SageBrush, thank you for the apology - I appreciate it. And may I say, thank you and bravo on your incredibly thorough and awesome response. Your math does make me consider some concerns... So let me answer some of your questions because I didn't provide a lot of info in my original post. Perhaps this will change the tide a little.
Is the 30 mile commute one way or total ?
Total, or round trip. This is our daily commute five times a week.
Who will use each car ? Can you swap ?
My wife and I commute together 95% of the time, but when we don't I'd drive the Leaf and she would drive our Mazda 3. And yes, we can swap no problem... in fact she likes the Leaf so she may want to take it and make me drive the ICE. My wife and I work at the same place (in different areas, thankfully) so we commute together 95% of the time. Occasionally, one of us will have an errand or appointment in the early morning, or late afternoon so we then take our own vehicles. Now, i've been driving my 1991 Ford F150 that gets 12-13 mpg on the rare occasions we have to take separate vehicles. We also have a two year old daughter and I can't get a car seat in my truck (it's a manual trans, can't shift). So we need another car that can have a baby seat. Furthermore we don't see our situation changing any time in the near future, as we have both been at our place of employment for over 10 years and will probably stay as we are comfortable.
What are the weekly driving requirements for the non-LEAF driver ?
Usually none. If she has to she has a 2012 Mazda 3 SkyActiv; that's what we are daily driving now and it costs us about $120 per month in gas.
Can the LEAF be charged at work ?
Maybe... technically yes as the parking lot lights have 120V outlets on them, but I work for state government and I wouldn't do it without asking. I haven't asked yet... i'm sure if I asked they would say yes. I just feel, odd, about it.
Have you read threads in this forum on the cost of repairs at a dealership ?
I've searched the troubleshooting section looking for issues. I usually do my own maintenance on vehicles (oil changes, serpentine belts, etc. and I've replaced two clutch's in my garage, replaced alternators, power steering pumps, etc.) so I have confidence in my abilities. I didn't see a lot of issues for the Leaf except some basic stuff and maybe a water pump or two. My main concern is the battery pack which i'm obviously not going to replace myself (or, could I?) and I see they are about $8500 right now, assuming Nissan can even get one. That is concerning in itself but I figure if the car will last 100K miles it will have saved us money and served its purpose.
How competent is your local dealership fixing the LEAF ?
Not really sure... I'm told at a local Nissan dealership they have one "Leaf" mechanic, and he is the only one allowed to work on the cars - and that he's done battery replacements and other repairs. Though they could have just been telling me that to try and make a sale as we test drove a 2016 S. There is another Nissan dealership I like but I haven't talked to them about working on a Leaf. I did call them asking for a price estimate on battery replacement and they told me $12K... bah.
Presuming $2.40 a gallon fuel and 30 mpg, your current driving is 350 miles a week. How much of that would the LEAF do ? The LEAF fuel savings are only that proportion, minus the cost of electricity.
Gas is about $3/gal here right now, we tend to have higher prices compared to the rest of the nation. We drive about 170-190 miles a week. The Leaf fits the bill for 95% or more of our driving needs. Our region is using hydroelectric so our electricity is pretty cheap... $0.07 per kWh is pretty typical and up to $0.12 per kWh in the summer. I've estimated our electricity bill to go up by about $25-30 a month compared to $1,500 or so on gas.
Do you understand battery capacity details ?
That's why i'm here... i'm learning as much as I can about this. Here's my thoughts based on what i've learned so far.
So both yesterday and today's drive to/from work (I did a complete trip today, dropped my wife off at work as I took the day off for other stuff) the car showed 3.5 kW per mile. That was with low air pressure on front tires (and I just saw front tires are not "eco" tires, they are standard all seasons; rears are eco tires though) and liberal use of the heater, and seat heaters. Plus I do drive a little quick and occasionally do full power to get into traffic. Both days the Leaf consumed right about 50% of the battery's charge.
Assuming we will be using the heat full time in the coldest part of winter, i'm guessing we may use around 70-75% of the battery. If I think we will be cutting it that close I may charge the battery to 85% or even 90%. When we got home last night at our usual time I plugged it in and when I checked it this morning it was at 98% (according to the instrument cluster) so I know the 120V can do it. But I plan to install a 240V / 40A or 50A power in my garage and if this is possible, trickle charge the Leaf up in the evening early morning to 60-70% then when I wake up, (or schedule it possibly) an hour before leaving the house, jump to L2 charging and bump it up to 85 or 90% charge at the last minute. It wouldn't be sitting at this charge level more than an hour and i'm hoping that would help longevity.
This is a nice advantage over ICE vehicles as I don't drive them that hard when the oil is cold - i'll let everything warm up to operating temperature before going full throttle. Regardless of my driving style I still get 30-32 mpg in our Mazda 3 because I know how to drive efficiently and do, most of the time.
Your math is interesting though i'm not sure if it would match my usage. I'm assuming some of this is based off of my Leaf Spy data... But, what is your definition of "deep winter"? We are in a pretty mild climate area as our winters very rarely dip down into the single digits, and we get maybe 15-20 days of 100 degrees plus in the summer. If I were to use the term deep winter I feel our average temp through the late morning and early day is 27 F and in the hottest part of summer averaging morning temp and afternoon I'd say about 93 F. I intend to keep the Leaf at home in the garage and take the Mazda on days where I know it will be near the 100's.
With all this in mind, do you still think the car will only make it two years or so before it can no longer meet our needs?