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IssacZachary
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Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:47 am

I thought I'd open a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages, the pros and cons, the blessings and curses, of either:
  1. Owning just a Leaf (or other similar affordable limited range EV) and avoiding any other type of vehicle.
  2. Owning a Leaf (or similar) and owning an ICEV of some sort.
  3. Owning a Leaf (or similar) and renting an ICEV from time to time.
  4. Owning a Leaf (or similar) and borrowing and ICEV from time to time.
  5. And don't forget public transportation options.
I'd like the discussion to be focused on such advantages and disadvantages that may help other EVer's decide what would be best. You can state what you've done, if it's worked out for you like you planned, if you would have done it differently, etc. Remember too that there is no universal answer.

I've seen a limited few here on My Nissan Leaf say they're happy with only owning a Leaf and nothing else. Personally I'd love to go that route; one car, an electric car, that needs no oil changes, sparkplugs or engine filter changes, and be able to drive that car for several years, perhaps over a decade, until it's range is so puny I have to either get the battery replaced or change it in for a different car. For long trips I'd love to just go from charging station to charging station, a minor setback compared to all the advantages the EV can give me.

But then reality sets in. Last weekend I drove 379.6 miles on a single round trip with my wife. Overall the trip went great. We visited friends, took a nap or two and got the important things done. But a down charging station, bad planning and terrible 30mph winds with 50mph gusts did have their effect. I found out that if I plan to charge next to a shopping mall, it's best to do that when the shopping mall is open, and that traveling at night at 20°F, with the heater off, going 40mph up hill for 70 miles, between 12:00AM and 2:00AM and still barely getting home with 5% on the battery is a bit uncomfortable.

I think there are things I could have done that could have made the trip better. Better planning is definitely one of them. In fact, if I had just went to the mall earlier in the day to charge and had stayed a night longer in one of the towns the whole trip would have been much more pleasant. As far as some of these distances between charging stations, perhaps trying to solicit charging stations in between or seeing if campgrounds with 240V outlets would let me charge after getting my EVSE upgraded would make things less risky. Maybe I could even build a range extender of some sort for these occasional trips.

But between negotiating with businesses and building range extenders, why not just get an ICE car? I'm married and have a family. If I were single, sure, I wouldn't mind freezing as I barely make it over treacherous mountain passes in freezing weather and perhaps even not make it and have to pull out a 2000W generator and sit on the side of the mountain pass for two or three hours in the middle of the night. But the wife doesn't think that that sounds like any fun. So what about a "normal" ICE car?

The problem here is I see several disadvantages here too. I do own an ICE actually. Two of them to be exact. But both are older than the hills. One (1985 VW Golf diesel) has about 500,000 miles on it and looks like it survived WW2. The other (1972 VW Super Beetle) I've been working on it for the past 3 or 4 years and it still doesn't run. So if I'm going to drive ICE then I'd probably be better off getting something newer. But paying even $5,000 for a ten-year-old car, plus registration, insurance, maintenance, etc. could really add up in the end. I figure I pay around $40 per month for just the minimum insurance on an extra car.

So what about renting? I actually did rent a car just a few weekends ago. It was my first time. It cost about $40 with taxes and all, not including the fuel, and that's really the cheapest I can get in town with my AAA discount and all. I can easily see renting about two days per month (mainly because the rental companies aren't open 24 hours per day, so for one day I have to rent the car from the day before.) So that would total up to about a little less than $1,000 per year. But no maintenance, no depreciation, no nothing! In the end renting could actually be cheaper than owning! Plus with renting I can rent what I need when I need it. If I need to rent a pickup or a minivan, I can. If I need to rent in another town after I get off an airplane, I can without still be paying for an ICE car at home that I'm not using.

Anyhow, I'm thinking of simply having the Leaf as my only car and renting when need be until I can get the VW Super Beetle running and get at least the upholstery finished, if not the A/C system too. Then I'll use that until I sell it, if I can get at least $9,000 for it, which might be a long while. And if I do sell it, I'd then have to decide between renting from then on for those once-in-a-month occasions, getting another newer car, or falling for the temptation of building some sort of range extender for the Leaf.
2013 SL 50,000 miles.
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The Nissan Leaf is the fourth best long distance car for highway driving. >>Best Long Distance Cars<<

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JimSouCal
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:24 am

IssacZachary wrote:"Anyhow, I'm thinking of simply having the Leaf as my only car and renting when need be."
If I didn't own a second ICE sports car for long trips, that's exactly what I'd do... After a few times you'd get used to the routine, and as you mention, rent the vehicle that best suited your needs...

