Nords
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:03 pm
Delivery Date: 02 Jan 2019
Leaf Number: 302408
Location: Oahu, Hawaii.

Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:27 am

Aloha and thanks for everyone’s advice here.

My spouse and I are retirees on Oahu. Our 2006 Prius is facing a couple of laborious repair hassles after 103K miles, and we’re ready to replace it with a Leaf. We’re looking at the 2015 and 2016 years.

I’ve read through most of the forum’s recent threads on Leaf history, the various features, longevity issues, and LeafSpy. As we begin our search, I’d appreciate any additional tips or regrets.

We’ve bought used vehicles since the 1990s and we prefer paying cash with private sellers, but we’ll talk with a dealer if the car looks like a bargain. We’re checking VINs with CarFax. I’m a retired U.S. Navy submariner with the usual mechanical & electrical skills, and I know how to assess a used vehicle’s condition, but I’m not seeking a project car.

I have LeafSpy Pro loaded on our iPhone 6 (iOS12) with a Bluetooth OBDII reader. I can use the OBDII reader’s software just fine on our Priuses but I haven’t tried LeafSpy on a Leaf yet.

Our longest drive on this island is a 60-mile round trip and we’re usually under 5000 miles/year. We’ve seen lots of Leafs here and we know people who’ve had several years of easy commuting. 2015s seem to be relatively rare on the local resale market-- probably a good sign-- and we haven’t seen any 2016s yet.

We don't commute and we’d probably only use it once per day with plenty of overnight recharge time. We don’t care about a Leaf’s heating system but we’ll routinely use the air conditioning. We expect to drive it at least a couple times per month, although it’ll occasionally be garaged for 2-3 months while we’re on travel. Our home has a grid-tied photovoltaic system, and we’ll add at least 400 watts of solar panels to bring it up to the necessary capacity.

We can recharge through our garage’s 120v outlets, but we’d like to recharge through our 240v receptacle for the electric dryer. (We only run the dryer once or twice a month.) The dryer’s dedicated 30-amp breaker seems to be suitable. Any particular EVSE recommendations?

Our second car is a 2005 Prius with a Thule roof rack and only 54K miles, and that’s now our longboard hauler.

I’ve done plenty of reading and I've watched a bunch of videos, but I’ve never actually driven a Leaf. That part seems a lot like a Prius.

Also like our Priuses, I suspect that we’ll want to replace a Leaf’s 12v battery every four years.

Any other recommendations?

LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 11974
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:14 am

Let me bump and link my used Leaf buying guide. What you seem to want, unless you like extra features like remote access to climate control and a mediocre Nav system (or an excellent 4 camera parking system and good Bose stereo) is a Leaf S. Assuming that the 60 mile trip isn't at freeway speeds (heh) then the 24kwh "Lizard Pack" is what you want. It's found in all 2015 Leafs and in all 24kwh 2016 Leaf S cars. It's the most heat-tolerant pack Nissan has made to date, and while not perfect in that regard it's still your best bet. I'll add the buying guide link shortly.

http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=26662
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.

stjohnh
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:27 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Jun 2013
Leaf Number: 409675
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:16 am

A couple of questions:
Hawaii has expensive electricity, how much is your effective rate, considering you have solar? The reason I ask is that at 30 cents /kwh, the fuel cost for a Leaf will be very close to the fuel cost of a Pruis, assuming gasoline at $4/ gal.

With your minimal driving, even if your electricity cost is 15 cents/kwh, you will save very little yearly on fuel costs.

With your minimal driving, why do you want to charge at 240 volts? Even though slow, 120 charging should be fine for you.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Leaf, but I don't see much reason in your post for buying one. If you "just want electric" that's fine.
Blessings,
Holland

2 LEAFS, bought 1 week apart. 2013 S for me, 2013 SV is wife's. Both manufactured May 2013. I lost first bar at 36,000. Wife still has all bars at 50,000.

LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 11974
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:43 am

I think that they will, after driving a Prius, find driving a Leaf to be delightful. It happens a lot: driving a Prius gives one a taste for a quiet, clean electric drive, and then driving an actual EV becomes more like switching to a luxury sport sedan.
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.

Nords
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:03 pm
Delivery Date: 02 Jan 2019
Leaf Number: 302408
Location: Oahu, Hawaii.

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:49 am

LeftieBiker wrote:Let me bump and link my used Leaf buying guide. What you seem to want, unless you like extra features like remote access to climate control and a mediocre Nav system (or an excellent 4 camera parking system and good Bose stereo) is a Leaf S. Assuming that the 60 mile trip isn't at freeway speeds (heh) then the 24kwh "Lizard Pack" is what you want. It's found in all 2015 Leafs and in all 24kwh 2016 Leaf S cars. It's the most heat-tolerant pack Nissan has made to date, and while not perfect in that regard it's still your best bet. I'll add the buying guide link shortly.

http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=26662

Thanks for writing the buying guide-- it's one of the first things I read on the forum.

You're right, the S version is fine for us. We don't care about the remote access or the Nav system... or even the cameras & stereo... although we'd still buy a car with those features if the battery and the rest of the drive train was in good shape. We don't even care about the color and we wouldn't mind a few dings & scrapes.

On Oahu's "interstate" highways we're usually driving no faster than 60 MPH. (One stretch of H-1 and H-3 each have a 60 MPH speed limit, the rest are 55.) Most of our driving is between 30-50 MPH.

The vast majority of our weather is 75-85 degrees F with a few days in the low 90s. Air conditioning is nice but we can live without it if we need to squeeze out a few more miles of range. If I had to drive over 60 miles round trip then I'd probably take our other Prius anyway.

stjohnh wrote:A couple of questions:
Hawaii has expensive electricity, how much is your effective rate, considering you have solar? The reason I ask is that at 30 cents /kwh, the fuel cost for a Leaf will be very close to the fuel cost of a Pruis, assuming gasoline at $4/ gal.

With your minimal driving, even if your electricity cost is 15 cents/kwh, you will save very little yearly on fuel costs.

With your minimal driving, why do you want to charge at 240 volts? Even though slow, 120 charging should be fine for you.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Leaf, but I don't see much reason in your post for buying one. If you "just want electric" that's fine.

The main reason for buying a Leaf is that we're going to buy something, and a Leaf's been on our radar for a few years.

We've lived here for 29 years and we're familiar with expensive electricity, but that expense is not the main reason for buying a Leaf. We'll generate all the power we need from our solar panels, so we're independent of HECO's 30 cents/KWHr. I think the average Oahu homeowner's electric bill is up to $250/month, and we've heard of $400/month with some neighbors who use air conditioning.

We've had our grid-tied photovoltaic system since 2005 (we were one of the island's early adopters), and it paid for itself by 2011. (We did most of the mechanical & wiring work ourselves with used panels, and then we paid an electrician to do the final connections. We needed the electrician's license for the city permits and the signatures on HECO's net-metering agreement.) Our monthly electric bill is $18 for the grid connection fee, and the first-generation net-metering agreement compensates us at HECO's retail rate for each KWHr we generate. (HECO's latest net-metering agreements are much less generous.) We rarely use more power than we generate. As long as we stay at this address, a Leaf has very low operating costs for us.

Our total gas expense last year was about $850 total for two Priuses. I think gas got as low as $2.95/gallon for a while in 2018 but it's crept back up to about $3.50. Getting rid of at least a quarter of our fuel expenses that won't change our financial lives, but I'll happily give up oil changes.

I think you're right, we don't need a 240v charging system, although a shorter recharge time would be more convenient. It's not a big deal either way. I haven't done a lot of research on the choices, and we could wait until a bargain L2 system comes along. If we had two Leafs in our garage someday then I'd definitely want a 240v charger.

