Author Topic: Buying a Nissan Leaf  (Read 66396 times)

sol

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Buying a Nissan Leaf
« on: March 05, 2016, 12:05:10 AM »
I just bought a free car for $7700.

Nissan Leafs are all-electric family cars with a range of about 80 miles between charges, and they are dirt cheap right now.  We bought a 2012 Leaf SL with only 30k miles for $7700, and it has a 7 inch touch screen with GPS navigation, heated seats front and back, remote control from your phone, keyless push-button start, LED headlights, heated mirrors and steering wheel, and oh yeah it never uses gasoline at all.  Craigslist is full of them.  Check out the KBB values.

Why has this super fancy modern technological marvel depreciated by 80% in only 30k miles of driving?  How is this amazing bargain possible?
In part it's because your tax dollars subsidized a $7500 federal tax rebate off of the MSRP when they were new, in part because the newer model years came out with improved range at reduced cost, in part because of falling gas prices, and in part because the market is currently flooded with lease returns from the 3-year lease term that the manufacturer was pushing when these cars were new.  Basically every single lease return was sent to auction instead of resold by the leasing dealers, so there are a ton of these cars for sale everywhere right now.  Asking prices have dropped over $1000 in the past two months and may continue to fall.  By August, the new 2017 model will be released with ~130 miles of range, and any unsold 2012 cars will be worth even less.

What about that limited range, is that a problem? 
My family drives less than 25 miles in a typical day of commuting, kid activities, and any errands we have to run.  We expect to drive even less once we're retired.  We still have our old SUV for family road trips and Home Depot runs, but my biggest worry is going to be remembering to take it around the block every two weeks to keep it in good working order.  The Leaf will handle all of our average daily driving while only using about 1/3 of its battery capacity, so I feel confident the range won't be an issue most of the time.  I'll report back.

Wait, you said this car was free, how does that work?
Electricity for the car costs less than 3 cents/mile.  Gas for my old SUV costs about 12 cents/mile while gas prices are under $2/gallon, and closer to 25 cents/mile if gas price go back to where they were two years ago.  After figuring in the additional cost of licensing plus insurance on a second vehicle, reduced repair costs on the old SUV, and our expected mileage, I figure we're saving a bit more than $100/month in total operating costs to have two vehicles instead of just one.  At $7700 out of pocket, if I drive the Leaf for at least six years then I will have spent less money to have two cars than I would have spent on just one vehicle over those same years.  If I drive it a very mustachian 10 years, I figure it will save me about $5k in operating cost which I can apply towards my next vehicle.  Any charging I do at free public charging stations, instead of at home, will only improve that number.

Your car looks funny.
So do you.  Pictures are below.

Why did you buy a 2012?
The Nissan Leaf underwent an invisible redesign for the 2013 model year.  The battery and charger and heater got better, they changed the trim lines and added leather seats, and they added more rear cargo space (by shrinking the battery) without making any changes to the exterior of the car.  As a result of these changes, the buyer demand for the "inferior" older cars plummeted.  Resale prices for 2013+ model year Leafs are currently about $4k higher than for the 2011/12 model year versions, because people seem to think that charging in 4 hours instead of 8 hours is really important to a car that is parked for 10 hours in a garage every night.  I don't get it either.  If I really want leather seats, I'll buy leather seat covers and they won't cost $4k.

How do you charge it?
Nissan recommends that you spend $500 to buy a 220V charger that plugs into a dryer/stove outlet, which will charge the 2012 leaf from empty to full in 8 hours (or 4 hours for the 2013+ version).  All Leafs come with an emergency trickle charger that plugs into a regular 110V wall outlet and will charge the battery from empty to full in about 20 hours.  Or you can always use the "quickcharge" port at public charging stations, which will give you 80% charge in 30 minutes and typically cost you ~$7.50 to do it, but at that price the cost/mile is almost as bad as buying gasoline so I'm not planning to do that unless I actually have to drive more than ~100 miles in a day.  In our case, we haven't decided if it's even worth it to spend the $500 to get the 8 hour 220V charging station for our garage, because at only 25 miles per day the included 110V trickle charger seems sufficient to get us back to a full charge while the car is parked overnight, and we still have a second vehicle for backup if necessary.

What about battery replacement costs?
All cars wear out eventually.  In a normal gasoline car you can expect an engine and/or transmission rebuild about every 200k miles.  In a Nissan Leaf the lithium-ion battery slowly degrades over time, losing capacity and thus reducing the driving range, until you're down to about 70% of the original range after 120k miles.  If 58 miles in a day isn't enough for you then you have to replace the battery, which Nissan currently charges $5,500 to do.  This means that while you're only spending 2.8 cents/mile for electricity, you're technically spending 4.5 cents/mile on the eventual battery replacement cost.  This is at least double the cost/mile of a typical car's engine/tranny rebuild cost, but it's also totally optional and will never leave you stranded with a thrown rod or blown head gasket.  As the battery ages, the range slowly decreases and you can decide to replace it or not as your needs and finances dictate.

What are the other maintenance costs?
An electric car has no alternator, spark plugs, fuel pump, radiator, serp belts, distributor, or starter motor to maintain/replace.  The engine only has one moving part.  It doesn't need regular oil changes, and it never needs a valve job (no valves) or clutch replacement (no clutch).  It uses brake pads much more slowly, due to the regenerative braking.  You still need to rotate the tires and clean the air filter.  They're mechanically much more simple machines than gasoline cars, so I'm optimistic that long term maintenance costs will be low.

How is it to drive?
More fun than I was expecting!  Electric cars have 100% of their torque available at zero rpms, which means smooth instant acceleration (with no pauses due to shifting gears). There is no delay between stomping the peddle and feeling the lurch because there is no engine spin-up time and no clutch slip.  It doesn't have the V6 passing power above 80 mph that our SUV does, but for around town driving I actually find it much more pleasant to drive.  And I like that it is nearly silent.  It's very much like riding a bicycle in traffic, in that you are much more aware of the engine noises around you.  And it's roomier than I was expecting (I'm 6'4" and fit just fine, which is not true for all small cars). 

Why did you buy a new (used) car?
We've always been a single car family, but my oldest kid is approaching driver's ed age and a second set of wheels would come in handy about once per month.  Over the course of my marriage there has been exactly one instance when we wanted a second car badly enough to go rent one for a few days.  I think all of you folks with three cars are crazy.  And as long as you have at least one gasoline car in your garage, I think an electric car is a viable primary vehicle for around-town driving for virtually everyone who lives in a town. 

