your experience? Say a 2015 model vs. the 2012 you bought?

I know models have changed a lot over the years, so I'm looking for the "sweet spot" if it's changed from when you made your decision...

I have not kept up with the prices for used Leafs.  When I bought mine, prices were dropping rapidly due to a flood of lease returns and upgraded newer models supplanting the older ones.  I'm sure it's location dependent, but a quick search of my local CL suggests that 2013/14 Leafs can still be had for under $8k.  The 2015/16 ones, for some reason, seem to cost more like $10k around here.

Of course, those cars are still like 70% depreciated in three years, so I wouldn't exactly complain.  The depreciation hit on used Leafs is still pretty harsh, compared to MSRP prices.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: Telecaster on March 07, 2020, 03:36:00 PM
Update here:  I bought a 2012 Leaf as it came off its three year lease basically because of this thread.  There was a minor recall, so the wife took the Leaf into the dealer to have it fixed.  Since we hadn't been to a dealer since we bought it, we thought we might as well have it serviced.  Change the brake fluid, etc. 

The service guy said the 12 volt battery was getting close to done.  Which makes sense based on age.  So we had it replaced.  Yeah, I know, we could have done it ourselves cheaper. 

He also said the main battery was at 100%.  No loss of capacity.  Here's what we do special:  Nothing.  We charge the car when it needs it, and usually to 100%.  It is a daily driver as well. 
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: moof on March 07, 2020, 08:41:27 PM
Update here:  I bought a 2012 Leaf as it came off its three year lease basically because of this thread.  There was a minor recall, so the wife took the Leaf into the dealer to have it fixed.  Since we hadn't been to a dealer since we bought it, we thought we might as well have it serviced.  Change the brake fluid, etc. 

The service guy said the 12 volt battery was getting close to done.  Which makes sense based on age.  So we had it replaced.  Yeah, I know, we could have done it ourselves cheaper. 

He also said the main battery was at 100%.  No loss of capacity.  Here's what we do special:  Nothing.  We charge the car when it needs it, and usually to 100%.  It is a daily driver as well.
Do you have all 12 bars?  I would check using a scanner and Leaf Spy over what a Nissan tech told you. I live in a similar climate in Portland, OR and our 2011 Leaf has lost 3 bars and 31%.  Replacement batteries are now $8500, WTF?!  I regret buying this car used for 14.5k 3.5 years ago.  The battery degradation is awful compared to every other manufacturer.  We can no longer do round trips to the airport without a topup (50 miles total).  Not sure how we will dispose of it in a couple years, but I donít think $8500 is worth it.
Title: Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
Post by: RWD on March 07, 2020, 08:56:07 PM
Update here:  I bought a 2012 Leaf as it came off its three year lease basically because of this thread.  There was a minor recall, so the wife took the Leaf into the dealer to have it fixed.  Since we hadn't been to a dealer since we bought it, we thought we might as well have it serviced.  Change the brake fluid, etc. 

The service guy said the 12 volt battery was getting close to done.  Which makes sense based on age.  So we had it replaced.  Yeah, I know, we could have done it ourselves cheaper. 

He also said the main battery was at 100%.  No loss of capacity.  Here's what we do special:  Nothing.  We charge the car when it needs it, and usually to 100%.  It is a daily driver as well.
Do you have all 12 bars?  I would check using a scanner and Leaf Spy over what a Nissan tech told you. I live in a similar climate in Portland, OR and our 2011 Leaf has lost 3 bars and 31%.  Replacement batteries are now $8500, WTF?!  I regret buying this car used for 14.5k 3.5 years ago.  The battery degradation is awful compared to every other manufacturer.  We can no longer do round trips to the airport without a topup (50 miles total).  Not sure how we will dispose of it in a couple years, but I donít think $8500 is worth it.
Hopefully Nissan will offer the refabricated battery pack replacement program over here soon.
https://insideevs.com/news/337360/nissan-introduces-2850-refabricated-batteries-for-older-leaf/