Author Topic: Buying a Nissan Leaf  (Read 66366 times)

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #50 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.

gimp

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #51 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.

MasterStache

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #52 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.

lithy

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #53 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.


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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #54 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.

ender

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #55 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 ;)

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #56 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.

RWD

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #57 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.

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #58 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.

AZDude

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #59 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.

gimp

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #60 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.

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #61 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.

RedmondStash

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #62 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?

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #63 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.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 12:27:29 AM by sol »

Chaplin

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #64 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 who’s in your bed when you come home with the super quiet, 100% electric powered, Nissan LEAF!"

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #65 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

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #66 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 who’s 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?!

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #67 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.

gimp

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #68 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.

Chaplin

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #69 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.

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #70 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.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #71 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.

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #72 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.

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #73 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.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 07:00:38 AM by Ricky »

Telecaster

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #74 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. 

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #75 on: March 13, 2016, 09:07:55 AM »
The current recall is brake related.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #76 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/

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #77 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.

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #78 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.

PathtoFIRE

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #79 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.

JordanOfGilead

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #80 on: March 16, 2016, 01:27:20 PM »
I'm still laughing at "you're a bad person and you should feel bad."

MasterStache

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #81 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


Chris22

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #82 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.

forummm

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #83 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.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #84 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.

Northwestie

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #85 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.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #86 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 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/

Chris22

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #87 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?  :)

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #88 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.

forummm

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #89 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.

FIREandMONEY

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #90 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. 

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #91 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.

forummm

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #92 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.

couponvan

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #93 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.

RedmondStash

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #94 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.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #95 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.

forummm

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #96 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

forummm

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #97 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.

PathtoFIRE

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #98 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).

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #99 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.