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Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:29 pm
by stefan14
Hi, I'm buying my first Leaf. My biggest concern with this one I'm looking at is how long the battery will last.

1) Correct me if I'm wrong, but 8 bars is 8/12 so 66% of full.. The seller is saying it's range is between 55-60 miles but I'd expect 66% of the full 75 mile range so 50 miles.

2) My need is a comfortable 35 miles per day never exceeding 55 mph (my commute) so I'm thinking a 47 mile range would comfortably stay in the mid range of the battery without fully charging or fully discharging each day. In how many years should I expect the max range to fall below the 45-50 miles mark? Within the next year? 6 years from now?

3) Am I correct to think that max of 8 bars indicates it is in pretty bad shape? Are 66% of the cells fine (33% are dead)? Or are most of the cells degraded, just 33% of them are below a threshold so the rest could be following shortly?

Thanks so much for your input.

FYI I'm in the Seattle area so super hot weather should not be the issue on the North West coast.

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:49 pm
by LeftieBiker
Since you are near the margin on range (and you are correct with your range estimate), you need to determine the build date of the car. It's printed on a label on the driver's side door sill. If, as I suspect, the car was built before April of 2013, then it has the old, fast-deteriorating battery chemistry, and may continue to lose range fast, even in your climate. If built in April of 2013 or later* then it should deteriorate further much more slowly in your climate.



* There are a very few April builds that appear to have the old chemistry - maybe two that we know of. Almost all April builds are fine; I drove one for 5 years and turned it in with 12 bars showing.

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:11 pm
by SageBrush
stefan14 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:29 pm
1) Correct me if I'm wrong, but 8 bars is 8/12 so 66% of full.. The seller is saying it's range is between 55-60 miles but I'd expect 66% of the full 75 mile range so 50 miles.

2) My need is a comfortable 35 miles per day never exceeding 55 mph (my commute) so I'm thinking a 47 mile range would comfortably stay in the mid range of the battery without fully charging or fully discharging each day. In how many years should I expect the max range to fall below the 45-50 miles mark? Within the next year? 6 years from now?
New nominal capacity for the car you are considering is ~ 24 kWh and usable 2.5 kWh less = 21.5 kWh. The unusable reserve is constant while the degradation is to the whole battery.
I agree that no less than 1/3 is gone**, so at most (2/3 of 24) - 2.5 kWh, or as little as 0.59*24-2.5 kWh remain when the battery is charged to 100% and discharged to 0%.
But getting stranded is rarely any fun and is an expensive habit, so lets figure 3 kWh reserve (~ 10 miles)
You have 9 - 10.5 kWh to enjoy between charges. Average driving gets around 3 miles/kWh; careful driving 4 miles/kWh; and hypermiling is good for 5 miles/kWh.

Want cabin heating ? *cough*
Cooling ? *cough*
Defogging ? *cough* *cough*

Future degradation ? If the car has lived in the same area as you plan to use it, expect its historical degradation of ~ 6% a year, or about 1.2 kWh loss annually.

**
You do not know where the battery is in the 8th bar. It may be one drive away from 7 bars. That would be a loss of 16+6.25*4 = 41%

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:00 pm
by LeftieBiker
Want cabin heating ? *cough*
Cooling ? *cough*
Defogging ? *cough* *cough*

You should get that cough looked at. Anyway, a 2013 SL has a heat pump, and in the climate in question it would cost about 2-3 miles of range to heat or cool the car. It would cost more range to use heat and defrost at once, because that uses the power-guzzling PTC heater as well, but that situation can usually be avoided or mitigated.

I do agree that the OP needs to get a LeafSpy reading of the battery - IF it's the newer chemistry. If not, they should walk away.

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:06 pm
by Reddy2
stefan14 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:29 pm
Hi, I'm buying my first Leaf. My biggest concern with this one I'm looking at is how long the battery will last.

1) Correct me if I'm wrong, but 8 bars is 8/12 so 66% of full.. The seller is saying it's range is between 55-60 miles but I'd expect 66% of the full 75 mile range so 50 miles.

2) My need is a comfortable 35 miles per day never exceeding 55 mph (my commute) so I'm thinking a 47 mile range would comfortably stay in the mid range of the battery without fully charging or fully discharging each day. In how many years should I expect the max range to fall below the 45-50 miles mark? Within the next year? 6 years from now?

3) Am I correct to think that max of 8 bars indicates it is in pretty bad shape? Are 66% of the cells fine (33% are dead)? Or are most of the cells degraded, just 33% of them are below a threshold so the rest could be following shortly?

Thanks so much for your input.

FYI I'm in the Seattle area so super hot weather should not be the issue on the North West coast.
I have a friend in Seattle with an 8 bar 2011 Leaf and a 42 mi RT commute. They were fine last winter, close, but always home on LBW. This winter, not so sure. They are planning to telecommute or take the gasser on bad days (snow, heavy rains, etc.). They also have several DCQC stations on-route for backup. If you’re buying now, you should definitely have backup plans and expect trouble in 2-3 years. Heat is the killer in the 2011s, so the 2013s may give you a slight bump in range due to the heat pump. Also, these older batteries hav essentially zero regenerative breaking at high speed or winter. For a 35 mi RT commute, you’re fine now but should definitely plan on future at work/lunch/return charging or replacing the battery at $7000.

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:27 pm
by SageBrush
Reddy2 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:06 pm
... should definitely plan on future at work/lunch/return charging or replacing the battery at $7000.
.
This is fine advice, though battery replacement can be over $8,000. Local prices vary

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:41 pm
by LeftieBiker
Heat is the killer in the 2011s, so the 2013s may give you a slight bump in range due to the heat pump.
Much more than a slight bump. The terrible liquid-based heater in the 2011-2012 Leaf is so much worse on energy than the heat pump that it's hard to emphasize that enough. Where the 2011 with 8 bars might lose half of its range to heat, the 2013 SL would lose more like 5-10%. It should also be noted, though, that there is no remaining warranty on the 2013, aside from the unlikely-to-be-used battery defect warranty, and there were more heater defects in the early build 2013 Leafs....

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:46 pm
by alozzy
You haven't said what your budget is, but this 11 bar Oregon dealership 2013 LEAF SV seems like a decent deal:

https://bit.ly/33Pa0lc

You'd still be well advised to get an OBD2 BT dongle and LeafSpy to find out the SOH value, as it may be close to dropping another capacity bar...

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:55 pm
by SageBrush
LeftieBiker wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:41 pm
Where the 2011 with 8 bars might lose half of its range to heat, the 2013 SL would lose more like 5-10%.
.
Only if the heat pump operates with COP of 5 - 10. Ain't arithmetic great ?

I agree with you that a heat pump has real value in PNW weather, just not as much as you say. I'll guess an average COP of 3.

Re: Risk in buying a 2013 SL with 8 bars max and 80k miles on it

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:19 pm
by stefan14
alozzy wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:46 pm
You haven't said what your budget is, but this 11 bar Oregon dealership 2013 LEAF SV seems like a decent deal:

https://bit.ly/33Pa0lc
That is a good deal. The one I'm looking at is SL with similar mileage for $600 less. But I'm going to offer even less because of the state of the battery. I'm thinking it won't happen at this point based of what you are all saying here. Thank you for all the input!