So are you like a smug eco-hippie?
Yes, yes I am.  Last year I installed solar panels on my roof that generate more power than my home uses, by about the same amount I expect our electric car to require.  My home will still consume some natural gas, and we're still paying for the carbon pollution inherent in the things we buy, but our overall household carbon footprint just dropped dramatically by reducing our gasoline consumption to near zero.  About 80% of the world's petroleum is owned by places that actively support terrorism or are otherwise hostile to America, so every time you fill up your F-150 you're sending part of your paycheck to Al Qaeda and ISIS or dirty Communists or whatever.  You're supporting terrorists, and I'm not.  You're a bad person and you should feel bad.

Surely there are some drawbacks?
Of course. 
1.  The remote access app for controlling the car from your phone was recently discovered to have a security flaw that could allow someone to turn on your heater (and thus drain your battery) remotely from the internet. They have disabled new registrations for the app until that gets fixed, but that doesn't affect used cars so not an issue for me.
2.  Because EVs have so much more low-end torque than comparable small cars they tend to go through tires faster.  The OEM Bridgestones that came on the car mostly went bad in less than 30k miles.  My car came with new ones recently installed, as should basically any used Leaf, but I'm expecting about $100/year for new tires.
3.  The door-side arm rest is about an inch lower than I want it to be.  That will take some getting used to.
4.  In North America, the telematics for updating the GPS maps and locations of public charge points runs on AT&T's 2G network, which is being discontinued at the end of 2016.  Upgrade prices haven't been announced yet, but owners of older cars will probably have to purchase a replacement part or do without updated telematics.
5.  The older 2011/12 cars use battery chemistry that is more sensitive to heat than the 2013+ cars.  If your car routinely sees temperatures above 95F then the battery will degrade more quickly.  Nissan's warranty will replace it for free if you hit 8 bars (out of 12) before 60k miles, but so far only people in the desert southwest who abused their batteries have seen that kind of loss.  Colder climates mean your range per charge is reduced a little, but your battery capacity won't diminish as rapidly.

Why did you write all of this?  It must have taken you like an hour.
I just love you guys that much.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 10:05:50 PM by sol »

RobFIRE

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2016, 03:50:11 AM »
Great! I am currently without a car, probably won't need one for a couple of years, have decided if/when I do get another car it will be an EV. So am basically planning to do more or less what you've just done. By the time I'm buying I may get one of the new 30 kWh ones at 3 years old.

For us data-driven people, have you got the detailed battery data, what is the battery condition? Though as you say for 25 miles a day you could still easily use it at ~50% battery in 10 years' time.

Syonyk

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2016, 11:26:27 AM »
Good luck with the battery.  Nissan's approach to battery management can best be described as, "Cross your fingers and hope."

Though, as you note, it's more of an issue in hot climates.  It'll be interesting to see how yours holds up.

I might pick one up once I can find a $4k beater, but I'm more likely to find something odd and rebuild the battery pack myself...

act0fgod

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2016, 11:41:29 AM »
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.

Syonyk

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2016, 11:58:51 AM »
It's not really a "fly-and-drive" kind of car, is it? :p

I'm actually considering, long term, trying to resolve that issue over in Idaho.  Get a double car trailer, drive out to Seattle or Portland, buy cheap Leafs, bring them to Idaho, and resell them.

For a "rural runabout," they're pretty much perfect if they've got decent range.  Full, every morning, with enough range to get to town and back.

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2016, 05:34:13 PM »
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.
www.PlugShare.com

Telecaster

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2016, 07:04:00 PM »
That was a great, great post.  I've starting thinking about buying a Leaf and that answered a ton of questions.  My wife has a short commute (mileage wise) and can charge at work. 

But one question:  I just checked the Seattle craigslist and there are indeed a blue million 2012 Leafs for sale, but it looks like all of them are for sale by dealer, interestingly no private ones at the moment.  All of them appear to be listed at $8995, or $9995 if they have the quick charge option.   So, if I plunk down $7700 cash will the dealer probably go for it?   


RWD

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2016, 07:14:17 PM »
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.

Similiar story here. There isn't a single used Nissan Leaf for sale on Autotrader within 100 miles of my zip code for any price. There are about 50 within 250 miles though, some of which are under $10k. Average price of $11.7k.

I still want a pure electric car though.

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2016, 08:26:48 PM »
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.

Similiar story here. There isn't a single used Nissan Leaf for sale on Autotrader within 100 miles of my zip code for any price. There are about 50 within 250 miles though, some of which are under $10k. Average price of $11.7k.

I still want a pure electric car though.
I repeat: PlugShare.
For a car you're going to have for years, why would you let a few hours of charging hold you back?

RWD

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2016, 09:46:31 PM »
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.

Similiar story here. There isn't a single used Nissan Leaf for sale on Autotrader within 100 miles of my zip code for any price. There are about 50 within 250 miles though, some of which are under $10k. Average price of $11.7k.

I still want a pure electric car though.
I repeat: PlugShare.
For a car you're going to have for years, why would you let a few hours of charging hold you back?

The gaps in coverage (according to PlugShare) around my city are (approximately) 70 miles to the north, 60 miles to the south, 60 miles to the east, and 85 miles to the west. With a range of 73 miles (when new for a 2011 Leaf) that's cutting it a bit close. The distance problem wouldn't stop me though, just isn't as convenient as it would be were I living somewhere else.

I'm really excited about electric cars and will probably buy one when it makes sense for our situation. Currently we do less than 1,000 miles of city driving per year.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 08:15:49 AM by RWD »

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2016, 10:27:52 PM »
Good luck with the battery.  Nissan's approach to battery management can best be described as, "Cross your fingers and hope."

I think Nissan's approach to battery management could also be described as "8 years or 100,000 mile warranty," which is better than what you get on the engine of most gasoline cars, but I know what you're saying.  The Leaf does not have a battery cooling system, like some other electric cars do, and especially on the 2011/12 cars the older battery chemistry is temperature sensitive.  It doesn't like to get hot. 

Fortunately I live in place where it doesn't get very hot, and I have a nice shady garage to park in.

there are indeed a blue million 2012 Leafs for sale, but it looks like all of them are for sale by dealer, interestingly no private ones at the moment.

CL sometimes defaults to dealer sales only, depending on your platform.  Be sure to check "all" sales to see private party sales too.'

