Considering Leaf as our 2nd vehicle

Discussion in 'Nissan/Infiniti Hybrids and EVs' started by markabele, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    To those of you that have already bought one, or even thought about it, what have been the upsides and downsides for you? It would be replacing a gasser. Just looking for some input, whatever you got for me, that might help make our decision. Thanks so much!

    btw, we would still have our PiP for road trips.
     
  2. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

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    We kept my PiP (owned) and moved the wife over from her 2009 Honda Civic to a 2016 Leaf SV (leased). My wife remains slightly annoyed by my eco-antics, but we (I) try to shift vehicles/drivers based on what will avoid the most gas. I think we've used about 3 gallons of gas in the last 3 months.

    Here are a few PiP + Leaf Combo thoughts:

    Pros
    -excellent second family vehicle
    -use gasoline only for long trips (with the amazing PiP)
    -cost (<$250/mo total cost for 3-year lease on Leaf)
    -no vehicles have short trip mileage/engine stress penalty
    -no maintenance required for Leaf except tire rotation every 7.5k miles
    -DC fast charging (and Level-2) for the Leaf is free for first 2-years
    -low speed Leaf torque is very nice
    -with solar and a time-of-use rate plan, it's very affordable to charge vehicles during off-peak hours
    -Leaf cargo space is not as good as the PiP but significantly better than most other PHEVs
    -back seat ceiling height allows for adults to sit in the back

    Cons
    -difficult as a primary car for most families
    -driving at high speeds in the cold reduces range substantially
    -wife is annoyed when I want to drive her car to avoid using gas
    -never satisfied with even the smallest amount of gas use; eg. want to drive the Leaf up to Tahoe but there are not enough DC fast charging stations to do that (yet) and "slow" level-2 charging along the route is a no-go for the wife
    -low speed Leaf torque is addictive and one may pick up more aggressive/bad driving habits in the PiP



    Good luck and happy researching/shopping!
     
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  3. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Are you thinking new or used?

    I haven't looked into a Leaf, because it couldn't cover my commute year round until recently. I also hold the passive air cooling for the battery as a negative, but that is more of an issue for hot climates. Nissan has switched to a hardier chemistry that holds up to heat better, and I think that won't be a problem based on your location. If you are looking at used, research the 'lizard' pack to find out when Nissan made the switch.

    Winter performance is something that concerns me with any BEV. For a conservative approach, I cut the EPA range of a potential BEV by a third for winter use. The reported loss seems to around 20%, but it would be good practice to not to plan trips with the pack completely drained when you return home. You might get unlucky and not make it home, and it is better for the battery. Plus, the one third estimate allows for possible capacity loss if you keep the car for some time.
     
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  4. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    I'm thinking a used 2013 S.

    It would be used 100% as our city car. Our city is only about 10-15 miles in diameter, so the range is plenty to do quite a bit of errands around town.

    Winters can get pretty chilly here, but I understand you can pre-condition(heat) the car via your phone before you leave. Is this correct even in the lowest trim?
     
  5. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Pre-conditioning the cabin will help, and more so than in an ICE car, but a BEV still has to deal with the other things that reduce efficiency in the low temperatures; cold tires, cold bearing and joint grease, denser air, snow on the roads, etc.
     
  6. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

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    I don't think the lowest trim in 2013 (the S trim) has "CARWINGS" so doubt one could remotely pre-condition. One should be able to set a climate control timer, however, if that is of any help:

    http://www.auto-brochures.com/makes/Nissan/Leaf/Nissan_US%20Leaf_2013.pdf
    https://owners.nissanusa.com/content/techpub/ManualsAndGuides/NissanLEAF/2013/2013-NissanLEAF-owner-manual.pdf

    Assuming you pick-up a 2013 S with normal battery degradation, you should have no problems using it as a city car with the parameters you describe. Consider paying a visit to My Nissan Leaf Forum - Index page if you want to pick the brains of some real Leaf diehards.
     
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  7. Neohippy

    Neohippy Active Member

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    I own a 2010 Prius and was looking for a 2nd car to replace my wife's TSX. She doesn't drive a lot so the Leaf was a great choice. When I found out I could buy a newer one for so cheap I was sold. I did a lot of research and found a fully loaded SL and went to buy it. I drove it and thought the seats were not comfortable and it felt smaller then my Prius. I went home and decided it wasn't for me. A week later I picked up a 2013 Prius plug in advanced. I now have 2 Prius in my driveway. I love my Plug in and I'm averaging 91mpg. I was excited to go full electric but the Prius was a better choice for me. The Leaf was fully loaded 2015 SL with 8k miles and was $12,000. My Prius is a 2013 with 36k and it cost me 17k. I'm very happy with my choice
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i have also thought about a leaf. now that the 120 mile version is coming out, it is looking more capable.
     
  9. Aaron Vitolins

    Aaron Vitolins Senior Member

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    There is a reason they are so cheap. Terrible battery technology. And I've heard Nissan doesn't even take care of their customers
     

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  10. Neohippy

    Neohippy Active Member

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    I have also had bad luck with Nissans and that also influenced my decision. I only commute 25 miles a day and my boss lets me charge at work. So driving the car would have been free but I just couldn't do it after driving it
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i think the leaf is a bit smaller. same with the bolt. i'm still trying to figure out why they don't make larger versions.
     
