My LEAF rolled over 50,000 miles just 4 days before its third birthday. So what have I experienced and learnt along the way?
When I originally purchased my LEAF I had a 28 round trip commute. This has grown several times until recently I now have a 73 mile round trip commute. Fortunately my workplace is in Cool Springs Franklin TN where the Nissan HQ is located, so plenty of charging is available in the area.
When asked what a reasonable commute is with a LEAF I often quote 55 miles as a comfortable commute with 65 miles being a ‘stretch’ if one is wiling to change driving style. So 73 miles well is past a stretch. Charging close to my work has been a boon, essentially doubling my range. In addition Nissan and its partners have installed a dozen quick charge station in the Nashville area allowing for a quick 15-20 minute recharge when necessary.
Even though my battery has degraded 20% in the last 3 years reducing my effective range from 73 miles to 58 I can still accomplish my commute with a charge close to work. So despite the reduction in battery capacity I have been able to cope with a commute more than doubling!!
When I got the vehicle I anticipated borrowing my wIfe’s Altima monthly to complete a longer journey. So I anticipated 36 journeys that could not be accomplished with the LEAF in my 3 year ownership period; the reality is that less than 6 journeys could not be tackled with the LEAF. Despite the limited range, its amazing what one can do with some forethought and planning. The buildout of charging infrastructure in Nashville played a big part in my success in using the LEAF for nearly all my journeys.
Problems have been few and far between. A faulty speaker and a broken window switch and window track are the only problems I have had to get repaired. Just normal car problems, absolutely NO EV Technology issues at all. When I bought the vehicle I anticipated visiting the dealer on a regular basis to deal with teething troubles with the ‘new technology’. The reality is electric motors and batteries are old as the hills and are very reliable indeed. With just one trip every 7,500 miles to the dealer for maintenance also minimises time off the road, half of the maintenance visits are just a tire rotation, that’s it! ‘Real’ maintenance tasks are every 15,000 miles.
The LEAF is very quiet and smooth to drive. It accelerates quickly up to its maximum speed of over 93 MPH. The seats have plenty of adjustment and are comfortable even for longer drives.
I’ve kept a close eye on my true savings to see if my estimates were accurate. They were quite a bit off as it turns out, instead of saving $10,000 over $100,000 miles I am actually on target to save over $14,000 over 100,000 miles having saved $7,000 already.
My cost to drive the car is 2.52 cents per mile. Put in gas car terms that equates to paying 63 cents for a gallon of gas.
Next time you fill up do the math and figure how much you could save each week if you drove electric instead of a gasoline car/truck/SUV.
I’m halfway behind you at 25k miles, and just lost my second battery capacity bar. Still good for 70~ miles per charge though. My overall cost comparison calculations show me that car payment + fuel for my driving history breaks even with a 20mpg@$3.50/gal car that carries a monthly payment of $225 max… and the more miles I drive in a given month, that break-even payment amount drops. I present the ROI in these terms so that people who are making payments on a vehicle don’t have to only see the buying price and think “too expensive”.
Doesn’t Nissan guarantee 80%+ battery life for 3 years? Shouldn’t they replace/fix your batteries?
No. The capacity warranty is for a 4 capacity bar loss within 5 years or 60,000 miles whichever comes first.
I will reach 60,000 miles before I lose my fourth capacity bar, I have already reached 53,000 miles with just two capacity bars lost. The fourth capacity bar indicates slightly less than 70% remaining capacity.
Nissan did provide guidance that capacity will on average be 80% after 5 years and 70% after 10 years. Some owners will see this degradation curve, I will not; partly because Tennessee is a warm state and partly because I drive more than 12,000 miles/yr the guidance was based on. The guidance was and is not a warranty.
I’m 25 months into my lease on our 2013 Leaf. Two of the 12 capacity bars are now lost in under 24 months. Leaf will no longer hold a charge past 80%. That’s about 79 miles max per over night charge using a level 2 charger nightly. Leaf barely gets me back and forth to work now at 60 mph max (35 miles each way) on a single nightly charge. Having serious second thoughts on this 2013 Leaf purchase because I failed to do my homework properly not only on huge range loss issues but also on rising utility rates where SDG&E averages 2-3 times the national average. Probably the most expensive KW hour rates in the entire country. Our SDG and E rates have sky-rocketed. Prior to the leaf we were paying SDGE $85-90 monthly. Now those rates have more than doubled and in some months tripled.Yes, I’m already on time of use rates. And no I’m not spending an additional $30K on solar panels or additional batteries. Our Nissan salesman told us on day one to think of the Leaf as a 100 mile per day vehicle and that the batteries would endure at least 5 years with no significant loss of range . Define significant because we’re already down 21% in 2 years. 90-100 range is simply flat out false advertising on nissan’s part. More like half that capacity. The truth is we have lost about 1% of our range each and every month we’ve owned this 2013 Nissan Leaf. Pretty much useless after 24 months as a commuter car. Can’t wait to turn it back in to them in 13 months. Wish it could be a much sooner. Learned my lesson. No more Nissan electric vehicles for me …. EVER!
Soooo Happy. SOLD MY NISSAN LEAF finally. SDG&E monthly bill is much lower now. No more tiered billing. Never again Nissan. Total Lemon and Rip Off when it comes to advertised range and lack luster extended warranty.