Considering the Leaf

Discussion in 'Nissan/Infiniti Hybrids and EVs' started by dorunron, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    I have to be honest.

    I have been considering one for a while now. Leaning heavily that way for a second car for around town and reserving the Gen II Prius for out of town and long distance travel only.

    Have driven two so far. Very impressed with them. I am not concerned with the range anxiety. I am torn between a lease and or a purchase. I am not a fan of leases, but it does seem to be attractive.

    Here in Texas you can get a rebate back which pretty much pays for the EVSE if you install one in your home. So I am going to get that first. EVSE is the device that you connect to the car to recharge the battery. Just about all Leafsters charge at home on a regular basis. I have heard that some even share their charger with other Leafsters.

    Have pretty much decided that for the money, might as well go with the SL. The SV is nice, but unless you have a package the chademo (Level 3) plug is missing. Also, if you really want it to be nicely equipped the SL will have the leather too which feels very nice. Even a nicely equipped SV is Ok, but you definitely want to add the rear cover plus get the package for the LED headlights and the Level 3 plug. If you get that package it also includes the fog lights as well as the automatic on off headlights.

    The base model is Okay, but things like Carwings, Back Up Camera, Navigation, and other items just are not included. Base model is a nice car, but a backup cam really helps in my opinion.

    A big plus is for all the folks with a I Phone. I Phone seamlessly integrates with the Blue Tooth on both SV and SL. Just like the Prius, you can make and receive phone calls through the car without having to handle your phone. The built in 7" screen that you find on the SV and SL is more than sufficient to display the information. (Think MFD) Navigation looks good, but did not have the chance to try it out. NavTraffic provided by SiriusXM. POI's powered by Google and Google Send-to-Car. Carwings is a really nifty device that allows you to control the vehicle remotely with the I Phone also to do things like turn on and off climate controls plus other items such as monitoring battery SOC/charging status. For those who like to change wheels Nissan has some nice wheels and tires. S series has 15", whereas SV has 16" and the SL has the 17" wheels. All are equipped with premium LRR tires. I saw Bridgestone Ecopias on the 2014 SV and Michelin Energy Saver A/S on a 2013 SL.

    The car for us seems to be the SV (mid range). Package to be added would be SV LED Headlights and Quick Charge Port Package. We would also purchase the cargo cover outright and add it to the vehicle separately. Covers seems to only be found on the more expensive SL. Color scheme that both of us like: Exterior Brilliant Silver (K23) Interior: Light Gray Cloth. Alternate Exterior Color would be the Gun Metallic (KAD)

    For those that haven't checked into it, the battery is warranted 8 years/100,000 miles just like the Prius however degradation is warranted against capacity loss below 9 bars out of 12 as shown on the LEAF's capacity gauge for a period of 5 years/60,000 miles (whichever comes first). It is a known fact that the Li-Ion battery does degrade over time. Lots of info online concerning that factor.

    In my opinion, the Leaf is a great second car especially if your trips are mainly around town. I have clocked the places we normally go in the Prius. Most trips range from 5 to 15 miles each way. Even if I go across town we are only talking 50 miles. Here in Houston EV Go has setup a fairly extensive network with several Level 3 chargers in the area that can charge the battery up to 80% in 30 minutes time. After 80%, the power flow tapers off. That means if your range is 84 miles (full battery on a good day) you should still have a good 50 miles back with a few miles to spare. If I was worried, I would just drive the Prius. Charging stations require membership. Different plans are available depending on your location. Here in Houston EV Go will furnish a EVSE at no charge (you only pay for the electricity you use at home and on top of that will allow you to charge unlimited at all their chargers in the system for a monthly rate of $39.95. To make it even sweeter, Nissan dealers will let you charge your Leaf for free. But alas, their chargers are Level 2 chargers. They are slow, (takes over 6 hours to fully charge a depleted battery pack) At 12.5 cents per kw/h (rate for electricity we pay) the cost of a charge per mile works out to around 1/2 of what you pay for gas for the Prius at $3.50 per gallon (US). Tuesday I filled up for $3.19 at the Shell. Friday (three days later) the same Shell is now $3.39. It seems all the stations around here went up $.20 @ gallon this week. First day of Spring was yesterday (Thursday). Go figure.

    Anyway, to make a long story short I think we will be making a change and adding a EV into the mix. Right now the choices are few and far between for full EV. Leaf, or Zen. The Zen wont cut it due to max speed. So what's left? Of course if we wait a year a lot of the car builders are supposed to be bringing out new models of EV's. BUT, for some reason just about ALL of the EV's are in California, NOT Texas... Hopefully with the mix being added in, competition will begin and maybe the overall price of the EV's will come down some.

