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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Six Months Of Driving A Used Nissan Leaf

My 2012 Nissan Leaf - after 3000 miles and 6 months of driving
 I have owned electric golf carts - electric motorcycles - electric weedwackers - electric lawnmowers. Yes - my Apple laptop and iPhone even run on rechargeable batteries. But I always wanted a real electric car. Finally - in November of 2014 - I got my chance. 

I was planning to buy a street legal golf cart for $8000. Lulu did not like that idea and told me to go buy a real car - like the Leaf. I went to Kraft Nissan to drive a new one - and the sticker was $42000! I loved the car but that was just way too much for a second around town car. Lulu did a search on Craigslist and found this car for me.

It is a 2012 Nissan Leaf that had 30000 miles on it. A 60 year old fella bought it in town - drove it 2 years - and died. His wife wanted to sell. It was in like new condition - I checked all the service records at Kraft Nissan - and it was in great shape. I bought it for $12,700. 
The interior is roomy and nicely appointed. The doors open wide.
I have been driving it for 6 months and 3000 miles. Of course I think I am an expert now :-) I am going to give you my completely biased opinion. 

Since we bought this car - we have hardly used our other vehicles. Lulu's garnet BMW convertible sits in the garage collecting dust. Every time I go for the keys to the Leaf - they are gone. Lulu loves driving it around town. Why? We both love the car because it is so quiet - peppy - nimble - easy to park - and you never have to put gasoline in it. It has all the latest electrical gadgets - GPS - iphone connection - rear camera - elegant air conditioning. It has roomy seats for 5 people. The 5 doors open wider than the dentist requires. When you come to a red light - and stop - it is silent. 

The car goes 80 miles on a charge. There is a big number on the dash board that says how many miles are left. It has been pretty accurate. Usually we got maybe 20 or 30 miles in a day. We plug it into a 220 volt outlet in our garage. Usually it is fully charged in less than an hour. It costs about $3.20 of electricity for a full 80 mile charge - about 4 cents a mile. Our longest trip was to Tallavana and back - about 50 miles.

I took it to Kraft Nissan the other day for its regular service. The only thing they do is change the AC filter - flush out the brake lines - little things. The battery is warrantied for 100000 miles or 8 years. The battery is made of lots of cells - each individual cell can be replaced if one goes bad. So far - the gauge says my cells are all good. 
It has a GPS - Rear View Camera - and wireless music form your iphone
At 33000 miles - it did not need a new set of tires - but the edges were worn a little - so I had them replaced. Walmart had a set of 50000 miles tires - that cost $300 total installed. They are Douglas tires made by Goodyear. I must say they seem even quieter than the first set. 

I installed a hitch receiver and use the Leaf to pull a small trailer for light duty work. Except one time I took it for a load of top soil - I won't tell you how much I carried - or you might have me arrested. Figure out what a cubic yard of top soil weights. The Leaf did it with gobs of torque to spare. The loader driver at the quarry was amazed. 

Would I buy one again - you bet I would. The Nissan Leaf is a wonderful second car. Of course - if you need a car for long trips - this is not for you. The 80 mile range around town is fine. It would take about 3 charges to get to Disneyworld. It is amazing in town in stop and go traffic. It gets the equivalent of 120 MPG. The most fun is watching the eyes of muscle car drivers as you walk away from them - silently - at red lights.

I think the electric car is the car of the future. Ford - Chevy - Honda - BMW - VW - all of them are excellent examples. Nissan just came out with the first successful ground up model.

The hatchback holds lots of groceries - I have a trailer hitch underneath

No exhaust pipe - 4 wheel disk brakes - new tires after 33000 miles

There is a small solar panel on the roof to help charge the coach battery

Alloy wheels - 5 doors - 5 seats

The headlights are shaped funny - to make the air curve around the mirrors for quiet
That little door in the opens to plug the car into an outlet for power. 80 miles per charge.

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