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#4517046 - 09/15/17 12:56 PM Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review
EdwardC Offline


Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1864
Loc: Chicago, IL
We purchased a new 2016 Leaf about 6 weeks ago and have put a little over 1,000mi on it. Thanks to Bitog members for the help when we were making the decision. So far, we are really liking the vehicle. We didn't need a new car, but we had planned on getting on within the next year, and there were some pretty good incentives going on. Plus this 2016 model has been sitting on the lot for at least a year, so the dealer was ready to get rid of it before the "all new" 2018s came out. Another thing to note is that this is not our only car, we still have the Honda Element for camping/road trips.



Car
The car is definitely quirky looking. It's not for everyone, but the looks have grown on us, and the smooth and quiet ride, plus cheap operation helps the curb appeal to us. The size is small, but not tiny. It's probably about the same size as the 2008 Civic sedan we had (maybe a hair narrower). The hatch trunk is useful as well. It's a surprisingly tall car. It almost looks like a mini crossover from the front. It handles well, but the EPS is incredibly light at low speeds, but better at high speeds. Not a lot of steering feel either way, although, this might be a side effect of pumping the tire pressures a couple PSI higher at the suggestion of other Leaf drivers. The ride is smooth enough. It's absolutely an appliance.

The low end torque makes it feel fairly fast, but it's no Tesla. The new 2018 models seem like a good compromise in power. The air conditioning works well and uses surprisingly little power. Our model has the upgraded Bose speaker system, which is fine, but not really necessary for us. We have the highest trim model, the SL, but there are still a couple little things that I would have liked, such as power front seats/driver memory and a power hatch. I know it's just a Nissan.

Our model has the LED headlights that seem to light the road very well without any glare to other drivers. I'm not too picky about visibility and haven't noticed any annoying blind spots.

Range Anxiety
Our longest trip so far has been to a friend's house in Elgin, IL, which Google maps said was 88 miles round trip. At highway speeds (65-75mph), we get about 3.5mi/kWh (for comparison, our overall average for the 6 weeks of ownership is 4.5mi/kWh with an average speed of 14.7mph). Somehow, there's constantly traffic on the highways around here, so for that trip, we averaged about 3.9 mi/kWh. We had no trouble making that trip, but it's likely as far as we're willing to go. We've really had no significant range anxiety issues. In the winter, the range is suppose to take a bigger hit since the heater uses so much power. I already purchased an extra set of wheels from an Altima to use for winter tires, which will likely further reduce winter range.

Charging
The Leaf comes with 2 years of "Nissan No Charge to Charge" promotion where we can charge for free at participating charging stations. There's a Nissan dealership 1.5 miles away, so we've been going there to do the bulk of our charging. My wife's commute is about 2.5 miles, so most weeks, we only need to charge on the weekend. The dealership has a fast charging DC charger that will charge 80% of capacity in 30 minutes. We plug into the garage wall outlet (standard 120V/15A) to top off the night before we know we'll need max range. We will use the free fast charges until the 2 years run out, then we'll just charge at home overnight. I believe the retail cost of a 30 minute quick charge session is $10 (calculates to appx. $2.75 in electricity at $0.12/kWh), so pretty pricey for ~80 miles of range.

I've learned that there's 4 main charging connection standards, the slow charging J1772 (L1/L2), Tesla's standard, the SAE Combo (J1772+DC fast charge), and the Chademo standard. This Leaf has the J1772 and Chademo.

The standard J1772 connection is the standard for the Leaf, it will charge from a 120VAC to 240VAC outlet. Plugged into a standard outlet (Level 1), the Leaf gains approximately 4 miles per hour. From a 240V 30A/50A outlet (L2), it should gain 12-25 miles per hour. There are several J1772 Level 2 (L2) that are free at some stores like the local Walgreens (not all are free), but we've come to the conclusion that the charge speed is too slow to be useful for any real trip planning. It's great if you're shopping and want to take advantage of free electricity though. Living in a condo, I made an agreement with the HOA to pay for the electricity used to charge at a rate of $0.15/kWh (actual costs is $0.12). I use a Kill-A-Watt meter to track it. Topping off, we have only used $5 in electricity so far.