Quote
All of them appear to be listed at $8995, or $9995 if they have the quick charge option.   So, if I plunk down $7700 cash will the dealer probably go for it?   

That depend on your negotiating skills, I suppose.  Around here, most dealers are asking $9-11k for a car with mid-30k miles, some are asking $8500, and there are a few dealer cars listed for under $8k but they're mostly 40k+ miles.  Generally speaking, each additional 10k miles on the clock reduces the price about $500.

But asking prices are not selling prices, and dealer prices are not private party prices.  I spent about two weeks trolling CL watching cars come and go to get some idea of what was actually selling.  All those $9-11k Leafs have been listed for weeks because nobody is buying at those prices.  I watched a couple of Leafs go (quickly) for under $7k.  Don't expect to just hop on Craigslist and see cars advertised for their real selling prices.  There is haggling to be done.

Around here, private party sales are typically about $750 cheaper than dealer sales right now.  I suspect that's because a person selling his car wants to sell it, and a dealer selling a car wants to get the highest price possible even if that means not selling it this week.  One dealer I went and visited had a car with ~40k miles listed for $8500, and I offered him $8k for it.  After an hour of protracted negotiations, he wouldn't come down below $8150 so I walked out on him.  The next day, he listed the same car for $7997.  The Seattle area CL has 4 Leafs with asking prices under $8k right now.

I also emailed with like four different area dealers.  I told them what I was looking for and what I wanted to pay, and every single of one of them wrote back to me with offers for their cars of between $500 and $1000 below their advertised CL price (though still more than I wanted to pay).  So I'm pretty comfortable saying you can negotiate at least $500 off of those prices just by asking.

The car I bought privately needed to be washed and detailed.  I figure the dealers put at least $100 of labor into their vehicles to make them look as shiny as possible, and they will do the title/registration for you and thus save you a trip to the DMV.  I didn't think that those two things were worth paying an extra $750, so I bought from a private party, washed and vacuumed the car myself, and spent 30 minutes at the DMV paying my taxes and fees (about $1k on top of the $7700 I paid the seller).

There isn't a single used Nissan Leaf for sale on Autotrader within 100 miles of my zip code for any price.

I suspect that electric cars are more sensitive to local market conditions than gasoline cars, for precisely the reasons you've identified.  People are less willing to buy one from 300 miles away because they don't understand the charging requirements.  If you're on a major interstate, a 4 hour drive becomes a 6 hour drive if you have to stop and quickcharge along the way. 

But so far, the charging options have been great in my area.  When I want to the DMV to transfer the title, they had free charging in a primo parking spot right up front.  Score. 

« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 10:53:57 AM by sol »

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2016, 10:33:51 PM »
With a range of 73 miles (when new for a 2011 Leaf) that's cutting it a bit close.

Keep in mind that the 73 mile range estimate is what EPA revised it down to when they learned that Nissan was recommending owners only charge to 80% of full battery capacity unless they were going to need more range that day, in order to preserve battery life.  The 2011 Leaf is rate to 84 miles on a full charge, and it will do substantially more than that if you're using Eco-mode, not using the climate control, and driving under 65mph.

The problem is that if you charge your battery to 100% full and let it sit there for long periods of time, the battery capacity degrades faster.  It's better to only charge to 80% if that's all the range you need on most days, and if you do need 100% of the range then use the charge timer so that the car reaches 100% full right before you need it, rather than 24 hours ahead of time and then sits around at 100%.

tobitonic

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2016, 10:35:19 PM »
Sweet thread. I've thought about the Leaf now and then, but I really like my Sienna, as well as being able to carry all of our present/future kids in it at once. If we were retired and in a more urban environment, though, I'd be tempted.

Syonyk

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2016, 10:50:02 PM »
Keep in mind that the 73 mile range estimate is what EPA revised it down to when they learned that Nissan was recommending owners only charge to 80% of full battery capacity unless they were going to need more range that day, in order to preserve battery life.  The 2011 Leaf is rate to 84 miles on a full charge, and it will do substantially more than that if you're using Eco-mode, not using the climate control, and driving under 65mph.

A feature which Nissan then removed.

Relevant, I wrote up some summaries of factors in battery longevity and how different manufacturers are doing things a few months ago.

http://syonyk.blogspot.com/2016/01/electric-car-battery-packs-and-longevity.html

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2016, 10:56:43 PM »
if I plunk down $7700 cash will the dealer probably go for it?

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.  Around here, the use tax on a used car purchase is 9.5% in most places, and some places get an extra 0.3% RTA tax.  The title and licensing will run about $200 total, including Washington State's $100 "EV-owners-are-rich-fucks fee" designed to offset losses from gas taxes.  One dealer tried to charge me $275 for title and licensing, plus $300 for "theft deterrent treatments" that he applied to the car that I didn't want, plus $150 for a "documentation fee" that I'm pretty sure was just a little extra profit margin for signing paperwork with me.  Fuck that noise, man.

If you're in the Seattle area, expect to pay 9.8% tax plus $200 in DMV fees, so if he agrees to your $7700 offer but then tries to charge you more than $8650 O.T.D, then he's just playing typical dealer games hiding his profit in bullshit add-on fees and you can tell him to get fucked before you walk out.  The market is flooded with these cars right now, don't get hung up on any particular one.

Having said that, you might consider paying more than $7700 for the right car.  If the miles are under 30k and the body/interior are immaculate and it has brand new tires on it and it's the color you want?  I'd be happy to offer $8k (translates to <$9k O.T.D., don't fall for hidden fees).

I had to keep reminding myself that I didn't really need a second car.  At least not right away.  If you can wait six months to buy a car, and are patient with craigslist, prices will fall and the right car will come along.  Dealers are asking you to pay full retail, not scoop a deal, so don't fall for that unless you're backed into a corner and need to buy one this very week.  Like everything else in life, only suckers pay retail.

RobFIRE

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2016, 02:00:32 AM »
Don't know the US market but seems that in the UK there are a fair number of 2 to 4 year old LEAFs for sale. Out of curiosity I have been looking at UK listings over the last month or so and there are lots of LEAFs sitting there not selling (I would assume dealers are tying to sell cars within weeks). Reason being, I think: if you're somebody/a family who does 1500+ miles a month in a regular car, the fuel cost is GBP 150+ a month, so leasing a new leaf at GBP 200 or so a month is like a "free" car. So leasing from new is popular, hence there are lots of LEAFs that have been returned from lease after 2 or 3 years. So it seems there is a much smaller pool of people who realize what an economical option a used LEAF is (typical used price GBP 9000 or so for mid-spec moderate mileage 2013 model, maybe GBP 2000 more than a similar sized petrol car of similar age, so I suppose most people don't think it through so are putt off by the higher initial price, but fuel savings for 1500 miles a month for 5 years would be ~GBP 9000 in itself).

