Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

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angelescrest
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Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:55 pm

I'd be interested to get feedback from anyone who has experience buying a cheap used EV. I will not be in a position to buy a new long range EV like a Model 3 or Bolt for some years to come, when they drop a lot more in price. But I am seeing vehicles like the Fiat 500 e, VW eGolf, and Nissan Leaf, some of which are anywhere from $5,000-$8,000, and upwards of 4-6 years old. I haven't been able to find a lot of information on the internet about how long these vehicles last--particularly their batteries.

My commute is about 22 miles round trip, and I really am looking for an EV that can comfortably (without range anxiety) give me 30-40 miles of range over the next 4-5 years. Basically get me to work, but leave wiggle room for range reducing weather conditions and maybe an extra trip to the grocery store. It doesn't need to be fancy or fast, just reliable. More miles (like 80) would be great, but it's not necessary and I couldn't justify the expense. Considering it doesn't have an internal combustion engine, it seems like the vehicle and drivetrain itself could last for years and years. But what about the battery? Do the batteries basically run out of range after 5-6 years? Are these older EVs essentially getting thrown away, despite having a perfectly sound body/wheels/interior? Are dealers unable to resell these older EVs, and does that mean there's an opportunity to score a great deal for someone like me who would put up with short range?

I'd appreciate any insights from those of you with EV experience and maybe those who've crunched the numbers. I've never driven an EV, but have followed their developments closely for the last 10 years.

mattsm
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by mattsm » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:57 pm

Similar thoughts here... following.

-M

Monsterflockster
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by Monsterflockster » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:04 pm

angelescrest wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:55 pm
I'd be interested to get feedback from anyone who has experience buying a cheap used EV. I will not be in a position to buy a new long range EV like a Model 3 or Bolt for some years to come, when they drop a lot more in price. But I am seeing vehicles like the Fiat 500 e, VW eGolf, and Nissan Leaf, some of which are anywhere from $5,000-$8,000, and upwards of 4-6 years old. I haven't been able to find a lot of information on the internet about how long these vehicles last--particularly their batteries.

My commute is about 22 miles round trip, and I really am looking for an EV that can comfortably (without range anxiety) give me 30-40 miles of range over the next 4-5 years. Basically get me to work, but leave wiggle room for range reducing weather conditions and maybe an extra trip to the grocery store. It doesn't need to be fancy or fast, just reliable. More miles (like 80) would be great, but it's not necessary and I couldn't justify the expense. Considering it doesn't have an internal combustion engine, it seems like the vehicle and drivetrain itself could last for years and years. But what about the battery? Do the batteries basically run out of range after 5-6 years? Are these older EVs essentially getting thrown away, despite having a perfectly sound body/wheels/interior? Are dealers unable to resell these older EVs, and does that mean there's an opportunity to score a great deal for someone like me who would put up with short range?

I'd appreciate any insights from those of you with EV experience and maybe those who've crunched the numbers. I've never driven an EV, but have followed their developments closely for the last 10 years.
Buy a used S with free supercharging. You won’t be disappointed.

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Brianmcg321
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by Brianmcg321 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:04 pm

Check out the www.mynissanleaf.com forum.

You will be able to see alot of detailed experiences on the early leafs and their range and battery degradation.

Personally, I am starting to eye some of the earlier Chevy Volts. They have great reviews and you would be driving about 90% of the time in full EV mode, with the engine as back up.
Rules to investing: | 1. Don't lose money. | 2. Don't forget rule number 1.

Topic Author
angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:28 pm

Monsterflockster wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:04 pm
Buy a used S with free supercharging. You won’t be disappointed.
I'll assume you didn't read what I wrote.

Topic Author
angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:30 pm

Brianmcg321 wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:04 pm
Check out the www.mynissanleaf.com forum.

You will be able to see alot of detailed experiences on the early leafs and their range and battery degradation.

Personally, I am starting to eye some of the earlier Chevy Volts. They have great reviews and you would be driving about 90% of the time in full EV mode, with the engine as back up.
I'll take a look at that forum. I was strongly considering a used Volt, actually. Friend had one and I really liked it. It's an excellent car. But I really would prefer NOT to deal with an internal combustion engine and all that goes with it--if possible.