Maintenance
No oil changes. There is coolant and brake fluid though. Plus there's an annual "Battery Check" that must be performed by a dealer. It's free for the first two years, then costs about $60 after that. It's supposedly required to maintain the 8yr/100,000mi battery warranty, but I'm not sure how strict that is.

Thanks for reading!

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#4517089 - 09/15/17 01:43 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
Nick1994 Online   content


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10117
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Very interesting! At one point I considered one, but I don't want to only have my Jeep as my only road-trip vehicle, the Camry is hibernating.

A few coworkers have electric cars, and they charge them at work, my company has 240V hookup in a few spots. They were happy to install them because I believe it's a tax writeoff too.

Is charging at work an option for you guys?
_________________________
2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 79k PU 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 228k M1 AFE 0w30 & Wix
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 146k M1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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#4517090 - 09/15/17 01:45 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
CKN Offline


Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 3700
Loc: Utah
You had help on here and ending up buying a Leaf instead of a Crown Vic? smile

Congrats on your purchase!

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#4517128 - 09/15/17 02:24 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4058
Loc: Midwest USA
The Leaf is an interesting stop in the journey towards practical electric and away from fossil fueled. I love my fuely vehicles and the exhaust note from that Italian twin is like comfort food to me, but plug-in electric is the future... the Shining City on a Hill. That's where we'll have to be someday.
_________________________

'09 Subaru Forester ...................(QSED DEXOS1 5W30)
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#4517148 - 09/15/17 02:48 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: Nick1994]
EdwardC Offline


Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1864
Loc: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Very interesting! At one point I considered one, but I don't want to only have my Jeep as my only road-trip vehicle, the Camry is hibernating.

A few coworkers have electric cars, and they charge them at work, my company has 240V hookup in a few spots. They were happy to install them because I believe it's a tax writeoff too.

Is charging at work an option for you guys?


I ride my motorcycle or take public transportation to work, my wife's work is only 2.5 miles away, but no charging station there at the moment, although she's been throwing around the idea to start a "green initiative" there smile


Originally Posted By: CKN
You had help on here and ending up buying a Leaf instead of a Crown Vic? smile

Congrats on your purchase!


Don't worry, the car came with Michelins, the best tire brand, period. smile

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#4517205 - 09/15/17 04:12 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
bioburner Offline


Registered: 09/19/16
Posts: 1418
Loc: Minnesota
Thanks for writing the update. Thinking of future and if the $$$ are right. Would like to retire and have a sports car again but like the thrifty side of electric. Friend bought a used Toyota Prius and it now has well over 200k and no real problems other than it needing front suspension work and she got it pretty cheap.
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#4517238 - 09/15/17 05:01 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
EdwardC Offline


Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1864
Loc: Chicago, IL
The $$ aspect is an interesting part. We don't drive anywhere near enough to make the Leaf "free", but here's some numbers:

My Element's lifetime fuel economy is 21.5 mpg. We average about 11,000mi per year and expect to split that about 8,000mi with the Leaf, the rest on the Element.

11,000mi on the Element would use about 511.6ga of fuel, which would cost $1,279 at $2.50/ga, or $0.116 per mile. If we were charging at home at a rate of $0.12/kWh and assuming an average of 4mi/kWh and a charge inefficiency of 85%, it would cost $0.0375 per mile.

So in fuel costs alone, assuming we only charge for free during the 2 year promotion, we would save $930/year, then $600/year after that.

To be more accurate, when the Element is driven now, it will be for longer distances where it get 24+mpg. In city driving, it gets closer to 18mpg, so the numbers are very conservative. Either way, we obviously we didn't buy a Leaf to get rich. It works great as a commuter car in a large city.

The 2018 model with the 40kWh battery and 150mi range makes a lot more sense (as with the 200+mi range of Teslas), but I still can't imagine an electric car being an average family's only vehicle anytime in the near future in the continental USA.

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#4517251 - 09/15/17 05:23 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 12650
Loc: NE,Ohio
Originally Posted By: EdwardC


Originally Posted By: CKN
You had help on here and ending up buying a Leaf instead of a Crown Vic? smile
Congrats on your purchase!


Don't worry, the car came with Michelins, the best tire brand, period. smile


Well Played Sir.