In the US there have been bigger discounts on new LEAFs, and you have both federal and state EV incentives/tax rebates, so for most people the new LEAF maybe looks more appealing.

So those wondering about sale prices, if in that position I would contact the dealers, particularly those with multiple LEAFs available, and say something like (politely): "when it's your sales bonus deadline and those LEAFs are still sitting there, call me with a price around X and I'll buy cash"

UKMustache

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2016, 02:57:09 AM »
Don't know the US market but seems that in the UK there are a fair number of 2 to 4 year old LEAFs for sale. Out of curiosity I have been looking at UK listings over the last month or so and there are lots of LEAFs sitting there not selling (I would assume dealers are tying to sell cars within weeks). Reason being, I think: if you're somebody/a family who does 1500+ miles a month in a regular car, the fuel cost is GBP 150+ a month, so leasing a new leaf at GBP 200 or so a month is like a "free" car. So leasing from new is popular, hence there are lots of LEAFs that have been returned from lease after 2 or 3 years. So it seems there is a much smaller pool of people who realize what an economical option a used LEAF is (typical used price GBP 9000 or so for mid-spec moderate mileage 2013 model, maybe GBP 2000 more than a similar sized petrol car of similar age, so I suppose most people don't think it through so are putt off by the higher initial price, but fuel savings for 1500 miles a month for 5 years would be ~GBP 9000 in itself).

In the US there have been bigger discounts on new LEAFs, and you have both federal and state EV incentives/tax rebates, so for most people the new LEAF maybe looks more appealing.

So those wondering about sale prices, if in that position I would contact the dealers, particularly those with multiple LEAFs available, and say something like (politely): "when it's your sales bonus deadline and those LEAFs are still sitting there, call me with a price around X and I'll buy cash"

I'd be interested to know how that works out.
Drop me a message if this is successful?


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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2016, 01:59:45 PM »
if I plunk down $7700 cash will the dealer probably go for it?

Plus dealers will always try to screw you with fees.  Around here, the use tax on a used car purchase is 9.5% in most places, and some places get an extra 0.3% RTA tax.  The title and licensing will run about $200 total, including Washington State's $100 "EV-owners-are-rich-fucks fee" designed to offset losses from gas taxes.  One dealer tried to charge me $275 for title and licensing, plus $300 for "theft deterrent treatments" that he applied to the car that I didn't want, plus $150 for a "documentation fee" that I'm pretty sure was just a little extra profit margin for signing paperwork with me.  Fuck that noise, man.

If you're in the Seattle area, expect to pay 9.8% tax plus $200 in DMV fees, so if he agrees to your $7700 offer but then tries to charge you more than $8650 O.T.D, then he's just playing typical dealer games hiding his profit in bullshit add-on fees and you can tell him to get fucked before you walk out.  The market is flooded with these cars right now, don't get hung up on any particular one.


Thanks -  appreciate the overall view from someone who has done their homework

brooklynguy

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2016, 09:52:10 AM »
Last year I installed solar panels on my roof that generate more power than my home uses, by about the same amount I expect our electric car to require.

If this usage projection pans out, does it mean the math might favor disconnecting your home from the grid?

BlueMR2

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2016, 09:56:30 AM »
I'm interested in one, but it would be sitting outside.

How long of a cord does it have?  Is it safe to have the cord running through standing water to an outdoors outlet?  We get a lot of rain/snow/ice and I'm concerned about having it plugged in during those conditions with it having to be out in the elements.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2016, 10:12:58 AM »
If this usage projection pans out, does it mean the math might favor disconnecting your home from the grid?

Definitely not.  The timing of my solar panel power delivery is all wrong for my household's use, both daily and seasonally.  In December we use substantially more power than we generate when it's dark for 15 hours per day.  My car charges at night while it's parked.  The costs associated with a home battery big enough to fix these timing problems far outweigh my grid connection fee, and the grid greatly simplifies the whole operation by soaking up excess and supplying  my deficits.

How long of a cord does it have?  Is it safe to have the cord running through standing water to an outdoors outlet?  We get a lot of rain/snow/ice and I'm concerned about having it plugged in during those conditions with it having to be out in the elements.

You can buy chargers of various cord lengths.  I think the default trickle charger is 16 feet. 

The 220V level 2 charging stations are all designed for outdoor installation, though I know of one Leaf owner who parks in his driveway and runs the cord out under his garage door.  The plugs are all rated for all-weather use.  All of the public charging stations are outdoors in the elements.  I don't think precip should be a problem.

Very cold temperatures aren't ideal, though.  If the car sees temperatures below -13F, it will use wall power to warm the battery before charging.  It still works fine, but it raises your power costs per mile because you're using power to heat it up instead of drive places.  Maybe if you live in northern Canada you have to accept that.

myhotrs

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2016, 10:13:33 AM »
I've been driving my 2012 since it was new and absolutely love it!! I leased it for $200/month and like Sol its basically free to drive (factoring in the rebate I got and gas savings) plus I get to use the POV lane which is huge on my commute. I live in LA where commutes are long and everything is spread out but I've never had any range issues (we do have a gas car for longer trips). My wife keeps stealing it because its so much fun to drive.

One huge thing to note is that Nissan is doing a free warranty replacement for any Leaf battery that declines to 70% of capacity (loses 4 bars of 12).

One more thing - I've driven all 30k miles with only the provided trickle charger.

Quick look at CR in SoCal shows over 300 cars, including this gem:
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/ctd/5457885149.html
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 10:33:53 AM by myhotrs »

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2016, 10:44:59 AM »
I leased it for $200/month

I looked at the leasing options on the new cars, but I couldn't make the math work out when the older ones are so cheap right now.  The lease seems to be a way to reassure people who are concerned about the battery going bad, by giving them an easy out, but the prices are so low on the 2011/12s right now that it's actually cheaper to just buy an upgraded replacement battery fro $5500 if yours has problems than it is to lease and then have to return the car. 