Most of our Prius systems have been reliable and we won't miss an internal-combustion engine. (We're not going back to ICE vehicles.) Our 2006 would be worth about $5000 if all of its auxiliary hardware & electronics worked. The main battery is fine but the dashboard display needs a new circuit card, which is a $150 card and either $1100 of the dealer's labor or a few hours of my frustration. (And brittle plastic dashboard pieces.) Another repair is a ventilation damper's stepper motor for a couple hundred bucks (and more brittle dashboard plastic). It could use new tires & struts, in a few years it'll need new brake shoes, maybe an engine tuneup in another five years... it all starts to add up. We'd easily buy another Prius, but the Leaf (with no ICE) seems simpler than a plug-in Prius.

LeftieBiker wrote:I think that they will, after driving a Prius, find driving a Leaf to be delightful. It happens a lot: driving a Prius gives one a taste for a quiet, clean electric drive, and then driving an actual EV becomes more like switching to a luxury sport sedan.

I think it's a nice vehicle for our needs. We prefer to drive beat-up beach cars instead of luxury sport sedans. If a Leaf fits in well with our routine then in a few years we'll replace the other Prius with another Leaf, perhaps with a bigger battery pack.

I don't feel mature or responsible enough to own a Tesla.

goldbrick
Posts: 424
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:01 am

I second the notion that you will really an enjoy a Leaf and that it will suit your needs well. The S trim should be fine for you (no heat pump heating, no internet access to car from your phone, no navigation system built in, no LED headlights, crummy sound system, etc) but great for basic transportation. I have a 2017 S and the AC has little effect on range. The heat - which you won't need - has a much, much bigger effect.

As far as charging, the NEC limits the amount of charging current on a 30A circuit to 24A (80% rule). A Leaf charging with L2 and an 'upgraded' charger will pull 27.5A unless the EVSE indicates that it cannot supply that much current. Long story short, if you plan to charge at 240V using your dryer plug, make sure you get an EVSE that lets you set the current limit to 24A or lower. If you get a Leaf that doesn't have a CHAdeMO port (non-upgraded charger), this isn't a concern since the charger on the car will limit the power below this level, even with a 240V source.

Last but not least, consider importing a car from the mainland. I don't know how much that would cost or what other hassles that might involve but it would widen the available cars by quite a bit. I'm sure LeftieBiker's guide covers all the battery chemistry and hot climate concerns so be careful to check the car's history before buying remotely.

Go test drive a Leaf. They're great little cars and I bet you will really enjoy it.

Dooglas
Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:08 pm
Delivery Date: 04 Jan 2017
Leaf Number: 314779
Location: Oregon City, OR

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:35 am

goldbrick wrote:Last but not least, consider importing a car from the mainland. I don't know how much that would cost or what other hassles that might involve but it would widen the available cars by quite a bit.

Good suggestion. I suggest you contact Platt Auto Group in Portland, OR. They are a major reseller of used Leafs. Given their location, I'd expect they know a bit about shipping to Hawaii.

http://plattauto.com/
2013 Leaf SV - lease ended, 2016 Leaf S30 - purchased

LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 11974
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:46 pm

If you get a Leaf that doesn't have a CHAdeMO port (non-upgraded charger), this isn't a concern since the charger on the car will limit the power below this level, even with a 240V source.


Just to be clear: he's talking about the S specifically here. An SV or SL made after 2012 will have the higher rate onboard charger regardless of options. Clipper Creek makes nice inexpensive home charging stations with long warranties, that are US-made. They designate them by breaker size required rather than by output, so you'd want something like an HCS-30 for a 30 amp dryer circuit.
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.

Nords
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:03 pm
Delivery Date: 02 Jan 2019
Leaf Number: 302408
Location: Oahu, Hawaii.

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:35 am

"Well, that escalated quickly."

We bought a 2015 Leaf S yesterday, with 13,298 miles. I think we were one of the first people to contact the seller.