I think 99% of CKN's 3000 posts are trolling. Not sure why he bothers coming here.
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2017 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk V6

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#4517256 - 09/15/17 05:28 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
PandaBear Offline


Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 14220
Loc: Silicon Valley
Small EV like Leaf is a solution to 40% of our commuting problem. Where 4 doors, 4 seats, small cargo space, 50 miles range is perfect for 1 of 2+ vehicles in a household. If not subsidized, the depreciation cost instead of fuel cost will make it cheap if used for 15 years, and then after it is totally depreciated, a great short range teenager first car: scrap if total, junkyard part from battery worn scraps are easy to find if fender bender.

Today's Leaf is yesterday's Prius, eventually people will buy it un-subsidized because it is cheap and reliable to drive.


Edited by PandaBear (09/15/17 05:29 PM)
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#4517327 - 09/15/17 07:14 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: PandaBear]
philipp10 Offline


Registered: 05/09/14
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: PandaBear
Small EV like Leaf is a solution to 40% of our commuting problem. Where 4 doors, 4 seats, small cargo space, 50 miles range is perfect for 1 of 2+ vehicles in a household. If not subsidized, the depreciation cost instead of fuel cost will make it cheap if used for 15 years, and then after it is totally depreciated, a great short range teenager first car: scrap if total, junkyard part from battery worn scraps are easy to find if fender bender.

Today's Leaf is yesterday's Prius, eventually people will buy it un-subsidized because it is cheap and reliable to drive.


40%? In my situation, I would guess more like 97%. Seldom if ever do I drive anywhere near the range....round trip.

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#4517377 - 09/15/17 08:32 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: Rand]
CKN Offline


Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 3700
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By: Rand
Originally Posted By: EdwardC


Originally Posted By: CKN
You had help on here and ending up buying a Leaf instead of a Crown Vic? smile
Congrats on your purchase!


Don't worry, the car came with Michelins, the best tire brand, period. smile


Well Played Sir.

I think 99% of CKN's 3000 posts are trolling. Not sure why he bothers coming here.



I hear there is a block feature on BITOG if you don't like my posts...... I'm not at 3,000 posts yet!

I could make up dumb topics to post about like some-but I don't. Almost all of my posts are on existing topics.

Now-I will change my under wear-to whats recommended by other members after I drive through a dust storm.


Edited by CKN (09/15/17 08:43 PM)

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#4517391 - 09/15/17 08:46 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: CKN]
Nick1994 Online   content


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10117
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: CKN


I hear there is a block feature on BITOG if you don't like my posts...... I'm not at 3,000 posts yet!

I could make up dumb topics to post about like some-but I don't. Almost all of my posts are on existing topics.

Now-I will change my under wear-to whats recommended by other members after I drive through a dust storm.
Let me tell you about these AZ dust storms!
_________________________
2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 79k PU 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 228k M1 AFE 0w30 & Wix
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 146k M1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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#4517430 - 09/15/17 09:20 PM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: Nick1994]
CKN Offline


Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 3700
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By: Nick1994
Originally Posted By: CKN


I hear there is a block feature on BITOG if you don't like my posts...... I'm not at 3,000 posts yet!

I could make up dumb topics to post about like some-but I don't. Almost all of my posts are on existing topics.

Now-I will change my under wear-to whats recommended by other members after I drive through a dust storm.
Let me tell you about these AZ dust storms!



cool smile

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#4517531 - 09/16/17 12:32 AM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
EdwardC Offline


Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1864
Loc: Chicago, IL
That escalated fast smile

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#4517622 - 09/16/17 07:52 AM Re: Nissan LEAF 6 Week Review [Re: EdwardC]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 15702
Loc: OH
Sounds like a very practical choice for your use.
I've thought about one of these from time to time, but I don't know that I could live with the limitations in use.
OTOH, the only way we'll see any significant gains in range and reductions in charging times will be through technical development that can only be encouraged with sales volume.
I see these cars now and then and they are certainly practical and cheap to run for local use.
Keep us posted on how this car works out for you over time.
I'm especially interested in how quickly charge is depleted on cold winter mornings, when your wife just might like to crank up the heat.
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