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.