Rockytherock
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:58 pm
Delivery Date: 12 Jul 2018

Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:23 pm

I am looking at a getting a Leaf. Any advice would be appreciated. I am a first time EV buyer. Here is some background.
1. I commute to and from school+work about 25 miles round trip. On heavy driving days its 45 miles.
2. I have charging stations available at my work.
3. I live in a moderate to warm environment,
4. I am the sole driver in the household and a Leaf would be a second car.
5. Our current SUV is nearing the end of reliability and we will be buying a Hybrid SUV in the next year or 2.
6. Whatever leaf we get, it will probably be the S Model.

I have done a lot of research into electric cars and think a Leaf is the best. It's been in production a long time and its darn cute. The second car was going to be a truck, but I like the idea of scooting around in an electric car much better.

My options are.
1. Buy a used Leaf. I've seen a some 2015's with around 20,000 miles at dealerships for around $11K. Car payment would be about $250.
2. Lease a new Leaf. Payment would be about $230 a month w/$4k down. Need to give it back after 3 years or just buy out the lease.
3. Buy a new leaf outright. A bit less affordable, but get $10K in tax credits.

So there you have it. I was all set to buy a used Leaf then I saw the latest lease offers so now I don't know. Any help from Leaf drivers would be appreciated.

Steve

Rockytherock
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:58 pm
Delivery Date: 12 Jul 2018

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:29 pm

Forgot to mention, in August the incentives for a new EV in my area come out to about $12,000, not $10000.

Steve

goldbrick
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Colorado front range

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:05 pm

Once the 2019 models come out you may be able to get a good deal on a new 2018, otherwise I don't see any hidden strategies that make sense. Used prices seem to be pretty firm as EV's are becoming more mainstream and while the adoption rate may be slow, the supply of used vehicles seems to be lower. That said, the technology is still maturing rapidly so newer cars will be improving at a good clip, although that will be balanced against the probably declining incentives.

I can't really comment on the pros/cons of lease vs purchase since in my case the incentives were so large that the only thing that made sense was to buy. One thing I would note is that the maintenance on a Leaf is negligible so any advantage of not having to worry about maintenance on a leased vehicle is not applicable.

I'm biased since I bought my Leaf but since your mileage is so low, I'd go ahead and try to buy a 2018 for a good price - maybe once the 2019 is announced. If it's your second, around town car, and you don't live in a very hot climate, it should fulfill your needs for a decade with virtually no maintenance besides tires, brake fluid, washer fluid, etc. If you can charge for free at work it can be a practically zero-cost car after the initial investment.

That's how it's working out for me anyway after 1 year of owning my 2017 model S. I live in CO and while I wish I had a heat pump I get by just fine with the silly resistance heater on the model S. For me it wasn't worth the extra $$$ for the next trim level. And by the way, I bet you will love driving the Leaf. 'scooting around' in an electric car is truly a lot of fun.

jim0266
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:14 am
Delivery Date: 17 Mar 2017
Leaf Number: 330446
Location: Akron, Oh

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:29 pm

A good 2015 sounds ideal in your situation. A new Leaf is money wasted for your needs. With work charging and your driving needs you could drive this car for a long, long time. I too have work charging and paid about $80 to drive 11k miles last year.

I would consider adding L2 charging at home. The utility of being able to charge fairly quickly is useful on the weekends or an evening you may want to make a trip with an hour or two of notice.

LeftieBiker
Posts: 9209
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:06 pm

The longevity of the 2018 leaf is still unknown (especially in hot climates) while the 2015 is known to be the best leaf battery so far for resisting degradation. If you get a 2018, Lease it, because you won't drive it enough to get a free warranty replacement battery.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

Evoforce
Posts: 823
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:58 pm
Delivery Date: 28 Feb 2015
Location: Fountain Hills Arizona

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:17 pm

Don't buy a Leaf until they have thermal management for their battery. Maybe 2019 model? If you are set on a (new) Leaf now, lease it instead. Because of the bad battery reputation, Leaf depreciates quickly. Or buy an older Leaf with new battery replacement or 12 bars but know that it will degrade more rapidly than other manufacturers. Your best bet, buy a car with thermal management.
*2011 Leaf 1 bought 2/28/15 @ 28,000ish mi 10 bar (8 bars @ 11/25/15 @ 37,453 ) (New lizard @ 39,275 mi @ 1/20/2016) Now 52,166 mi.
*Tesla Model S 61,000 mi
*2011 Leaf 2 bought 4/28/15 @ 24,000ish mi 12 bar (new lizard Dec. 2014 @ 22,273 mi) Now 35,485 mi

alozzy
Posts: 1071
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:25 pm
Delivery Date: 18 Jan 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Contact: Website

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:08 pm

I have to disagree, it's pretty much impossible to find a better used car than a 2015 LEAF - rapid depreciation is awesome if you are purchasing used and want to keep the car!

