cwerdna
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Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:31 pm

iPlug wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:26 pm
How long do you plan to keep the vehicle?
Yep. A good question.

Another consideration is the Bolt. They have battery thermal management and are heavily discounted in Nor Cal (e.g. https://www.chevroletoffremont.com/Vehi ... rice%7Casc). Federal tax credit is only $3750 now though and will be $1875 starting 10/1/19.

They seem to exist on Oahu. This is the first dealer I checked https://www.jnchevrolet.com/VehicleSear ... rice%7Casc. I know nothing about any dealers in Hawaii. This is at least a better sign from a support POV than than CA/CARB compliance car isn't even sold in your state.

However, at 238 mile EPA range rating (for '17 to '19 and will be 259 miles for '20), you may be buying way more range than you need.

Re: thermal management, from observations so far (https://www.chevybolt.org/threads/batte ... ost-512173), it doesn't look like it'll (usually?) get cooled to below 27 C (80.6 F) or so when plugged in.

'19 Bolt Premier
'13 Leaf SV w/premium package (owned)
'13 Leaf SV w/QC + LED & premium packages (lease over, car returned)

Please don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

Lemaign
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:17 pm
Delivery Date: 11 Sep 2019

Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:04 am

Thanks everyone for the replies! The conversation goes a bit beyond the Standard versus Plus, which is fine because admittedly I'm still mulling over some of these decisions. Answers to a few posts, out of their chronological order:
iPlug wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:26 pm
How long do you plan to keep the vehicle?
We've generally kept our standard cars for 10+ years, so my hope would be that the Leaf would last for at least a decade as well.
SageBrush wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:08 pm
Neither. A new LEAF is just way too expensive for an EV that loses 3-5% of range a year.

Choose a plug-in with at least an air cooled battery.
A Prius Prime would be close to a perfect fit for you.
The lack of a more intricate thermal management system is the #1 thing that bothers me about our decision to go with a Leaf. It's not only that it makes sense to give great attention to the battery's temperature, but it seems that every other manufacturer's EVs have such a system, so why shouldn't the Leaf? From what I've read the latest Leafs do have an air cooling system for the batteries, a seeming admission from Nissan that it matters and wasn't handled optimally before... but whether it's as good as Tesla's or Chevrolet's systems remains to be seen.

The biggest problem is the lack of data. Do Leafs have higher failure rates or battery degradation compared with other manufacturers? All that I can find are anecdotal experiences and theorizing. Salespeople from Nissan and Tesla don't seem to have any numbers to share.

What I do know is that there are a lot of EVs in Hawaii - enough that I've seen three in a row on the highway more than once - and there are a lot of earlier-generation Leafs still in use. I guess it makes me feel a bit better about things.

As for the Prius Prime option, that one is on the back of my mind as well. Given how long we hold on to cars, we'd prefer to go all-in with a BEV, partly for convenience (no need to do oil changes anymore) and largely for environmental reasons.
LeftieBiker wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:14 pm
Can you state your range needs in terms of maximum daily miles and how much weight you are giving to cost? Sagebrush is at least somewhat right about battery degradation in your Island's heat, but if you will never lose enough range to matter, or would get a new battery under warranty, then the 40kwh Leaf would work if you want the EV experience and don't want to be lugging a gasoline engine around. I'm assuming that you won't be using DC Fast Charge...? The main advantage the 60kwh Leaf offers is range, plus being better able to do sequential DC fast charges on the same day.
The absolute longest drive we would ever do - and this would be something like once a year, if that - would be close to 90 miles. The average drive would be more around 7-8 miles per day. No plans to utilize fast charging.

I would say that we're cost-conscious but not constrained. We could buy a Model 3, and it's not entirely out of consideration, but we prefer the Leaf as it's a bit more Prius-like in its dimensions (cargo space and external dimensions). If Toyota made a fully electric Prius we probably wouldn't be here... but boy are they ever dragging their feet on electric vehicles. Oahu has the Mirai available to lease but we're not interested in going down that route, either... rambling aside, we can afford the Plus version, but it's not a few hundred dollars' difference and so we'd prefer not to spend a few thousand if we're really not going to be benefitting from it. I did look at the Chevrolet Bolt and the BMW i3 (the other two big options that we see around here), but didn't feel that they offered much over the Leaf or Model 3. I've started seeing some Audio e-Tron vehicles but we haven't looked into those. I've seen a few Mitsubishi MiEv's but their range is worse than the original Leaf, and they're not very aesthetically pleasing... and looking it up just now, it looks like it was discontinued two years ago. A shame they didn't give it similar treatment as Nissan did for the Leaf.

