theschoolbus
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:48 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:08 pm

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:
http://ctny.audiworld.com/mark/s4/mileage/

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!

Mark

LeftieBiker
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Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:55 pm

If you haven't already read this, start by doing that:

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

A couple of answers not in the buying guide:

* The onboard charger is what moved from the rear of the car to the front "Power Distribution Module" (PDM) Stack." That gives a better cargo area in the rear, although cars with the Premium Package have a Bose subwoofer sticking up there instead.

* Wear and tear isn't directly related to mileage, so look at each car carefully and don't assume that mileage or even age equal wear level.

* If you can afford to spend $7k, get the 4/2013+ Leaf. A member here, Cwerdna, was a good one for sale that he will take $6500 for. It is a 2013 SV with Premium Package but no QC. Later build date with good battery and 11 bars.

* The mileage estimator ("Guess O Meter" or GOM) is of little value in determining the actual range of a used Leaf.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

theschoolbus
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:48 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:17 pm

Thanks Michael, I literally just came back here now to note that I read that thread. :) And that I have a basic understanding of LeafSpy. My coworker actually lent me his OBDII dongle if I found a car during my roadtrip and I decided to purchase LeafSpy to check a car out.

I have noticed the blockage behind the read seats on earlier cars and that it opened up on 2013. Likewise the bose amp awkwardly in that spot. Is the premium bose generally desirable?

QC (DC Quick Charge, I assume) wasn't standard in 2013? (When) did it become standard? I was thinking only early S models didn't have it?

What's the L2 charger rated at for which years? I think I read 3.3 kWh in early ones and some people upgraded to 4.4, then in later years the standard charger increased to something >4.4?

I do assume/hope I'll end up around $7k for a nice balance of battery/mileage/condition/#owners/options/color. I see I can get "something" for $5k with some good parts of those, but not necessarily the full combo I'm looking for.
Examples:

2011 15k miles / 10bars / 74 range / $5000 https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/share/242824086

2011 76k miles / 12 bars / 94 range / $5200 https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/share/242567211
New battery 2yr/23k miles ago.

Good to know on the GOM, thanks!

Mark

jjeff
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Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:56 pm

All pre '13 Leafs only had the 3.6kwh charger, after '12 all Leafs had the 6.6kwh charger with the exception of the S model without the charger package which not only included the double speed L2 charger but also the QC port. '13 was kind of a odd year for the QC port, some SV's also lacked it as well as some SVs lacked the backup camera unless they got a particular package.
I rarely listen to the radio so I'm probably not a good one to answer your Bose question but my non-Bose S sounds good enough to me and my mother has an SL with Bose and at the volumes I listen I haven't noticed a big difference. I do not like how it reduces storage though as well as '11's and 12's.
To me the 2x L2 charging speed is a big feature, it's nice when shopping to plug into a free L2 charger and gain charge twice as fast, 1/2 the speed seems painfully slow in comparison.
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WetEV
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Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:07 pm

theschoolbus wrote:I've gotten through some of the basics and could use some help navigating to what you might think best matched my situation...
Some suggestions will require us to know your rough location.

Would you add "Raleigh/Durham area of NC" to your profile?
theschoolbus wrote: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.
Consider that a car that can drive from full to empty in "n" miles. Not a good plan to count on exactly '"n" miles, as things can change, detours happen and so on. Also any battery will lose capacity with time. You want the car to be usable for many years.

To have a no-worries range of 75+ miles, probably should be looking for twice that range. The 24kWh LEAF doesn't have that kind of range.

So I do not recommend that you buy a 24kWh (nominal) LEAF.
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LeftieBiker
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Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:42 pm

The Bose system sounds better, especially if adjusted via the audio menu.

QC was optional on non-SL models up until 2015, IIRC. I drove a 4/2013 SV with Premium but no QC for 5 years. The real gem in the Premium package is the 360 degree "Around View" 4 parking camera system. It really makes parking in tight spots a breeze, via a synthesized view from about 15' above the center of the car, showing the spaces around it. Those Nissan bas, er, executives deleted the Premium Package for 2018, making those features standard on the SL and not available on the SV.