Given the OP's commute (max 45 miles a day), a 2015 LEAF will do that for the next 5 years for sure, especially since the OP has charging options at work.

If you assume an acquisition cost of $10K, and also assume the OP finances the purchase on a 5 year loan, that's less than $200 per month for the loan. Further assuming 30 miles / dollar of electricity, the monthly cost for electricity is around $35. For the benefit of the doubt, say $250 all in per month (plus insurance, obviously).

Unless there are unexpected, expensive repair costs, the TCO for the LEAF, over 5 years, is going to be around $15K (maybe less).

As I said, hard to beat...
Last edited by alozzy on Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Vancouver, CA owner of a 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
Loving my first BEV :D

Talock2018
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:26 am
Delivery Date: 20 Jun 2018

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:33 am

As someone who literally just went through the exact same decision making process, i fully agree with alozzy - your commute is short, you have ample charging options - even if the battery degrades, it won't effect your commute. You may even find 14's available for even less which would further lower your payment. Your savings in operating cost will be the same with either vehicle option, so you would greatly benefit from reduced first cost - not to mention that your insurance will also be less on the older vehicle (tho you will likely need to add in registration fees non-lease).

Range anxiety shouldn't be an issue given your commute. Trying to solve for the 2% scenario where you need much greater range will only cost you monthly and then add up greatly over time. Having JUST done this, it is very easy to get range anxiety, BUT, that only exists in reality if you are regularly pushing that 70-80 mile limit. if you aren't, then what are you really buying with that extra $75ish in monthly payments? Only serious degradation would effect your use - you could have a sweet deal on vehicle with virtually zero operation cost beyond the end of your financing...you can't save over gas on the kW you never use.

I would also consider doing the math on what you pay for gas per month and deduct that from your monthly payment less a percentage to account for some charging at home. I have had mine for three weeks now have spent less than $5 on fuel (calculating the kW total charging at home as i have free charging at work like you). hard to beat that from a financial perspective.
2013 SL Super Black | 54,300 miles | 12 bars
AHr - 57.01 | SOH - 87.17%
Hope, ME

RonDawg
Posts: 2825
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:46 am
Delivery Date: 11 Jan 2013
Leaf Number: 027089
Location: SoCal

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:01 pm

For the OP: unless you must buy new, or hate the look of the first generation Leaf, I'd buy used. Assuming you can find a 2015 for $11k and paying MSRP for a new Leaf S, that's at least $7k in savings, a nice down payment towards that hybrid SUV you're looking to buy in the future. Leasing is a terrible option in your circumstance, you'll be needing to lease a new car (so new down payment + monthly payments) while still paying for that SUV. Either that, or you'll have to go back to just that hybrid SUV as your sole car (and possibly not be able to commute all-electric, depending on that vehicle's AER).

Evoforce wrote:Don't buy a Leaf until they have thermal management for their battery. Maybe 2019 model? If you are set on a (new) Leaf now, lease it instead. Because of the bad battery reputation, Leaf depreciates quickly. Or buy an older Leaf with new battery replacement or 12 bars but know that it will degrade more rapidly than other manufacturers. Your best bet, buy a car with thermal management.


While that may be a wise move in your area, battery degradation is not going to be the same everywhere. I live in LA, and not near the beach, summer temps are generally in the 90's in my area, with occasional triple-digit spurts. Yet I didn't lose my first bar until the 3 year lease was almost over (see my sig line), and this was on a pre-2013 model which is notorious for heat-related degradation.
Blue Ocean 2012 Leaf SV, lost that 1st bar at 34 months/26,435 miles. Lease returned 2 months later. Final LeafStat figures: 225 Gids, 17.44 kWH, SOC 91.89%, SOH 82.36%, 69.49% HX, 54.57 Ahr, battery temp 61.8 F.
Now driving a 2015 VW eGolf SEL.

Rockytherock
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:58 pm
Delivery Date: 12 Jul 2018

Re: Want a Leaf, what is the best option? First time EV buyer here.

Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:19 am

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. As much as we liked the range of a newer leaf, a used leaf seemed the best choice. After lots of looking we found a car that met all our criteria and got it! It's a 2015 with low miles. Honestly when it came down to it, I liked the interior of the previous generation over the 2018s much more and the 85 mile range is more than enough. It's a fun little car and I am happy to be a part of the ev driving community! Thank you for all your help.

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