    Oh, no official word on what a replacement battery would cost. Built like the Prius battery, but more power. 24 kWh Li-Ion

    I could go on and on. All I can say is this. If you haven't looked at one, take the time to check them out. Go to a Nissan dealer and test drive one. The first thing you will notice is how quiet it is. Also for the Gen III haters of the albatross down the middle, you won't see anything like that in the Leaf. I can easily slide across the center console with ease if I needed to.

    I can't say when we will get it. Might be tomorrow or it might be next year. But it is something that is seriously being considered. Even the wife said she liked the second one (right color) and again remarked on how comfortable the car really is. Remember I chauffer her in the Prius, along with her Aunt at times. Life is good, enjoy it while you can.

    Ron (dorunron)
     
  2. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I'm tempted for a Leaf too. Maybe another year but the Leaf is still top of the list as a replacement.
     
  3. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Been quite busy so I won't have a chance to address everything in your post.
    Backup camera supposedly became standard on '14 Leafs. I personally wouldn't want the base (S) trim.

    I have the QC + LED package you describe above + the premium package. I paid for the rear cargo cover. It's a must IMHO.

    Personally, for the infratsructure in my area, I feel the QC (CHAdeMO) port was almost a waste of money. I've had my Leaf since end of July 2013 and have used the QC port only 4 times. For areas where the CHAdeMO infrastructure is good (reliable, plentiful, reasonably priced, etc.) and you're willing to wait, then consider it.

    I LOVE the Around View Monitor that's part of the premium package. THAT was worth it, IMHO, esp. on a lease, as the view to the right helps you prevent getting curb rash on your wheels. I enjoy the Bose stereo, even though I am NOT a Bose fan.

    Carwings is ok. The nav system on the '11 thru '13 Leaf kinda sucks. It's a step backwards (for the most part) from the one on my 06 Prius :eek: . I hear the '14 nav has some improvements. About the only really great feature on the Leaf nav is the "where am I feature?" that shows you current street, next street (ahead) and previous street (behind) and their distances.

    In your terrain, I probably wouldn't buy. However, if you buy, your battery might degrade enough in your hot climate to be eligible for 1 replacement. After that, you're on you're own other than living with it until you get to the point where you go with My Nissan Leaf Forum • View topic - Battery Replacement Program Details. Nissan STILL hasn't announced a battery price. :mad:

    Yes. Max acceleration is very quiet. There's very little NVH at full "throttle". My Prius feels like a noisy rattletrap, in comparison.

    FWIW, I'm leasing for 2 years/24K miles total. Long story as to why...

    MyNissanLeaf.com is a GREAT community and resource, for anyone interested.
     
  4. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    I would highly recommend leasing.
    Some are the lease deals are phenomenal and the tech is advancing rapidly.
    The rebate is 'baked into' the lease, so don't plan on getting that direct.
     
  5. zhenya

    zhenya Active Member

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    Unless you really want a second vehicle, why not a Plug in Prius, Volt, etc? Overall the cost should be lower compared to owning two cars, and you can do most of those short trips on all electric, while having the ability to do the longer range highway trips efficiently as well.
     
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  6. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    In theory, the Focus EV, iMiEV, and smart ED are also available nationwide. The smart just started expanding availability. With the others, it is a question of whether or not there is dealer reasonably nearby that sells the EVs. It is possible to get the Rav4 EV if you are out of state, too. And *gasp* there is also the Volt. Just don't put any gas into it.

    Considering the extra hassle of getting it out of state(OP in Texas), the Rav4 EV might be a better choice than the PPI.
     
  7. Jeff N

    Jeff N The answer is 0042

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    You live in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area, right? There are a lot more CHAdeMO stations in the Bay Area than there were just a year or two ago. I'm not sure about the pricing, though.

    Here's a map showing only CHAdeMO stations in the area (data from PlugShare app).

    image.jpg
     
  8. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    my LEAF is my primary source of transportation and considering I work as an auditor and must travel to every job, that is no small statement. But its range is limited and the charging network is simply non-existent in many parts of my district so what to do? Well, I decided to take on a year long experiment that started Dec 1 and it was to basically find out if the savings driving a LEAF could justify the expense of having a 2nd car for those occasional trips that are beyond the LEAF's range.

    So, I got an old beat up Corolla for $2500 knowing that it would probably last a few years at least only because the hard miles around town, short trips, etc. was the LEAFs domain and this gasser would be doing none of that.