Ultimately the Leaf will be my wife's vehicle, and primarily a work commuter vehicle. I'm usually the driver for our other excursions, and when it's my turn to go for a fully electric vehicle it'll probably be a consideration between a Model X or Model Y with extended seating, or the Chrysler Portal (if and when it's released) to accommodate all family. It'll be a relief to not have the thermal management issue hanging over me when I have to decide for myself!

Again, thanks everyone for the questions and thoughts - it gives me some more things to discuss with my wife before we make a final decision. Any further thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

cwerdna
Posts: 9812
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:31 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:41 am

Lemaign wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:04 am
The lack of a more intricate thermal management system is the #1 thing that bothers me about our decision to go with a Leaf. It's not only that it makes sense to give great attention to the battery's temperature, but it seems that every other manufacturer's EVs have such a system, so why shouldn't the Leaf? From what I've read the latest Leafs do have an air cooling system for the batteries, a seeming admission from Nissan that it matters and wasn't handled optimally before... but whether it's as good as Tesla's or Chevrolet's systems remains to be seen.

The biggest problem is the lack of data. Do Leafs have higher failure rates or battery degradation compared with other manufacturers? All that I can find are anecdotal experiences and theorizing. Salespeople from Nissan and Tesla don't seem to have any numbers to share.
The only battery cooling any Leaf has is totally passive "air cooling" via whatever airflow or adapting to environment "cooling" or heating there is. There isn't even a fan. This hasn't changed since day 1. Starting w/model year '12, a battery warmer was added but that won't do anything in Hawaii (https://www.cars.com/articles/2012-niss ... 663161727/).

I don't keep up with Priuses any longer but gen 1 thru 3 Prius (we're at gen 4 now) at least had a battery fan with the intake being inside the passenger compartment. Fan: https://lusciousgarage.com/blog/prius_b ... _cleaning/. Pic of intake on gen 2 at https://www.autoserviceprofessional.com ... top-view=1 (I quickly found this, I disagree with their annual cleaning recommendation). So, at least if it were hot for a human, they might run the AC while driving and cooler air would make it to the HV battery.

Leaf battery failure rates seem very low. Degradation on pre-4/2013 Leafs was TERRIBLE. 4/2013 thru model year '14 seems better. Model year '15 "lizard" pack seems best. All the others past that (30, 40 and 62 kWh) are too new for us to know much but the 30 kWh batteries haven't had the best of signs even after https://insideevs.com/news/338528/updat ... ng-issues/ was issued. The bug caused many 30 kWh cars to report much lower capacity and thus several packs were replaced, probably erroneously. The only plus side is the 30 to 62 kWh Leaf batteries have an 8 year/100K capacity warranty. If you're down to 8 capacity bars before expiration --> free replacement. 24 kWh Leaf batteries only had a 5 year/60K capacity warranty (same deal w/the bars).

I've not seen any EV automaker be forthcoming about battery degradation data. There are numerous factors (e.g. temperatures, age, how the battery is treated, etc.) I thought I've seen folks in Hawaii with earlier Leafs (pre-40 kWh) who've suffered quite a bit of capacity loss, probably because it doesn't cool down to a very low temp at night in warmer months. I don't follow it closely. Hopefully someone has more/more accurate info on this.

It is unclear how much battery thermal management might help in Hawaii. It depends on when it's triggered, how low it gets the temp down to and whether that's sufficient to slow down degradation. WetEV has brought up dew points (which hadn't occurred to me and aren't my area of expertise), but he's brought up temps that are wrong. I replied at viewtopic.php?p=564799#p564799. I can confirm (again) that even today, when I had my Bolt in outside air temps of below 90 F and brought my Bolt home (didn't charge it anywhere today) that the thermal management kicked on when I plugged it into my L1 EVSE.
Last edited by cwerdna on Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

'19 Bolt Premier
'13 Leaf SV w/premium package (owned)
'13 Leaf SV w/QC + LED & premium packages (lease over, car returned)

Please don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

LeftieBiker
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Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:48 am

It's not only that it makes sense to give great attention to the battery's temperature, but it seems that every other manufacturer's EVs have such a system, so why shouldn't the Leaf? From what I've read the latest Leafs do have an air cooling system for the batteries...

Not all EV manufactures have actively cooled batteries, and not all of the ones that are do any better than the Leaf's. The Kia Soul's battery degrades in heat much like Nissan's, and Ford's active battery cooling in the Focus EV seemed to make little difference in degradation. The Bolt does have effective active cooling.