The same argument applies against buying one of the newer models.  If you can get a 2012 SL for $8k, and then maybe-or-maybe-not put a new 2015 upgraded battery in it for $6k, you're still coming out about the same as buying a 2013/14/15 SL for $14-16k.  And chances are you won't need the new battery for years anyway.  Depreciation on those older cars has been brutal, so nothing else seems to make as much sense to me right now.

spud1987

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2016, 11:23:53 AM »
Congrats and welcome to the EV family!

I leased a Chevy Spark EV late last year. Same range and other key stats at your Leaf. I've driven 2k miles in the past three months and so far so good.

My lease is 36 months for 80/month. I had to pay $1500 down but got a $2500 rebate from CA (the fed rebate goes to the dealer, which is why the lease is so cheap).

It also came with a free Bosch EVSE (about $500).

So my total cost over three years is: $1800 plus the cost of electricity. This is cheaper than any other new (and most used) cars out there, even with gas at $2.25/gallon in CA. I'm also not counting the time I save commuting since I have an HOV sticker (about 15-20 minutes per day).

I decided to lease instead of buy because of two issues: battery degradation and technological advances. I don't want to own the car past 30k miles. Instead, I'll keep leasing as long as CA offers the $2500 rebate.

myhotrs

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2016, 11:47:59 AM »
Well I got mine in 2012, no one knew the resale market would be so bad. Nissan certainly didn't or I think the lease terms would be different!

Currently though, yes buying is much better than leasing. I've even seen some cars on CL with brand new batteries (warranty replacement I would guess) selling for under 10k.

Telecaster

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2016, 02:01:47 PM »
Here's just a post for some calibration.  There are 58 Leafs (Leaves?) in the Seattle area on CL.  All of them appear to be at dealers.   Prices are about $8550 to about $11700.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/search/see/cta?sort=rel&auto_make_model=nissan%20leaf&max_auto_year=2012&min_auto_year=2012&query=nissan%20leaf

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2016, 03:17:47 PM »
Here's just a post for some calibration.  There are 58 Leafs (Leaves?) in the Seattle area on CL.  All of them appear to be at dealers.   Prices are about $8550 to about $11700.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/search/see/cta?sort=rel&auto_make_model=nissan%20leaf&max_auto_year=2012&min_auto_year=2012&query=nissan%20leaf

You and I must be using CL differently.  I had to go double check myself.
$6500 http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/5472535205.html
$6995, http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ctd/5470084126.html
$7850, http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/ctd/5457393245.html
$7997, http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/ctd/5480685905.html
$8200, http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/5473242270.html

And several of those are private party sales.  Did none of those come up in your search?

For reference, the Leaf that I bought for $7700 was listed for sale at $9000.  And every single dealer I emailed knocked between $500 and $1000 off of their listed CL prices before I even showed up on the lot, so take that into account when looking at listed prices. 

I agree that dealer ads are more common.  Over the two weeks that I watched prices, I usually only saw one or two private party Leafs offered for sale at any one time. 
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 03:39:04 PM by sol »

chloe1733

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2016, 03:20:52 PM »
We also bought a 2012 Leaf last month. Ours has 21k miles on it, and we paid around 10,300 (but got $4,500 in trade-in from our 2006 Honda Accord). So out of pocket, less than $6k.

The hubby has a very non-Mustachian commute, unfortunately - 20 miles each way. The Leaf handles that really well though! And we still have my old, paid-off car for longer trips and visiting relatives and whatnot.  We're pretty damn smug about the whole thing too.

BUT...

There are a few drawbacks, most of which we find pretty inconsequential.
1. The Leaf has the dinkiest horn sound in the world.  It's like a child's toy. "Bink! Bink!"
2. Since it makes no sound, people will literally walk right in front of your car without noticing that you're about to run them over.  And then you have to honk your dinky horn, and they laugh.
3. You definitely get "range anxiety". My hubby's first question before we go anywhere now is "how far is that?"
4. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Leaf only shows you the projected # of miles remaining instead of the actual amount of Kw remaining. Which would have been a much more useful thing to include in the display than stupid made-up "eco-trees" that you "grow" as you drive.
5. Unless you have a fast charging station put in, it takes a good 12-14 hours to fully charge up.  So it's not the car you want to take out for all-night-partying around town if you also are going to need it to make your 40-mile roundtrip commute in the morning, as there won't be enough charging time.
6. You have to agree to the terms of the navigation system every time you turn the car on, which is kind of annoying.

Overall we're really happy though.  Great purchase!

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2016, 04:25:25 PM »
Really great info, Sol. I am curious: do you know of anyone using EVs like the Leaf for side-hustles as Uber or Lyft drivers? Seems to me like a match made in heaven, but I haven't considered it too deeply.

"Oh, I've got a couple free hours on my hands and half a charge left on the car...why not drive some customers around for a bit before turning it into the garage for the night?" Sounds like a winner to me...

Northwestie

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2016, 06:22:57 PM »
We also bought a 2012 Leaf last month. Ours has 21k miles on it, and we paid around 10,300 (but got $4,500 in trade-in from our 2006 Honda Accord). So out of pocket, less than $6k.

The hubby has a very non-Mustachian commute, unfortunately - 20 miles each way. The Leaf handles that really well though! And we still have my old, paid-off car for longer trips and visiting relatives and whatnot.  We're pretty damn smug about the whole thing too.

BUT...

There are a few drawbacks, most of which we find pretty inconsequential.
1. The Leaf has the dinkiest horn sound in the world.  It's like a child's toy. "Bink! Bink!"
2. Since it makes no sound, people will literally walk right in front of your car without noticing that you're about to run them over.  And then you have to honk your dinky horn, and they laugh.
3. You definitely get "range anxiety". My hubby's first question before we go anywhere now is "how far is that?"
4. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Leaf only shows you the projected # of miles remaining instead of the actual amount of Kw remaining. Which would have been a much more useful thing to include in the display than stupid made-up "eco-trees" that you "grow" as you drive.
5. Unless you have a fast charging station put in, it takes a good 12-14 hours to fully charge up.  So it's not the car you want to take out for all-night-partying around town if you also are going to need it to make your 40-mile roundtrip commute in the morning, as there won't be enough charging time.
6. You have to agree to the terms of the navigation system every time you turn the car on, which is kind of annoying.

Overall we're really happy though.  Great purchase!

Hmmm.  Must admit I had some doubts about the Leaf but the overall view seems to be good - particularly if it matches up well for your needs - in city driving regular commute.  Thanks

act0fgod

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2016, 07:13:31 PM »
Craigslist is full of them.