    Now, this experiment is helped by the fact that 75% of my travel is by POV and I am reimbursed for both time and mileage. I have decided to take the mileage only to see if it will pay for BOTH cars.

    now, you might think I am hoping for a lot, but super cheap lease deals along with my $1000 loyalty cash made the LEAF's costs pretty low so the only real question is could I support the 2nd gasser completely?

    info on my blog is posted monthly in the drive reports. so far so good...
     
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  9. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Calling it a "rebate" implies everyone gets the same amount. It's tax time now and there are posts confirming that is not the case. So with respect to leasing, that could be an added advantage.
     
  10. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    leasing is the ONLY way to go. the LEAF is simply not ready for purchase. the range is too limited. my 2011 started to struggle with the demands of my job for the last 5-6 months I had it. but now with the 2o13, I am back to driving fast, loose and farther without issues. wait until they come out with LEAF II and its 120-150 mile range, then buy
     
  11. vskid3

    vskid3 Active Member

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    This. I'm the kind of person who likes to buy, but its very possible that the Leaf will get a major improvement or a competitor to release a better EV within the next couple years. With the lease, you'll be able to upgrade without trying to find someone to buy your then outdated car.
     
  12. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Yes, I do but the problem is that some CHAdeMO stations are Blink (unreliable crap) and with a $5 per session fee (sucks, better to do it by time or by kWh). Some are at dealers, w/most inaccessible after they close.

    I've used my CHAdeMO port 4 times (all at the same dealer). In 3 instances, people practiced bad charging etiquette . They left their cars plugged in, were nowhere to be found and left no contact info. In one case, the car had been plugged in for 50 minutes and their car had ramped down to below L2 speeds of their car (about 4 kW, when they have the 6.x kW OBC). That person should've moved to L2 once they go down to 6 kW rate, as they would've been charging at the same rate.

    In one instance, w/an unattended charging car, I was having a friendly chat w/the folks in line in front of me (who also were wondering where the driver was) and we discussed etiquette. When the inconsiderate person finally came, we out loud discussed etiquette in front of them, but it seems that person had no interest in that and left.

    Boardwalk Nissan were I leased my Leaf has a free DC FC but someone I know posted about charging there but there were 5 Leafs in line behind her!

    Another time, I did want to use my port at Walgreen's, Santa Clara, CA - Electric Car (EV) Charging Station - PlugShare but there already was a friendly driver charging there and nowhere even close to ramp down phase, so I left. I didn't need the juice anyway. I figured I could top off and read email/surf the net on my phone while picking up some free juice. If I needed it, I would've waited...

    The problem is a combination of unreliability of Blink chargers, bad Blink pricing, other unreliable DC FCs (I hear the VW Belmont J1772 CCS + CHAdeMO is unreliable), possible lines, accessibility and bad charging etiquette. Heck, Nissan's own DC FC at their own research office in Sunnyvale (Nissan Research Center - Electric Car (EV) Charging Station - PlugShare) has been broken for a month. I've never used that one yet as I don't go by their nor live/work near there.

    At one point, both Premier Nissan's DC FCs were broken for weeks.
     
  13. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Agreed. An Energi or Volt (PIP is not available in Texas) would cover the daily miles about 90% of the time and still go out of or across town and back at a moments notice. He'd only need two or three tanks a year ($35ish each) vs the $40 every month for the privilege of sitting at a charger.

    Warning: once you start driving EV, a "noisy" hybrid begins to lose its luster. :)
     
  14. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    I wanted a pure BEV. PiP's "EV" range is too limited and it has too many limitations (beyond moderate acceleration = ICE ON, above 62 mph = ICE ON, etc.) I did consider the Volt and I briefly explained why I didn't ditch my 06 Prius and get a Volt as an only car instead of leasing a Leaf as a 2nd car at Should I buy a Gen III or a Honda Fit? | Page 3 | PriusChat.

    And the Volt has a bunch of downsides we've already discussed ad nauseum here (e.g. 4 seater, compact, combined EPA mileage inferior to the Prius, "requires" premium, etc.). And, it has a slow 3.3 kW OBC. At work, I see them pulling ~3.1 kW at 208 volts, which means that for an equal amount of energy that needs to be added, they tie up a charging spot for much longer than my Leaf, which pulls ~5.8 to 6.0 kW on those same EVSEs. (I've started charging sessions for other Volts and observed their Chargepoint graphs vs. mine.)
     
  15. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    That aspect is something I really did not expect, but I do have to agree upon. The first thing that hit me in the Leaf was just how quiet it really is. When I drove the Prius after that all of a sudden that quiet little engine seemed a lot louder than normal and made me want to "glide more" as often as possible.

