Author Topic: EV car options - too many choices!  (Read 1286 times)

Mr Mark

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1149
  • Location: Planet Earth
  • Achieved Financial Independence summer 2014. RE'18
EV car options - too many choices!
« on: May 14, 2018, 02:04:43 AM »
I'm looking to get a plug-in electric car when I FIRE. But there are a lot of options!

New
2018 Bolt - ~$33k after dealer discount and tax credit
2018 Volt - ~$27k after dealer discount and tax credit
2018 LEAF - ~$31k after dealer discount and tax credit

Used
2017 Bolt - essentially unavailable, or even more than a new one(!)
2015 Volt - ~$16k with ~40,000 miles. Quite a few around.
2017 SV LEAF ~$20k with ~7,000 miles. (SL ~$21k). Quite a few around.
2015 S LEAF - ~$12,000 with ~35,000 miles. Large selection available
2013/14 Tesla S - ~$45,000 with 65,000 miles. Not too many around. Would rather have a new Bolt.

Considerations: Will mainly be pottering around the city, 3 people + dog, and winter is v cold.

I like the price on the older LEAF, but am worried about how it'll go in the cold and have some 'range anxiety'.
The used Volt looks like a good deal, with the big depreciation hit taken by the original owner, plus no range issues while still enough on pure electric for around town. And the idea of supporting EVs and the local automaker with a nice new Bolt and a tax subsidy is hedonistically attractive... mmmm new car smell and a full warranty, maybe even 0% financing for a few years.

Any advice or experiences with EVs from the Mustachians?

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 03:16:48 AM »
2018 LEAF - ~$31k after dealer discount and tax credit
That seems high by at least $5K and probably more like $8K. (Assuming you're in the US.)
Considerations: Will mainly be pottering around the city, 3 people + dog, and winter is v cold.

I like the price on the older LEAF, but am worried about how it'll go in the cold and have some 'range anxiety'.
The used Volt looks like a good deal, with the big depreciation hit taken by the original owner, plus no range issues while still enough on pure electric for around town. And the idea of supporting EVs and the local automaker with a nice new Bolt and a tax subsidy is hedonistically attractive... mmmm new car smell and a full warranty, maybe even 0% financing for a few years.

Any advice or experiences with EVs from the Mustachians?
I've daily driven a 2015 LEAF SL for 3.5 years now. (Yes, I bought it new, because of the $10K in government cheese included.)

Range: It started with about 80 real-world miles of range and 3.5 years later, I haven't taken it on max range trip recently, but I'd guess is was more like 70 miles now. That's driving a bit carefully and not running the climate control. Winter range is worse by about 5%, maybe a bit more. For us, DW has a 2005 Honda CR-V, so my car has to be able to get back/forth to work (9 miles each way), to/from Home Depot, and to/from the airport. It excels at all that and costs me between $0.05 and $0.06/mile for power (at $0.1955 / kWh MA rates).

Car as utility object: I really like it. My first few months, I have a Notes file detailing all my bits of range anxiety. Lately, I have an idea, but it's a non-issue. I do all the maintenance work on our cars (ex-tires and exhaust) and in 3.5 years, I've added some air to tires, filled the washer reservoir a few times, and changed the wiper blades once. That's pretty much a dream for me. (Even DW's CR-V has been good, but I've had to change a couple hundred bucks in parts [belt tensioner, serpentine belt, PS pump). The car is hard on front tires if you drive it like a hooligan. Because I mostly don't, the fronts will last probably 30K and the rears 60K or more. Seat heater and steering wheel heater is nice and lets you leave the climate control off on a lot of winter days. (Climate costs up to 10% of range.) It's great to not go to gas stations. (I plug in at work [paying electricity only] and rarely at home or the airport.)

Car as fun object: It has sporty acceleration off the traffic light. That's about it. Tires are not particularly sticky. Has plenty of power to keep up with traffic, but no one will mistake for a sports car of any sort. Nav system is utterly terrible. Radio is OK. Bluetooth is OK. USB interface to iPhone is OK. Nothing is exceptional.

If it's going to be your only car, it's hard not to look at the Volt or Prius instead. If you have a second ICE car or you're good with renting cars for longer travel, I love my LEAF.

Mr Mark

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1149
  • Location: Planet Earth
  • Achieved Financial Independence summer 2014. RE'18
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 04:05:24 AM »
2018 LEAF - ~$31k after dealer discount and tax credit
That seems high by at least $5K and probably more like $8K. (Assuming you're in the US.)
...

You're right. Looks like I could get the new 2018 Leaf with SV trim level (heated seats!) for maybe $32-33k less the $7500 so,  ~$25k. The new '18 Leaf does seem a BIG improvement on the earlier models, more power (147 HP), better looking and 150 mile quoted range.