It was listed on Facebook Marketplace at $15K, which in our ZIP code is a Blue Book value in the range of $11.3K-$15.6K.

CarFax says the car was shipped from Nissan to Oahu’s King Windward Nissan in mid-2014. In August 2014 they leased it to someone who then paid for shipping to Kauai (?!?) and drove it for 7900 miles through July 2018. They returned it to King (which meant they paid to ship it back from Kauai). King detailed it and sold it to the second owner in October. The only events that CarFax recorded during the lease were for annual registrations and safety checks, along with a Lihue dealer’s “electrical system checks” at 5000 miles. Nissan’s corporate database says there are no recalls or campaigns.

The seller (the second owner) has lived here for a few years with his son. He says that he’s had a change of life plans and is returning to the Mainland. He enjoyed the car and it looks like he took good care of it for two months. He commuted daily and says he recharged mostly L1. He managed to drive it nearly 5400 miles over 84 days, though, so it went an average of 65 miles/day.

Its battery has all 12 bars, of course, although I couldn’t get LeafSpy to work with my OBDII reader for more details about the battery’s health. My iPhone seemed to connect with the reader over Bluetooth but LeafSpy never picked up any data. I’ll figure that out in the next few days; it’s either my operator error or I might have an incompatible OBDII.

The car is pristine and the auxiliaries look good. There’s not even any red dirt under the hood. The 12v battery (factory original) is due for replacement but everything else is squeaky-clean.

After a test drive, we offered to buy it for his $15K price with a certified check. He had already closed his local bank accounts and said he’d prefer cash. We drove to our credit union and withdrew a stack of $100s. He offered us his driver’s license for ID (we took a photo) and he signed over the title (and a bill of sale for DMV’s excise tax). We drove him home to the address on the car’s title.

Unless he was exploited by the dealer, this looks like a great car. It’s charging in our garage tonight (on the standard L1 charger) and this week I’ll work with the LeafSpy app some more.

I never expected to buy a used car this quickly. So far it’s been one of our easiest purchases ever.

goldbrick wrote:As far as charging, the NEC limits the amount of charging current on a 30A circuit to 24A (80% rule). A Leaf charging with L2 and an 'upgraded' charger will pull 27.5A unless the EVSE indicates that it cannot supply that much current. Long story short, if you plan to charge at 240V using your dryer plug, make sure you get an EVSE that lets you set the current limit to 24A or lower. If you get a Leaf that doesn't have a CHAdeMO port (non-upgraded charger), this isn't a concern since the charger on the car will limit the power below this level, even with a 240V source.

LeftieBiker wrote:Clipper Creek makes nice inexpensive home charging stations with long warranties, that are US-made. They designate them by breaker size required rather than by output, so you'd want something like an HCS-30 for a 30 amp dryer circuit.

Thanks. I’ll look into those details over the next few weeks. It seems to be recharging just fine overnight on its L1 charger.

goldbrick wrote:Last but not least, consider importing a car from the mainland. I don't know how much that would cost or what other hassles that might involve but it would widen the available cars by quite a bit. I'm sure LeftieBiker's guide covers all the battery chemistry and hot climate concerns so be careful to check the car's history before buying remotely.

Luckily the selection around here was “good enough”. Shipping from the west coast is about $1000, and then there’s the expense of shipping me to the car to buy it.

SageBrush
Posts: 4048
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: Colorado

Re: Our search for a 2015-16 Leaf.

Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:04 am

OP: you seem to be well informed and I wish you great success with your LEAF(s)
For your next one though, reconsider your decision to buy locally. I think a mainland purchase with shipping will be worth it.

And :: two thumbs up: on your early adoption of PV!
2013 LEAF 'S' Model with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California
Car is now enjoying an easy life in Colorado
03/2018: 58 Ahr, 28k miles
11/2018: 56.16 Ahr, 30k miles
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2018 Tesla Model 3 LR, Delivered 6/2018

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