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2013 Nissan Leaf Hatchback S 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I was excited for my first electric car when I bought it last year. They say 110+ miles in sticker but don't expect more than 90 miles. If you drive highways/winter it would significantly low. The worst part for this car is the customer service and dealership. My from tire worn out in less than 10k, checked wheel alignment and its perfectly aligned but they won't even cover under any warranty, very poor quality stuff. I will certainly recommend buying electric car bit stay away from Nissan.
2013 Nissan Leaf Hatchback SV 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Before I purchased my used Leaf I spent months handwringing over range, battery life, and resale value. I should not have wasted any of that time worry and should have purchased this long ago. The Leaf rocks! Once you drive an electric car for a few days, it is hard to go back to the noise, pollution, and rumble of an internal combustion engine. The Leaf has required very little change from our normal driving habits in order to have a nearly pollution and carbon free vehicle (our electricity is wind- and solar-generated). We typically charge the Leaf at night every two or three days so charging issue is not the inconvenience that I was anticipating. We have used just a 110-120 volt outlet and real charge times are usually way less than forecasted because we seldom charge from empty to 100 percent (more typically we are going from something like 30 percent up to 80 percent). One great feature with the 2013 Leaf is the long-life setting for charging--it shuts down the charge at 80 percent to preserve battery life. Using that 80 percent cap, our real world range typically runs between 55 to 80 miles (again, that is at 80 percent battery). The reason for the range has to do with temperature and destination, for example. The coldest part of winter will reduce your range and battery power noticeably (just like your cell phone when it is really cold). During the height of summer, battery life also diminishes some, as a result of the heat and AC use (at least, that is my understanding). We drive ours in Salt Lake City to give you and idea of temperature fluctuations. Also, you can expect changes in range based on whether you are driving at highway speeds, up mountain canyons, or in the rain. With just a little bit of experience, it becomes fairly easy to anticipate these fluctuations on the Leaf. I highly recommend this vehicle for those that understand the range limitations. Nissan has used great materials and put together an excellent car.
2013 Nissan Leaf Hatchback SV 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I have to tell you how happy I am with this Nissan Leaf. It's a quiet, comfortable, very affordable "mid-sized-category" little car. It feels spacious and the electric motor is plenty nimble. The super low rolling resistance tires are a limitation, so if you want a car that feels more "sporty" in cornering and handling you'd swap those out, at some cost to range.
Which brings us to range. My experience for the way I drive, is that I average roughly around 4 miles/kwh and I can reliably count on being able to drive 70 miles between charges no matter what, even including any "range destroying" variables such as using climate control, lights, driving between 65mph and 70mph for the "freeway" portion of my commute; and all this is on a car that I bought used - a 2013 lease return that's about 2.5 years old with already about 27,000 miles on it. But if ever there was a car for which the saying is true "your mileage may vary" this has got to be the one. The instruments give you tons of feedback about how to drive efficiently. But it's a simple fact that wind resistance is proportional to velocity cubed and that it takes more energy to accelerate a heavy object quickly. So if you're an unrepentant leadfoot, this is probably not the car for you - look to the Tesla Model S.
Now, many folks refill their cars with gasoline at or before the point when there are 70 miles left on the tank. 70 miles is only about a quarter tank's worth. But the electric car is different, you plug it in at your house every night. And that turns out to be far more convenient than stopping into the gas station once a week.
Also the new 2016 SV and SL "high end" leaf models have a new 30kwh battery - 25% more electrical storage than the current model's 24kwh.
But what'll probably surprise you is how *cheap* it is. I bought this one used for only about 11k. Pretty much no other 2013 used car on the market sells for $11k except a high-mileage econobox. And the leaf's a nicer car - larger, more electronics, heated seats, etc... And the cost to *operate* it once you've got it is a lot lower than any gasoline car. Electricity is 12cents/kwh (on the night time tiered rate - much higher during peak hours!)
New ones are cheap too, though. With the end-of-year incentives available I've seen "one at this price" 3 year lease deals for a strip model "S" 2015 leaf for only $109 a month(!) Leasing tends to be the preferred option for new leafs, because the leasing company can claim the government incentives and roll that into the price, whereas if you buy outright, you have to wait until tax-filing time to claim the electric-vehicle-tax-credit.
Gasoline's dirt cheap right now at about $2.75 a gallon. But even a fairly efficient car gets only say, 35 mpg. If like me you drive 225 miles a week, that's $18/week.
The leaf uses 56 kwh to go the same distance - about $6.75 worth of electricity.
To convert apples to apples, there are 33kwh of energy in one gallon of gasoline. So a car that gets 35mpg gets about 1mi/kwh.
Or, an electric car that gets 4mi/kwh basically gets 132 mi/gallon energy equivalent.
I didn't switch from a 35mpg car though. I switched from commuting in a 16mpg 4x4 truck.
All that said, for most folks a leaf is still NOT practical as the ONLY car in a household. Sometimes you need or want to take longer trips. Anne and I drove up to see friends in Concord yesterday, a 130 mile round trip. Naturally we took the gas powered car. And you need to live in a house where you can install an electric vehicle charger.
