To EV or not to EV

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Burnin Up

Member
Mar 4, 2011
9
SE PA
I am considering buying a used EV, a Leaf in particular. I have followed the Leaf since it's inception in 2011 and while it does have some drawbacks (range, battery thermal management) it seems to have worked out really well for a subset of users.

Ideally I would love a Tesla Model 3 BUT it is too far out to wait for a car that is needed this year and the cost is more then I am able to swing comfortably.

I do not drive much, less then 10K per year. Daily commute is 15 miles round trip. I know that there are Leaf drivers on this board and have read their postings. (Woodgeek, this means you ;-))

My questions are as follows.

Are you happy with your Leaf after a couple of years? Would you buy it again?
Would you buy a used EV, why or why not?
Would you buy the S trim level (my phone is my GPS, no need for NAVI) or a higher level of trim and why?
Would you wait for additional options to be on the market to enhance competitive pricing?
Bolt? Ioniq?

My current ride, if it matters, is a 2000 Toyota Corrolla with 110K miles on it. It runs really well and is being handed down to a family member to get her through college.

All opinions welcome, bring it on guys.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
What reason makes you want an EV over another Corolla?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,781
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Great post. I too have a 15 mile round trip commute, super cheap electricity, and have noticed the very low prices on lease return leafs. I would prefer a volt because they are nicer looking and the engine allows more range but they are not cheap at all.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
Iv become allergic to oil in all forms ,i have oil heat backup and just try to avoid using it as much as possible. I dont use much gasoline on a monthly basis but would feel better not using any. I think the country and the world would be much better off if we replaced all plausible ICE transportation with something less polluting to the environment and to the economy. Im thinking of an EV just to kick the oil habit completely not to save money. I just dont drive far enough often enough to save any money on it.
But iv recently seen 2 year old volts selling for about $15 K ,im very tempted. If that were a small pickup truck or van id already have one.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,849
South Puget Sound, WA
We have solar arrays and bought a Volt 3 yrs ago. No regrets. My preference is toward the Volt, particularly as a one car solution. 85% of our miles have been all electric, but it's also great to know we can head out on a trip without range anxiety. The fit and finish, handling and ride comfort of the Volt over the competition sold us. It's a great road car and made in the US.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
$4 gas is coming back at some point, and by that time these bargain EVs will be gone.
 

Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,939
NW Ontario
Battery changes on the 2016 Leaf may be what is triggering those trade-ins. Apparently new battery allows for larger range. Interesting read on Canadian stats in 2015 ... http://www.fleetcarma.com/electric-vehicle-sales-canada-june-2015/

Current incentive on the Volt LT is around $11,000 Cdn ... not sure what the vehicle costs though:) Based off US pricing around $33,000 before taxes.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,592
SE PA
My questions are as follows.

Are you happy with your Leaf after a couple of years? Would you buy it again?
Would you buy a used EV, why or why not?
Would you buy the S trim level (my phone is my GPS, no need for NAVI) or a higher level of trim and why?
Would you wait for additional options to be on the market to enhance competitive pricing?
Bolt? Ioniq?

The wife and I are very happy, and have put 15k miles our 2013MY Leaf S, that we leased in May 2014. We leased, since we figured we would want something better in 2017, given the rapidly maturing tech.

I got a '$200/mo' lease with a couple $k down, (came out to $240/mo after add ons), and I figured that the depreciation and repairs on the car it replaced was $100/mo, and gas savings would be another $100/mo. In the end, gas savings are now down to $50, and our insurance went up more like $75/mo (the wife pays that bill).

So, its a hell of car for $40/mo (like I'd hoped) OR for $150/mo, what it actually costs me over the previous >150k mile car it replaced.

No regrets....and it will still be going strong a year from now when we return it.

