Author Topic: Talk to me about your Nissan Leaf  (Read 1934 times)

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Talk to me about your Nissan Leaf
« on: April 09, 2018, 10:41:19 AM »
I am considering replacing our paid off vehicle with a 2013 Nissan Leaf.  There is nothing wrong with our current vehicle but the Leaf should be more energy efficient and also has a slightly lower book value than my current vehicle. I also hope to have lower maintenance costs.

What do I need to look for in a used Nissan Leaf?  What mileage range should I expect?  What are the downsides to this vehicle?

I understand the range on a used 2013 will not be impressive but neither of us will commute to work in it (I walk and he drives a company vehicle).  It will mostly be used for short trips and on the occasional longer trip to visit family (70 miles) there are plenty of charging stations along the way.

What else do I need to know?  Should I be considering a Prius instead for any reason?  (Iím stuck on the most fuel efficient vehicles because my employer subsidizes my vehicle and the subsidy increases according to the vehicleís fuel efficiency)

Thanks Iím advance.

wordnerd

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Re: Talk to me about your Nissan Leaf
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 01:19:44 PM »
I have a 2014 Leaf. It recently lost its "top bar" for battery range, bringing a full charge to the 83-87 mile range (using eco mode). I would expect similar, but slightly lower specs on a 2013, unless the previous owner managed to get the battery replaced under warranty.

I love my Leaf (we actually have two and are an electric-only family). In the 3.5 years I've owned it, I've had zero maintenance costs and never charged anywhere but home (I live about 10 miles from work). We have a "level 2" charger installed at home, which allows quick charging, assuming your Leaf has a Quick Charge Port. The charger itself cost around $500 when we bought it (similar to this: https://store.clippercreek.com/level2/level2-12-to-15/lcs-20-lcs-20p-16-amp-level-2-ev-charging-station?gclid=Cj0KCQjwnqzWBRC_ARIsABSMVTOU1CKRqJz5e86TkA5Y2-anM23duJoiNHFf6JNd67Ru97ka3Otp53EaAiF7EALw_wcB) and plugs into a 240V outlet (DH ran the wiring and installed the outlet himself, but you might need to hire this out).

The Leaf has good interior space (enough for two car seats), and the hatchback gives a fair amount of cargo room. The only thing I don't like about the design is the rather large blind spots (though the back-up camera helps). The only reason I'd go for a Prius instead is if you wanted to road trip a fair amount. Right now, we just rent if we're leaving town.

genesismachine

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Re: Talk to me about your Nissan Leaf
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 08:58:22 PM »
I have a Ford Focus electric, but I did test drive the Leaf and am very familiar with it. I think the advice I would give is to test drive one over a weekend or at least test drive it around town for a few hours.

A few things I learned that mostly apply to your situation:
EPA range is 76 miles - I never get this unless it's ideal conditions in summer. In winter, with winter tires, defogger on, heat on 70F, at highway speeds (~70mph), I sometimes get 45 miles range. There's a saying 'don't cross a river that's on average 4 feet tall'. I'm in Portland, so not even very harsh winters. In summer, in ideal situations, I get ~80-90 miles.

Everyone online (and I mean everyone) said they got better than that. I don't know if everyone posting online was a hypermiler or if I just got a lemon. I have exceeded the mpg estimate of every gas car I've ever owned, so I dunno.

Battery degradation is very real, but it depends on how the battery is used. I've lost ~20% of my battery capacity over the last 3 years because I routinely return home with ~20-30% charge. This is really hard on the battery. Coming home once with 30% charge remaining is equivalent to coming home 10 times with 60% charge remaining. That depth of discharge just kills batteries far more than raw miles would suggest. My 8 year 100,000 mile warranty will cover it eventually, but still. At least Nissan will tell you a battery pack replacement will cost $5500, Ford won't even release how much a battery costs or how far the battery capacity must decline before battery replacement. For this reason alone, I would suggest you do not ever buy a Ford EV.

Relying on quick chargers can be very problematic. If there's only one charger between you and your destination, what if it's out of service as they frequently are? Some charger locations/companies are worse than others. Check out Plugshare for reviews on any chargers you will be depending on. I've been in places where I was counting on a charger to be there, and then was really panicked when it was out of service (which you can't look up ahead of time). Once, it had a broken handle and it was the only one, another time there was a problem with the charger accepting payment/starting charge - both on well reviewed chargers. I now don't take trips in my electric car that require a charger and save it for commuting only.

I don't want to discourage you, but when I bought the car, I planned to only use it as a city runabout and commuter car (I have a perfect 40 mile round trip commute for this car). For anything greater than 50 miles, I use my gas car. I got a great deal on it new, and calculated that between gas savings and maintenance/time savings, the car would pay for itself after 100,000 miles (even if I junked it with $0 value). Since the warranty was for 100,000 miles, I figured it was a mathematical certainty I would come out ahead.

Hope this helps, just wanted to share things that nobody shared with me before I bought my car, despite my extensive research prior to buying.

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: Talk to me about your Nissan Leaf
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2018, 09:14:11 PM »
Thank you both.  This is exactly the type of information I needed.

rementis

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Re: Talk to me about your Nissan Leaf
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 03:04:49 PM »
I've had a 2011 Leaf for a few years and it's been maint-free.  So far I've bought new wiper blades and new tires.

I bought it because I live close to work and my office has eight free chargers out front.  :)

It's a pleasant car to drive, quiet and "punchy".

Stereo/bluetooth/GPS all work perfectly.

solon

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Re: Talk to me about your Nissan Leaf
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 03:09:29 PM »