...in the pacific northwest.  Looking outside the west coast, the options are severely limited.  The closest one I found is a three hour drive (in Detroit).  In the leaf the 3 hour drive is tough.
www.PlugShare.com

Lots of good info in this thread.  Reading quickly online I can't really tell if you can plug the Leaf into a Tesla charger (is the "quickcharge" Teslas "supercharge").  Looks like the Tesla has an adapter to plug into leaf chargers, but reading conflicting info on the Leaf into Tesla (maybe some changes recently?).

Looks like in 2014 there was discussion on getting a common EV charge system in place, has that happened or are there still proprietary issues?

Telecaster

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2016, 07:31:10 PM »


You and I must be using CL differently.  I had to go double check myself.


Clarification:  I was only looking at the 2012 Leafs.  So unless I'm truly missing something....

Anyway, I've really enjoyed this timely thread.

randymarsh

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2016, 07:31:26 PM »
Really great info, Sol. I am curious: do you know of anyone using EVs like the Leaf for side-hustles as Uber or Lyft drivers? Seems to me like a match made in heaven, but I haven't considered it too deeply.

"Oh, I've got a couple free hours on my hands and half a charge left on the car...why not drive some customers around for a bit before turning it into the garage for the night?" Sounds like a winner to me...

I think this could be a problem. Drivers don't know where you're going until you get in the car (Lyft does let you put in a destination, but after a driver has accepted your request I think) The fare you pick up could want to go 5 miles or 30. The Denver airport for example is a good 20 miles from downtown and even further from other neighborhoods where the Uber demographic lives.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2016, 07:33:44 PM »
We also bought a 2012 Leaf last month. Ours has 21k miles on it, and we paid around 10,300

Was that the OTD price?  I would expect a 21k mile Leaf to go for somewhere in the $8500-9000 from a dealer, which gets you close to $10.3k with taxes and fees. 

Though prices have come down like $1k in just the past few months, so maybe you bought before the curve?

Quote
1. The Leaf has the dinkiest horn sound in the world.  It's like a child's toy. "Bink! Bink!"

I don't generally use my horn, because I'm not an asshole driver.  But the stock horn on the Leaf is, I think, very appropriate for city driving.  It's a much more polite sort of "excuse me" than the typical SUV "fuck you" noise.

With that said, horn upgrades are cheap and easy to do yourself, and a horn replacement is one of the common Leaf mods that users do.  Lots of people like this one:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000DLBIGG/

Quote
2. Since it makes no sound, people will literally walk right in front of your car without noticing that you're about to run them over. 

You do know that the car comes with a pedestrian warning sound?  Yours may be disabled, but you can turn it back on if you read the manual to learn how.  It's designed to address this specific problem, so it's only on at speeds under about 20 mph.

Quote
4. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Leaf only shows you the projected # of miles remaining instead of the actual amount of Kw remaining.

It will also display the actual battery state if you dig into the energy settings in the center console.  I agree that it's not super easy to find, though.

Quote
5. Unless you have a fast charging station put in, it takes a good 12-14 hours to fully charge up.

Are you using the 110V emergency charger?  Because Nissan really prefers you to use the 220V level 2 chargers, which should charge an empty 2012 battery to full in 8 hours.  In our case, our battery never gets totally empty and we never charge to totally full, so the 110V emergency charger has been fine for us so far.

Quote
6. You have to agree to the terms of the navigation system every time you turn the car on, which is kind of annoying.

This seems like the kind of thing they should be able to fix with an OTA software update, but I suspect that if they've left it this way for so long then it's probably a deliberate decisions.  I'm guessing for liability reasons.

But yes, I've seen other owners complain about having to touch OK on the screen before the nav system will work.  I've never owned any other cars with built in navigation screens, so I don't know how common this is.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2016, 07:43:19 PM »
I can't really tell if you can plug the Leaf into a Tesla charger (is the "quickcharge" Teslas "supercharge").  Looks like the Tesla has an adapter to plug into leaf chargers, but reading conflicting info on the Leaf into Tesla (maybe some changes recently?).

No, the Leaf can't use the Tesla superchargers.  Tesla has struck out on their own, and there are no other cars that can use their charger network. 

Fortunately this isn't really a problem.  There are only a few hundred Tesla superchargers nationwide, as compared to thousands and thousands of regular EV charging stations.

The Leaf SL has two charge ports.  The one on the right will charge using 220V (level two chargers) or110V (level one, the included emergency charger).  The one on the left is the "quickcharge" port that uses the chademo standard and will charge the car in about 30 minutes using 500V DC current at crazy high amps, but there are only about 1600 of those stations in the US.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 07:47:05 PM by sol »

chloe1733

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2016, 08:51:43 PM »
We also bought a 2012 Leaf last month. Ours has 21k miles on it, and we paid around 10,300

Was that the OTD price?  I would expect a 21k mile Leaf to go for somewhere in the $8500-9000 from a dealer, which gets you close to $10.3k with taxes and fees. 

Though prices have come down like $1k in just the past few months, so maybe you bought before the curve?

Quote
1. The Leaf has the dinkiest horn sound in the world.  It's like a child's toy. "Bink! Bink!"

I don't generally use my horn, because I'm not an asshole driver.  But the stock horn on the Leaf is, I think, very appropriate for city driving.  It's a much more polite sort of "excuse me" than the typical SUV "fuck you" noise.

With that said, horn upgrades are cheap and easy to do yourself, and a horn replacement is one of the common Leaf mods that users do.  Lots of people like this one:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000DLBIGG/

Quote
2. Since it makes no sound, people will literally walk right in front of your car without noticing that you're about to run them over. 

You do know that the car comes with a pedestrian warning sound?  Yours may be disabled, but you can turn it back on if you read the manual to learn how.  It's designed to address this specific problem, so it's only on at speeds under about 20 mph.

Quote
4. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Leaf only shows you the projected # of miles remaining instead of the actual amount of Kw remaining.

It will also display the actual battery state if you dig into the energy settings in the center console.  I agree that it's not super easy to find, though.

Quote
5. Unless you have a fast charging station put in, it takes a good 12-14 hours to fully charge up.

Are you using the 110V emergency charger?  Because Nissan really prefers you to use the 220V level 2 chargers, which should charge an empty 2012 battery to full in 8 hours.  In our case, our battery never gets totally empty and we never charge to totally full, so the 110V emergency charger has been fine for us so far.