On the used thing, I would want to know about battery health.....if it lived in this region for the last few years, you are probably ok. It is also clear that the 2012 and before batteries are not as durable as the ones that came after. Have the 2013s started to show up used yet? IMO, in our climate the no thermal control is a non-issue with the 2013 and later batteries. The 2012s all seem to have both age and heat related degradation, and I would not like that. My 2013 might have a few % less range than two years ago, but not really noticeable and I still have all 12 'bars'.

I would still do the price compare with a lease, given how it will be a different world in just a couple more years. The Bolt is rolling out nationwide in less than year, and would be much more appealing than a (Gen 1) Leaf. The Gen 2 Leaf will appear **in a surprise** and they will have to dump all their Gen 1 inventory. Who knows when?

So, if you get a $200/mo lease, figure $2k down + $2400/yr for 3 years for a 2016 Leaf S (with 24 kWh batt) = $9400 for 3 years ownership.

That car will be a lot more serviceable for the price than a used leaf (I think). I know there are lots of $10k used leafs out there that have batteries that are degraded by 25% or more, and with 2012 and earlier batteries.....where will those be in 3 years? I **think** a good shape 2013 MY and later used Leaf (almost as good as a 2016 lease), which would prob hold up well for three years, would go for a lot more than $10k.

So, if you can get a beat, older leaf for $9k, which has zero resale in three years, or a $9400 new one leased (and give it back in three years) I would take the latter.

If you can get a nice 2013 or later used leaf for $15k, what do you think you could sell it for in three or four years (in 2019-20) with 60 miles range when there are loads of new 200+ mile EVs out there, and the first used Bolts are starting to come off lease? You'd need to make $5-6k just to beat the lease price.

Of course, insurance costs have not been factored in.

I would still get the S trim...I use the phone for everything, and got a third-part bluetooth adapter in the aux to override the crappy built in one.
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
Whats the main reason to choose the Leaf over the volt, Cost? Wanting more electric range? Must be an important reason to give up a range extending motor like the volt.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,849
South Puget Sound, WA
Cost and all electric range would be my guess. I looked at all EV and EV hybrid solutions and the Volt was the only one with a hatchback that had no battery bump when the seats are folded down. Prius was next but the EV range was poor and I didn't like the center dashboard instrumentation and odd center console. My only regret with the Volt is that most of the good changes that users suggested to Chevy were actually listened to and incorporated into the Gen 2 Volt.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,330
Northern NH
Plenty of good deals on off lease Volts. Many were fleet use and ran mostly on gas as they didn't get charged very often. With the new Volt coming out, it will drive the price of the used ones down. Generally electric vehicles only make economic sense for those who run a lot of miles to offset the high initial cost so a low mileage driver is typically buying for other reasons such as environmental. In this case the best electric is the cheapest.

An electrical engineer I used to work with bought a new Leaf, after a few months even he admitted it was dumb decision. Apparently they aren't well suited for cold climates, there is some sort of heater but it doesn't seem to work very well and it burns up the charge.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,592
SE PA
We were looking for a second car as a daily commuter and already had a big gaswagon for long family roadtrips.

At that point, the ICE in the second car is totally unnecessary....I guess I am one of those people that thinks plug-in hybrids are a weird bandaid sol'n needed for some applications (not mine) and until 200+ mile BEVs become widely available. Just carrying two whole drivetrains seems kinda crazy to me.

And the Volt leases were way more expensive....no point.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,849
South Puget Sound, WA
The Volt and the BMW i3 don't really have two drive trains. They have the electric drive and a genset to extend range for the electric drive system.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,592
SE PA
I hate to be that guy...but the Volt has a funny transmission that allows direct mechanical drive from the engine to the wheels. Didn't they crow about that a lot at launch...because it allows higher gas mpg than the indirect route?

And for plug-in hybrids, I am fine with other people having them if they want 'em, just not as appealing to me as a much 'simpler' BEV.
 
