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Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna. 2011 Nissan Leaf – After 30,000 Miles

After a one-year wait, I took delivery of my 2011 Nissan Leaf SL on 4/21/2011. After the California tax rebates and the Federal tax credits, my net cost is about $26,000 – the most expensive car I ever bought. My favorite car used to be Honda Civic. I used to own a Mazda MPV van, a Toyota Corolla, a Toyota Tercel, a Ford Mustang and a Chevy Chevette. Now my favorite car is an electric car.

After a year and 7 months of trouble-free driving, I had logged 30,000 miles while having fun with the quiet and responsive driving experience. It drives like a sport car even in its Eco (economy) mode. In fact, Eco mode is all I need for my daily commute of 59 miles/day in the San Francisco Bay Area.

So far, it is beyond my expectation, but not a surprise to me.
Nissan pretty much bets its future on electric car. Since the introduction of the Leaf in 2010, Nissan has promised a luxury electric car (Infinite LE), a commercial electric van, (NV200), wireless charging, and has sold more than 50,000 Leaf globally. It is now building the Nissan leaf in three continents in UK, Japan and USA. Now the price of a Nssan Leaf 2013 is about $19,000 after rebates and credits in the USA. Or you can lease one for about $200/month for 3 years.

I believe that great engineering is simple engineering. The internal combustion engine is too complex when compared to an electric motor. Driving a regular car is like watching television on a big old vacuum tube TV when you could be watching it on a flat screen LCD,

I save money on fuel, $60/month on electricity vs $180/month on gasoline (when I was driving Honda Civic). In addition, the brakes do not wear out as fast because the electric motor acts as a brake when I let up on the acceleration pedal. My 30,00 miles service requires no brake job so far, no tune up, no transmission oil change, no oil change, no radiator flush, and no smog check. Needless to say, I no longer have to stop at gas stations to get gasoline. I simply plug the car in at night in my garage to charge overnight. The next morning it will go for another 80 miles of fun driving. I expect to save about $2000/year from fuel cost and maintenance. In ten years, I would save about a cumulative total of $20,000 – what a good investment!

In California, Leaf qualifies for car pool lane access without having two or more persons in the car. That saves me about 30 minutes of commute every weekday. I spend less time smelling the exhaust fumes from the regular cars.

Why would I spend $26,000 for a luxury car? Did I say luxury? Well, it comes with rear-view camera, Bluetooth phone integration, first-class navigation system, plush trims, automatic door lock, smart phone app to monitor and control charging and climate control, 0 to 60 mph in about 7 seconds, linear acceleration, super quiet, good speakers and CD player, etc.

I have driven Acura TLS, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Tercel, Mazda MPV, Chevrolet Chevette, and Ford Mustang. For me, Leaf is the best car for the money.

What about the battery?

As you know, the cost of the battery may cost about $10,000 and would be expensive to replace. After 30,000 miles, I notice about 3% drop in total capacity, not enough to alarm me or change my commute habit. I also found out that charging at 80% capacity consistently for the last year and half has degraded the 80% charge capacity by about 4%. So driving for the first 3 miles, the first bar (2 kwh) will disappear. Normally you can get 6 to 9 miles per 2 kwh. It may have something to do with the battery chemistry and battery firmware upgrade. Now I have been charging at 100% capacity on weekdays and 80% on weekend for about 2 months. No noticeable degradation in the battery capacity so far. Recently, Nissan has upgraded the battery warranty for current and new owners of the Leaf. I don’t expect to worry about the battery replacement or performance/capacity for the life of my ownership. About 8 years from now, the battery is expected to retain 85% of total capacity. By that time I may need to replace some of the battery cells, at a lower cost than today’s price.

Range anxiety.

In the first two months, I have a little bit of that. A couple of times I have to drive on local streets at a lower speed to make sure I make it home. And on a couple of occasions I did opportunity charging at Target store in Fremont. Other than that I never got stuck with a dead battery. Now I am totally comfortable with the range and the range limitation., I would not drive a regular car if I don’t have too.

In short, Nissan Leaf is my dream car. Join us for this pleasant adventure – save money and save the environment, and have fun doing it. You have many choices, Nissan Leaf, GM Volt, Toyota Plug-in Hybrid,, Mitsubishi I Miev, Coda EV, Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in, Tesla Model S, etc.

David Lo, Founder of, a California Non-Profit.
Copyright, 2013


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