laurench
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:33 pm

Hi all-

I've been digesting this site almost non-stop as I get ever-closer to my first EV purchase. Actually, my first car purchase in a loooong time-- I've had my current car (99' Honda Civic) since I was 16.

I live in Los Angeles. My commute is about 6 miles RT 4 days a week, and 30 miles RT 1 day a week. Then a couple of days a week, add in another 10 miles (estimating on the high side, here) for errands and the like.

I'll be parking the car in an outdoor (but covered) carport; I live on the first floor in a small buidling so I am planning to charge Level 1 through my bedroom window using a 20ft extension cord. No charging at work. My husband and I will still have either the Civic or our CR-V until we replace one of those as well (with another ICE).

I've been looking at different Leafs on AutoTrader, CarMax, etc. The 2011s I saw were around $6-7K, 9 bars, 40K miles, not including TTL and dealer fees. That'd put it at about $10K minimum and I would have to take out a loan and do monthly payments. And then last night I saw a private party seller on Craigslist.

It's a 2011 SL, 62K miles, with 8 bars. He's the second owner, bought in 2013 from the original owner, clean title. (Don't have VIN yet so I am not sure if the car has always been in SoCal.) Minor cosmetic dings (not an issue for me). He's asking $3900, with KBB valuing at a little over $4400. Says he put on new tires, too.

1) I'm asking for the VIN to run a CarFax, and from what I've been reading, I could possibly use the VIN to see if it's eligible for the elusive battery-replacement coupon. (Which seems like a longshot right?)

2) He says I can take it to a mechanic for a once over if I want, though there's not much to analyze. (This is my first EV and I asked that question out of habit with ICE; is it worth paying a mechanic?)

3) If I can get it down to $3500 (maybe wishful thinking)... and assuming I'll fork over $6K for a battery replacement in a year-ish, is $9500 for this not a good idea? With $3500, I could pay outright and not need to take a loan, etc. Though I would need to for the battery, depending on how much I save before it gets replaced.

My budget was 9-10K, though the less I have to pay per month, the better.

So basically-- terrible idea? Great idea? Meh idea? I am so out of the car buying realm, I feel very overwhelmed. And then I think, screw it, I'll just lease a new car, but... there's something extremely appealing about not having monthly payments as I am a non-profit employee. :D

Thank you for any thoughts, advice, suggestions!

RonDawg
Posts: 2713
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:46 am
Delivery Date: 11 Jan 2013
Leaf Number: 027089
Location: SoCal

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:45 pm

1. It's unlikely to be still covered by the battery capacity warranty, as that only lasts for 5 years/60k miles. It should still be covered by the 8 year/100k mile warranty but that only covers defects in workmanship. Few have been able to get a warranty replacement under the latter.

2. There's not much to analyze, but a mechanic can give you an opinion on for example if the car was involved in an accident. There's also other systems like the cooling and brakes which are no different than a regular car.

3. Depending on how degraded the battery is, your mileage needs are so low that you could go for a few more years before needing a replacement battery. However if you plan on paying $9500 in a year or so, you're better off getting a much newer car. You can get a freshly off-lease 3 y/o Leaf with less than 10k/year accumulated mileage for that kind of money. I know this because my own Leaf, 3 years old and less than 27k on the odometer, was for sale at Carmax for $10k, later reduced to $9700. Searching just CarMax for the LA area shows NUMEROUS Leafs for under $10k, some as little as $8k.

4. (I know you don't have a #4 on your list but this is important) Have you checked with your management about your planned charging method? If not, do this AND GET IT IN WRITING before buying any electric car. This car will be drawing 1440 watts for HOURS at a time, stressing your electrical circuits and any attached cords, and the thought of running a 20 foot extension cord through a window makes me shudder and likely will make your landlord do the same. Imagine running a space heater or hair dryer all day long without shutting off, that's what it's like to charge an electric car.
Last edited by RonDawg on Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

User avatar
Nubo
Posts: 4501
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:01 am
Delivery Date: 31 Oct 2014
Location: Vallejo, CA

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:51 pm

Do you own this small building, or renting? If the latter, especially an apartment situation, the extension cord approach mightl not fly for a number of reasons.

An 8-bar battery is on death's door especially in a warm climate.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

LeftieBiker
Posts: 7374
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:53 pm

Depending on how degraded the battery is, your mileage needs are so low that you could go for a few more years before needing a replacement battery.


That 40 mile trip once a week isn't that low. It depends on speed: if it's 40 miles of freeway driving, don't do it with an 8 bar car. If it's low speed driving, that's likely ok.

The 2011 won't have heated seats or wheel, so make sure you don't need or want those. Also make sure that you can afford a possible expensive off-warranty repair, like a new brake booster or E-brake. If it were me, I'd look for a car from a dealer, with at least a 30 day warranty.

One slip. I wouldn't say an 8 bar pack is "on death's door" - it just doesn't have a lot of range. If she can buy a new pack in a year or two, and the 40 mile trip is at slower speeds, that isn't a huge problem.
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.

laurench
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:56 pm

RonDawg wrote:1. It's unlikely to be still covered by the battery capacity warranty, as that only lasts for 5 years/60k miles. It should still be covered by the 8 year/100k mile warranty but that only covers defects in workmanship. Few have been able to get a warranty replacement under the latter.

