dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/3/22 3:38 p.m.

TLDR version - what do you know about the current generation leaf with the 40kw battery - 150 mile range?

Like everyone else, we started adding up what we spent on gas over the past few months and were horrified.  We have 4 kids, and we do a ton of in-town running back and forth to school, sports, activities, etc.  Our vehicles aren't horrific gas guzzlers, they probably average 20 MPG or so with our mix of in-town and highway (all get 25 MPG or better on a long trip, so that's not the issue).  There was one night last winter where I added up my mileage between 2PM - 9PM, and I drove something like 60+ miles, never exceeding a 5 mile radius from our house.   Sadly, that night probably wasn't much of an outlier.  I did a big, complicated spreadsheet at the time (when gas was $3.47 a gallon for regular - the good old days) and came to the conclusion that adding another car in the name of fuel economy didn't make a whole lot of sense.  I was looking at used first-gen Volts and the 2nd gen Prius at the time.  I updated the spreadsheet and modeled in a new Leaf, and it could literally pay for itself with gas savings over our other vehicles.

My wife was looking up incentives, and found $2k in state funds on top of the $7500 EV tax credit that's still available on some brands.  There's an additional $1k on the table to help offset the cost of a charger, wiring, etc.  Long story short a base Leaf S is about 28k delivered (plus tax, title, reg) and the total rebates and tax incentives on the car alone are about $9500.  We have one kid who'll be driving next year, and another 18 months after that, so adding a fourth vehicle is likely something we'd be doing over the next few years.  If we're adding a fourth car to the fleet, one with minimal maintenance needs would be great, so an EV fits that profile better than most of the alternatives.

I work from home, and my wife and I split the daily running chores.  There are times when we're both on the road at the same time, but the majority of the time one of us is home while the other is running around.  Realistic mileage numbers would probably be 50 miles per day, all within a 30-40 mile radius.  The vast majority of our mileage is within 10 miles of our house, and we have 3 ICE vehicles that can make longer trips if needed, so that isn't a concern.  We could easily charge in our garage overnight.  The agreement would be that my wife and I would share the car, and drive it as much as possible to improve savings.

We went to a local Chevy and Nissan dealer on Friday.  We checked out the Bolts and liked them, the rear seat has a lot of room, but it wasn't very comfortable.  Because of the battery recall, we couldn't drive one (I know I would like it), but they were actually busy replacing batteries as we speak.  There's a $2k state incentive on a new Bolt, and the prices on the '22 models are dropping in anticipation of the cost cut on the '23 model.  I had the feeling they were itching to sell them once the batteries were replaced.

We checked out a used '22 Leaf base model with 700 miles on it and really liked it.  The back seat is tighter from a legroom perspective than the Bolt, but the trunk was much larger, which is a huge plus with kids who always have either a book bag or a sports bag with them.  We took it for a test drive, and both really liked it.  The intention is that this will save us some gas money, save some wear and tear off our other vehicles, and give us an extra car a few years down the road when we have two of our kids driving. Plus, it's a proof of concept of the whole EV thing for us, and it would give us better electrical service in the garage, which is never a bad thing.

The three big disadvantages of the Leaf I can pick out are the range on the base model is much lower than the Bolt - 150 mile range vs. 259, the Leaf uses the older CHAdeMO interface for Level 2 rapid charging on the road, and the battery is not liquid-cooled.  The last two I discounted pretty quickly because I can only see us charging on the road once in a blue moon.  Basically, the car would never leave a 50 mile radius around our house, so even though the range would be more limited in the winter, I'm not overly concerned from a range perspective, even factoring in the battery degrading over time.  The base model doesn't have the heat pump, so I know range will drop a lot in the colder weather.  The next model up is about $8k more and offers more range, a heat pump, and more features, but the financials don't make sense for our use case.

TLDR - What do you know about the current generation Leaf, and would you recommend one for our use case?

Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter)
Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
7/4/22 8:34 p.m.