Quote
6. You have to agree to the terms of the navigation system every time you turn the car on, which is kind of annoying.

This seems like the kind of thing they should be able to fix with an OTA software update, but I suspect that if they've left it this way for so long then it's probably a deliberate decisions.  I'm guessing for liability reasons.

But yes, I've seen other owners complain about having to touch OK on the screen before the nav system will work.  I've never owned any other cars with built in navigation screens, so I don't know how common this is.

So...I think you missed the part where I called these all "relatively inconsequential problems".  Or perhaps you like arguing for the sake of arguing. Just giving a second (and largely corresponding) opinion on the whole experience. So no need to come out of the shoot implying that we honk our horns like assholes and don't understand how to read the manual.  But you seem like a real gem!

Anyways, to answer your questions, for the benefit of other slightly less-agro forum visitors:

  • 10.3k was the dealer price, out of the door we were likely closer to 12k. In Austin, Texas, where we are, this was slightly below average.
  • Yes, we use the 110v charger, which is not the "emergency" charger, but the "level one" charger. (In fact, the Nissan website regularly promotes the fact that you can rely solely on the level one charger: http://www.nissanusa.com/electric-cars/leaf/owner-questions/ev-charging-routine.) The consensus in most forums we've read on this is the main issue why they recommend installing a level 2 is in fact the slow time of charge, which, as I mentioned is 12-14 hours.

clarkevii

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2016, 09:52:57 PM »
Congrats on your Leaf.

I love mine.

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2016, 12:32:11 AM »
no need to come out of the shoot implying that we honk our horns like assholes and don't understand how to read the manual.  But you seem like a real gem!

Okay, I could have worded that response more diplomatically.  Sorry.  I wasn't trying to discourage participation.

gimp

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2016, 03:19:18 AM »
Yeah, leafs are insanely cheap right now. I suspect fiat 500s will be as well in a few years, they're pushing $100/month leases very heavily where I live.

Kind of a piece of shit car if you like driving for its own sake, but a great car if the bottom line is the total cost of ownership.

Also, for what it's worth, you should take your other car to run on the highway, not just around the block. Around the block is good and all, but it most likely doesn't even recharge your battery the amount you used to start it; and with everything staying pretty cold by the time you shut it off, it's quite a bit of wear. Cold oil keeps water in it too, carbon deposits never get burned off, that sort of thing. If you can, I'd recommend at least once a month giving it a good ten miles on the highway / ten minutes at fully heated operating temperatures, and try to rev it a little for at least a short amount of time.

(If you're thinking, "well, that seems like a lot of fucking work to just keep the old car," it kind of is. Keeping a car in disuse takes an hour a month or so to do properly.)

tonysemail

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2016, 10:21:36 AM »
saw this article in the morning and thought it had relevance to this thread.
colorado tax credits and good bargain hunting allowed this guy to buy a new 2015 S for $8500.
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1102675_why-i-bought-a-new-nissan-leaf-electric-car-2-hours-from-home-8500-net-cost

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2016, 10:07:05 AM »
With a range of 73 miles (when new for a 2011 Leaf) that's cutting it a bit close.

Keep in mind that the 73 mile range estimate is what EPA revised it down to when they learned that Nissan was recommending owners only charge to 80% of full battery capacity unless they were going to need more range that day, in order to preserve battery life.  The 2011 Leaf is rate to 84 miles on a full charge...
...and hypermiling will get you over 100 if you can take side roads on a moderate-temp day.

Lots of good info in this thread.  Reading quickly online I can't really tell if you can plug the Leaf into a Tesla charger (is the "quickcharge" Teslas "supercharge").  Looks like the Tesla has an adapter to plug into leaf chargers, but reading conflicting info on the Leaf into Tesla (maybe some changes recently?).

Looks like in 2014 there was discussion on getting a common EV charge system in place, has that happened or are there still proprietary issues?
Well, I'll try to give you the short version (there's no short version).

EV charging is often referred to by "levels" - 110V or Level 1, is any wall outlet, and every EV comes with something that can use it (as long as the circuit can support the amperage).

For the most common Level 2 charging (220V), virtually every EV out there uses the J1772 standard, which specifies everything from voltage to communications protocols to physical connectors. Tesla's cars use J1772 signaling with a nonstandard physical form factor that also corresponds to their Level 3 implementation, aka Supercharger. Thus, they can use the widely available public J1772 stations with a very simple passive adapter that comes with the car. Simple physical adapters also allow a wide variety of aftermarket charging devices to push L2 to an EV from a dryer plug, an RV plug, and other kinds of existing outlets - a big advantage in providing low-cost accessibility, even if not technically standardized. I have a dual-voltage TurboCord that I connect to all of those things as well as 110v outlets on a regular basis to charge my Volt, and any other car could do the same.

Level 3, or DC Fast Charging / Quick Charging is where things went off the rails. In Tesla's early days, they got impatient with the rest of the industry and built their own standard, which they later offered to share with other OEMs (no takers). Soon after that, a consortium of mostly Asian OEMs settled on the Japanese ChaDeMo standard, leveraging existing connector technology to accelerate the rollout. ChaDeMo is by far the most common in the US, and has been widely fielded by Nissan dealers and many charging networks in parts of the nation - tons along the coast and other early-adopter regions, none elsewhere. It's a totally separate connector, and thus many LEAFs and other cars have two ports. Tesla needs a $500 adapter to use ChaDeMo, and plenty of cars can't use it under any circumstances. And just to thoroughly fudge things up, a mostly European consortium later developed a connector that could overlap with the J1772 standard in one plug, called Combined Charging Standard (CCS), or SAE Combo. Stations are far fewer in the US but currently being installed faster, with complete networks expected to cover at least the I-5 and I-95 coastal corridors in the next year or two. CCS is regarded by many as technically superior but has a huge first-mover advantage to overcome. GM is about to start mass-producing cars with CCS options, which may help drive demand.

All the L3 standards are high-voltage DC, but everything else about them is different. And L3 is of course the most critical roadblock to mass EV adoption, since it's what you need for road trips, unless and until battery range exceeds most of our daily limits, which can easily be 5-700 miles or more. For this reason, multi-connector stations and adapters are expected to proliferate for years while the debate plays out.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1095062_now-thats-combo-quick-charging-chademo-ccs-tesla-supercharger

dandarc

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2016, 11:34:16 AM »
Damnit Sol.  I had just talked myself out of dropping $4-5K + my 2006 Sentra to get a Leaf.  Probably doesn't make sense with my 5K or less miles I put on the Sentra now.  Which is also why the Leaf would fit our use perfectly.

