12 months with the Nissan Leaf....far from perfect, but it's the future :)

Discussion in 'Hybrid, PHEV & EV Electric Cars Forum' started by gangzoom, Apr 20, 2016.

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  1. gangzoom

    gangzoom
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    It’s been just over 12 months since I swapped my old car (BMW 335i) for a Nissan Leaf. Various factors drove me to try such a drastic shift in transportation, after all the two couldn’t be more different. The 335i was heavily modified and it’s engine is essentially the same block found in current M2/M3/M4, the Leaf is an all electric car with a range of less than 100 miles in summer (70 miles in winter), and a 0-60 time in around 10 seconds.

    So what’s it been like??

    [​IMG]





    Range:

    Biggest concern around EVs is always range. If your doing 300 miles a day than no EV is going to work for you – it’s as simple as that, but my self it's been OK. I've done 7000 miles in 12 months, most of my trips are sub 20 miles, so even in winter the 70 mile range of the Leaf is fine for my usage pattern 95% of the time...The other 5%, it's a major pain in the backside (see below on Long distance travel).


    Charging:

    I have a home driveway/garage, so charging is a non-issue. I can plug in at home, and even with-in 3-4 hrs of charging the car will be back up at 80%. In 12 month of usage I’ve yet to come across a situation when I had issues with charging at home. I’ve even been able to charge it at a farm using a 3-pin plug whilst on a stag do. If you haven’t got a home charging solution, again EVs current really are not going to work well for you.


    Long distance use (100 miles+):

    Range and charging away from home are major issues and current solutions are NOT fit for purpose on both counts. motorway service stations now have rapid chargers that can deliver 80% charge in 30 minutes. But to be honest it’s useless because 80% range in the Leaf at M-way speeds is about 50-60 miles, and unless your crazy stopping every 50-60 miles is not really compatible with M-way travel.....For me that's not an issue, we have a second car in the family, but for anyone thinking of running one as their only car....I would think again (Personally I wouldn't/couldn't do it).


    The drive:

    The Leaf isn’t a quick car, but it’s surprisingly good to drive. The electric motor responds instantaneously to your throttle input, and with no gears to worry about it means the drive train of the Leaf is by far the most reactive I’ve tried in any car before. Going back to any petrol car is like trying to use an old Nokia phone in a day/age dominated by smart phones. This is the future of driving, I have no doubts about that.


    Day to day use:

    Not much to say, it's a large 5 seater hatch back with folding rear seats, you can pack load of stuff, and a baby seat fits in with no issues. Plenty of gadgets too.


    [​IMG]



    Cost:

    This was one of the main reasons I jumped into the Leaf. I’m currently paying £200/month, having put down £0 deposit. Somehow despite me taking delivery of the Leaf last March, my finance payments didn't start till May, so I essentially got 2 month ‘free’. My main aim of getting the Leaf was to enable me to save up £50K in 24 months, well actually thanks to my wife now contributing to the Leaf replacement + sale of the old car, we’ve hit the saving target in just 12 months. We are getting £150/m back from interest from the savings made as result of me getting the Leaf. The Leaf has cost me 1000kWh of electricity to run over 7000 miles and 12 months (£120), add in £99 service and £350 insurance which means in TOTAL my motoring costs are now about £100/month. Which I’m more than happy with :)


    [​IMG]



    Overall:

    As much as I love the EV drivetrain of the Leaf I would say to anyone thinking of getting an EV now I would recommend holding off for another 12 months. The Leaf is cheap, but it is compromised by range. For early adopters who are keen to get involved/experience what the fuss is about it's great (providing you can get it cheap), but for the majority of 'normal' people the range is a killer, and you cannot get around it.


    But things are getting better, BMW are due to announce a 50% boost to the battery/range of the i3 this summer. GM are due to deliver their 200mile range EV (Bolt) to customers in the US Q4 2016, and Tesla have taken nearly 500K per-orders for their ‘affordable’, 200 mile range EV, with deliveries starting end of 2017. Nissan will also surely update with Leaf 2016/17 too…..Essentially the tech is getting cheaper/better, and the current generation of cars are on the verge of been replaced/superseded, so waiting is really the most sensible thing to do!!



    What next for me:

    As much as I enjoy the cheap running costs of the Leaf, I’m now wanting something quicker and with greater range. I could run the Leaf as my main car and get a weekend toy quite easily, but becoming a dad means family duties come first - which means one car to do-it-all. The Leaf contract will expire in around 12 months, and sadly despite been on-sale since 2012 the only real replacement EV I can think of is a Tesla of some kind – Either S or X.