    Excellent points made in this string. I too agree the Leaf is not where it should be, but all "new" cars in their infancies tend to be that way. Hopefully in time range will be increased and maybe Nissan will even have come up with something better concerning Battery Replacement than what is current today.

    At least Toyota does offer a new traction battery for the Prius. Sure, it costs $3500. But that is better than Nissan in the aspect that they are NOT offering a "replacement battery" at this time that can be purchased by the end user for the Leaf. That aspect makes a "lease" seem a lot more logical than a purchase at this stage of the game.

    If you want or need a "traction battery" for the Leaf, this site will open your eyes about the reality of the issue I just mentioned.

    Most Nissan LEAF Owners Want To Buy, Not Lease, Replacement Batteries | PluginCars.com

    All the more reason to "lease" rather than buy a Nissan Leaf today. Still haven't done either, but I have not ruled either completely out or taken them off of my "radar". ;)
     
  16. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    i used to crow about how quiet my Prius was. my ZENN had so much road noise and so little insulation (the car was essentially made of plastic) that the noise difference was minimal but then the LEAF came along and going back to the Prius was a shock. the Corolla even worse. I literally could tell the difference due to the volume levels on the radio which was not noticable until i had a car washing party and realized the LEAF's volume was barely half the level of the Corolla...
     
  17. PriusC_Commuter

    PriusC_Commuter Active Member

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    This thread has been a good read for me. I'm strongly considering buying a 2015 Leaf. I know leasing is probably a safer bet with range loss, but with the 72 months 0%APR + $3500 finance rebate + ~$2500 VPP discount my monthly would come out to what I'm paying on my C. Instead of trading in my C, I'd just finance the Leaf, and take the federal tax credit and CA tax rebate to pay off my C, so my monthly payments would be the same but extended by 3 years to have an additional car. I'm hoping the "lizard" battery chemistry in the 2015s minimizes range loss a bit, but this car would mainly be used for up to a 45 mile round trip drive, so I think I should be okay in SoCal mild climates. 2 years of free 60 minute sessions via No Charge to Charge and December's free L2 charger are plusses too.

    It seems like the DC charger would be great for the 2 years of free charging with No Charge to Charge, but far too expensive in SoCal to use after that due to NRG EVGo pricing ($15/ month plus $.10/minute, or $9.95/session if I understand it correctly). Therefore the SV package seems more appealing since the 6.6 kW charger is a must for me and the hybrid heat pump, although it is a bit more pricy. The Around View and Bose seem awesome, but I don't know if they're unnecessary.
     
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  18. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    FWIW, I still haven't ruled out the Leaf for our driveway. For now the 2013 Prius is doing the job. With gas the price it is right now, it makes no sense whatsoever to change vehicles. Oil is on it's way down, and may stay that way for a while IMO.

    Talk of $40 per barrel is in the midst. We have not seen prices like that for 25 to 30 years. There is already talk of $2 a gallon gas and lower here in Texas. Last time I was out on the road I saw prices hovering in the $2.149 price range for regular 87 octane.

    But I still remember how nice the Leaf is. It is comfortable, QUIET, and very economical IMO. Even at today's fuel prices and price of electricity per KWH, if you compare $ for $, you will find that in the long run the Leaf will save you money.

    The only clincher in my book is still the range. I can't drive a Nissan Leaf 120 miles one way on a 240 mile round trip. I have to have a vehicle that will do that on a regular basis. So for now, the 2013 Prius is still here in the Carlson driveway.

    If Nissan would partner with Tesla, and utilize the charging stations properly I honestly believe the Leaf would take off like a rocket. I can easily drive from Houston to Huntsville TX on one charge. Recharge with the Level 3 charger, then continue onto Lufkin. After that, return to Huntsville, top off and cruise back to Houston all the time riding in silence at highway speeds.

    Once the range problem is history the Leaf will definitely be on the radar for this family. Until then, it is the Toyota Prius for us.

    I would consider a Volt or a PIP, but still would be using gasoline. I would really like to go full EV. Someday it will happen.

    Ron (dorunron)
     
  19. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    if cost is your main concern, then there isn't a new car of any kind at any gasoline price point that is going to work for you. as far as gas prices go; I predict gas back over $3.50 a gallon by July 1st
     
  20. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Petrol won't stay this low for long. Once it becomes unviable for many producers and they close down, prices will go up again.

    People have short memories. Oil costs are 2 steps forward, and 1 back. Early next year would be an ideal time to trade in the gas guzzler and buy an economical car.
     
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