Need help deciding the future of my LEAF.

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mwalsh

Well-known member
Leaf Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Messages
9,787
Location
Garden Grove
Hello, all! Long time, no visit (June 2020 was the last time, so far as I can tell).

Need a bit of help trying to decide what to do with my leaf. Here are my circumstances:

As you can see from my signature, 18 months ago (or perhaps even more than that) I was at 87,000 miles on the odometer. Today I am at 87,142. That's right, I've driven my LEAF 142 miles since the last time I updated my signature (which could well have even earlier than my last post here).

What has happened? Well, like many, I began working from home in March 2020 and I haven't been to the office since. When work started insisting on a return to the office environment in November 2020 (bear in mind - no vaccines yet), that and other events in my life around the same time made me decide to leave the job altogether and take early retirement.

My wife also had enough (non-Covid19 related) health issues in fall of 2020 that we decided she would no longer drive her 2013 Volt. She's doing quite a bit better now, thanks for asking, but at the end of the day she didn't really want to drive anymore, what with having me available to chauffeur and all. After she quit driving, I decided that the Volt was the more practical car to keep licensed and insured.

As a result, yes, I've put only a handful of miles on the LEAF in the last couple of years. It's currently on non-op with the DMV and is not insured. Though, since our community (technically) has private roads, I have been driving it slowly and carefully around the neighborhood the long way to go get our mail, just to make it feel a little bit loved. I probably would be better to walk and get the excessive myself, but exercising the LEAF is my excuse not to. LOL!

Also worth mentioning, as I offer the various options, is that my LEAF still has 11 bars on the 2015 warranty replacement pack, with a range of probably 70-75 miles, and that we are down to about 29 EV miles from the Volt when fully charged, which is more than adequate for 95% of our daily driving. Also worth mentioning is that the Volt only has 34,000 miles on the odometer and we need to use gas in it probably to the tune of around 5-6 gallons annually.

So, the choices as I see them are threefold. And I list them here in order of preference:

1) Sell the Volt and keep the LEAF. If I keep the LEAF, I’d like to investigate upgrading the battery pack with a 62KwH pack from a wrecked newer model. There really isn’t anything wrong with my LEAF other than the roof needing paint or wrapping (bad clear coat). I’d also like to try and figure out a way to keep and use my 2015 pack for home energy storage on my solar system. Or, I suppose, I could sell it. I know this upgrade would cost quite a bit, but there still is an emotional attachment to my LEAF and if I could get it to 200+miles of range, it would certainly enhance it's practicality.

2) Sell both the LEAF and the Volt and put the money towards a gently used Tesla Model S with longer range (70D, 85D, etc…). Preferably one with free lifetime supercharging.

3) Sell the LEAF and keep the Volt. This is the most boring option, but obviously also the cheapest and maybe the easiest.

Thoughts and opinions, please?
 
I suggest option D. ;) Sell the Volt, keep the Leaf, but upgrade to a 40kw pack from a salvage car. You clearly don't need more than 120-150 miles of range, and the 40kwh is much easier fit in your Leaf. It will also not feel like you are carrying a full load of people or cargo, as the 62kwh pack likely would. Finally, it is, as I understand it, easier to find 40kwh packs.
 
good to hear from an original member! i've still got mine @ 97K mi. but the degraded range puts a big crimp on usability for sure. i'd vote to sell both and get the Tesla. it'll renew your enthusiasm for driving EV again - it definitely did for me!
 
mwalsh said:
Preferably one with free lifetime supercharging.
FWIW, but I'm not convinced it's worth significantly that much. That is, as long as Tesla keeps SuperCharging from being a profit center.

Both of my Tesla cars have free unlimited SuC. You don't want to use SuperCharging for day-to-day charging, and for trips it ends up not being a significant cost.

E.g., my Model X just hit 37000 miles. From TeslaFi.com, this is the charging summary for AC and DC for the life of the car:
suc.JPG
Under AC, the "cost" is all from charging at home - I've never used a paid Level 2 anywhere. The "savings" is all from using free Level 2s. Prior to my pandemic and then my retirement (a year ago), the X was charged more than half the time at the office for free.