    There is no arguing you need a serious wedge of ££££ to get into a Tesla, it’s far from been a ‘people’s’ car, but for us, we are lucky enough to be able to afford one, and as they say....’You only live once’, so why the hell not.


    The exact spec/budget is still to be decided, but one thing is for sure, both me and my wife are in 100% agreement our new born daughter is most likely going to grow up with no concept of what a combustion car is. By the time she is old enough to really understand cars we’ll be replacing her Lexus with a similar C-segment sized EV. The combustion car is already dead to our household......I really cannot wait to see what the future holds for the car, all I know is am thankful I’m lucky enough to be alive, and have the financial capacity to experience the coming revolution first hand.


    The Leaf will be distant memory in 5-10 years time, but just like my very first car (Nissan Micra), despite it’s lack of range I’ll always remember fondly as the very first EV I ever own, and the first car my daughter experienced :).


    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  2. rousetafarian

    rousetafarian
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    Thank you for posting this. I know we don't see eye-to-eye on the potential demise of the ICE but IMO this was a rational well thought out and honest post, that deserves not to be merged with the other Leaf threads.
     
  3. DVD-Man

    DVD-Man
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    What model is that car seat?
     
  4. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Useful review.

    What are you counting as 'savings'? You say 50k over two years - are you basically saying' instead of paying 50k for another 335i type car, we got a leaf'?
     
  5. rousetafarian

    rousetafarian
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    I doubt that is the inference
     
  6. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Well it was my inference, based on the implied c. £60K in the bank now that would not have been before - it doesn't cost that much to run an ICE car :)
     
  7. gangzoom

    gangzoom
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    Cybex Sirona. It fits better in the Leaf than the wife's Lexus IS.

    Savings - Ie: Not wasting spare cash but putting it into the bank. The 335i costed me roughly something like £500-600/month when I worked out over-all costs over 4 years of ownership. Getting rid of it for a Leaf was just one step in saving up the spare cash rather than just wasting it, another example is sticking with my iPhone 5 rather than spending £400 on a new phone, getting rid of Sky TV etc.

    The aim was to get enough spare cash together for something nice after the Leaf PCP deal ends next year this time, but as it happened (mainly due to my wife's contribution), we've hit the saving target in just 12 months. But rather than waste £££ getting out of the Leaf deal, I'll hold onto the Leaf for another 12 months. Will continue to squirrel away the savings, but a new baby makes it that bit harder :)
     
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  8. AMc

    AMc
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    If you can save money with a small child you're doing very well. They start off expensive then get worse ;)
     
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  9. Kieron

    Kieron
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    Great review. Where did you lease it from for £200 per month?
     
  10. RMCF

    RMCF
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    As someone who considered a Leaf recently, and who might well opt for one next time, appreciate your honest review.

    I honestly think the ICE car will be with us for many decades yet. But I think its fair to say that EVs definitely aren't going away. Once they hit a range of around 300 miles, I can see sales rocketing.

    Congrats too on your savings, Martin Lewis would be proud of you!
     
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  11. gangzoom

    gangzoom
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    Well have now managed to survive the first week....All I can say is thank god for disposable nappies :laugh:.

    I believe Nissan dealers just about everywhere were doing these deals last year in Feb/March - I just walked into the Nissan dealership in Leicester for a test drive, and walked out with a delivery date for the new car 30 minutes later, not having to put a single £ down for a new car felt very strange:thumbsup:.

    I think the deals this year have been similar, but have no idea what they are like at the moment.
     
  12. AMc

    AMc
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    :thumbsup: It's a rollercoaster and a marathon but it's also brilliant!
     
  13. un1eash

    un1eash
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    3 words, Perfect Prep Machine.

    With regards to EV's my argument against them has always been that they don't really save you money if all your after is A-B transport. My daily including finance, diesel, mot, service, tax and insurance has cost me £280 a month last year covering 8k miles so compared to say a Leaf at £200 a month plus insurance, service etc. I'd only save about £40 a month, but then I guess buying or leasing a new car is never going to save you money.
     
  14. mikeburns

    mikeburns
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    Surely you’re contradicting yourself? Dont save money, to save £40 a month

    If you drove more miles then you’d save more, my LEAF saves me around £200 a month on my 13,000 mile a year commute.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  15. un1eash

    un1eash
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    I don't consider £40 a worth while saving when comparing a Zoe/Leaf to my 320d Coupe.
     
  16. outoftheknow

    outoftheknow
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    That's a hell of a commute :D;)
     
  17. mikeburns

    mikeburns
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    Only 28 miles each way.
     