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Weight. Make it larger, and efficiency goes down. So a larger battery is needed for the same range, and that adds more to the price. The 100 mile Leaf has a MSRP of $34k. The Bolt is $37.5k. A larger version will likely be over $40k. People looking for a larger car are more likely to get the cheaper ICE model at this point.

    Without DC fast charging, a 200 mile BEV is still going to be a mostly local car. Most cars are only carrying one person most of the time. So front seat comfort is really the only thing important for such BEVs. The majority that needs a long range car will, again, opt for something even more comfortable and cheaper in an ICE car.

    We won't see a real shift until the Model 3 arrives and the Gigafactory hits full production.
     
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  13. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

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    The main reason for the low resale values is brisk improvement in battery cost/range/capacity. All BEVs currently suffer this fate. Who wants to pay good money for a BEV when you can get something like the Bolt or Model 3 or Leaf 2 if you wait just a few years?
     
  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    understood, but there may be a decent market for a prius sized bev with same battery and lower miles. be it leaf, bolt or whatever.
     
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  15. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Perhaps the Ioniq BEV will pull that off. Most reports have the rear seat feeling more cramped than the Prius though, but my worry for it is that the S. Korea MSRP(over $30k converted) doesn't bode well for the cheap BEV revolution I was hoping it might have herald.
     
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  16. PriusC_Commuter

    PriusC_Commuter Active Member

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    I'm in that PiP + Leaf household category, and it's worked out pretty well for us. I purchased my 2015 Leaf SV w/QC packages new in December 2014. The used market wasn't quite what it is today and I was interested in the Lizard battery, so I decided upon a 2015. I paid about $20k OTD after all financial incentives were taken into consideration so I'm happy with it.

    I generally take the PiP to work since I have a 90 mile round trip commute with no office charging, but we still get a good amount of usage out of our Leaf (a little less than 15k miles/year). By switching to a TOU (time of use) rate structure with our utility company, we actually pay about the same per month charging both cars at night as we did on the standard rate schedule before purchasing the Leaf, not to mention the lack of real maintenance.

    A few things about the Leaf in case you're new to the car and trying to decide what to buy. For the 2015 model year, they introduced the "Lizard" battery which supposedly lasts longer before losing capacity in hot weather. It's still a bit early to tell if it's true. For 2013, they quietly introduced a new chemistry compared with the 2011-2012, as people notice significantly lower capacity loss from those. Also, 2013+ has options (not base on all years) for a 6.6 kW charger, cutting charging time in half. The SV and SL models include a heat pump, which draws significantly less electricity than the S resistance heater, so the SV/SL are better for cold weather climates. I would not buy a Leaf without the L3 DC CHAdeMO charging port, as it's convenient to have and should make it a bit easier to sell than one without it later on. 2016 SV + SL models (and very recent S models) upgraded the battery size from 24 to 30 kWh (which brings EPA range from 84 to 107 miles), but the 2017 *might* come with a 40 kWh battery option. I would not buy a new 2016 due to the immediate depreciation it will encounter. I believe the prices for the used market are down to about $10k for 2015s, and they go down from there for earlier model years. I'd actually say it's a great SECOND vehicle at that price, especially if you still have a PiP as your other car (I wouldn't recommend a Leaf as the only car for most).

    Hope it helps!
     
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  17. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    This thread has been awesome, guys! Thanks so much!

    With the charge package, how long does it take to add about 60 miles at peak charging rate?
     
  18. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

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    It depends on how much the battery is already charged when starting a new charging session.

    Our leaf has a 6.6kW charger onboard and we use a 7.7kW charging station. Our 2016 Leaf SV is EPA rated 107 miles, but we get more if city driving and less if highway driving.

    For L-2 charging the first ~80-90% from an empty battery replenishes a bit over 25% capacity an hour. Like the PiP and all plug-ins, charging slows down considerably towards the end, especially the last 5-10% of the charging session.

    So for max L-2 charging, at peak charging rate, as long as the battery remains under 80% charged, one could add 60 miles in 2 hours.

    With DC fast charging, at peak charging rate, as long as the battery remains under 80% charged, one could add 60 miles in about 20 minutes.
     
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  19. PriusC_Commuter

    PriusC_Commuter Active Member

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    I usually estimate about 20 miles per hour for 6.6 kW, or about 10 miles per hour for 3.3 kW.

    Doing the math, the Leaf gets 30 kWh/ 100 miles EPA, so it would take about 18 kWh to drive 60 miles. Assuming charging at 6.6 kW, it would take about 2 hours and 45 minutes to recharge 60 miles worth of range.
     
  20. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

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    Not disagreeing with your math, but the car estimates more favorably.

    The numbers I mentioned with 6.6 kW charging come directly from the reported miles remaining when charging the Leaf. On several occasions I have checked precisely at 60-minute intervals and the vehicle reports adding 28-29 miles of range. This is also when the car will estimate 105-110 miles of range remaining after 100% charged.
     
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