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EV Early Adopter

Editor’s Note: I’m happy to debut an interesting guest post from an EV early adopter — and not just any EV early adopter, but one who bought a used EV! Check out her first CleanTechnica post below, with links to some of her posts on her own blog scattered throughout it.
So, I bought a used electric Nissan Leaf…

By Amy P. Lutz
Denver, Colorado

A few months ago, I purchased a two-year used (2011) Nissan Leaf SL. It had only 4500 miles on it, so it was virtually new.

Her name is Gidget (our new gadget). Go go Gidget! Heh, heh.

As there has been quite a bit of curiosity about electric vehicles, I thought I’d fill you in as I learn the pros and cons.

2011 nissan leaf

A little background: I live in Colorado. That means hills, extreme temperatures, and icy / snowy roads. Not the best environment for EVs, it is said. And not a whole lot of EV infrastructure, either. Yet.

When I began researching the Leaf, I learned that the resale value was pathetic. Dealers and Nissan try to disguise this fact by calculating the depreciation using the post federal tax break price instead of the sticker… which is a pile of bunk. Be warned: the “Up to $7,500 tax break” is very difficult to come by. I had my tax accountant crunch the numbers every which way, and the best break I’d have available would be about $2000. Not bad, but certainly not $7,500! It is for this reason that many experts are recommending leasing new Leafs instead of purchasing them (due to the uncertainty of future resale values).

Gidget sold new in 2011 for around $35,000. I paid (in February 2013) $18,450. Remember, that’s 4,500 miles, plus the dealer threw in the home electric charge station for $500 (normally $1500).

Why the huge depreciation?

The sales guy said it’s because you can get the full $7500 as a discount if you lease the car. I’ve also read that most folks are probably smarter than me and are reluctant to be the Guinea Pig on such large investments and with not a lot of infrastructure (i.e. charging stations) around. In other words, there’s a lot of handwringing going on.

So… going forward, I am going to tell you my experiences; the good, the bad, and the ugly. My hope (obviously) is that the experience will prove to be more positive than otherwise, but… we shall see….
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