Well a year and a half and 22,000 gas free miles. The Leaf has been relatively trouble free but for a squirrel infestation that Nissan fixed for free. No lost bars of capacity. Friends in the area have gone 35k without loss but one at 31K has lost one bar in twelve so it will be coming.
My goal with 3.5 years left to pay is enough battery for round trip work and then saving when its paid off for battery replacement. I need 50 in winter and I'd say with heated seats and defrost as needed my lowest is about 65 - never having turtled. This is having done two winters. So if I lose two bars of twelve by payoff I'm still estimating 53 and a small safety margin. Not to mention I may retire by then.
With my lead foot even in my old Honda Hybrid that 22k miles would have cost 600 gallons of gas - she was only getting about true 35 mph at 10 years old. (Started at 45 mph when she was young in 2003) Still that car was a cost winner for me even when the catalytic converter went for the second time and she was retired. Overall definitely a winner with a 5k break, reduced sales tax and great mileage. The Leaf is in a whole new category though - even waiting in line at full MRSP which no one has to do today... Let's break it down:
I get free electric. Eco-landlord is a terrific guy. We'll break it down both ways for those not lucky enough to use the sun for power... Lets look at the five year picture.
My costs over five years and 75k miles. Insurance and registration is a wash as driving affects it more then car type.
$40,000.00 with loan interest tags--> $39000 - Loaded 2012 SL - at 1.79% $665 or about $7975 a year
$100.00 - Five tire rotations - could of got them free but I like visiting Bowie Nissan.
$20.00 - My real electric cost - my two cards for charging - one has been billed $2 so far.
$35.00 - Joining the electric car club
$350.00 - Upgrading my charger to 240/120 vs 120v.
$540.00 - A year and a half electric ** If I paid for it - we'll add it for fun ***
$1200.00 - Three and a half more with a little inflation
$200.00 - Add a brake pad job - generally half as often just like the Honda hybrid
$460.00 - One set of tires
-$7,500.00 my Fed rebate! ( Not to mention MD sales tax breaks which I won't get into here )
$35,500 across 5 years and my new total yearly cost while paying it off was $7500. After that it just insurance, brakes, tires and sunshine -if I'm ok if 50 mile real world winter range in retirement. If not a replacement for around 5-10K depend on improvements and scale in batteries. Electric motors can conservatively run trouble free for 20-50 years!
Try that with an ice car:
$25,000 - Nicely appointed Internal Combustion Engine econobox - nav system realw 30mpg 0 finance
$ 1,500 - MD tax
$ 460 - tires
$ 400 - two brake jobs
$ 100 - five tire rotations
$ 450 - 15 oil changes @ $30 each
$ 100 - radiator flush & fill.
$ 75 - five MD emissions test - skip charge for the $15000 cat converter replace I needed at 80k
$10,000 - 2500 gallons of gas at real world 30 mph ( 36 minus your lead foot over 55mph )
I have a trouble free commuter with winter range around low 50's worst case. And I'm $2500 to the good towards a new battary if we compare. The ICE owner is well getting ready to buy another five years of oil and gas.
Finally in the 2013 year Nissan has the same cool battery,better body, and electric motor but missing gadgets and nav system for:
$28,800 - the S model. Or lease for $199.
Next the real reason I have a Leaf - nothing to do with cost, better ride, or easy maintenance.
Here's an even more economical ride - but the world is not quite ready for the Th!nk I'm afraid.
Still the Think at 9 months has a respectable 2k miles on it and has been a delight as well.......