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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: desertadapted on February 01, 2018, 03:50:21 PM

Title: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: desertadapted on February 01, 2018, 03:50:21 PM
One of our two cars is going to have to leave the family soon, and weve made a decision to go EV for the primary commuter car. Shrinking to one car is not an option given work and family logistics. 

Were mainly looking at the I3 (~2014/2015), the Leaf (~2014 up to new), and sort of the Bolt.
The Leaf probably needs to be certified pre-owned or new to ensure the new desert-friendly battery is installed (old Leaf battery has a prohibitively high failure rate in the desert), raising the used cost to within ~$3-4k of a used I3. 
The Bolt is only available new, making it substantially more expensive, but it has a ~250 mile range, relative to ~80 mile for used Leaf and I3, and ~150 for new Leaf.  The I3 takes off like a bat out of hell.  The Leaf, not so much.
Most of our commuter range can be handled by the 80-mile limit, but it will be snug at least 2 days a week. 150 miles would easily handle it all.  250 is overkill, but how neat!

I get this is a personal finance/lifestyle forum, but Ive seen the Leaf discussed somewhat regularly here, and imagine there are folks with some great insights.  Any thoughts are appreciated.
Title: Re: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: Miss Piggy on February 01, 2018, 07:25:13 PM
I LOVE my Ford CMax Energi. Might be worthy of your consideration. It's a PHEV.
Title: Re: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: Rob_bob on February 01, 2018, 07:57:37 PM
I like the Bolt for the range, better to have too much than too little. I have to admit that the Chevy Volt catches my eye. The electric range would meet the majority of of driving needs and having the gas engine backup is real nice. Plus running on gas alone would be about double the MPG of my current car.
Title: Re: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on February 01, 2018, 08:41:54 PM
What is your RT commute distance?
Title: Re: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: canyonrider on February 02, 2018, 12:17:32 PM
Go with a Bolt or newer Leaf if an 80-mile range will be "snug" at least two days a week and if doing so works for you financially. Range is king, and depending on your commute it's quite possible you may not regularly achieve the stated range numbers for any of these cars.

We owned a 2015 Leaf for a year before selling it. The range limitations became a regular issue for our uses. Here in Colorado in the winter I would consider the real-world, no-stress range to be closer to 60 miles than 80. There are a ton of factors that influence range--weather, freeway vs. city driving, hills, etc.--but IME we only rarely got 80 miles on a regular basis. If your commute will consist of optimal conditions like warm weather, lots of stop and go, and lowish speeds, then you might be just fine. But if you have colder weather, lots of freeway driving, or mountain drives, I suspect that the range on a used Leaf could be an issue.

Also, we found that the Leaf rode like an overmatched golf cart on the highway at any kind of speed, but that's more a matter of personal taste than functionality. It is a great car for mostly city driving with lots of stop and go.
Title: Re: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on February 02, 2018, 12:36:53 PM
I have a C-Max Energi and it's great, but in a hot climate you should get a liquid-cooled battery. The new Focus Electrics are a solid option with more range (and battery health) than an old Leaf, and much cheaper than the Bolts.
Title: Re: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: gaja on February 02, 2018, 01:06:51 PM
Have you tried stacking kids and groceries into the i3? The doors, limited luggage space, and front seats are all on my hate list. Leaf has a surprisingly roomy trunk.

If 80 miles is snug compared to your normal communte, I would not go for a first generation leaf. The Kia Soul, Volkswagen e-golf or second generation leaf might be enough, but you should calculate it, and preferrably test it. It gets very annoying if you have to plan to charge every day.

The waiting lists for the Bolt in Norway (sold by the brand Opel Ampera) are now so long that they have stopped selling it. People are still willing to wait more than a year to get one. A few people who managed to get them early, made $12.000 on buying and selling the car the same week they got it. In Sweden, they didn't even get on the import list, because the other European markets wanted it more.

Our range needs don't warrant a Bolt. But if I could get hold of one, I would seriously consider buying it.

If the new Focus has speed charging options, it might be a good option. 
Title: Re: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: t5inside on February 04, 2018, 10:05:58 AM
If you're considering a Leaf, check out the Fiat 500e as well. They can be had for less than the leaf (paid $7k for mine with 32k miles), with better range and an active thermal management system on the battery.

If the Fiat part scares you, the drivetrain is made by Bosche and the battery by Samsung.
Title: Re: Help Me Pick an EV (Car)
Post by: desertadapted on February 05, 2018, 11:32:23 AM
Thanks for the great comments.  I loved test-driving the I3, but developed range anxiety after being told that summer battery life would be in the 60-mile range.  I can't afford the I3's 150-mile version.  I will be testing the 2018 Leaf later this month when supplies arrive --  150 mile range.  Older leaf models share the range anxiety problem at this point.  Concerned about the Leaf's "overmatched golf cart" problem but may have to deal with it to get decent range.     I am reticent re. the Bolt because I'd be paying ~$10K more than the 2018 Leaf for an extra 100 miles of range that I don't need.  In any event, thanks again for the input!