  18. outoftheknow

    outoftheknow
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    Noting the wink I was reading it as the daily commute being 13,000 miles :)
     
  19. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Yep you would definitely think about renting something closer for the week days :p
     
  20. FZR400RRSP

    FZR400RRSP
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    Compared with what you have already, but that saving isn't 'fixed'.
    As I've mentioned before, the lease deals I've seen for a Leaf mean I'd be making zero saving compared with the lease of my Juke, and that's including the fuel I buy.
    Utterly pointless, unless I wanted to make some green stance (which I don't).
    Either electric car leases need to come down drastically, or the cost of leasing and running ICE cars needs to increase dramatically.
    Until then, zero attraction.
     
  21. mikeburns

    mikeburns
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    Obviously it come down to your personal circumstances and choice, for my commute it makes sense, I do a regular drive to the same location, which is within the cars range but also far enough away to make the fuel saving worth the undeniable shortcomings of the cars range.

    Ultimately the cost savings (for me) are only down to fuel duty on petrol/diesel and not on electricity, as the cars get better and more popular the government will have to find a method to tax electric cars and the costs advantage will be gone.
     
  22. gangzoom

    gangzoom
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    I feel sorry for you, I had the mis-pleasure of been given a Juke as a loan car whilst the Leaf was been serviced. I couldn't wait to give it back....I hope your can get into a better car soon :p
     
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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  23. un1eash

    un1eash
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    Any respect you may have had just left the building, joke or not.
     
  24. DrPhil

    DrPhil
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    Good review Gangzoom.

    I'm not far behind you, got my Leaf in June last year. I'm on course to do about 16,000 miles in that year.

    Can I ask, you say you'll get 80% in 3-4 hours? I take it you have the 3.3kw charger on board?

    I insisted on the 6.6kw charger when I was shopping and it's a great help. At home or at a standard charger I'll add between 35 and 40% in an hour.

    As for range issues, I mostly agree with you, in that long range motorway driving is simply a pain in the hole.

    I live in the North West of Ireland. To drive to Belfast in the North East, I need one stop along the way. Fortunately it's at a service station half way, where I would normally have stopped for 10 minutes anyway. I just extend that to 20 minutes and I'm good to go.

    Driving to Dublin is a 150 mile trip, and I stop 3 times. I could make it in 2 at a push but it's simply easier to charge shorter and more often.

    Once a year I drive to Cork and back, which is about 300 miles each way. I did it last year, after only owning the car for a week, which was definitely brave/stupid. To be honest I'll probably hire a car this time. Even then that's because my wife wouldn't be arsed with the stops. I would still do it, out of pure stubbornness.

    We are a 1 car house and cope fine as we work the same hours and in the same place.

    As for savings, I bought the car second hand. It cost me very little difference to an equivalent age and spec diesel, due to the fact that the Irish government do not charge VRT (ripoff tax) on imports of EVs. We'll not technically VRT free, but a €5k allowance so free for all EVs except Tesla and maybe some i3s.

    I used to spend £180 a month on diesel. Currently public charging is free, and I estimate that I am only spending an extra €30 on home electricity. My tax and insurance also came down when I switched.

    Overall I'm saving about £150 a month since I changed to electric. That £150 a month goes into a savings account and by the time I change the car in another 3 years I will have approximately £7k to add to the value of my trade in.

    My intention is to wait until 2019 and buy another EV, whether the next model Leaf or something else, but an EV with a 200+ mile range.

    They are a joy to drive and I'm hoping to never return to ICE. If I can manage on the current Leaf with its limited range, then a 200+ mile EV will easily meet my needs.
     
  25. FZR400RRSP

    FZR400RRSP
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    Save it.
    Yawn.
     
  26. lovegroova

    lovegroova
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    There really are some humourless folk around here. Lighten up.
     
  27. Kieron

    Kieron
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    From now on FZR will be known as "The Juke" ;)

    fzr copy.jpg
     
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  28. FZR400RRSP

    FZR400RRSP
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    Jesus wept, you spent time doing that....
    :blush:
     
  29. gangzoom

    gangzoom
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    To be fair to the Juke my perception of it came after spending 24hrs in a specced out near £60K RX450H Lexus had given me when the wife's IS300H was in for some work.....The thing had more leather/soft touch plastics than I have ever experienced in all my previous cars combined, and that was just the drivers seat :laugh:.

    Still I couldn't wait to give the Juke back to Nissan, you simply cannot beat the smoothness of the EV driving experience, not even the RX450H was as smooth to drive as the Leaf ...Having to carry around a herd of dead cow skin was clearly also hard work, the RX450H was almost as economical as my old 335i :eek:.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  30. DrPhil

    DrPhil
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    Rare sight around here. I've only once or twice bumped into another EV user here, today I found myself 3rd in the queue!
    1461774349409.jpg
     

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