- Owning just a Leaf (or other similar affordable limited range EV) and avoiding any other type of vehicle.
- Owning a Leaf (or similar) and owning an ICEV of some sort.
- Owning a Leaf (or similar) and renting an ICEV from time to time.
- Owning a Leaf (or similar) and borrowing and ICEV from time to time.
- And don't forget public transportation options.
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.