BuckMkII
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 8:04 am
Location: Seattle

Buying a 2012-2014 Leaf in Seattle?

Sat May 06, 2017 11:29 am

New forum member; limited study here so far. Sorry in advance for the long intro post.

I've been planning vaguely to buy a used EV since the beginning of the year, largely at the urging of my kid, who's justifiably worried about climate change. I'm always a big fan of used cars: my spousal critter and I bought a new 2001 Subaru shortly before the kid arrived. Other than that, I've always bought cars 3 to 13 years old since I'm cheap and dislike rapid new car depreciation.

I was originally tempted to use Carvana for convenience, but I'm now leaning towards buying at a local dealer so I can kick the tires in person, eyeball the VIN, walk away and come back, etc. Feel free to sway me either way. I'm also very interested to know if there are any particularly good or notoriously bad dealers in the Seattle area that people have used for Leaf purchases.

I briefly considered a Fiat 500e, but knowing Fiat/Chrylser's well founded reputation for mediocre quality, and doubting that Fiat's on-again-off-again commitment to the US market makes buying their EV a good bet for eventual battery replacement, I've defaulted to the slightly less cute but safer Leaf.

Our commute is basically 7 miles each way. On-the-way home errands don't usually add more than a mile. Three or four nights a week, we add a 5 to 10-mile round trip to dance or clarinet class, so a normal day is <25 miles. For the rest of this year, we're going to be taking the kid to school 2 days a week due to a before-school class, which turns the day's commute into roughly a 20 mile triangle. Next year, there should be little need to detour to the school.

There are a couple of charging stations at work but it's a big, busy parking structure and I don't count on being able to access them. For the foreseeable future, I plan to rely on 120V charging at home. Assume we'll forget to plug the car in once in a while, so we need a 40 to 50 mile range to cover consecutive days.

We're not planning immediately to sell either gas-guzzling ICEV (the 19 mpg Subaru or a 17 mpg Taurus wagon, which is my weekend fun/chores kayak or lumber and concrete sack hauler) so any infrequent long-range trips (or forgetting to recharge) can be covered by those, but for my wife and I, the Leaf would be the vehicle for >90% of our commutes, since we both work at the university and drive together unless I bike-commute. (The kid can drive a gas hog one mile to the school bus stop.) At the moment, I'm assuming that if we kept the Leaf indefinitely, as we usually do (until they're worth under $1000), the cost savings in gasoline would be at least offset by the need for battery replacement.

I'm looking to spend at or a bit under $10,000. That would seem to indicate shopping for the 2013-2014 model years. I'm not necessarily opposed to looking at a 2012. I'm just assuming that being choosy and searching for one with low miles will take longer than I want, but maybe I'd get lucky.

At last, some questions! So far, I've learned that there was a battery improvement in the mid-2013 model year. How can you determine whether that applies to a 2013 car? Are there any other changes in these model years that affect battery live/replacement? How many years would you predict before budgeting for a new battery?

I'm assuming I can use VIN history to determine if the car has been based somewhere hot previously, right? My guess is that most of the available cars are coming off leases in California, but I haven't researched that yet. Obviously, a car native to the rainy Seattle or Portland metro areas would be better in terms of heat exposure, and SF Bay area better than LA unless the owner sneakily lived in, say, Livermore.

Links to important threads or lists of issues to research much appreciated. Thanks for reading this far!

LeftieBiker
Posts: 6112
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Buying a 2012-2014 Leaf in Seattle?

Sat May 06, 2017 12:04 pm

The battery improvement happened with April of 2013. The build date is on the driver's side door sill sticker, and also on Carfax reports. So any Leaf built from April 2013 on should meet your needs nicely.
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.

BuckMkII
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 8:04 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Buying a 2012-2014 Leaf in Seattle?

Wed May 17, 2017 7:18 am

OK, I have Leaf Spy Pro on my phone and my LELink ODB2 should arrive today, so I'm all set to go Leaf shopping, possibly this weekend. What battery SOH would you look for as a cutoff?

Or, more complex issue: how would you use SOH to negotiate price with a dealer?

alozzy
Posts: 347
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:25 pm
Delivery Date: 18 Jan 2017

Re: Buying a 2012-2014 Leaf in Seattle?

Wed May 17, 2017 11:53 am

see your other thread...
Canadian with a US 2013 Ocean Blue SV + QC, purchased 01/2017 in WA
Zencar 12/20/24/30A L1/L2 portable EVSE
1-1/4" Curt #11396 hitch
After market, DIY LED DRLs
LeafSpy Pro + Konnwei KW902 ELM327 BT OBDII dongle
Big grin, enjoying my first BEV :D

LeftieBiker
Posts: 6112
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Buying a 2012-2014 Leaf in Seattle?

Wed May 17, 2017 1:05 pm

Or, more complex issue: how would you use SOH to negotiate price with a dealer?


Most dealers won't accept SOH as a real factor, but a missing bar is very easy to verify, and if you document that a car with a SOH of, say, 86% is about to lose a bar, that may get you money off. Given your low range needs, I'd actually go looking for a later build 2013 with one bar already lost. The early builds may have two, three or even four bars gone, and they could still work for you, with a steeper discount. Just keep in mind that a pre-April build will keep losing capacity fairly fast, so I'd stick with 11 bar later builds..
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.

Dooglas
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:08 pm
Delivery Date: 04 Jan 2017
Leaf Number: 314779
Location: Oregon City, OR

Re: Buying a 2012-2014 Leaf in Seattle?

Wed May 17, 2017 2:57 pm

I realize your EV needs are somewhat modest, but let me share a thought with you. I only occasionally need range that challenges my battery capacity. Never the less, in going on 4 years of LEAF ownership, the two things I would recommend are the 6.6kw charger in the car and a 240V (level 2) EVSE in the garage. Now, I don't need either one every day or even most days - but when I do need a quicker charge or a mid-day recharge, I very much appreciate having the additional capability and convenience.
2013 Leaf SV - lease ended, 2016 Leaf S30

SageBrush
Posts: 651
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: Colorado

Re: Buying a 2012-2014 Leaf in Seattle?

Wed May 17, 2017 3:41 pm

I second Dooglas.

A good L2 EVSE at home lets you adapt to a forgotten charge, an extra trip, and battery aging over time.
My wife was leary of our LEAF purchase, but has completely lost her battery anxieties in no small part due to the home charger.

We paid $8,300 for the LEAF described in my signature.
2013 Model 'S' with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California with 63.9 Ahr after 22k miles
Car is now enjoying an easy life in Colorado

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