Boourns wrote:Hi from a prospective Leaf owner. My question is this: What do you wish you had known (or thought to look up) before you bought/leased your leaf?
I put the question first for the tl;dr types, but here's a little background. My name is Matt and I live in the Austin, Texas area. The lease on my current ICE vehicle ends in March 2014 and I'm researching a replacement. Currently the Leaf is at the top of my list. I think EVs are the future, and I'm tired of struggling to reach 22 mpg.
I drive 32 miles round trip to work every day on a commute that involves a little rush hour highway, a little city, and about half what I'd call country road driving, with speeds about 50 mph. My average speed on the trip is 29-31 mph. I think all things considered the Leaf would be a good choice for me, since my wife will keep her ICE small SUV. I am leaning toward a 24-month lease, since in the summer it's hotter than Hades' pantaloons here, and I see that can result in substantial battery degradation. My lease return is a Nissan product, so hopefully I can get a good deal on the Leaf lease.
I have time to thoroughly research the purchase, so I hope to be as informed as I can be about obvious issues. I suspect that the Leaf was many of your first EV, like it would be mine, so you researched things to the best of your ability before your purchase. I would appreciate your input on anything you wish you had known before you bought the car that may not be so obvious.
Thanks and I look forward to learning a lot more about the Leaf here.
It sounds like you've already researched the matter well. I think he biggest negative surprises for most people are the two that have been mentioned. First, for those of us in colder climates the range on very cold days is a lot less than I'd expected. Second - and by far the biggest issue with the LEAF - for those in climates with very high temperatures the fast battery degradation.
The second point has really upset a lot of LEAFers in those hot climates - and even more so due to the fiasco around the pre-announced battery lease program last month. A few of those LEAFers are so upset that they post complaints many times per day on many different threads in this forum - but fortunately that's a tiny minority of LEAFers so take that into account.
Since you are in a hot climate it is best if you have a short lease or perhaps consider a car with a thermal management system to keep the battery cool. The Volt and the Ford Focus Electric both have such a system. Even with a 2 year lease you will likely find that your LEAF range is a lot less at the end of the lease than it was at the start.
Otherwise fourlesser points I can mention. First, the charging timer set-up is needlessly complex. Eventually we settled on configuring the car to charge to 80% by default and then use the cancel timer feature (a button in the car, or via the carwings app) when we need a charge to 100%. You do want to avoid having the car sit for a long period of time with a 100% charge. Second, I wish I knew about evseupgrade.com before I got my Schneider home EVSE (a.k.a. "charger"). The Schneider is great, but the EVSEupgrade is cheaper and offers more flexibility as it is portable and can work, for example, at RV campsites. Third, this didnt trip me up but has tripped up a few other people. If you buy an EV and get the $7500 tax credit you almost certainly won't be able to also claim the 30% EVSE credit the same year due to AMT. This issue applies to all EVs, not just the LEAF, but does not apply to a lease, as the leasing company takes the credit in that case. Finally, you'll probably use the car a lot more than you think you will. This is a common experience - you get the LEAF thinking you'll just use it on sub-50 mile round trips and the ICE car for everything else, then you love the LEAF so much you start testing the range limits and planning trips around charging stations. For that reason definitely consider the 6.6kw charging option (standard on SV and SL).