AKElectric
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:14 pm
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2017

Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:04 am

2011 Leafs are posted for $5,000 on Craigslist in Seattle right now. This is low enough that I'm starting to seriously rethink all the good reasons I shouldn't buy a Leaf:

- Nissan refuses to service them in Alaska
- Battery replacement is not an option
- Cold weather temporarily reduces range
- Shipping from Seattle is ~$1,600

On the other hand, there are plenty of 120v chargers at work, and my commute is only 7 miles each way. My current car has averaged 15 miles per day over the past 9 years. I'd like to drive the Leaf for at least the next 7 years, so with my current usage level that should work even if my range drops to 20 miles or less. But with the lower temperatures here, I should be able to get pretty good life out of it.

I'm hoping that all goes well and that due to charging mostly at work my expenses after the initial cost of getting it here will just be insurance, tires, and wipers for the next 7 years.

But if I get in an accident or anything serious breaks it could be a total loss.

I'm looking for folks with more perspective to help me decide whether this is too crazy, or worth the risk.

And if it's too crazy at the moment, will it be worth it when they're selling for $4,000? $2,000?

LeftieBiker
Posts: 6772
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:18 am

Make sure any 2011 has the "cold weather package." Otherwise you won't get heated seats and steering wheel. I'm not sure that the battery warmer was even an option in 2011, so the 120 volt charging stations at work might be extra useful.
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

baustin
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:23 pm
Delivery Date: 09 Mar 2015
Leaf Number: 402162
Location: North Las Vegas, NV

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:28 am

AKElectric wrote:... I'm starting to seriously rethink all the good reasons I shouldn't buy a Leaf:

- Nissan refuses to service them in Alaska
- Battery replacement is not an option
- Cold weather temporarily reduces range
- Shipping from Seattle is ~$1,600

...

But if I get in an accident or anything serious breaks it could be a total loss.

...


I really like my Leaf, and I think more people should be driving electric. However, I would advise against buying one for the exact reasons you stated.
2013 Leaf SV - Cayenne Red - QC Port - LED Headlights

GetOffYourGas
Posts: 1600
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:56 pm
Delivery Date: 09 Mar 2012
Location: Syracuse, NY

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:57 am

AKElectric wrote:2011 Leafs are posted for $5,000 on Craigslist in Seattle right now.
...
- Shipping from Seattle is ~$1,600

...

But if I get in an accident or anything serious breaks it could be a total loss.


Are you willing to risk $6,600 for the chance to try something very new and different? I think you laid out the cost/risk very well. Only you know what your personal tolerance for risk is.

I took on a (IMO) larger risk in 2012 when I got the first EV available to me. It was a huge unknown at the time, which cost me about $23k. It is still running well with only new tires / wipers added in 5 years / 40k miles. In a year or two I will trade it in for a newer model. Even if I get absolutely nothing for the 2012, I am still glad I made the leap. YMMV.
~Brian

EV Fleet:
2011 Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard on a 22' sailboat
2012 Leaf SV
2015 C-Max Energi (302A package)

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jlv
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:08 pm
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2014
Leaf Number: 424487
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:26 am

You certainly won't have any problem with your commute range, given that 4 hours plugged in at 120v will charge you fully.
'13 SL+Prem (mfg 12/13, leased 4/14, bought 5/17)Tesla S 75D (3/17)
Model 3 reservation
(Probably no LEAF2 for me)

Reddy
Posts: 1408
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:09 pm
Delivery Date: 18 Aug 2011
Leaf Number: 006828
Location: Pasco, WA

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:10 pm

As Leftiebiker said, watch out on the 2011s because of the lack of cold weather package, some later ones had it, but most didn't. You will probably need the battery heater to keep it from freezing below 0F (unless stored in a semi-heated or insulated garage at night). Some one from Canada added an external pack heater a few years back and was able to see 70 mi range even below 0F. Finally, unless the battery is heated, you will see ZERO regen at those temperatures, and should expect more brake wear and replacement. FYI, my 10-bar 2011 had a range of about 30 mi this past winter at 0F (basically zero regen above 30 mph). EDIT: If near the coast, and not so cold, it will work better. Inland with extreme low temps, not so good.
Reddy
2011 SL; 9 bar, 46.44 AHr; 40,067 mi; rcv'd Aug 18, 2011
Long: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... al#p226115"
Cold: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... 60#p243033"

AKElectric
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:14 pm
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2017

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:00 am

Thanks for the tips about the cold weather package. This caused me to look it up and it appears that for 2011 models if it has the heated seats and steering wheel then it has the cold weather package which means it also has the battery warmer. I agree, this seems essential.