BBBob
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by BBBob » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:35 pm

Check out pluginamerica.org for lots of info, I've been driving EVs since the mid-90's, starting with the EV1 and followed by the RAV4-EV (Generation 1) and the RAV4-EV Gen 2, the latter of which we still have. I have never had an issue, and the needed service has been negligible. I am unaware of anyone having battery issues, and the word is that they are good for 100,000 miles. You will get less range in cold weather, and charging may take a bit longer in very hot weather. I think there are good deals around on Nissan Leafs that have been returned at the end of leases. Start with Plugin America. They will gladly give you info if you have questions after reviewing their website.

1130Super
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by 1130Super » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:37 pm

Monsterflockster wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:04 pm
angelescrest wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:55 pm
I'd be interested to get feedback from anyone who has experience buying a cheap used EV. I will not be in a position to buy a new long range EV like a Model 3 or Bolt for some years to come, when they drop a lot more in price. But I am seeing vehicles like the Fiat 500 e, VW eGolf, and Nissan Leaf, some of which are anywhere from $5,000-$8,000, and upwards of 4-6 years old. I haven't been able to find a lot of information on the internet about how long these vehicles last--particularly their batteries.

My commute is about 22 miles round trip, and I really am looking for an EV that can comfortably (without range anxiety) give me 30-40 miles of range over the next 4-5 years. Basically get me to work, but leave wiggle room for range reducing weather conditions and maybe an extra trip to the grocery store. It doesn't need to be fancy or fast, just reliable. More miles (like 80) would be great, but it's not necessary and I couldn't justify the expense. Considering it doesn't have an internal combustion engine, it seems like the vehicle and drivetrain itself could last for years and years. But what about the battery? Do the batteries basically run out of range after 5-6 years? Are these older EVs essentially getting thrown away, despite having a perfectly sound body/wheels/interior? Are dealers unable to resell these older EVs, and does that mean there's an opportunity to score a great deal for someone like me who would put up with short range?

I'd appreciate any insights from those of you with EV experience and maybe those who've crunched the numbers. I've never driven an EV, but have followed their developments closely for the last 10 years.
Buy a used S with free supercharging. You won’t be disappointed.
Have you seen the prices of even a high mile 2013? Still almost as much a leaf brand new.

Seriously do not get a Nissan leaf The battery technology just is not up to par, no super charger network. I’d honestly wait until you can afford a model 3

1130Super
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by 1130Super » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:41 pm

BBBob wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:35 pm
Check out pluginamerica.org for lots of info, I've been driving EVs since the mid-90's, starting with the EV1 and followed by the RAV4-EV (Generation 1) and the RAV4-EV Gen 2, the latter of which we still have. I have never had an issue, and the needed service has been negligible. I am unaware of anyone having battery issues, and the word is that they are good for 100,000 miles. You will get less range in cold weather, and charging may take a bit longer in very hot weather. I think there are good deals around on Nissan Leafs that have been returned at the end of leases. Start with Plugin America. They will gladly give you info if you have questions after reviewing their website.
An EV1 as in “what killed the electric car”

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:53 pm

BBBob wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:35 pm
Check out pluginamerica.org for lots of info, I've been driving EVs since the mid-90's, starting with the EV1 and followed by the RAV4-EV (Generation 1) and the RAV4-EV Gen 2, the latter of which we still have. I have never had an issue, and the needed service has been negligible. I am unaware of anyone having battery issues, and the word is that they are good for 100,000 miles. You will get less range in cold weather, and charging may take a bit longer in very hot weather. I think there are good deals around on Nissan Leafs that have been returned at the end of leases. Start with Plugin America. They will gladly give you info if you have questions after reviewing their website.
Is this website only about new EVs? I know a great deal about new EVs, but am really trying to understand battery life in a 4-6 y-o EV, and whether or not the reduction in mileage consistently falls off, or if it ramps down. I.e., if after 5 years there's a 50% reduction on say a Nissan Leaf, does it generally take another 5 years to lose 50% of that number, or does it get down to zero.

bikesandbeers
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by bikesandbeers » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:00 am

Buying a used EV is a great idea as long as your regular commute is well within the range.

Outside of the early Nissan Leafs, which had some pretty serious degradation, especially in hot climates, you are like to have at least 75% of the original range after 8 years.

https://www.geotab.com/blog/ev-battery-health/

psteinx
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by psteinx » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:02 am

One issue with a short range EV is that, depending where you are, you may not save that much on gas. Because the EV only works for short commutes and around town driving (and not weekend getaways). And it's hard to rack up much mileage on short commutes.