Now, back to Nissan: the Leaf does NOT have any sort of active cooling system as of now. If anything, the passive cooling of past Leafs has been eliminated, or nearly so, by the slightly larger pack size taking up what air space there was around the pack. I follow these things (and drive a 40kwh Leaf that I keep cool) and the 40kwh pack seems to A: resist heat better than the original version of the 24kwh pack but not as well as the final version of that pack, and B: have worse cooling and more rapid heating when fast-charging - or at least the charge rate has been greatly limited by Nissan, almost certainly because of the lack of cooling. L-1 and L-2 charging don't produce the rapid heating of DCFC, sometimes referred to, incorrectly, as "L-3."

Recommendation? If you have an air-conditioned garage, don't hesitate to get a 40kwh Leaf - and park it there when not in use. If the car will always stay warm, then expect significant degradation, and if you like the car, allow for it and lease a 40wkh Leaf so you can see how much capacity it loses in 3 years. You can then buy it off lease. That option costs more, but gives you the option of getting a better EV in 3 years...
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.

cwerdna
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Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:56 am

BTW, in the Bolt post I pointed to, the post after it has a video of a red noisy Bolt doing battery thermal management. The AC compressor is running at high speed. If it's not at high speed, you'll really only hear fan whirring noise. Also, it can start out the w/compressor being really loud but then it ramps down in speed and becomes fan whirring noise.

When that's going on, not only are the hoses for the coolant tank on the passenger side near the radiator cold, if you put your hands on one of the AC pipes, it's very cold to the touch. The other thinner metal tube next to it is hot. This is all the while w/tons of hot air being blown into the "engine" compartment.
Lemaign wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:04 am
I've started seeing some Audio e-Tron vehicles but we haven't looked into those.
Be careful, there is the discontinued pricey A3 e-tron PHEV that was inefficient (on electric and gasoline), w/puny all-electric range and expensive: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... 46#p531046 vs. the fully electric e-tron SUV that is much larger and much more expensive: https://www.audiusa.com/models/audi-e-tron.

'19 Bolt Premier
'13 Leaf SV w/premium package (owned)
'13 Leaf SV w/QC + LED & premium packages (lease over, car returned)

Please don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

SageBrush
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Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:13 am

As Leftie and Cwerdna have said, no LEAF of any generation thus far (including the 62 kWh, "+" model) have any active battery cooling tech. This leads to much higher battery degradation in warm climates than e.g. the Tesla for sure, and early signs are that the Bolt is also doing well.

My opinion then is it leaves you with a couple reasonable choices:
1. Consider the LEAF a cool weather car
2. Buy a LEAF in a warm weather climate if accelerated degradation is acceptable. This works out to buying 50% more battery capacity up-front than would be needed from a better manufacturer. If the LEAF is inexpensive upfront, this can pencil out. A 40 kWh LEAF would be marginal in as little as 3 years for the 90 mile trip. The other choice would be to use a different car for the annual 90 mile trip. If I found an inexpensive 40 kWh, or 30 kWh used LEAF for the daily commuting I would think about purchase *

----
My family is EV only and I have no intention of buying ICE (fossil fuel) anything ever again. However, we owned the Prius Prime before the Tesla arrived and it really is a fantastic car. It would fit your use case to a tee and reliability is outstanding. Your fossil fuel use would drop to a couple gallons a year. Most people still do not realize that the Prime is also eligible for a federal tax credit of up to ~ $4,000. I bought mine on the mainland from another state for $25k and then applied federal and (my) state tax credits. I did have to pay ~ $900 to ship the car. The money saved will buy you a nice home PV (solar) array.

*
That is the car. However, since the LEAF is a Nissan you have to also consider your dealership's competency in LEAF repairs and you have to accept that Nissan will NOT support you if possible. This means that they will follow the letter of the warranty, or manipulate your case to avoid warranty costs. This is compounded by LEAF repairs at dealerships being *really* expensive, and I would hazard to say a large majority of Nissan dealerships are LEAF incompetent

We bought a 24 kWh model LEAF 2.5 years ago and have been very satisfied so far. No repairs and minimal maintenance. The thing is though, we bought it for $6,3000 out of pocket and only use it for up to 20 miles in a day. So even though the battery is degrading as LEAFs do, for our purposes it may well last quite a few years. Unfortunately, most any repair that required dealership intervention will probably send the LEAF to the graveyard.
Last edited by SageBrush on Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:12 pm, edited 7 times in total.
2013 LEAF 'S' Model with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California
Two years in Colorado, now in NM
03/2018: 58 Ahr, 28k miles
11/2018: 56.16 Ahr, 30k miles
-----
2018 Tesla Model 3 LR, Delivered 6/2018

iPlug
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Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:53 am

Agree with what others have said above. As you plan on keeping the vehicle 10+ years, there will be significant degradation, maybe not as much as the hottest southwest regions on the mainland, but it will not be insignificant.