I would be storing it in a heated garage at night, so that does help.

As jlv says, I should be able to recharge fully in 4 hours given my relatively short commute. So it's possible that most or all of my weekend driving could be covered by Friday's 8-hour charge at work.

The point about my personal tolerance for risk is quite pertinent. At a low enough price, the risk is worth it for almost anyone, but it's a different price for each of us. I need to figure that out for myself. One useful metric is total cost per mile assuming worst case I won't be able to resell it after 7 years.

I'm realizing insurance is a useful factor in removing some of the financial risk. If the car gets totaled, it's likely insurance will partially make up the difference. I'm trying to determine just how much that would be. The worst case financial scenario is likely if the battery fails rapidly and spectacularly, or a component fails that requires specialized electrical skills and parts to fix.

But in my situation it's unlikely the battery would deteriorate rapidly enough to prevent my 14-mile daily round trip. Say after 7 more years it dropped to a 15-mile range, it would still work for my purposes, but resale probably wouldn't be possible. I'm hoping I can sell it after 7 years for ~$1,000 but with the way they depreciate who knows, it might be $100. :-)

My crazy idea depends on the car needing little to no maintenance for the rest of its useful lifetime, and due to the electric motor the Leaf is about as close as I could hope to get to achieving that.

Another thought is that perhaps Nissan will eventually start selling and supporting electric cars in Alaska due to pressure from Tesla (there are ~15-20 Teslas here), and I'll be able to get the battery replaced locally at some point if needed. The future is all electric, it's just a matter of when. Of course if anyone is going to be laggards, it's going to be Alaska.

Thanks everyone for your helpful observations and input. I need to mull it over a bit more and compare total costs to a hybrid alternative, but right now I think there's a pretty good chance I'll take the risk.

AKElectric
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:14 pm
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2017

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:08 am

Reddy wrote:FYI, my 10-bar 2011 had a range of about 30 mi this past winter at 0F (basically zero regen above 30 mph). EDIT: If near the coast, and not so cold, it will work better. Inland with extreme low temps, not so good.


Good to know. We've had a few 0F mornings the past few weeks. Doesn't usually get that cold though.

I assume based on your example if my battery deteriorated to 5 bars that would mean a 15 mile range at 0F. That would work, but would make me a bit nervous about it dropping any further. I've heard of Leafs with fewer bars than that already, so I'd need to make extra sure I get one with 10 bars or more. It would be sweet to find one with a battery replaced under warranty, but that seems fairly unlikely for a 2011, and even more unlikely they'd sell for only $5,000. One of the things that makes the 2011 attractive to me comes from my ability to tolerate quite a bit of battery deterioration in my personal situation.

LeftieBiker
Posts: 6772
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:41 am

If you do buy a 2011 (or 2012, which run only a bit more when degraded and is more likely to have the cold weather package) look into insulating the heating lines and tank, blocking the grille in Winter, and adding the available "Off" switch for the heat, which otherwise runs whenever the climate control is on and it isn't actually hot outside. That will buy you some range.
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

RonDawg
Posts: 2651
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:46 am
Delivery Date: 11 Jan 2013
Leaf Number: 027089
Location: SoCal

Re: Anchorage, Alaska - too crazy?

Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:48 am

AKElectric wrote:Another thought is that perhaps Nissan will eventually start selling and supporting electric cars in Alaska due to pressure from Tesla (there are ~15-20 Teslas here), and I'll be able to get the battery replaced locally at some point if needed. The future is all electric, it's just a matter of when. Of course if anyone is going to be laggards, it's going to be Alaska.


The reason you cannot get service support for the Leaf in Alaska is that your state's only two Nissan dealers aren't Leaf certified, and likely have no interest in becoming such. The Leaf is otherwise considered a 50 state car.

That said, poke around these forums, as I recall there was a thread about Leafers in Juneau.
Blue Ocean 2012 Leaf SV, lost that 1st bar on 11/21/2015 at 26,435 miles.
Lease returned on 12/23/2015. 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

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