OP has a 22 mile RT commute. Say, 230 days of that (230*22 = 5060). Round it up to 7K for some weekend usage and whatnot. Compare to an efficient small car of Leaf size, at 35 mpg to make the math easy. That's 200 gallons of gas per year. If you're in a cheap gas part of the country, that's only about $450 in gas, plus maybe an $80 oil change, so about $530 for the basic cost of an ICE (setting aside tires and the like that are common to EVs and ICEs). The EV will use some electricity, so you're saving maybe $350 or so, per year, but giving up the optionality to use the vehicle for long trips, and introducing some range anxiety even on a normal day where perhaps you want to run an errand after work, or even for a Saturday full of errands across town.

Also, you would want to be confident of the ability to charge. Folks buying $5K used cars often live in apartments (rather than, say, houses), and living in an apartment may not be optimal for being able to reliably charge overnight.

Pdxnative
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by Pdxnative » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:03 am

I have a 2014 leaf, no loss of range so far. It was some of the pre 2014 batteries that had issues. Great car, perfect for what you’re describing. I second mynissanleaf as a good resource.

mattsm
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by mattsm » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:04 am

psteinx wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:02 am
One issue with a short range EV is that, depending where you are, you may not save that much on gas. Because the EV only works for short commutes and around town driving (and not weekend getaways). And it's hard to rack up much mileage on short commutes.

OP has a 22 mile RT commute. Say, 230 days of that (230*22 = 5060). Round it up to 7K for some weekend usage and whatnot. Compare to an efficient small car of Leaf size, at 35 mpg to make the math easy. That's 200 gallons of gas per year. If you're in a cheap gas part of the country, that's only about $450 in gas, plus maybe an $80 oil change, so about $530 for the basic cost of an ICE (setting aside tires and the like that are common to EVs and ICEs). The EV will use some electricity, so you're saving maybe $350 or so, per year, but giving up the optionality to use the vehicle for long trips, and introducing some range anxiety even on a normal day where perhaps you want to run an errand after work, or even for a Saturday full of errands across town.

Also, you would want to be confident of the ability to charge. Folks buying $5K used cars often live in apartments (rather than, say, houses), and living in an apartment may not be optimal for being able to reliably charge overnight.
But I have to get a new car- so the above analysis is not directly applicable except maybe the loss of long distance trips.

-M

random_walker_77
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by random_walker_77 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:05 am

I've thought about it, but from what I've read, you should be really leery about a used nissan leaf. Especially if you live where it's warm, or if the car has ever been used in someplace hot. I'm in Texas so I gave up on that idea. My fear is that at some point, the battery dramatically deteriorates and turns the car into an immobile brick. Not as much of a concern for most other electric cars, but the Nissan leaf doesn't sound so good... (at least, here in my neck of the woods)

https://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?t=26662 (what to know about buying a used leaf)
https://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?t=25882 (battery replacement cost increased)
https://www.autonews.com/sales/nissan-l ... -out-cells

One other thought is to consider a plug-in hybrid that will allow 95% of your trips to be purely electric. Something like a Honda Clarity (there's been reports of really good discounts on new cars + the federal credit), or a used Chevy Volt. Or a Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid, though these seem pretty expensive, and Chrysler's reputation for reliability isn't exactly top-tier.

Compared to a cheap leaf, a used Chevy Volt is probably the closest to being cheap, has a decent track record, and is less likely to turn into an expensive garage decoration. On the other hand, I've seen leaf's going for under $6K...

I don't know about the Fiat and VW, but I think they'd be harder to find. You might also look at used BMW i3's

Overally, I think the Chevy Volt is the safe bet given your requirements, but you'd still have all the maintenance of a gas engine (ICE)

02nz
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by 02nz » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:12 am

The e-Golf will probably drive the best of any of those. Range is limited, esp. the '15 and '16 models, which can only go 80 or so miles, but if that works for you it's a great choice.

psteinx
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by psteinx » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:15 am

Another issue with really short range EVs is that even GETTING them to another city, if you move, or want to pass it down to your kid or your younger brother or whatever, might be quite difficult.