Tempting...
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 04:09:01 AM by Mr Mark »

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8480
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 06:42:23 AM »
parents have a '16 Volt and they absolutely love it.  Spent a week driving it and it's an extremely well put together car.
Cousin has a '15 Leaf and she really loves that.  Even did a trip recently from New Hampshire to DC (~450 miles or so) with no problems - she just pre-planned for 2x ~30 minute breaks.

That said, for "puttering around the city" I personalyl would go with a used Leaf.  Range anxiety is just that - a largely irrational fear.  It's relatively easy to do even longer trips with some planning and/or the smart-phone charging app. 

There's a glut of used EVs on the makret now; I'd go that route.  Then again I've never owned nor wanted to own a new car.  You can't know much about a model's reliability when no one has driven it before.

PS that new car smell is carcinogenic. :-P

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3003
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 07:10:10 AM »
I have a PHEV, the Ford C-Max, which I bought used. It’s marketed with a 20-mile electric range, which people deride as barely usable, but the vast majority of our driving (small city) is on plug-in power. If I were doing it again I would have bought a BEV and rented for the few times I need to go out of town.

The new Leaf seems like a huge improvement for relatively cheap, but I want to see its safety ratings. Another option to consider is 2017+ Ford Focus Electrics, which have a liquid-cooled battery, 100-mile+ range, fast charging, and dealer support in every state - but a bizarrely compromised trunk.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8480
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 07:27:11 AM »


The new Leaf seems like a huge improvement for relatively cheap, but I want to see its safety ratings. Another option to consider is 2017+ Ford Focus Electrics, which have a liquid-cooled battery, 100-mile+ range, fast charging, and dealer support in every state - but a bizarrely compromised trunk.

Curious - whats the advantage of cooling the battery?  I thought that a warmer battery had higher capacity - a particualr problem when living in very cold winter climates.  Does cooling the battery aid in longevity somehow?

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7211
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2018, 08:51:26 AM »
Does cooling the battery aid in longevity somehow?

Yes.  The range degrades faster in hot conditions, though this problem has been mitigated considerably by improved battery chemistries.  The first few years of the Leaf had a battery type that was more susceptible to heat-induced range losses, and there were a couple of catastrophic examples of cars from Arizona that lost 25+% of their range in the first two years.  That's not suppose to happen.

But even at greatly reduced range, I think EVs make a great choice for a second car.  If your family has two vehicles, you can probably do 80% or more of your daily driving a meager 50 miles of range if your driving patterns is like most people.  And 2011/12 Leafs with that kind of shitty range can be had for about $5k, at which point you could buy nine of them and still come out ahead of the 2013/14 Tesla on the list. 

RelaxedGal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 310
  • Age: 40
  • Location: 495 corridor, Massachusetts, USA
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2018, 11:52:59 AM »
Considerations: Will mainly be pottering around the city, 3 people + dog, and winter is v cold.
The S trim level on the Leaf just has resistive heat, the SL and SV have a "hybrid heater" with a heat pump, so you don't take much of a range hit in moderately cold weather.  Down to ~ freezing.  You said very cold; any trim level will be using resistive heat if you get much below freezing and that will impair your range on top of the cold battery impairing your range.  FWIW my buddy in Madison, WI got a Bolt at the end of his Leaf lease.  He's going through a divorce and needed the range for an only car.

Speaking of, you didn't say if this will be your only car, nor how often you do driving other than puttering around the city.  If you have a second car for weekends or longer trips then Sol's suggestion of a very old (2011-2012) Leaf would be fine.  If this will be your sole car and you spontaneously drive to the ocean/check out college campuses/want to go leaf peeping/2nd star from the left and straight on 'til morning, then go for the long range EV or a plug in.  I've heard great things about the Volt (did they get the range bump from 30 to 50 electric miles in 2016?) but I don't know how well it will carry 3 + a dog.

We have a 2012 Leaf for my daily driver (38 miles/day, 5 days/week) and 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for his daily driver (10 miles/day, 5 days/week) which is also used for the longer trips.  Where "longer" is anything more than 45 minutes away from home.  In 2-3 years I'll either replace the battery in my Leaf or get a used 2018 Bolt.

Slow2FIRE

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 190
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2018, 01:03:17 PM »


The new Leaf seems like a huge improvement for relatively cheap, but I want to see its safety ratings. Another option to consider is 2017+ Ford Focus Electrics, which have a liquid-cooled battery, 100-mile+ range, fast charging, and dealer support in every state - but a bizarrely compromised trunk.

New Nissan Leaf just about had the highest scores in European and Japanese crash tests.  Certainly helped by the Pro-Pilot crash avoidance tech.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2018, 01:43:39 PM »
Another option to consider is 2017+ Ford Focus Electrics, which have a liquid-cooled battery, 100-mile+ range, fast charging, and dealer support in every state - but a bizarrely compromised trunk.
I'd worry about dealer support in the future, given the announcement that Ford was going to stop selling most cars in North America.