2. There's not much to analyze, but a mechanic can give you an opinion on for example if the car was involved in an accident. There's also other systems like the cooling and brakes which are no different than a regular car.

3. Depending on how degraded the battery is, your mileage needs are so low that you could go for a few more years before needing a replacement battery. However if you plan on paying $9500 in a year or so, you're better off getting a much newer car. You can get a freshly off-lease 3 y/o Leaf with less than 10k/year accumulated mileage for that kind of money. I know this because my own Leaf, 3 years old and less than 27k on the odometer, was for sale at Carmax for $10k, later reduced to $9700.

4. (I know you don't have a #4 on your list but this is important) Have you checked with your management about your planned charging method? If not, do this AND GET IT IN WRITING before buying any electric car. This car will be drawing 1440 watts for HOURS at a time, stressing your electrical circuits and any attached cords, and the thought of running a 20 foot extension cord through a window makes me shudder and likely will make your landlord do the same. Imagine running a space heater or hair dryer all day long without shutting off, that's what it's like to charge an electric car.


Thank you!!

1) Yep yep-- confirming my hunch. Thanks!

2) Yes... great points.

3) I threw out the year timeline because I'm still trying to figure out how long the capacity of that 8 bar battery might last. I wouldn't replace it until I absolutely needed to (a trend with me, apparently... see my 99 Civic.).

4) GREAT POINT. Didn't think about getting it in writing, but you're 100% right. As of now, I've contacted my landlord a couple days back and am still waiting for confirmation. Another tenant has an EV (a Prius I think?) and he has a wall mounted EVSE in the garage (there are 5 open air outdoor spaces, and one closed garage space; he has the garage). I'll shoot him a message about kicking in $$ and using his charger.

RonDawg
Posts: 2713
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:46 am
Delivery Date: 11 Jan 2013
Leaf Number: 027089
Location: SoCal

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:59 pm

Regarding CarMax, here's a car that I think represents better value for money than buying an 8 bar car for $3500 with the plan to spend another $5500 in a couple of years: https://www.carmax.com/car/14968027

2014 Leaf SV, 35k miles, $9998. It's at their Escondido store but they will ship it for free to an LA-area CarMax. It's the mid-grade SV so you get the nav system and the upgraded 7.2 kW on-board charger. Not sure about battery health or if it has the quick charge option (it definitely doesn't have the Bose upgrade).
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

laurench
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:01 pm

Nubo wrote:Do you own this small building, or renting? If the latter, especially an apartment situation, the extension cord approach mightl not fly for a number of reasons.

An 8-bar battery is on death's door especially in a warm climate.


I'm a renter.

I know, I know. Even to me, the extension cord feels like the equivalent of sharing a cable hookup with a neighbor. Lol.

LeftieBiker
Posts: 7374
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:02 pm

The 20' extension cord could work, provided it was a high quality, heavy gauge cord rated for 20 amps, and - this is important - it was placed so that it was supported at both ends, didn't get moved or pulled, and didn't get stepped on or squeezed by the window. It would also need an outlet with either a brand new plug unit or one in excellent shape - no wear.
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: 2713
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:46 am
Delivery Date: 11 Jan 2013
Leaf Number: 027089
Location: SoCal

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:05 pm

laurench wrote:
RonDawg wrote:3. Depending on how degraded the battery is, your mileage needs are so low that you could go for a few more years before needing a replacement battery. However if you plan on paying $9500 in a year or so, you're better off getting a much newer car.


3) I threw out the year timeline because I'm still trying to figure out how long the capacity of that 8 bar battery might last. I wouldn't replace it until I absolutely needed to (a trend with me, apparently... see my 99 Civic.).


There's an owner here (TaylorGuySF) who has a severely degraded 2011 Leaf. Last I checked he was down to 5/12 bars, perhaps down to 4 now. He lives in the Puget Sound area but the reason for the degraded battery condition is because he puts LOTS of miles on his car; he was one of the first, if not THE first, to rack up 100k miles on a Leaf, a feat when the battery can only take you 80 or so miles at a charge.

In LA you'll get faster degradation but if you look at my sig line, it took me not quite 3 years to lose the first bar. Subsequent bars will drop off faster as the first bar is worth 15% and the rest 6.25%. I'm in the Pasadena area for reference (since LA has such a varied climate depending on where you are).
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

User avatar
Nubo
Posts: 4501
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:01 am
Delivery Date: 31 Oct 2014
Location: Vallejo, CA

Re: Newbie with the "should I buy this Leaf?" question

Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:09 pm

LeftieBiker wrote: One slip. I wouldn't say an 8 bar pack is "on death's door" - it just doesn't have a lot of range...


It's not pining, it's passed on.
This battery is no more.
It has ceased to be.
It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late battery.
It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace!
If you hadn't nailed it to the LEAF, it would be pushing up the daisies.
It's rung down the curtain and joined the Choir Invisible.
This is an EX-battery!. :lol:
Last edited by Nubo on Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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