JonnyB
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by JonnyB » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:33 am

A used Nissan LEAF is probably the best deal out there for low cost electric vehicles for local commuting. They had an issue with batteries in early models only in Phoenix when temperatures approached 120 degrees. Since 2015 they have a new battery chemistry that solves that problem.

Nissan had already sold over 400,000 LEAFs when Tesla was still trying to figure out how to bolt a Model 3 together, so they have a lot of experience with EVs. Because of this large fleet, you will find the LEAF to have the largest selection of used electric vehicles to choose from.

Any LEAF before the 2020 upgrade will get you 70 miles a day, which sounds sufficient for your needs. You can find good deals for $8000 to $14,000 depending on year and mileage. If you can afford it, the 2015 and later models have some useful upgrades from previous models, but not essential.

I have friends who have been running their LEAF 50 miles a day since 2013 and still going strong.

You can charge at the rate of 5 miles per hour off of a regular 120V outlet so can get started without the expense of putting in a Level 2 charger in your home. You can add a Level 2 charger later if you like.

The used LEAF is probably the cheapest way to find out if an electric car works for you.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by BBBob » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:31 am

angelescrest wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:53 pm

Is this website only about new EVs? I know a great deal about new EVs, but am really trying to understand battery life in a 4-6 y-o EV, and whether or not the reduction in mileage consistently falls off, or if it ramps down. I.e., if after 5 years there's a 50% reduction on say a Nissan Leaf, does it generally take another 5 years to lose 50% of that number, or does it get down to zero.
It also includes used EVs and list many that are for sale.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by BBBob » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:37 am

1130Super wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:41 pm
BBBob wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:35 pm
Check out pluginamerica.org for lots of info, I've been driving EVs since the mid-90's, starting with the EV1 and followed by the RAV4-EV (Generation 1) and the RAV4-EV Gen 2, the latter of which we still have. I have never had an issue, and the needed service has been negligible. I am unaware of anyone having battery issues, and the word is that they are good for 100,000 miles. You will get less range in cold weather, and charging may take a bit longer in very hot weather. I think there are good deals around on Nissan Leafs that have been returned at the end of leases. Start with Plugin America. They will gladly give you info if you have questions after reviewing their website.
An EV1 as in “what killed the electric car”
As in "WHO Killed the Electric Car". (Hint...the answer is the auto industry that (at the time) saw a virtually maintenance-free, consumer-friendly, high-torque vehicle destroying their business model, and did their best to discourage its acceptance by the public. In the meantime, I enjoyed blowing the doors off of Mustangs and others; got lots of great war stories I won;t bore you with.)

michaeljc70
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:19 am

The cost of a Leaf battery replacement is around $5500. So, your $5k "investment" becomes worthless if the battery degrades too much.

fasteddie911
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by fasteddie911 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:31 am

I'm in a similar boat and considering the leaf. I second the nissan leaf forum referenced above, great resource. From what I've briefly gathered it should meet your needs just fine, especially the 2015+ models.

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mmmodem
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by mmmodem » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:40 am

I have my future vehicle set on a used Nissan Leaf as well. Here is a very negative article on a Nissan Leaf.
https://www.autonews.com/sales/nissan-l ... -out-cells
So assuming you lose 50% capacity, that still leaves ~40 miles to go.

Watch out for FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) from non owners. Batteries don't typically just die. Sure, some do but by and large batteries lose capacity, that's why people replace it. My Motorola Razr still charges up and lasts a few hours from 15 years ago. My Prius Plugin lost some 15% range over 150k miles. Lithium is a proven battery technology with longevity and reliability.

So if you get a Leaf and lose more than 75% capacity, then you might have a problem. The chances of that happening before the car itself falls apart? Pretty remote. Don't take my word for it. You can look up the statistics of even the oldest 2011 Nissan Leafs.

Chevy Volts cost more than the Leaf. I would rather have the Volt but I can get a Leaf for around $5k.

bloom2708
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:44 am

A Ford C-Max Energi might be a good fit.

After the ~22-24 mile all electric battery is used, it is a regular hybrid with another battery. Let's say you can't make it all the way on your commute. So what, it goes into hybrid mode. No range anxiety at all. Plug in at work if you have a spot. Winter range is reduced to ~18 miles due to heater use.

We had a C-Max Energi and now a Fusion Energi. Both are fantastic cars that can be had used at pretty good prices.