Bateaux

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1215
  • Location: Port Vincent
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2018, 01:46:32 PM »
It's getting harder and harder to justify a gasoline engine.   I really lije the Chevy Volt as it would provide range for 90 percent of my driving on electric mode and have no range anxieties.   It's a more complicated system than either a pure gas or pure electic car however.  The price on a used Generation 2 Volt is pretty reasonable however.  I've seen 2016 with low mileage for under $15,000.   

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3003
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2018, 01:47:04 PM »
Another option to consider is 2017+ Ford Focus Electrics, which have a liquid-cooled battery, 100-mile+ range, fast charging, and dealer support in every state - but a bizarrely compromised trunk.
I'd worry about dealer support in the future, given the announcement that Ford was going to stop selling most cars in North America.

Sure, but they’re not going to stop doing recall work on the cars just because they’re not selling them new anymore. It’s not like they told Mercury owners to pound sand when they got rid of that brand.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 01:55:33 PM »
Are they going to have the same depth of inventory of parts on hand? Are any dealerships going to close or go "Ford truck only"? Are they going to have the same level of technician expertise and "tricks of the trade" knowledge on an ever-diminishing percentage of cars, let alone a tinier slice of those that are battery-electric.

All of those are elements of "dealer support" in my calculus.

toganet

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 206
  • Location: Buffalo, NY
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 02:09:14 PM »
I'm a Bolt EV owner, have had it for about 6 months and I love it.  Real range is definitely over 200 miles, though range is reduced in cold weather.  I live in Buffalo, so that is about half the time.  The reduction is around 10%, but what makes a bigger impact is climate control.  Leaving it off in Buffalo weather means foggy windows, which heated seats and steering wheel don't help.

Prior to the bolt I had a C-Max Energi, and the ~20m range was plenty for my commute back & forth to work, but that was about it.  I "upgraded" to the Bolt because I needed more cargo room, and I saw the resale value of the Ford plummeting.

My wife has a VW Routan (think Chrysler T&C) so for long trips or major hauling we're covered.  The Bolt is a blast to drive and has enough comfort and gadgets that I have no regrets.  Do make sure to sit in it a bit as the front seats aren't comfortable for everyone.

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2018, 03:03:15 PM »
How many km/day does “puttering around town” mean, what does your occasional long distance driving look like, and what does “really cold” mean? In my world, normal winter goes down to -20C, while really cold is below -30C. Is this the temperature range we are talking about?

We have had a Nissan env200 as our only car for a year or two (realistic range 100 km). It has taken us to all the Nordic countries except Greenland, and we have crossed the polar circle with it a few times. For me, it works fine. DH got very tired of charging “all the time”, so now we have two cars. His is a 2013 Tesla with 200 000 km. It is very nice not having to plan all trips based on range. And free charging on superchargers is a good bonus. But i’m not too fond of driving a sofa.

desertadapted

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2018, 03:29:52 PM »
I have a 2018 Bolt.  Love it.  I generally agree with toganet.  Pickup is comparable to an I3 -- this can't be overstated, it's super fun to drive.  Range is ~ 240 city, though I tend to do better than that (as with most EV's, highway is terrible if you have a lead foot).  My area has incentives for EV instead of hybrid, so that was a major factor in choosing that over a plug-in hybrid.  Importantly, despite the allure of 240 mile range, it doesn't supercharge like a Tesla --  CCS charge is much slower.  So a Bolt can be hard to road trip with. 
 
Side note:  GM appears to be having trouble selling Bolts, so you should be able to do better than $33K after incentives and rebate.  I would push to get it down to $35-$37 before the rebate. 

Mr Mark

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1149
  • Location: Planet Earth
  • Achieved Financial Independence summer 2014. RE'18
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2018, 01:27:57 AM »
thanks for all the great info guys & gals.

Don't know exact daily mileage requirements 'cos (1)we haven't moved back to our home town from elsewhere yet, and (2) I'll be newly FIRE'd, so no baseline. But as DW will have an old ICE vehicle, it looks like an older Leaf will be just fine wrt milage demands despite the cold in the winter.  Nearest Costco is a 33 mile round trip, and that's likely the longest jouney I'll make regularly. And I'm prefering the low maintenance of the pure EVs vs opposed to the much more complicated drive train of the Volt hybrid.

So as a first EV I'm starting to favour the older second hand Leaf, and maybe wait a year or two for the second hand Bolts to come along. The 2019 Leaf (+200 mile range, better thermal management) will probably drastically hit the resale of the new 2018 Leafs as well. I should make sure any home charger setup will work for that too. Looks like I can get a level 2 240V charger for about $650, and then will need to get an electrician to wire up the 240V circuit. There are precious few public chargers in Detroit.

