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IssacZachary
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Posts: 744
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:57 am
Delivery Date: 15 Nov 2016
Leaf Number: 420789
Location: Gunnison, CO, USA

I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:43 am

Circumstances.
  • The Leaf is almost paid off.
  • I can only afford a $200-$250/month car payment or less on one car and insurance on up to two cars. (Currently pay $220/month car payment for Leaf)
  • The wife hates the fact that we have to take the 1985 VW Golf diesel that has about 500,000 miles on it on long trips even though it gets up to 60mpg and just won't die.
  • We love the Leaf but I keep wondering if it's time to trade it in or not.

Reasons for keeping the Leaf.
  • We live where it's cold.
    • This affects comfort and safety (window frost) for daily short range driving. I hate idling, but don't mind prewarming the Leaf. In other words, the Leaf is awesome, but anything ICE needs idling, which I hate.
    • This affects engine longevity, fuel mileage and emissions. Starting a cold engine several times per day is bad. But the Leaf doesn't have an engine. In fact the cool weather here should extend it's battery life (Average temperature for the hottest summer days is 64°F).
      Image
  • It may be economic to keep.
    • I'm not rich, so $180 in electricity + $480 in insurance + $240 in license plate fees per year (about $75 per month) is a good thing.
    • Every mile I put on the Leaf is another mile I'm not putting on an ICE. (Hence tires, shocks and such should be all about the same relatively speaking, but only with less ICE maintenance).
  • Having two cars means I'll always have a back up.
    • I'd walk to work and the store if I didn't have a car. But at -30°F my wife probably wouldn't be so happy. And renting for several days can be expensive.

Reasons for dropping the Leaf.
  • Operating costs on two cars may be more than just one.
    • So I would save on fuel with the Leaf. But not on insurance and licensing fees. Yearly depreciation would affect both too. I can only drive one car at a time, so why own and pay for two?
    • That situation where both cars end up needing repairs at the same time seems to always happen (Murphy's law). Then I'd have to decide which I can fix and which I can't.
  • Selling the Leaf could get me a better single car.
    • I'm pretty strapped right now and can't make a big car payment. However, if I got a few thousand for the Leaf that would sure make a nice down payment.

Other thoughts
  • We wish our Leaf could be our only car.
    • We love the Leaf, but do need to drive long distances (usually around 200 miles, but sometimes more) on a weekly basis.
    • We've tried renting, borrowing and taking public transportation as well as making such long trips in the Leaf over our poor charging infrastructure. But we've came to the conclusion that we need a long distance car, preferably something very economical.
    • The idea of a pusher or generator trailer keeps coming to mind, but I'm not sure I want to go that route for a weekly basis, although I could still do a lot of charging in route and end up needing very little ICE power most of the time.
  • I keep getting bad feelings about certain other cars.
    • Trading in the Leaf for a longer range EV seems like a logical step. But I keep getting the feeling that it is much too expensive right now. I have to keep payments below $250 per month. Maybe a battery trailer would be better?
    • Hybrids scare me. Reviews say they cost more to operate than plain ICEV's. Plus if I trade in the Leaf I hear that most older hybrids (the ones that I would be able to afford) don't do well in the cold for town driving. And getting a hybrid as a second car to the Leaf for long distance driving may make the fuel mileage not any better than a regular ICEV.
    • I don't want to get less than steller fuel mileage. I know the ol' Golf spews out black clouds of death, but I love getting up to 60mpg (US) on the highways and it just won't break down. And maintenance is minimal on it. Is there a car like it that is also nicer and won't cost me more than what I can afford? Maybe a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage? Perhaps a Prius of some year? Heaven forbid, a dieselgate VW? Or sell the Leaf and get the old car painted and upholstered?

Conclusion
So far it seems best to keep the Leaf, get it paid off, and then get something newer and cleaner than the 1985 Golf diesel. But I'm not sure exactly what to get though to replace it. I don't want to lose a fortune. Also what is it that I'm missing or thinking wrong? I'd hate to get rid of our beloved Leaf and trusty VW diesel for something that we don't like or kills us in repair bills.
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<<

LeftieBiker
Posts: 8419
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:11 am

You could sell the Leaf and VW and get a used 2015-2016 Volt.
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium and no QC, a 2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, and 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

baustin
Posts: 604
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:23 pm
Delivery Date: 09 Mar 2015
Leaf Number: 402162
Location: North Las Vegas, NV

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:39 am

The Leaf is almost paid off, and is a great vehicle for your driving needs. The VW is over 30 years old. Neither vehicle is worth much as a trade-in. Keep the Leaf for yourself. Keep the VW as your backup, with just liability insurance (to minimize insurance expense).

Take the money available for a monthly payment and buy the car that your wife is happy with. It will be one of the best decisions you ever make.
2013 Leaf SV - Cayenne Red - QC Port - LED Headlights

joeriv
Posts: 138
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:33 pm
Location: Fairfield County CT

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:58 am

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Keep both cars, minimize insurance costs, look for a good deal on a Toyota Camry 4 cylinder - gets good mileage and excellent repair record. Also you could check out Consumer Reports recommendations on used cars - a good starting point.
2017 Leaf S with QC, JUN mfg date

SageBrush
Posts: 2084
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: Colorado

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:12 am

Find a friend who is happy to swap cars when you need a long distance vehicle
2013 Model 'S' with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California
Car is now enjoying an easy life in Colorado
3/2018: 58 Ahr, 28k miles

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Nubo
Posts: 4701
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:01 am
Delivery Date: 31 Oct 2014
Location: Vallejo, CA

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:32 am

LeftieBiker wrote:You could sell the Leaf and VW and get a used 2015-2016 Volt.