The 2013 C-Max had ~70k miles and I bought it for $8k. Drove it to 125k miles.
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vasaver
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by vasaver » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:06 am

We have a 2015 Nissan Leaf (52k miles) and it just works. We bought it used off lease 3 years ago for $8,500 - it is the basic S model with heated seats and steering wheel. The battery shows 12 bars and degradation is less that I expected but we are close to losing the first bar. Prices have gone up - I don't think they are the *deal* that they were. Even off-lease chevy bolts are selling at close to new prices when you factor in discounting.

Range really drops in the cold weather especially if you use the heater - I like just using the heated seats and steering wheel. Highway miles (75mph+) are brutal on the range. City stop and go is what you want. With full heat on the highway you might lose 40% of the range. Our location is the Washington DC area (arlington) so we don't see extreme heat/cold. The first 23k miles were in Atlanta. Leaf batteries are best in places with weather like Seattle.

It is a great *second* car - we have a prius wagon for longer trips. Also we just use a regular plug to charge it at night. It gains about 3-4 miles per hour. If our breaker box was closer to our driveway I would upgrade the plug to 220 so we could add 20-30 miles per hour of charging. For service the big things are wipers, wiper fluid, tires and brake fluid.
Last edited by vasaver on Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Brianmcg321
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by Brianmcg321 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:17 am

Pdxnative wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:03 am
I have a 2014 leaf, no loss of range so far. It was some of the pre 2014 batteries that had issues. Great car, perfect for what you’re describing. I second mynissanleaf as a good resource.
Unfortunately all leafs have the issue. They are air cooled, which means they will degrade much faster over time compared to liquid cooled in other EVs. Nissan really cheaped out on this one very critical area.

Prior to 2014 they were really bad. After, not much better.

You are getting lucky with yours. You should play the lottery.
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psteinx
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by psteinx » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:43 am

mmmodem wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:40 am
So assuming you lose 50% capacity, that still leaves ~40 miles to go.
Wow - 40 mile range?

That means a "safe" range of 30 miles (assuming you don't want it, by plan, to go below the 25% mark). Less in winter. That seems like a VERY limited vehicle. Can't even go downtown. And gas savings minimal, because the only trips it displaces are short ones anyways.

JonnyB
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by JonnyB » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:47 am

Brianmcg321 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:17 am
Unfortunately all leafs have the issue. They are air cooled, which means they will degrade much faster over time compared to liquid cooled in other EVs.
Not really. For example Tesla's liquid chiller kicks in at around 125 degrees. An air-cooled battery is just fine unless the outside temperature gets up to that neighborhood. Nissan changed their battery chemistry in 2015 to avoid the problems seen in a small number of cars in Phoenix. They haven't seen the problem since.

Dougiefresh
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by Dougiefresh » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:50 am

Long time lurker, first time poster. I own a 13 Leaf S. I live in coastal So Cal. Going on 62K with 10 bars remaining on battery. That translates to about 65 +- miles of range. I bought the car 4 1/2 years ago used for 10K. This car is perfect for local driving. Other than the battery degradation, I have had no issues whatsoever. Highly recommend! Just be careful to get the battery checked out.NOTE: If you live in a hot climate, all bets are off!

stoptothink
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by stoptothink » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:08 pm

psteinx wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:43 am
mmmodem wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:40 am
So assuming you lose 50% capacity, that still leaves ~40 miles to go.
Wow - 40 mile range?

That means a "safe" range of 30 miles (assuming you don't want it, by plan, to go below the 25% mark). Less in winter. That seems like a VERY limited vehicle. Can't even go downtown. And gas savings minimal, because the only trips it displaces are short ones anyways.
But, many of us almost never drive 30 miles in a day. I walk to work, wife has a ~3 mile drive, and almost everything we normally do is within ~10 miles. 30 miles would be fine for at least 95% of our driving. The majority of our driving mileage comes in spurts of 1000+ miles in a matter of days, our 4-5 family road trips a year. Several times over the last few years I've considered picking up a used Leaf for ~$8k for my wife to drive to work, but isn't worth the expense (yet) as we simple don't need a 2nd car. I will be getting an e-assist fat bike though.

