MAIL: Happy EV User

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf electric vehicle.
Nissan Leaf

I’ve been driving my 2011 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle for a couple of years now, and it is truly a remarkable car. So far, I have spent absolutely nothing on maintenance, and have saved a lot on fuel cost. It bears mentioning that with an EV, the owner often has more choices of where and how to “refuel.” You can charge at home, and some charging stations are free. I have a solar-electric system installed on my home, which makes my electricity clean and very inexpensive.

When I ordered my Leaf in late 2010, it was really the only mass-production EV available. Fortunately, after a test drive, I was sold and pretty excited to own one. The range was advertised as 100 miles, but I knew this is only realistic under perfect conditions. A more realistic average range is more like 80 miles. The Leaf meets my needs just fine, since my typical daily commute is less than 40 miles. I own no other vehicle.

However, for anyone considering buying an EV, you need to realize that the car’s battery pack is not just another “fuel” tank that just needs refilling. It is a sensitive, expensive, and critical component of an EV, and needs to be treated with care to get the most out of it. Some Leaf drivers I know are finding out that one of the consequences of not following Nissan’s recommendations is sooner-than-expected reduced battery capacity. I really look forward to breakthroughs in battery electric vehicle technology.

The lineup of available EVs is growing. For me, there was never any question that I wanted a pure electric vehicle, and I was willing to adjust to living without the gas pump. 

Marc Fontana • via

Comments (5)

Jim and Elaine Stack's picture

Nissan now has a new HEAT Tolerant battery I call the Lizard for all new LEAF vehicles and replacement packs. It can take the heat and not loose capacity. Now they can even sell in Saudi Arabia and IRAQ along with the Southern USA. Global warming won't get the LEAF.

Joshua McDowell's picture


Jim and Elaine Stack's picture

If the battery degrades more than 60% ,4 bars in 5 years they will replace it. They also have a new Desert Battery coming out in April 2014 or close to that made to withstand high heat and not degrade.

So pick the right vehicle that has a range you can live with even with the air Cond or Heating running full. Nissan has one of the most efficient heat pumps of any electric so far.

The Tesla S even has FREE Nationwide Super charging if you need long range. They have a new Generation 3 Tesla coming out in 2016 with 200 mile range that will be mid $30K price.

As to power MAK204, 90% of EVs charge at night Off Peak when there is excess that gets dumped if not used. That is why power companies offer Off Peak Low rates. If you have solar you help the utility days with clean power and night by using their excess.

MAK2D4's picture

A good story and good testimony as well. I would like to add something that was missed in this article. The fuel is not "free" at charging stations. My understanding is that the electricity provided there is paid for buy the local tax payers, in that all the people are subsidizing your personal travel, be grateful that is an expiring gift for certain. Secondly, the addition of a PV panel to charge your vehicle at home is both responsible and necessary for living up to the idea of lowering pollution as 37% of your electricity comes from coal and 68% overall in the USA comes from fossil fuels of all types. Where I live some electricity (20%) comes from renewable most people have no choice in this which is good (because they wouldn't) as our government has made it a requirement. Again good story, I just did't think it was fair not to give thanks to the people that are paying your fuel bill.

Jim and Elaine Stack's picture

Most charge location do have a fee of #1 an hour or $2 an hour if your a guest. That covers the electric and you still get 30 miles range for $1 in most 6.6Kw charger EVs If you want to mention who pays then look up the OIL subsidies. The real cost is about $8-10 a gallon, who pays for their gas. It also takes about 8 kWh of electricity to refine OIL into gas. The pollution is killng us and OIL companies don't pay for that! Off Peak Charging uses excess electric that gets dumped. Using Off Peak in the day during the Belly of the Duck, excess from Solar and Wind uses that energy that gets dumped.
So everyone could drive for free and still help the GRID if we do it Off Peak and work with the GRID with Smart Consumers before the Smart GRID is here.
I have Solar that runs my home and LEAF and makes 10% extra year round. I use Off Peak even though I'm not on a TOD Time of Day Plan. We all have to work together with all the facts. =D------------------- Jim

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