Under SuC, about 1000kWh of charging is from doing so at local shopping -- there are nearby SuC at two of the shopping centers we frequent. (so much for me saying not to use SuC for day-to-day charging; we only used those SuC because it is free for us; otherwise, we wouldn't have)

So in 3 years we've used under $1200 in SuC, and nearly 20% of that is from "use it because it's free" sessions rather than road trips.
 
jlv said:
FWIW, but I'm not convinced it's worth significantly that much.
I came to same conclusion for us, although someone who takes lots of trips away from home might come to a different conclusion. Those 'free Supercharging for lifetime' deals cost $2,000. If you figure the Supercharger electricity costs 10¢ a mile, you have to use the car 20,000 trip miles just to break even, and that is before you include opportunity costs of approximately 2000(1.05)^10 - 2000 = 1,250. So the real cost to buy into the free Supercharging was about $3,250 over 10 years, or about 3,250 trip miles per year.

People overpay to get something 'free'
 
SageBrush said:
Those 'free Supercharging for lifetime' deals cost $2,000.
That was early on (it was $3K IIRC). Sometime around 2016 it was simply included in the price of the Model S or X. I bought our Model S at the time they first announced that FUSC was going away. I bought our Model X at the time Tesla announced FUSC was going away for the third time (when it actually did).

For us, those 3700kWh of non-local SuC represent about 10000 miles of trip travel (370 Wh/mi or 2.7 mi/Wh avg on the highway), or about 3333 mi/yr.
 
Something I forgot to mention - I've also been toying with the idea of converting one of my classic Minis to EV. So I could theoretically split my 2015 pack and use about half of it for solar storage and the balance to make a local runabout EV out of the Mini.

If I remember my measurements from a while I go, i think it's like 12 modules fit comfortably in the boot (trunk) of the Mini without even thinking of cramming any in elsewhere. And the Mini costs quite a bit less to tax ($80) and insure ($300) because it's old as dirt and qualifies for collectible/limited use insurance via a company like Hagerty.
 
LeftieBiker said:
I'm sure that I've read of Leaf drivetrains being used for Mini conversions. Would you be happy with the result, as opposed to upgrading the Leaf?

This would be as well as. Upgrade the LEAF and use my existing 24kWh pack for the Mini and some solar storage.
 
You mentioned some health problems so I would look at other vehicle options carefully before giving up on the LEAF. The LEAF is easy to get in/out and other electric cars I looked at were more difficult. Your 2011 has some features missing on later cars, but the heating system takes more energy than the heat pumps. I would probably still be driving my 2011 if it had not met its untimely demise (probably with a retrofitted 40 kWh battery by now). One disadvantage to the 2011 is that the 3.3 kW charger would require longer charging times with a retrofit 40 kWh or 62 kWh battery than newer cars. Does the Volt have technical support on user forums like the LEAF and Tesla?
 
Sell both the Leaf and the Volt. Buy a new 2022 Leaf or Leaf+. You'll get the bigger battery, new electronics, 100,000 mi warranty and get $7500 Federal Rebate plus any state rebate. It will cost you less than trying to find a salvaged battery and install it. You'll end up with a much nicer car and it will not cost a lot to do. Buying a used Tesla will cost almost as much as buying a new one except that you can't actually get a new Tesla until sometime next year.
 
johnlocke said:
Sell both the Leaf and the Volt. Buy a new 2022 Leaf or Leaf+. You'll get the bigger battery, new electronics, 100,000 mi warranty and get $7500 Federal Rebate plus any state rebate. It will cost you less than trying to find a salvaged battery and install it. You'll end up with a much nicer car and it will not cost a lot to do. Buying a used Tesla will cost almost as much as buying a new one except that you can't actually get a new Tesla until sometime next year.

You're not wrong. I'm assuming, though, that the OP has a certain attachment to the old Leaf, and that he and his wife don't really need a new car. If I'm mistaken, though, your suggestion is the best.
 
If you are open to parting with one or both cars you also have to consider that they'll likely never be worth as much as they are right now. Of course, a replacement used or new car will also cost more at the moment, so...

It seems like early Leafs are worth less because of the known battery issues and the less efficient heaters, but since you've got a newer battery pack and are located in CA you've got a leg up there as well. Of course, you did mention some paint issues which will lower the value of the Leaf.

Just something to think about.

Having said that, if I didn't drive much, and if the Leaf covered most of the my driving, I would probably roll with it and rent an ICE vehicle when I needed to take a longer trip. If you work the numbers you might find that it's way cheaper to rent a vehicle a few times a year than to buy/insure/maintain one that you don't drive much.
 
