jeffberk wrote:I live in Aurora and work at Playhouse Square. Back when the Nissan Leaf first came available in this area I took one from Streetsboro (the dealer) to my house, to Playhouse Square and then almost back to Streetsboro with 20 degrees outside. My plan was to see if it could be used for my commute. Keeping in mind that the trip was a little longer than a normal commute and I had the sales lady and my son in the car for extra weight, we didn't have enough juice to make it back and ran out of KW's 2 miles short of the dealership. I tried "gassing" it up at a BP station but the Leaf kept tripping the breaker.
My question for all you NE OH leaf owners, is the Leaf a viable option for me? I installed a charger in my garage anticipating buying one and although I can go with a Chevy Volt, there's something about the Leaf that I like.
I think you'll find that most Leaf owners love their car (I do) but agree on the same thing (as Ari said) - it would be nicer if range was longer. I also have a 2012 and saw today that the 2014 is expected to get 11 more miles of range than the 2013. If you were to buy/lease one, I'd get a 2014 to be confident in the range.
To answer your questions from my personal experience:
Q1) I have rarely had problems charging but it has happened. The outlet has to be grounded or the car will not charge (ready light will flash on cable if not grounded). The car needs at least 10-15Amps to charge. If it is shared with something else, you'll most likely trip the circuit (sounds like what happened at gas station). I also carry an extension cord with me in case I need to reach a far outlet (as Ari said his friend does in California). I have also had trouble with chargers not working (in Cleveland and Columbus) but usually this information is posted on plugshare (see below).
Q2) I think you'll be completely set with the 240V charge at your house. I only use 120 and it works for me. If you got a Leaf, I think the 2013/2014 (not the S model) charge in 4 hours with 240V from a near-dead battery. You can look on plugshare.com to find all the chargers available to us in NEOhio. If all else fails, every Nissan dealer that I've visited in Ohio has at least one 240V charger to use. I have never had an issue with these.
Q3) As Ari said, you'll do better staying off the freeway. For me however, I use it almost daily. My daily commute is around 31 miles and I usually make it back with half of the range gone (so 60 miles would be max). That includes about 25 miles on the highway. The terrain that you are driving has a noticeable impact on the range as well. Driving to work on the highway (271N) is almost straight or slightly downhill resulting in very little range used (even at 65 MPH). On the way back, it's the opposite. You can plan around situations like this by taking surface streets on the way back (usually more efficient).
I would suggest that you find a dealer willing to let you borrow the car for a night (Ganley let me) and see how the drive is with a full charge from your house. That way you could be sure you and the Leaf would make a good fit.
Ask away if you have any other questions!