Author Topic: No to turning over a new Leaf  (Read 2160 times)

Slow road to freedom

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No to turning over a new Leaf
« on: February 21, 2020, 07:31:06 AM »
In the UK, our government has in recent times eschewed the internal combustion in favour of electric vehicles. Zero company car tax on EVs from April will no doubt fuel a boom in EV sales, as salespeople and executives seek to minimise their tax bill and therefore car running costs.

I admit to lusting after an EV. Whether it’s the Greta effect or my conscience, I, like MMM himself, feel an EV - whether it be in the form of a Nissan Leaf, or even a flash Tesla - is the future. My current wheels are not at all climate friendly. I have been - maybe still am, really - a bit of a petrol head, and went made a few short years ago by buying a 3 litre diesel estate car, and an expensive German variety at that. I have since both enjoyed my time in Burt (yes, named) and cringed every time it needs a service - having discovered that an extra two cylinders and an expensive German badge really does ratchet up the cost of maintenance - in equal measure.

Burt is practical, reliable, and has taken me over 70,000 miles over the last 3+ years.

Why is this post in the ‘share your badassity’ thread?

Because I will NOT commit to spending money on an EV, until Burt is no longer fit for purpose. The cost of maintenance, however eye-watering, and the cost of fuel (I usually manage 42+ mpg), is lower than buying a new car. And I am so close (1-2 years) to achieving my FI goal, that a little bit of hesitation here will go a long way, for me personally.

I don’t use Burt for short journeys around town. We, as a family (including teenagers), walk. Or cycle. I use Burt for fewer work journeys, taking the train where possible, or working from home. So my mileage should reduce.

And I really enjoy stories about other vehicles that have become part of the family, some with starship mileage.

This is a small, and distinctively [Mustachian close to FI] win - but one I felt I wanted to share. And I’m not sure there are many people I know outside of this forum that would begin to understand this!

Thanks for reading.

Car Jack

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Re: No to turning over a new Leaf
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2020, 08:54:43 AM »
For the moment, I also won't be buying an EV, but for very different reasons.  First, I will say that I did go to the Fiasco of a Tesla store and I did test drive a model S.  While I found the materials, layout and look of the car to be far above my expectations, I was vastly underwhelmed by how it drove.  I spoke to a Porsche friend who recently drove the Porsche Taycan and he had a similar experience, finding that the handling, while precise was isolated and not at all connected, which is what a Porsche is.  His description, having also driven a model S was that it pretty much drove like a Tesla, which for him is about the same as saying "your mother is a whore". 

Anyways, from a financial standpoint, a plug in electric makes no sense for me.  Intertwined with my tradeline sales, credit card shenanigans and wrangling for gas points at my local supermarket, I have, over the past 4 years paid on average, 88 cents per gallon.  ($0.88)  This paired with a 20 cent per kWHr all in charge, it would cost me far more to drive a Tesla of any type vs our Subaru Crosstrek.  If you gasp at my gasoline escapades, I'll tell you that this used to be far better, where I used to (for 2 full years) pay 1.9 cents per gallon.  So perhaps you can just throw things at me for burning gas instead of our power plants burning natural gas (what all electricity is in New England).  On top of that, any Tesla would cost at least double the $21k I paid new for our 19 Crosstrek 6M.  A Tesla would accelerate 0-60 far faster.  My response.....who cares?  I'm a former road racer and track driving instructor.  I'd be fine with a 2 cylinder 2CV on the street.


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Re: No to turning over a new Leaf
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2020, 10:11:27 AM »
I'm in a similar boat. Some part of me wants an electric car as the environmentally right thing to do (and of course I'd love to verify if all of the hype about Tesla is true). But it just doesn't make a lot of sense:

1) The cars are by no means a bargain.
2) I drive very little on a daily basis (usually use public transport or bike to work and run errands). My wife drives 40-50 miles per day on average, so it would be used much more economically by her.
3) I want no more than two cars in my garage (plus my motorcycle). I like having my small '98 Ranger to drive into the mountains, which cost $6k in 2004 and has run flawlessly (I currently average around 3,000 miles per year). My other car is my wife's minivan, but I'm very hesitant to replace it because the several times a year we travel a long distance I really appreciate the convenience of not having to stop every few hours for a half hour and to plan those stops around the limited superchargers (my Ranger doesn't have enough seats for long family trips).

