I've gotten through some of the basics and could use some help navigating to what you might think best matched my situation...
Some background... I've never owned an EV car. I'm an engineer, love data, am conscious about MPG and always want to reduce reoccurring expenses. Seems only natural for me to end up with EV, but hasn't happened yet. I have a coworker with a 2018 Leaf SL who has been my primary source of info (instigator). I've driven another co-worker's Teslas (1st and 2nd gen Model S). And I test drove an Audi eTron a couple weeks ago. That's the extent of my hands on experience.
As one reference, here's my mileage and fuel economy tracking over the past 18 years on a variety of vehicles:
Now for the flip side... I've almost exclusively owned forced induction (mostly turbo) vehicles and have modified them for performance reasons. Turbos work well to provide power when I want and economy when I don't. I've gone 11.7@122mph at the drag strip in the same car I drove 42k miles in a year. I value both. These have almost entirely been in the VW family. Currently my daily driver is an Audi A7 TDI which has plenty of torque and size, yet gets me a max of 38 MPG highway, good for ~700 miles on a tank. I drive 500 miles one-way a couple times a year and as I'm writing this I'm 500 miles from home about to go to bed and wake up at midnight to do that drive non-stop.
I would be adding (not replacing) an EV car to our garage. It would likely be used most days driving to the office, 20 miles one-way. There are only a few L2 chargers there, so not sure how often I'd be able to charge at work. We live in the Raleigh/Durham area of NC, outside of town such that the closet retail we drive to is 12 miles away. Most destinations are 12-20 miles away, and not uncommon for us to triple that during a multi-stop errand outing. However I don't know if as a family we'd take this car much. However I often run errands on workdays adding to that commute. From this, I basically feel like I need to look at cars with 75+ mile range.
When looking at for sale ads (I've looked at well over a hundred on CarGurus), how much attention should I pay to the "miles remaining" (on a full charge) versus the # of bars? I understand the Canary/Wolf/Lizard different packs, let's assume that's the same between 2 cars. What I'm asking I guess is whether the "miles remaining" is impacted and learns from the driving style of the owner or is directly correlated to the battery capacity without consideration to the recent driving? My ICE cars, for example, adjust the mikes remaining based on how I drive. Same for Leaf? If so, then seemingly I should focus more on #bars, because the miles remaining for that owner may not represent what I'll achieve, for better or worse.
So I started this quest by looking at $5000 Leafs for sale. I think I should stick with SV or SL from what I've read. I want to get features in the car, including the nicer looking dash which seems to come with those cars if they have NAV. I also like the leather. Many in that $5k (or less) price point are 2011. Seems I could consider one of those if I know pack has been replaced after 3/2013? But then there's some issues with heating system power consumption? So then I started looking for 2013 SV/SL ones. It seems like maybe this is the sweet spot for price and quality?
I noticed in photos the top of the power inductor (I think that's what's sitting in the traditional engine location) has changed in style starting in 2013, but haven't seen discussion on that. Any comment on what's presumably better in that change?
Aside from battery, what issues should I look for in higher mile cars? Wear in driver's seat and general wear and tear, of course. Stone chips, rust from wintery or coastal regions. What things specific to Leafs to watch out with higher miles?
As I keep seeing "some other feature" that's better in newer examples, the price keeps creeping up. When I get up to $9k, now I'm starting to get close to VW eGolf, Kia Soul ev, and BMW i3. The VW/BMW would certainly match my general styles in cars better, so those then start to get attractive (I know very little about them), then I need to remind myself this started with $5k price attraction.
Any comments, ramblings, experiences welcomed. Thanks for reading!