I haven't driven a Leaf, but have driven a few Bolts. The Bolt is a huge value-for-money player right now, with the $6k-ish price drop and your state incentives. You say you don't care about range and charger compatibility, but IMO willingly buying something with Chademo charging as it's being phased out is silly... doubly so when the Chevy has much farther range. The car will never leave a 50-mile radius of your house until it does, and you'll never use DC Fast Charging until you do... so future-proof it and get the one that is most practical and will retain most value.

Also the Bolt is heckin' fun to drive. Throw a big rear sway bar on it and you'd have a fun little autocrosser.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/4/22 9:38 p.m.

I'm not a fan of the lack of battery cooling. They do degrade faster than anything else. 

I don't think the Leaf is eligible for the federal credit anymore, and that only applies to a new car. The Bolt is the same. 

I'd be tempted to check out a later i3 as well. Never driven any, but I'd want to check that one out. I suspect resale values are low since they were recently discontinued. 

porschenut HalfDork
7/5/22 9:21 a.m.

I don't think the bolt is still eligible for the fed credit either.  Went to look at a 22 bolt a month ago, figuring they would be discounting due to the 23 price drop.  Salesman was a jerk, hope you have better results.  Car was fun, for a 2 mile test drive.  Personally I would be looking at used leafs(leaves?) as your daily use would be well under the range And insurance for a new driver would be less.

tuna55 MegaDork
7/5/22 10:32 a.m.

I bought a Bolt. I leased a first generation Leaf (2015). I really wanted to like the new Leaf, but the battery cooling, the lower range, and the same (or higher now) price than the Bolt dissuaded me. In a vacuum, it's a really great car. Compared to the Bolt, I couldn't make it make sense.

fusion66 Reader
7/5/22 3:04 p.m.

The Leaf is still eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit. 

I have not yet seen one available near me but for my use case I would also take a look at the Mini SE (range only 114 miles).  Liquid cooled battery - no idea if it borrows technology from the i3. 

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/14/22 9:11 p.m.

Sorry everyone, the last few weeks have been a little nuts.  I appreciate everyone's feedback, we decided to take a step back and wait a little bit.  I want to see what gas prices do, and my wife and I talked it over and I think the Bolt EUV would be a better fit for us.  I think the extra room it offers will make it more usable, and I think the combination of the better range, liquid-cooled battery, and CCS fast charging standard (as opposed to CHAdeMO) will help make it maintain its value better than the Leaf. Today's "news" is that the Leaf is on the chopping block and will be discontinued mid-decade, which really isn't a surprise.  Nissan seems to be moving forward with the Ariya, and that platform will leverage the CCS fast chargers and a liquid-cooled battery.  More and more, the Leaf seems like it'll end up as an orphan EV.

I joined a few Facebook groups for the Leaf to do some research, as I couldn't find a solid forum option that had frequent activity.  Saw a few stories about the rearmost batteries swelling and cracking, which seems to happen most commonly with folks who do a lot of DC fast charging (think taxis or Uber/Lyft drivers).  One taxi driver in the UK who DC fast-charged his Leaf 4 times per day had some significant battery issues around 100k miles, but that really is an outside use case.  Although that doesn't really apply to my use case, I figured any negative news or issues with the platform could really hurt resale.  And I was also concerned that the lack of liquid cooling seems to mean the Leaf battery degrades more quickly than other EVs.

The $7500 rebate is still available on the Leaf, but is not available on the Bolt.  Projections on the Leaf are that the credit will run out sometime next year.

In case anyone else is interested, delivery times on the Bolt vary wildly, depending on the battery replacement program.  We were told if we bought a new '22, it would take 2-4 months to take delivery (because of the battery replacement).

NickD MegaDork
7/14/22 9:39 p.m.

In reply to dj06482 (Forum Supporter) :

GM is delivering replacement batteries to customer vehicles first, in order of year produced. Existing inventory vehicles are lowest priority. We have actually received a '23 with the new battery pack from the factory, while still having a '22 in inventory that's been waiting for a battery for nearly a year now.

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