I have been wanting to post about my all electric Leaf that I bought used for a while now. Somehow a whole year slipped by! Last Christmas eve (2016), while at lunch with my friend Kevin at the Chinese buffet, he convinced me to bid on a very low priced 2013 Nissan Leaf on eBay. I was lucky enough to win it for $5,500, and had it shipped all the way from Kansas City, Kansas to here in South bend, IN. I have been LOVING it. Not only is it a nice, modern, zippy, fun car, but it is also 100% electric. It has been my main daily driver for the past year, and I am really enjoying that I have not had to buy gas for an entire year. I park on the street, so I do have to run a long extension cord to my house to charge it. I planed that to be temporary, I was going to run a wire underground, but I still have not gotten to it. Just charging that way has worked well for the most part.
I don’t want to get tied up in the details, many other sites have full specs and reviews of the leaf. In short, in the summer I get about 80 miles a charge (my battery is at 11 out of 12 bars of health). It can vary a decent amount depending on driving speeds and how I drive. If I was taking my time, I bet I could get 100 miles. In the winter, with the wonderful heater blasting, I only get about 60 miles on average. The heater is electric and uses a fair amount of power while I just sit. It heats up instantly though, which is VERY nice. It does have great heated seats, front and back, AND a heated steering wheel, I really love that. It handles well in the snow with traction control on. With it turned off, it is almost un drivable with all the torque the electric motor has. It is not as good as our Subaru, but better then average as far as handling goes. It is VERY zippy in the 0-30 range. After 30 it is still ok, the 0-60 is around 10 seconds, so not a slouch.
You might be thinking that I am still getting my electricity from dirty fossil fuels, and it is not as green as I think. Well a few points to that. One, electric cars are so much more efficient vs a gas car, that if you directly could compare it, it would be the equivalent of getting at least 100 MPG. So with this, I would use far less energy in the first place. Second I am using Arcadia power to buy my electricity, so for the same price, 50% of my power comes from wind power. In the long term, I plan to add solar panels to my house to help even more. Arcadia power also offers a 100% renewable plan for around a 20% increase in price, I may do that too. Third, I have far less consumables, I don’t use engine oil every few months, and I don’t have to change transmission fluid or many of the others that a gas car uses often. In the last year I have only had to change the cabin air filter.
Range anxiety? Fun road trip challenges! For my daily use, I found I seldom go over 20 miles a day around town. Occasionally I go 40, so 80 miles range is plenty. What about road trips or longer weekend trips? Well that has ended up being fun little road trip challenges. Planing around charge stations and just how far I can go has been a game for us. For example we can make it to a number of towns on lake Michigan, and while the car charges for a few hours, we can eat, and explore. It is also a fun challenge to find level 2 chargers and then use that as the destination. Level 2 chargers are chargers that charge at 220v vs 110v and are almost three times as fast as a standard wall plug. There are some great phone apps like Plug Share that show you many on a map. The best part, many are completely free because it takes little electricity to charge the car ($2 from empty to full).
It is also always fun to let others check the car out, and go for test rides. Most are surprised firstly how quite it is, and then how zippy it is. I also had a fun time at an electric car drive and show talking to interested people and other electric car owners. In South Bend there is even a group of EV drivers, that you can reach out to, and they also have events.