Agreed. A recent used Volt seems to fit the wants and needs.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

armmynissanleaf
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:27 pm
Delivery Date: 05 Feb 2014

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:57 am

Great post. What about the New Leaf instead of the Volt?
Always do acts of kindness in this world.
TorqueNews Nissan

User avatar
IssacZachary
Forum Supporter
Posts: 744
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:57 am
Delivery Date: 15 Nov 2016
Leaf Number: 420789
Location: Gunnison, CO, USA

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:19 am

Thanks for all the posts!

According to KBB I could get around 7,000 for a trade in or $9,000 selling to a private seller for the Leaf. The VW might bring in some $500 to a private seller! I'd probably have to pay for a dealer to take it! :lol:

LeftieBiker wrote:You could sell the Leaf and VW and get a used 2015-2016 Volt.


Nubo wrote:Agreed. A recent used Volt seems to fit the wants and needs.


Looks like a used 2015-2016 Volt goes for $15,000 and up. So with a $7,000-$9,000 or so trade in, I'd owe around $7,000, which is within my budget. Just a couple questions. How do those do in the cold? I mean, waking up to freezing temps 8 or 9 months out of the year? Does the ICE have to run for heat?

Also what kind of fuel mileage should be expected on the long trips? Do those have a 6kW or 3kW charger? I love my Leaf's 6kW charger and the ability to put on 25 miles for each hour I'm parked. Not that a 3kW charger would ruin my day with a gasoline back up. It just means I'll be using more gasoline some days.

I just wonder if a $7,000 +40mpg or +50mpg highway car plus my 75 e-mile Leaf would be better than a 37mpg highway/38 e-mile Volt by itself especially if the gasoline engine ends up kicking on during my daily driving for heating or something else.

Thanks!

joeriv wrote:"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."


I know! But the VW just won't break down! This thing will continue to run for another million miles before it dies. Great car in terms of fuel mileage, reliability and longevity. (I this Rabbit is related to the Energizer Bunny). Terrible car in terms of AC, heating, safety and power. No cruise control either.

baustin wrote:Buy the car that your wife is happy with. It will be one of the best decisions you ever make.


That is some wise advice! ;)

armmynissanleaf wrote:Great post. What about the New Leaf instead of the Volt?

Don't make me drool! 150 mile range would cover my regular weekly drives since I can destination charge. Basically I'd go 70 miles, get some charge, do another 30 or so miles, then charge again and go home in another 70 miles. All very doable in a 2018 Leaf. The only thing left would be those longer trips. But this would still be doable in a 2018 Leaf.
But still, what kind of price am I looking at? Could monthly payments be kept under $250?
Last edited by IssacZachary on Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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<<

GerryAZ
Gold Member
Posts: 1628
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:47 pm
Delivery Date: 12 Jun 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:01 am

Keep the LEAF--it is the best front wheel drive car available for your local driving needs because you can preheat while plugged in and short trips with cold starts won't hurt it. The traction battery should last a long time for your local driving needs and fuel cost is much lower than alternatives.

You are not going to find an ICE car new enough to have OBDII diagnostic port that will get decent fuel mileage for short trips with cold starts. The fuel injection systems on every late model car or light truck I have driven in cold weather appears to burn extra fuel to warm the engine and catalytic converter quicker. Example: I have a 1988 pickup and 2004 SUV with the same cast iron 6-cylinder fuel injected engine. The 1988 takes a while to warm up enough to get heat and defrost, but average fuel mileage is only slightly lower than in warmer temperatures. The 2004 warms up and provides heat/defrost much quicker, but average fuel mileage is probably only 60% of what it is in warmer temperatures for short trips. Fuel mileage on long trips is only slightly lower because the wasted fuel for each cold start is averaged with the normal consumption during the long trip. This issue is not really noticeable in moderate temperatures, but is consistent when I spend time in Arizona's high country which has temperatures similar to yours. I see the same issue with office vehicles (various SUVs and pickups) when we have projects in the high country during the winter. I think there is even some extra fuel consumption while idling after the engine is warm (such as while using the vehicle as a portable office at a construction site).

I'm fairly sure the early Volts ran the gas engine for heat, but don't know about the later ones. As far as I know, the Volts have 3.3 kW chargers and do not have DCQC ports. I think it would be best to keep the LEAF and put the money you would spend on a Volt toward a suitable ICE car for long distance.
Gerry
Silver LEAF 2011 SL rear ended (totaled) by in-attentive driver 1/4/2015 at 50,422 miles
Silver LEAF 2015 SL purchased 2/7/2015

jjeff
Posts: 1633
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:10 am
Delivery Date: 13 Jul 2014
Leaf Number: 422121
Location: MSP MN

Re: I have a Leaf, so now what?

Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:48 am

Living in a cold climate and not wanting the ICE to kick in is what drove me to a Leaf, AFAIK on a Volt you'd have to trick it to not have the ICE kick in and even then you'd have no heat! Living in a cold climate I didn't want a car that would be EV only 5-7 month/year so I got the Leaf.
If we were starting from scratch in this market I'd probably have gotten a new Prime, ability to heat on battery only, heat pump heater and unlimited great MPG on gas. Of course, you probably couldn't get the payments you wanted on a new Prime, but it's a thought. The Volt sounds nice in theory but in my area, I didn't think it made as much sense.
2012 SL purchased used 2/'16
2013 S w/QC purchased new
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