GT99
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by GT99 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:10 pm

I'll be selling a used Nissan Leaf soon if you're interested! :D

Seriously, though, it's been a great car for us. It's a 2014 that has about 52k miles on it. Range has declined by ~10% in the 5.5 years we've had it, but the decline is supposed to slow as the vehicle ages. We probably average around 73-75 miles of range now, but it varies wildly depending on highway vs surface streets. Above 70 mph, we probably wouldn't get more than 55 miles. Maintenance is nothing - basically just wheels/brakes/wiper blades. There is also an Eco mode that gives you probably 5 extra miles starting from a full charge - it throttles your acceleration, which I hate so I never use it, but DW uses it all the time. Range also drops noticeably in cold weather. I would be shocked if 5 years from now it had less than 60 miles of range.

We just ordered a Model 3 because my wife has had some range anxiety (her commute is about 23 miles one way, mostly highway), which is totally fine for just there and back, but if she has to do any other driving during the day it can be a problem.

psteinx
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by psteinx » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:40 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:08 pm
psteinx wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:43 am
mmmodem wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:40 am
So assuming you lose 50% capacity, that still leaves ~40 miles to go.
Wow - 40 mile range?

That means a "safe" range of 30 miles (assuming you don't want it, by plan, to go below the 25% mark). Less in winter. That seems like a VERY limited vehicle. Can't even go downtown. And gas savings minimal, because the only trips it displaces are short ones anyways.
But, many of us almost never drive 30 miles in a day. I walk to work, wife has a ~3 mile drive, and almost everything we normally do is within ~10 miles. 30 miles would be fine for at least 95% of our driving. The majority of our driving mileage comes in spurts of 1000+ miles in a matter of days, our 4-5 family road trips a year. Several times over the last few years I've considered picking up a used Leaf for ~$8k for my wife to drive to work, but isn't worth the expense (yet) as we simple don't need a 2nd car. I will be getting an e-assist fat bike though.
But for a 3 mile drive, why bother? The gas usage would be minimal.

I get that used Leafs are cheap. But are they cheaper than comparable used ICE vehicles? I don't know that I've been inside a Leaf, but if the fit and finish inside is comparable to a Versa or a Sentra (other small Nissans), then I would guess that often those ICEs will be cheaper, at comparable ages.

psteinx
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by psteinx » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:55 pm

Follow up - I had a look. Seems the Nissan Sentra is around the comparable size with the Leaf, or perhaps the Sentra is a bit larger. Pricing on comparable mileage older Sentras vs. Leafs is close - possibly a slight edge to the Leaf (cheaper). Again, there may be noticeable internal differences in quality one way or the other - I dunno...

JonnyB
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by JonnyB » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:57 pm

psteinx wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:40 pm
But for a 3 mile drive, why bother? The gas usage would be minimal.
I don't think that is the point. People who have no experience with electric cars are forever yakking the pros and cons on the intertubes.

A used LEAF is a cheap way for someone who is interested in EVs to find out for themselves if an EV works for them.

Living Free
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by Living Free » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:04 pm

psteinx wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:40 pm

But for a 3 mile drive, why bother? The gas usage would be minimal.

I get that used Leafs are cheap. But are they cheaper than comparable used ICE vehicles? I don't know that I've been inside a Leaf, but if the fit and finish inside is comparable to a Versa or a Sentra (other small Nissans), then I would guess that often those ICEs will be cheaper, at comparable ages.
I think that the point is to try out an EV and also to not have the hassle of all the maintenance and etc that an internal combustion engine has. that's probably why OP wants a pure EV and not a hybrid. I'm considering getting an EV for these same reasons.

smalliebigs
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by smalliebigs » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:06 pm

For an EV, I would be concerned about battery aging and deterioration. So don't buy something too old (>5 years). It also depends on your climate. If you're in a cold climate, then expect battery aging to be much higher. Your range will thus also suffer. But for 20+ miles, it shouldn't be a problem.

DreamHigher
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by DreamHigher » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:12 pm

I bought a used 2013 Nissan Leaf in 2015 with 20K miles on it. I've now 80K miles. Battery has deteriorated 10% as well. But, I still get 72-75 miles of range. I commute 55 miles per day and is a perfect car for daily commute. I paid about $10K for the car. Now, when I do retail trade-in estimate, I got a quote from Carvana for $2500. So, value has depreciated in the last 4 years that I've owned it. I had a minor fender bender accident in the meantime and that may be cause of the low value on trade-in. Overall, I like the car. When I replace the car, my new car will be a SUV. DW wants a bigger car for our growing family.