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semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,168
SW Virginia
$4 gas is coming back at some point
I wonder about this what with all the projections of future EV usage.
Its hard to see demand increasing all that much unless they start using it to generate grid power.
There's also an awful lot invested in production infrastructure and distribution systems so prices may depress well below market based on recovering investment costs.
I'm not sure what other uses gasoline as a fraction of crude oil has other than transportation.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,168
SW Virginia
I am considering buying a used EV, a Leaf in particular.
One thing the Leaf seems to have going for it over many of the alternatives is Nissan's investment in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. Taking advantage of this at your home might allow you to have additional backup power and sell "peak' power back to grid to offset costs.
 
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woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,592
SE PA
One thing the Lead seems to have going for it over many of the alternatives is Nissan's investment in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. Taking advantage of this at your home might allow you to have additional backup power and sell "peak' power back to grid to offset costs.

I think V2G is a fun concept....and it will become popular for backup. I almost dropped the $300 to put together a 3 kW system to run my house loads off my LEAF, but never got around to it just cuz I'm too cheap. Having a 200 mile EV that I owned, with a 50-60 kWh battery...I'll prob got there.

For grid balancing V2G, I'm less excited. If my car traction battery gets ~1000 full cycles and is then beat, so a 200 mile EV gets 200,000 miles before it needs a new battery, then the cost per kWh per cycle is not zero. The grid would have to pay me 'mileage' to make it worth my while....and I expect specialized grid batteries will be cheaper per kWh per cycle (and a lot heavier and bigger per kWh). IOW, I expect there to be specialization...the best vehicle batteries and best grid battery (i.e. cheapest) will diverge if they haven't already.

Of course, giving the utility some control over charging times to soak up excess RE production, or to offset peak demand times or the duck curve....well, duh. THAT makes perfect sense...but thats G2V demand response, not V2G.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,554
Philadelphia
Short commute, so MPG-irrelevant (... or irreverent?). Go SRT Hellcat Charger. What's more practical than a large family sedan with 707 hp?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,592
SE PA
With the short commute you're **supposed** to ride your bicycle.

I guess you didn't get the green memo :rolleyes:
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Short commute, so MPG-irrelevant (... or irreverent?). Go SRT Hellcat Charger. What's more practical than a large family sedan with 707 hp?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

That may be the most time efficient option! LOL
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,781
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
With the short commute you're **supposed** to ride your bicycle.

I guess you didn't get the green memo :rolleyes:

I wish I could. Our roads are extremely dangerous for biking. No shoulders, high traffic volumes, high speeds, oh and hills. I've got the perfect bike and can easily ride 50 miles non stop on our recreational paved trail system to nowhere.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,849
South Puget Sound, WA
I hate to be that guy...but the Volt has a funny transmission that allows direct mechanical drive from the engine to the wheels. Didn't they crow about that a lot at launch...because it allows higher gas mpg than the indirect route?
We've had it cut in once in Portland while climbing a very steep hill with no battery reserve. Now we drive in mountain mode on long trips which keeps a 15 mile battery reserve capacity. It hasn't happened since then, even when driving in our high mountains.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,554
Philadelphia
With the short commute you're **supposed** to ride your bicycle.

I guess you didn't get the green memo :rolleyes:
You'd have to have a death wish to ride a bicycle anywhere around here. Narrow farm roads, consistently-ignored 45 mph speed limits, no shoulders, no double yellow lines, and too many folks texting while driving big SUVs and pickups. There are a lot of advantages to living in eastern PA, but modernized roads are not among them.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,217
Eastern Central PA
I wonder about this what with all the projections of future EV usage.
Its hard to see demand increasing all that much unless they start using it to generate grid power.
There's also an awful lot invested in production infrastructure and distribution systems so prices may depress well below market based on recovering investment costs.
I'm not sure what other uses gasoline as a fraction of crude oil has other than transportation.
WIth the amount of electrics they are selling its not yet making much difference in demand. Once population growth meets aging oilfield output,we may see real peak oil. Population growth both here and in asia is the biggest factor IMO. Oil drops like a rock on oversupply ,it will go the other way just as fast at the slightest hint of a shortage.
 
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