But also consider that the way EV battery costs have been improving, any BEV 10 years from now will probably have accelerated depreciation. You mentioned your daily driver is the go to vehicle for long trips and your wife would use the Leaf for commuting, so if you are thinking a Leaf the ePlus is probably still overkill.

You may want to consider leasing if there are good deals to be had or buying used and parlaying the savings from that into the next generation of BEV.

My wife uses her 40kWh Leaf for commuting and we use my Model 3 for road trips. That works out very nicely for us. Battery degradation is probably higher where we live than Oahu.

We came off a 30kWh 2016 Leaf that had the battery replaced under warranty. Probably a large part of this was from erroneous firmware causing capacity available to be limited, but some of this seemed real and the replaced battery with software update also had above BEV industry decline in capacity.

It would of course been cheaper to keep the 30kWh Leaf or buy or lease an older model, and as I have the road trip go-to vehicle, this would have worked fine. But the wife wanted a new Leaf. After all taxes and government/utility incentives, her 12k/yr mileage allowance, 36 month lease cost $9,780 by the time of the final monthly payment.

So you will certainly save a solid amount money by keeping the vehicle 10 years, but don't get to enjoy a new vehicle during that window with all the latest tech and larger battery capacity, the latter of which sounds like us - something you may not need. It sounds like you are considering all of your options with diligence.
'19 Model 3 SR+ (own), '19 Leaf SV (leased), '12 Plug-in Prius (sold 3/19), '16 Leaf SV (prior lease), 11.43kW Solar PV (16MWh/yr real production), 20.5 SEER/13.0 HSPF ducted air-source heat pump, 3.70 UEF heat pump water heater, Induction Cooktop

Lemaign
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:17 pm
Delivery Date: 11 Sep 2019

Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:23 pm

SageBrush wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:13 am
As Leftie and Cwerdna have said, no LEAF of any generation thus far (including the 62 kWh, "+" model) have any active battery cooling tech. This leads to much higher battery degradation in warm climates than e.g. the Tesla for sure, and early signs are that the Bolt is also doing well.
Thanks all for setting me straight on that one. I could have sworn that I had read somewhere that there was now active air-cooling in the form of a fan, but I guess it's still passive after all. The dealer mentioned that Nissan had redesigned the front so that air would be pushed more efficiently over the battery, which might be what some other websites are referring to. Granted, that would only help while in motion, if at all...

I do appreciate the thoughts. I'd guess that the dealers around here are pretty good at servicing Leafs; we have a good number of the cars on-island and I believe there are only three Nissan dealerships here, so they all must see the Leafs a fair bit. Having neutral to negative commentary on the car on a Leaf-specific forum is a bit frightening; I'll talk with my wife again about the Model 3 and Bolt, or even a Prius Prime for now. I'll come back if more Leaf-specific questions arise.

LeftieBiker
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Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:35 pm

Having neutral to negative commentary on the car on a Leaf-specific forum is a bit frightening; I'll talk with my wife again about the Model 3 and Bolt, or even a Prius Prime for now. I'll come back if more Leaf-specific questions arise.

If a minimum of design glitches and build quality issues is what you desire, then the Bolt is likely the car you want. It both has active cooling and several years of production behind it. It is far from perfect but it likely won't strand you or lose a lot of capacity. The Model 3 is NOT a car I would choose for either initial build quality or long term reliability: there have been too many reports of shoddy assembly, and Tesla's overall record for reliability isn't great. If you plan to keep the car for 10 years, then the Tesla would be my "don't get" recommendation, and the Bolt the "do get." In your climate the Leaf would be more a 5 year car, and leasing would be desirable.
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.

SageBrush
Posts: 4907
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: NM

Re: Standard versus Plus-model Leaf

Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:18 pm

I bought a Tesla Model 3 with every intention for it to be a 20 year car, perhaps the last car I ever buy. So far I have no reason to change my prediction. People who own the car do not have the reliability concerns of those who read about it on the interwebs.
2013 LEAF 'S' Model with QC & rear-view camera
Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California
Two years in Colorado, now in NM
03/2018: 58 Ahr, 28k miles
11/2018: 56.16 Ahr, 30k miles
-----
2018 Tesla Model 3 LR, Delivered 6/2018

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