For your 22 mile commute, a plug-in hybrid Prius may work as well without having to worry about battery range issues.

GT99 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:10 pm
I'll be selling a used Nissan Leaf soon if you're interested! :D

Seriously, though, it's been a great car for us. It's a 2014 that has about 52k miles on it. Range has declined by ~10% in the 5.5 years we've had it, but the decline is supposed to slow as the vehicle ages. We probably average around 73-75 miles of range now, but it varies wildly depending on highway vs surface streets. Above 70 mph, we probably wouldn't get more than 55 miles. Maintenance is nothing - basically just wheels/brakes/wiper blades. There is also an Eco mode that gives you probably 5 extra miles starting from a full charge - it throttles your acceleration, which I hate so I never use it, but DW uses it all the time. Range also drops noticeably in cold weather. I would be shocked if 5 years from now it had less than 60 miles of range.

We just ordered a Model 3 because my wife has had some range anxiety (her commute is about 23 miles one way, mostly highway), which is totally fine for just there and back, but if she has to do any other driving during the day it can be a problem.

smalliebigs
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by smalliebigs » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:15 pm

Good point about the PHEV. That will give the best of both worlds.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:34 pm

GT99 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:10 pm
Range has declined by ~10% in the 5.5 years we've had it, but the decline is supposed to slow as the vehicle ages.
OP here. Thanks for all the great responses.

I would be interested in your car, actually, but the transportation costs alone would probably be a deal breaker!

So your note above is what I'm really curious about. I obviously only have experience dealing with lithium-ion batteries in electronic devices, including in my lawn mower which is also electric. The thing that concerns me is not the limited range, but I know with electronic devices every so often the product will just die. Like you're at 30% and then a minute later it powers off and you've got nothing, and need to charge it up from zero. I'm not sure why that is the case, but I wonder if that happens occasionally with an EV, which in the case of an important work situation it could be disastrous.

As mentioned, I have thought seriously in the past about getting a PHEV like a used Volt, but it is true, I don't want to deal with an internal combustion engine for this car, as I will still have two ICE cars to use, so it's not my only car, and we are covered for road trips. If the EV proves to cover our needs, then we can get rid of the older car and save up for a long range EV. This isn't exclusively a conversation about dollars and cents, but it's a very important factor. It also has to do with trying out an EV for a few years and seeing if that's something I want to invest in for the future. There are also personal reasons people have for wanting to try an EV, as well, which is true in my case. An example would be that I absolutely despise engine problems, and it affects how I view my car. It's also a big part of what always tempts me to replace an older vehicle. With an EV, presuming you keep the other elements intact, how a car ages is somewhat different. Or so it seems from afar.

I also wonder if the risks are a lot higher with buying a used EV. If you buy a used ICE vehicle, and it turns out there is a big problem, then you might be out a couple thousand dollars, of course depending on the problem. But if you buy a used EV, and the battery is shot within a year or two, all of a sudden you've got an expensive piece of metal that will require a $5000+ investment to get back on the road (not sure what replacement batteries cost). That's high risk, though I'm not sure if that's actually a real risk. I.e., does an EV's battery just die, or does it lose a certain level of capacity before leveling off indefinitely. Maybe another way to ask the question is, can you use, say, a 2014-2016 Leaf upwards of 150,000-250,000 miles, and still get at least 30-40 miles of range minimum? For a second (or third) car, I really think I'd be fine with 30-40 miles of range. But if it drops below 30 miles of reliable range, I think it would feel pretty limiting. I live in the suburbs, not the city, and I'm already accepting the fact that this vehicle would not be one I take into the city, which is about a 40-45 mile round trip.

I do live in North Texas, where summers can get really hot. I have a garage where I could park it if necessary, though during heat waves that won't really help. Doesn't get cold here at all, in my opinion.

I'm hearing different feedback on whether or not on whether one should buy only 2014 and up, or if it's 2015 and up that you want. Which is it?

Lastly, should the other manufacturers (eGolf, Fiat, etc) be avoided? Do they use different battery technology, or is it more or less the same? I imagine we're mostly hearing about used Leafs because they are much more common--not necessarily because they are superior.

jdb
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by jdb » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:57 pm

I second the recommendation for a used Model S for quality reasons. Our 2012 MS with 75,000 miles still driving like new, we have no interest in selling. But it has been a great vehicle. You know the old saying, you can buy something cheap or you can buy something good, but not both. Good luck.