Seriously want one of these.  Maybe when the Sentra finally kicks it there will be tons of "50-mile" Leafs for dirt cheap that will also fit our usage just fine.  Basically, if I could get an enclosed, street-legal, electric golf cart that could do 45 (there isn't a route to my work that doesn't involve a small stretch at 45) and had a 30+ mile range, it could replace my car.

MasterStache

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2016, 12:00:20 PM »
Congrats on the purchase. I have a very un-mustachian 40 mile roundtrip commute to work everyday. I have considered the leaf but I do worry about it's range. There are rare times where some heroin addict decides to jump behind the wheel of a car and kill themselves during rush hour (happened 2 weeks ago). And thus my commute suddenly turns into 2.5 hours and about 50 miles. Also my current Civic gets about 34 miles/gallon.

Awesome job on the solar. Did you install yourself? I installed a 28 panel array on our previous house. Thinking about adding solar to our current house. Roof orientation sucks, but I am considering pergola mounted, or something similar. 


sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2016, 12:13:02 PM »
This thread has me crunching some numbers and thinking about swapping out a gas guzzler for a Leaf.

Maybe this will help:

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.

At that price a 20mpg SUV would have to buy gas at 38 cents per gallon to be cost competitive.  Or your hybrid car would have to get 105 mpg (at today's low gas prices).

My big SUV with AWD and three rows of seats gets 17mpg.  At $2/gal that would be 11.7 cents per mile in fuel.  If I were to drive the Leaf 1000 miles per month, the cents/mile difference would save $98/mo in fuel costs alone (more if gas prices go back up). 

And you never pay for oil changes.

The problem is that most people here are low mileage drivers so the cost benefits are somewhat muted because you aren't paying for much gas anyway.  Fortunately, with purchase prices under $8k you aren't really paying a premium for the lower operating costs, so I think it still makes sense.


* I said I "pay" 7.41 cents per kWh for electricity, but I have solar panels that generate surplus electricity that I sell back to the grid through a net metering agreement, so it's more accurate to say that I "get paid 7.41 cents less" for every kWh of electricity that my Leaf uses.  The net cost to my household budget is the same either way.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 08:31:00 PM by sol »

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2016, 12:31:15 PM »
Congrats on the purchase. I have a very un-mustachian 40 mile roundtrip commute to work everyday. I have considered the leaf but I do worry about it's range. There are rare times where some heroin addict decides to jump behind the wheel of a car and kill themselves during rush hour (happened 2 weeks ago). And thus my commute suddenly turns into 2.5 hours and about 50 miles.

The LEAF is at its best at low speeds, so I don't know why the traffic jam would be a concern. Unless you're using a lot of energy on accessories, having to slow down and/or take side streets only increases range.

MasterStache

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #45 on: March 09, 2016, 01:01:12 PM »
Congrats on the purchase. I have a very un-mustachian 40 mile roundtrip commute to work everyday. I have considered the leaf but I do worry about it's range. There are rare times where some heroin addict decides to jump behind the wheel of a car and kill themselves during rush hour (happened 2 weeks ago). And thus my commute suddenly turns into 2.5 hours and about 50 miles.

The LEAF is at its best at low speeds, so I don't know why the traffic jam would be a concern. Unless you're using a lot of energy on accessories, having to slow down and/or take side streets only increases range.

I don't have much option for side roads. Unless I want to stretch my commute out really far. Even getting around traffic jams usually involves taking different interstates/2 lane roads.

My wife on the other hand takes mostly side streets. I have tried to convince her the leaf would be great. She is very stubborn though. Doh! It's difficult to convince her there are far better means of doing things when it doesn't seem to "jive" with what everyone else is doing (that includes retiring early). I am pretty sure the Leaf could have a 200 mile range and she would find an excuse not to get one.

zephyr911

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2016, 01:08:24 PM »
If you're in the Seattle area, expect to pay 9.8% tax plus $200 in DMV fees, so if he agrees to your $7700 offer but then tries to charge you more than $8650 O.T.D, then he's just playing typical dealer games hiding his profit in bullshit add-on fees and you can tell him to get fucked before you walk out.  The market is flooded with these cars right now, don't get hung up on any particular one.

It is somewhat frustrating that the sales and use tax exemptions for Leafs (and similar vehicles) in Washington are restricted to new vehicles. I guess that is designed to get more of them on the road, but still....
It's also factored into the price you pay for a used one - that's half the reason why they're so cheap used. Just mentally add $7500 back to the price and subtract it for your own benefit.

prodarwin

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #47 on: March 09, 2016, 01:30:23 PM »
I've considered the LEAF as well.  I like them and I do think they are a bargain.  Problem is, if you are already a huge cheapass and drive a beater like I do, its difficult to save.  I expect in a couple more years this will change though.

I do not have a "mustachian" commute at ~9.5 miles each way. Last year I spent $733.64 on fuel for my car.  I also did 2 oil changes, brake pads, an air filter, and exhaust isolators at a total cost of $130.

Something in the $8500 range (after taxes, tags, fees, etc.) is going to cost me >$500 just from the time value of the money.  Add in depreciation (significant), higher property tax, insurance, etc. and it ends up being more expensive to own than my current daily driver.

The risk of catastrophic battery failure down the road is of concern as well.  Battery replacement in a LEAF is an order of magnitude more expensive than motor/transmission replacement for my daily driver.  Hell, its more expensive than replacing my whole car.  Several times.

A LEAF would sure be a lot less hassle though (except when I have to fly for work - airport is ~85 miles each way).  Plus, that slightly used car smell is a lot better than 20yr old beater smell :)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 02:08:56 PM by prodarwin »

sol

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2016, 01:53:02 PM »
Hell, its more expensive than replacing my whole car.  Several times.

I agree that it's hard to beat the price of a $1000 beater, especially of you're doing all the work yourself.  The Leaf is a relatively new, modern car.  It's cheap to buy and operate compared to other newish modern cars with comparable luxury features, but not cheaper than an '85 Toyota Tercel (my first car) that you can work on in your garage.

If lowest cost is your primary criteria in transportation, get a bike, then an old beater and learn how to wrench.

MasterStache

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Re: Buying a Nissan Leaf
« Reply #49 on: March 09, 2016, 01:55:10 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.