jjeff
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:40 pm

We own 2 Leafs and a '07 Prius. My wife drives the Prius for her 16 mile RT commute, I drive one Leaf for my work which varies from 3 miles RT to generally 16 miles up to 60 miles RT. I have work place charging, she wouldn't. My daughter drives our '12SL for her 4 mile RT commute and around town for shopping and such.
Once home from work if I'm home the Leaf is our vehicle of choice for after work errands or even weekends when my wife occasionally has to work. This works pretty well as the Prius averages MPG in the mid to upper 30s(short trips) and we use the Prius for our several yearly trips which which vary from 500 to 3000 miles. When not taking trips we fill the Prius probably once/month. Were thinking of replacing her Prius which is 10 years old with something new and strongly thinking of a Prius Prime which should make her 16 mile RT commute in all EV so we'd only need gas for mostly our trips and maybe if the ICE has to run every so often or to make sure the gas doesn't get stale.
I've thought of getting a 3rd Leaf used for her and get rid of the Prius but it would still leave our several long mileage trips without a vehicle. As it is I only have to change the oil on the Prius yearly and thats more due to age and not mileage. Luckly the Prius has been very reliable and the only maintenance items has been a new 12v battery at about 8 years old and tires at 40k for the originals and I'd hope 60-80k for the replacements. I have replaced the air filter once and had to replace the rear hatch release button, so maintenance has been minimal.
If I were single I'd probably want a PHEV that had at least a 40 mile EV range, but can't stand the Volt(WAY to cramped) otherwise that would be an ideal car. I don't think a Leaf would work as my only car, for one thing trips to friends cabins are in the 120-300 mile range(RT) and I'd rather not hassle with ICE rental. I suppose a Bolt would do the trips or with destination charging but again it's really too small for my preference, both people and cargo wise.

No I can't see ever being just EV but can see keeping ICE use down to just long trips and no gas for daily work commutes.
2012 SL purchased used 2/'16
2013 S w/QC purchased new
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'12 EVSEupgrade'd 20a L1/L2 EVSE, '13 EVSEupgrade'd adjustable 6-20a L2, 6-13a L1 EVSE
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IssacZachary
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:34 pm

A PHEV, like a Volt, would likely work great for most families (except the size of course.) Sometimes I wonder if that's what I should have bought. But on the other hand I can't help looking at it like two cars in one. Like owning an EV and an ICEV except you only have to pay insurance on one vehicle, but two driver's can't drive the two cars at the same time. It seemed to me that in any hybrid there's twice the things that can go wrong.

Plus for me 40 miles just isn't enough. Usually, not only do I max out the Leaf, but then I plug it in for another couple of hours and then hit the road again on a daily basis! I'm afraid a PHEV would end up becoming an ICEV for me. But that's just me.

If I were to get a small car with an ICE, I kind of like the Mitsubishi Mirage. A Leaf and a Mirage might work well. If one breaks down the other will keep going, unlike just a Volt.

What else goes through my mind is a large passenger van alongside the Leaf. That way when I need to haul people or cargo or go long distances I can, whereas my daily driver, the Leaf, wouldn't get the terrible fuel mileage the van does.

Or a Leaf and a Honda PCX 150 that gets 100mpg or some other motorcycle. That would be enough for my wife and me on long trips if I can get enough heat from electric clothing. Also there's the idea of hooking up a motorcycle to a Leaf with the rear wheel on the ground and use it as a pusher trailer.
2013 SL 50,000 miles.
12 bars until 44,300 miles on June 2, 2017. :D
11 bars current. :)
The Nissan Leaf is the fourth best long distance car for highway driving. >>Best Long Distance Cars<<

RonDawg
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:04 pm

IssacZachary wrote:What else goes through my mind is a large passenger van alongside the Leaf. That way when I need to haul people or cargo or go long distances I can, whereas my daily driver, the Leaf, wouldn't get the terrible fuel mileage the van does.


Since you don't mind older cars, perhaps a Chevy Astro? Large interior volume for passengers, can swallow a 4x8 sheet of plywood with the rear seats removed. AWD was an option, and would be useful where you live. It can even tow the Leaf if necessary.

Bad sides, besides mileage, are a bouncy ride and poor crash performance. Then again, if you're willing to put your family in a '72 Beetle, an Astro's crash test performance wouldn't be a concern for you.
Blue Ocean 2012 Leaf SV, lost that 1st bar on 11/21/2015 at 26,435 miles.
Lease returned on 12/23/2015. Final LeafStat figures: 225 Gids, 17.44 kWH, SOC 91.89%, SOH 82.36%, 69.49% HX, 54.57 Ahr, battery temp 61.8 F
Now driving a 2015 VW eGolf SEL

GRA
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:04 pm

IssacZachary wrote:A PHEV, like a Volt, would likely work great for most families (except the size of course.) Sometimes I wonder if that's what I should have bought. But on the other hand I can't help looking at it like two cars in one. Like owning an EV and an ICEV except you only have to pay insurance on one vehicle, but two driver's can't drive the two cars at the same time. It seemed to me that in any hybrid there's twice the things that can go wrong.

