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!