But if you've got a "two car" household where one car can do pure commute duty, especially if it's a pretty long commute, a Leaf could pay off well for you.
If you buy used, you want to be aware of how to read the battery's residual capacity (different than state-of-charge) off the instrument panel, and discount the price for reduced capacity. Nissan improved the battery durability (ability to hold a charge) in 2013, and again in 2014. To my mind, the 2011 and 2012 models aren't discounted heavily enough yet to reflect this difference, so I'd probably focus on finding a 2013 model.
Finally, if you live in a hot climate like Arizona, you should probably get a 2015 or newer - as that's when Nissan adopted their newer "Lizard" battery design that's more heat resistant.
Conversely, if you live in a colder climate, you should probably get an SV or SL model, since those have a heat pump heater rather than a current drawing resistive heat unit.
2013 Nissan Leaf Hatchback SV 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I purchased this car used to see for myself what living with an electric car is really like. I kept my older cars just in car just in case I found it too difficult to deal with the electric car at times. This car has substantially exceeded my expectations as a car I can live with. It has become my favorite car to drive. I live in two locations in the Washington D.C area on the Beltway. I was expecting to only use this car at one location for local driving. Instead, I find that I can also go between the locations on weekends without range anxiety. This car works very well in the DC area, now the worst commuter area in the nation. When in nasty traffic jams on the DC beltway, the BW parkway, and other major roads this car doesn't get grossly worse energy economy as is the case with my other cars (one a hybrid). In some cases the economy even improves in when you get into a major traffic slowdown. In the DC area that means 99% of the time. I find that a used purchase of a Leaf is a safe bet. I purchased a certified used one with 0% financing for extra security. From what I see now, I think that a non-certified one could have been a good buy too. I got the advantage of someone else claiming the $7500 tax credit, which made my cost lower since people buying new ones have that incentive. I noticed that people buying new 2015 or 2016 models can get very good purchase, financing, and lease deals too. I figured out that that some people won't get the full 7500 incentive since they don't pay 7500 in federal taxes anyway. If they purchase used, or even lease a new one, they effectively get the advantage of that credit. As far as living with the car goes, you learn to "plan" your driving a bit more, to make sure it has adequate charge. For me it is nice my older cars in reserve. I have not purchased a charging station yet, so I depend on my trickle charger and public charging stations. I end up going to businesses (restaurants, malls, grocery stores, etc) having charging stations. Whatever I've saved in gasoline cost in the last month I've ended up spending that (and more) at those businesses. In some cases such charging stations are a mile or two from where I need to be. That has help pushed me to get some more much-needed and pleasant exercise by doing some more walking. As I walk along roads I wish a lot more more people had electric cars so I wouldn't have to hear as much noise, or breath as much exhaust. I do not find that there are yet enough charging stations in the overall DC metro area area. They tend to be common in some areas and very absent in other areas. The campus where my suburban Maryland employer center is doesn't seem to want to make them available. I like the free ones at some businesses, but realistically I'd like some more paid stations that price the power roughly around the cost I pay at home, plus some extra cost for occupying the space beyond a reasonable charging time. It is nice that Walgreens has stations, and I'd like to see them at all of their locations, however, their cost of $2.00 per hour makes it more expensive to power a Leaf than powering my Honda Civic Hybrid at current gasoline prices. I found that living with the hybrid for 9 years, learning how to leverage the regenerative braking, has helped me transition to living with the Leaf. Buying a Leaf used is a safe bet. You can learn to live with it's range quite well.
5/22/2015. I've had this car 7.5 months now and have put 6000 miles on it. I use it much more than my other cars. I have to make a point of driving them periodically to make sure they don't sit too long. I am ready to get rid of one of them. I have come to appreciate the quietness of the car, and it's decent sound system. I've averaged 4.6 miles/kilowatt in nasty DC/Baltimore area traffic, which comes out to about 115 mpg, although I am paying BGE and Virginia power the equivalent of about $4.00/gallon. I still rely on 110V charging overnight for most of my charging, though I'd like to have a 240V charging station. I have found some free charging stations, that I end up using about 25% of the time. The whole charging station situation is not ready for prime time yet. I did find that charging stations are easier to find in the city of Washington D.C. than gas stations. Overall I continue to be very pleased with this used Leaf. A used one is a safe bet.
2013 Nissan Leaf Hatchback SL 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
we were very excited about every single thing about this car. LISTEN! Life changes and if your does, then you will have to deal with the worst nightmare of you buy or lease this car! After 3 years with this car we are lucky if we get 45 miles out of it on a full charge!!!! 45!!! it's horrible!!! if you forget BECAUSE YOU ARE HUMAN!!! to charge it one night, no car the next day! If you move out of state BECAUSE LIFE CHANGES! then you need to get a place with garage to charge it!!! your job must be near your home or it won't happen! 45 miles!!! plan on that! No place for emergencies! or trips! Second car? be real, if for any reason "the first" car fails, plan on 45 miles with one car! DO NOT GET THIS CAR!