The ranges being quoted in the listings are way too high. Figure about 65 miles for a (now rare) solid 12 bars, 55 miles for 11, and 50-60% of those figures in frigid Winter weather, depending on whether or not the car has the heatpump-equipped heater..
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

theschoolbus
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:48 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:12 am

jjeff wrote:All pre '13 Leafs only had the 3.6kwh charger, after '12 all Leafs had the 6.6kwh charger with the exception of the S model without the charger package which not only included the double speed L2 charger but also the QC port. '13 was kind of a odd year for the QC port, some SV's also lacked it as well as some SVs lacked the backup camera unless they got a particular package.
I rarely listen to the radio so I'm probably not a good one to answer your Bose question but my non-Bose S sounds good enough to me and my mother has an SL with Bose and at the volumes I listen I haven't noticed a big difference. I do not like how it reduces storage though as well as '11's and 12's.
To me the 2x L2 charging speed is a big feature, it's nice when shopping to plug into a free L2 charger and gain charge twice as fast, 1/2 the speed seems painfully slow in comparison.
Thanks Jeff, this is helpful, and confirms the direction I was mostly headed which was towards 2013 (or maybe newer).

theschoolbus
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:48 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:18 am

WetEV wrote:
theschoolbus wrote:I've gotten through some of the basics and could use some help navigating to what you might think best matched my situation...
Some suggestions will require us to know your rough location.

Would you add "Raleigh/Durham area of NC" to your profile?
Done, thanks.

WetEV wrote:
theschoolbus wrote: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.
Consider that a car that can drive from full to empty in "n" miles. Not a good plan to count on exactly '"n" miles, as things can change, detours happen and so on. Also any battery will lose capacity with time. You want the car to be usable for many years.

To have a no-worries range of 75+ miles, probably should be looking for twice that range. The 24kWh LEAF doesn't have that kind of range.

So I do not recommend that you buy a 24kWh (nominal) LEAF.
I appreciate you taking an unbiased approach here. My main intended purpose would be to use the Leaf to drive 40 miles roundtrip to work, possibly charging at work in addition to at home (ideally only charging at work). So I was really looking for no-worries on 40mi and thus my thought of 75ish. I think that may still be in-line with your advice, but I do appreciate you letting me take a mental step back to see if this makes sense for me or not. I'd also be considering driving into either Raleigh or Durham on weekends, which is slightly less than my work commute as well, so seeming would fit there as well if work does. I guess I would need to focus only on 11-12 bar cars it seems, if I did move forward.

theschoolbus
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:48 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:21 am

LeftieBiker wrote:The Bose system sounds better, especially if adjusted via the audio menu.

QC was optional on non-SL models up until 2015, IIRC. I drove a 4/2013 SV with Premium but no QC for 5 years. The real gem in the Premium package is the 360 degree "Around View" 4 parking camera system. It really makes parking in tight spots a breeze, via synthesized view from about 15' above the center of the car, showing the spaces around it. Those Nissan bas, er, executives deleted the Premium Package for 2018, making those features standard on the SL and not available on the SV.

The ranges being quoted in the listings are way too high. Figure about 65 miles for a (now rare) solid 12 bars, 55 miles for 11, and 50-60% of those figures in frigid Winter weather, depending on whether or not the car has the heatpump-equipped heater..
The top-view is definitely something I'd want. Thanks for pointing out that's only in certain vehicles. Is there something else physical that feature directly correlates to that I could see in photos? I think I understand if it has the Bose amp in the trunk, then it has Premium, and thus has the Around View? Or is that not always the case? And are there times when it has Around View, but not necessarily Bose amp?

Hmm, that range does make me 2nd guess if this is right for me...

Thanks,
Mark

theschoolbus
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:48 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Low prices on older Leafs grabbed my attention, now what?

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:26 am

What's the current policy for Battery Replacement Warranty? I heard it changed? Does that apply to older cars before the change, or does the policy stick with the car as sold? Am I likely to find a car for sale today that meets the criteria and I could immediately go to Nissan for a replacement Battery? Or are those pretty quickly scoured and sucked up by others preying on that? I would think maybe not if there's such a high volume of cars for sale it may still be hard to flip one even with that situation?

I have some of the "scandal" VW/Audi Diesel vehicles so I'm familiar with people buying those up to get the buyback deals when that first happened. I have to imagine something similar here too?

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