Unfortunately there are no signs of any of these 'about $5k 2011/12 Leaf models' here in Michigan or within 500 miles, and I presume they will have batteries with a lot less range left. But a nice 2015 Leaf with low milage & SV trim (heated seats essential in Michigan) can be had for ~$12-13k

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2018, 08:20:38 AM »
You won't get many old leafs with very degraded batteries, since the majority of the 1. gen that were destroyed by heat (problem with 1. gen American leafs in Arizona, Texas, etc. Was fixed in 2012) would have gotten new batteries on warranty. Old leafs that have been treated well, show little degredation.

My first EV had been cooking in the Arizona sun, and had lost two bars. I have not yet met anyone who has lost more than two; most show no loss, some have lost one bare after 5-6 years. I was down to 80 km range at the end, before it got destroyed in a collision. Even in that one, your Costco trips would have been fine. The 2015 leaf will be luxurious, there is no point in going all the way to a 2018. In fact, the 2018s have worse speed charing options than the older models. You won't notice it until you need the second or third speed charge in a row, but if you end up wanting to drive more than 750 km without other breaks than for charging, it might get annoying having to wait for the battery to cool sufficiently.

How many amps are you planning for the 240V charger? If you want more than 16, make sure that the car can take 6 or 6.6 kW. Most people haven't chosen to pay for that upgrade. It won't hurt the car to have more amps on the charger, but it might be a waste of money.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2018, 08:53:34 AM »
How many amps are you planning for the 240V charger? If you want more than 16, make sure that the car can take 6 or 6.6 kW. Most people haven't chosen to pay for that upgrade. It won't hurt the car to have more amps on the charger, but it might be a waste of money.
When you install the outlet, install a NEMA 14-50 outlet (provides 120 and 240VAC at up to 50A, meaning you'd be covered for a 9.6kW charger if such a thing comes along). What specific EVSE ("charger" to most people) you buy is up to you, because it's easily changed later, whereas the house wire is harder/more expensive to change.

2018 LEAFs come standard with the 6.6kW charger onboard.
Older LEAFS had a standard 3.6kW and optional 6.6kW. Most of the non-base LEAFs I saw had the higher power charger anyway.

RelaxedGal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 310
  • Age: 40
  • Location: 495 corridor, Massachusetts, USA
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2018, 02:02:08 PM »
2018 LEAFs come standard with the 6.6kW charger onboard.
Older LEAFS had a standard 3.6kW and optional 6.6kW. Most of the non-base LEAFs I saw had the higher power charger anyway.
Optional 6.6 kW was added on 2013 model year.  Somewhere online there's a "what to look for in a used Nissan Leaf" and it has a full rundown.  I think I found the site but it's blocked here at work :-P so I can't add the link, sorry! (I think it's https://www.facebook.com/notes/seattle-nissan-leaf-owners/a-guide-for-buying-a-used-leaf/1100737373291032)

You're right, not a lot of charging in Detroit.  I was in the Detroit suburbs in April and saw several Tesla Model X, a couple of Tesla Model S, 1 Nissan Leaf, 1 Focus Electric, some Volts but not a single Bolt much to my surprise. 

Rcc

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
  • Location: NC
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2018, 03:20:49 PM »
Something I didn’t see referenced in any reply yet? How large are said 3 folks and dog?

Son and I - both 6ft tall comfortably fit in his leaf (2013 sv). I saw a new bolt at work recently, and thought, without sitting in it... too small for just me.

Is Turo in your area? Just rent your top 2-3 picks for a few days and get a real world feel.

If I was driving about, touring etc, my order of choices would be:

Used Tesla Model S
Used Leaf (but after 2019 and the 200+ mile battery)
Used model 3 - a long shot.

Never bolt, never volt. Size issues, and lingering “rage” at GM over their BS EV1 behavior, and various fatal defects over time.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8480
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2018, 04:35:41 PM »
fatal defects?

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198

Rcc

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 70
  • Location: NC
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2018, 06:32:32 PM »
Also GM shenanigans about the EV1:

http://www.ev1.org

I wanted to provide a single link about GMs prior CEO Bob Lutz and his Neanderthal views on Tesla, but he’s all over the place if one were to google them. TL;DR version: he’s wrong.

Mr Mark

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1149
  • Location: Planet Earth
  • Achieved Financial Independence summer 2014. RE'18
Re: EV car options - too many choices!
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2018, 03:58:56 AM »
Found a great guide to used Leafs.
https://insideevs.com/used-nissan-leaf-buying-guide/

A low mileage 2015 SL (or SV if optioned up) with the DC fast charge package/heat pump/heated seats/6.6KW charger/12 bars battery sounds perfect for what I need. Several to choose from near our Michigan home base and $12-$14k. I'm OK with just the 24 kWh / 84 miles battery as a 50 mile round trip is the most I'm likely to do on a regular basis (home to airport and back).