Haven't had time to think of this but my 1st instinct was no way on a used Model S. Reliability is spotty at best and it can become a money pit once bits are of warranty (e.g. battery pack, MCU, drive unit, half shafts (e.g. https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/clunking-sound-is-costing-me-a-bundle-to-fix-out-of-warranty.93857/), door handles, etc.)

Google for these to get an idea of costs, if it happens:
model s drive unit out of warranty site:teslamotorsclub.com
model s pack out of warranty site:teslamotorsclub.com (e.g. https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/service-says-22k-for-new-battery-on-2012-model-s.221438/ and https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/2013-model-s-sudden-battery-failure.237950/page-2). BTW, wk057 is a very knowledgeable guy.

In late 2020, Model S had a pretty poor showing at https://web.archive.org/web/20201123161426/https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/who-makes-the-most-reliable-cars/. Click on Tesla. And, it was for that year in the bottom 10 in reliability: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2020/11/19/consumer-reports-auto-reliability-survey-2021-cars-trucks-suvs/6337648002/.

Other than the current crazy used car market, you could consider a used Bolt. GM dealers cannot sell unrepaired ones but some might have some repaired ones now (see near bottom of https://www.donohoochevrolet.com/blogs/3987/bolt-recall-update-batteries-incoming). Non-GM dealer sources can sell GM cars w/open recalls. Even if the pack hasn't been replaced, you can get the 883 80% temp limiter applied (it's on my '19). See https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2021/RCSB-21V560-3931.pdf, including the last page. You can then check via 1 of methods at top of https://www.chevybolt.org/threads/battery-replacement-recall-remedy-tracking-summary.41131/ to see when it's eligible for a pack. If it gets flipped to 881 w/no more "remedy not yet available", dealer can order a replacement pack.

All '17 to '19 Bolt owners got this letter: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2021/RMISC-21V560-4200.pdf, so the replacement pack will have about 8% more capacity than a new one and the 8 year/100K battery warranty will start over w/the new pack. ('20 to '22 Bolts won't have any additional capacity).

That said, there have been ridiculous Bolt parking bans (e.g. https://www.chevybolt.org/threads/bolt-parking-only.40557/page-7#post-663639). Not sure if the window clings (https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2021/RCMN-21V560-7907.pdf and https://www.autoblog.com/2022/01/04/chevy-bolt-window-sticker-battery-fire-recall-fix/) will help change things.

BTW, I own a '19 Bolt (bought new at end of Jan 2019) and finally got a buyback offer (began 9/14/21). The offer is good enough that due to the Federal tax credit (which they didn't and probably cannot deduct) and my low usage in miles, I'm getting all my $ back and likely making a slight profit (relates to the extended warranty I bought which I will only receive a pro-rated refund for and have to take up w/that warranty company). Hope to have Bolt surrendered by 1/28/22 when my CA tags expire. My Bolt was already flipped to 881 over a month ago. So, if the dealer is able to buy the car from GM, they can order a pack, install it and put it up for sale.

Will write more later when I have time.
 
Have you looked at the VW ID.4? Very reasonable price, plus you get the full warranty and the tax credits. It will take a while to receive, but any new car will now, unless you're paying a dealer premium.
 
OK. Decision reached. And the decision is - do nothing. LOL! At least not for now.

I'm going to keep the LEAF as-is for the moment as I continue research the upgrade options (Dala, EVs Enhanced, Simon André, etc...) with the expectation that the process becomes more mature, full kits that include all the hardware and electronics become available, and 64kWh packs become more readily available from salvage vehicles.

In the meantime, I will hedge my bets by continuing to remind (OK, harass) my neighbor over selling me his Model S at the trade in value he's offered if and when he comes to sell it. I don't think I could go too wrong with his VERY babied car.
 
solartim said:
Have you looked at the VW ID.4? Very reasonable price, plus you get the full warranty and the tax credits. It will take a while to receive, but any new car will now, unless you're paying a dealer premium.

Worst UI ever combined with slow screens was a deal breaker for me.
 
watchdoc said:
solartim said:
Have you looked at the VW ID.4? Very reasonable price, plus you get the full warranty and the tax credits. It will take a while to receive, but any new car will now, unless you're paying a dealer premium.

Worst UI ever combined with slow screens was a deal breaker for me.

VW software woes were top news for months, but when I took a VW.4 test drive I was not bothered by the interface at all. I may have changed my opinion during ownership, but I think a lot of it has to do with how much and in what way you use the car. E.g., I rarely use the 'entertainment' options, and I don't care much if my phone is connected to the car.
 
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