Plus for me 40 miles just isn't enough. Usually, not only do I max out the Leaf, but then I plug it in for another couple of hours and then hit the road again on a daily basis! I'm afraid a PHEV would end up becoming an ICEV for me. But that's just me. <snip>

I'm glad you mentioned a PHEV, because it really is the obvious choice for most people who want to own just one car that can do everything. The Volt2's credited with a 53 mile AER, and the (much more expensive) i3 with 97 mile AER, so the question is what's it worth to you to be pure? And then there's the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV van (31 mile AER IIRR).
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

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IssacZachary
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:13 pm

RonDawg wrote:
IssacZachary wrote:What else goes through my mind is a large passenger van alongside the Leaf. That way when I need to haul people or cargo or go long distances I can, whereas my daily driver, the Leaf, wouldn't get the terrible fuel mileage the van does.


Since you don't mind older cars, perhaps a Chevy Astro? Large interior volume for passengers, can swallow a 4x8 sheet of plywood with the rear seats removed. AWD was an option, and would be useful where you live. It can even tow the Leaf if necessary.

Bad sides, besides mileage, are a bouncy ride and poor crash performance. Then again, if you're willing to put your family in a '72 Beetle, an Astro's crash test performance wouldn't be a concern for you.

Actually I traded in a Chevy Astro for the Leaf. It was a horrible vehicle. I spent 5,000 in parts and labor in one year and still had engine and transmission problems. I'm not making this up! However, I do have regrets getting rid of it. After all the work I and money I put into it I was probably close to getting all the bugs worked out of it. And even if I wasn't, at least it ran and was driveable. I think the one thing that turned me off was that I couldn't find a 5,000lb hitch for it. U-Haul wouldn't let me tow the Leaf on their dolly with the Astro without at least a 5,000lb hitch. I know they had made them before for the Astro, but finding one nowadays is impossible. Couple that and only having space for 3 vehicles, I had to chose one vehicle to make room for the Leaf and the Astro got chosen.

I am concerned with safety, which is part of the reason I bought the Leaf. I'm just not the kind of guy who's willing to fork out the dough for a $40,000 SUV in the name of safety. It goes against my "work to live, not live to work" philosophy. Right now I have a modest job as a janitor that pays the bills and affords me time to be with my family and to do what I feel is important. Sure, I could spend more time trying to make more money to have the latest in safety technology. But if it's at the cost of being with my wife I might as well as tell her to go find another guy because I can't afford the safest car and safest house in the safest neighborhood and also be able to spend time with her. If the opportunity arises to but a safer long-distance car without breaking the bank I'll jump on it.
2013 SL 50,000 miles.
12 bars until 44,300 miles on June 2, 2017. :D
11 bars current. :)
The Nissan Leaf is the fourth best long distance car for highway driving. >>Best Long Distance Cars<<

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IssacZachary
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:57 pm

GRA wrote:
IssacZachary wrote:A PHEV, like a Volt, would likely work great for most families (except the size of course.) Sometimes I wonder if that's what I should have bought. But on the other hand I can't help looking at it like two cars in one. Like owning an EV and an ICEV except you only have to pay insurance on one vehicle, but two driver's can't drive the two cars at the same time. It seemed to me that in any hybrid there's twice the things that can go wrong.

Plus for me 40 miles just isn't enough. Usually, not only do I max out the Leaf, but then I plug it in for another couple of hours and then hit the road again on a daily basis! I'm afraid a PHEV would end up becoming an ICEV for me. But that's just me. <snip>

I'm glad you mentioned a PHEV, because it really is the obvious choice for most people who want to own just one car that can do everything. The Volt2's credited with a 53 mile AER, and the (much more expensive) i3 with 97 mile AER, so the question is what's it worth to you to be pure? And then there's the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV van (31 mile AER IIRR).

Everything's a trade off. A BMW i3 for how much?! vs. a used Nissan Leaf with an occasional rental. For me, the latter fits my budget better. But if I had the money... :mrgreen:
2013 SL 50,000 miles.
12 bars until 44,300 miles on June 2, 2017. :D
11 bars current. :)
The Nissan Leaf is the fourth best long distance car for highway driving. >>Best Long Distance Cars<<

SageBrush
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:39 pm

We have a LEAF and just bought a Prius Prime so the Honda Fit and Prius Vagon will be sold. These two cars are a practical, relatively inexpensive, and environmentally conscious pair. I paid $7,000 for the LEAF and $17,000 before state TTL for the Prime as a Colorado resident.

And yet we still find situations where the local car rental place solves a problem, like requiring a truck, or two long-distance cars, or an extended trip when we don't want to leave a car at the airport. OP is being smart and frugal by integrating car rental into his personal transport armada.
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Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California with 63.9 Ahr after 22k miles
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LeftieBiker
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Re: Second car, owning vs renting vs borrowing vs avoiding.

Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:40 pm

The two things the Leaf lacks are cargo space and range. I'd suggest a cargo-oriented minivan or Prius V as the second vehicle, to fix both shortcomings without wasting gas. My "other vehicle" is a Prius PHEV, aka "PIP."

Sagebrush slipped in ahead of my post. It appears we agree.
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

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