All of this is to say that electric cars sound great in theory, and I hope to one day get one, but the Mustachian use case never really seems to add up for me.

If the cost of petrol ever increased enough to reflect the social costs of the attendant pollution, I would more strongly consider getting one for my wife.


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Re: No to turning over a new Leaf
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2020, 10:49:03 AM »
I weighed the cost benefits for quite some time. Over the last 3 years of ownership my 2006 Civic managed 1 major $1K plus repair per year. That was over $3K spent on repairs in 3 years. Gas mileage wasn't bad at around 42 mpg. I ended up owning the car for 10 years so certainly got good use out of it. At that time, after holding out for well over a year, I got lucky and found a sweet deal on a used Leaf someone was selling for their dad and just trying to dump it off. All said and done, after selling the Civic I ended up being out maybe $4K. It has worked out well. It's certainly not practical nor makes financial for everyone. And it's good to wait for that time before plunging. 


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Re: No to turning over a new Leaf
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2020, 10:03:24 AM »
Is replacing an old car with an EV always "greener"? I'd imagine there's a point where making a new car requires more carbon than you produce with an infrequently-driven old vehicle. I'm not sure how few miles you need to drive to make the old car the better choice.


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Re: No to turning over a new Leaf
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2020, 05:18:24 AM »
I think long long term electric vehicles will be the way to go.  There seems to be a government impetus afoot.  I also question whether EVs are in any way greener than traditional vehicles.  Especially when you look into the kinds of chemicals that go into the batteries etc.  It's the same with so-called wind power which upon further inspection is nowhere near as eco-friendly as is often made out, but that's a different conversation. 

No, I am happy with my economical little Toyota Yaris for the time being.  When or if I do eventually make the change to electric, it will be in the same spirit as I did for smartphones and desktop PCs etc - wait for the price to come right down.  I only became a smart phone owner in mid-2015 and even now I don't really need it.

Let's sit back, relax and leave the expensive financial mistakes to others.


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Re: No to turning over a new Leaf
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2020, 08:54:43 AM »
I would suggest a used Nissan Leaf- got mine for $7k when it was 2 years old and have enjoyed 3 years of gas free driving.  While I am saving $ over a gas car, it's also about more than just that.  No gas car is as efficient as an electric car, so the driving I am doing is as efficient as possible.  Also- the questions of whether a BEV are more "green" than a gas car are valid.  "Engineering Explained" channel on Youtube has some great videos on this.  Most carbon emissions are not from car production, but the actual driving.  It doesn't take as many miles as you think before electric cars win the battle.  More carbon emissions from production for a Tesla (bigger battery), less for something like a Leaf (very small battery).  But I'm a nutcase, I also have solar panels :)


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Re: No to turning over a new Leaf
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2020, 07:18:08 PM »
I am now in the second stage of this thought process - the time when it actually does make sense to replace old cars with an EV.

We have two cars - a 2007 Prius with nearly 200,000 miles on it (that's been through an accident and has a few minor but not merely cosmetic issues) and a 2015 Smartcar EV. I like to say that we have 1.5 cars, given the Smartcar's minimal functionality - it made sense when we had to become a 2 car household due to our live/work situation in the DC metro area. But now we are moving 600 miles away and hoping to go back to being a 1-car household. It just doesn't make sense to take either car - the Prius is on the border of retirement, and the Smartcar will not function well as an "only car".

Our new-to-us car would be an EV no matter what, but our new state has a state rebate on top of the federal, and we are in a tax bracket to make full advantage of it, so it turns out that a new Nissan Leaf would be virtually the same price as we're seeing in the used market. Additionally, apparently 3/4 of our new state's energy generation is renewable. It's time.