Pdxnative
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by Pdxnative » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:58 pm

If you’re very concerned about battery degradation and depreciation, and this is sort of a short term experiment, you might look at leaf leases in your area. I’ve seen lease deals around $200/month for two years with nothing down. Personally I think buying used is a better deal but the lease might give you some peace of mind.

In any case, I haven’t heard of any sudden loss of battery power with these cars. Battery use is very predictable and you can see what you’re using on the display. Driving conditions will affect how quickly you deplete the battery, but it’s not like my old iPhone that would display 30% remaining right before dying.

I’d go to mynissanleaf for details on model year battery issues. I have a 2014 that I bought a few years ago used (in CA). At that time the CW was to buy post 2013. But improvements made in 2015 might be relevant, I don’t know.

It’s worth doing your due diligence but honestly once you start using one of these cars a lot of the concerns people are raising start to seem pretty irrelevant. One potential deal breaker for some on the leaf might be that there is no spare tire. But if that’s not a concern this seems like a great car for your situation.

JonnyB
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by JonnyB » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:13 pm

If you are worried about heat, I would recommend a 2015 or later model.

No, the batteries don't just up and fail all of a sudden. Like any batteries, they slowly lose their maximum capacity over time. But the chemistry is different than what you find in your phone so that they are very long life. The degradation occurs very slowly over many years.

As far as 150,000 to 250,000 miles? First think about that. If you are driving 25 miles a day, you are talking 15 to 25 years. Electric cars are advancing so quickly that I doubt you will be interested in driving today's LEAF 15 years from now.

The thing about LEAFs is that they are typically used as short range commuter cars. So you can pick up a two or three or four year old car with very low mileage. Just look to see that it has 12 bars of charge on the display and that at full charge it shows at least 70 to 75 miles of range. You should get many years of use out of it.

No reason to avoid other manufacturers. It's just that LEAF has more used vehicles available than any other manufacturer in your age range, so a better selection to pick from.

stoptothink
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by stoptothink » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:20 pm

JonnyB wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:57 pm
psteinx wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:40 pm
But for a 3 mile drive, why bother? The gas usage would be minimal.
I don't think that is the point. People who have no experience with electric cars are forever yakking the pros and cons on the intertubes.

A used LEAF is a cheap way for someone who is interested in EVs to find out for themselves if an EV works for them.
Short stop-and-go trips are also hardest on ICE engines. It's not just about gas savings (we spend ~$50/month on gas, charging would be free at wife's employer), it's also about dealing with oil changes, belt changes, etc. As I mentioned, it isn't worth it for us to buy a 2nd car, but when we do, it will be a cheap EV and it will handle 95% of our driving (even with as little as 30 mile range). As far as I am concerned, I'd do it on an e-assist bike, but the wife does not feel as comfortable as I do on a bike on busy streets.

stoptothink
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by stoptothink » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:24 pm

jdb wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:57 pm
I second the recommendation for a used Model S for quality reasons. Our 2012 MS with 75,000 miles still driving like new, we have no interest in selling. But it has been a great vehicle. You know the old saying, you can buy something cheap or you can buy something good, but not both. Good luck.
"Quality" is irrelevant, OP just wants something cheap and reliable to commute to work. A used Model S is literally 5x the cost of what said they are looking to spend...for something just to make a short work commute.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:38 pm

Pdxnative wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:58 pm
If you’re very concerned about battery degradation and depreciation, and this is sort of a short term experiment, you might look at leaf leases in your area. I’ve seen lease deals around $200/month for two years with nothing down. Personally I think buying used is a better deal but the lease might give you some peace of mind.

In any case, I haven’t heard of any sudden loss of battery power with these cars. Battery use is very predictable and you can see what you’re using on the display. Driving conditions will affect how quickly you deplete the battery, but it’s not like my old iPhone that would display 30% remaining right before dying.

I’d go to mynissanleaf for details on model year battery issues. I have a 2014 that I bought a few years ago used (in CA). At that time the CW was to buy post 2013. But improvements made in 2015 might be relevant, I don’t know.

It’s worth doing your due diligence but honestly once you start using one of these cars a lot of the concerns people are raising start to seem pretty irrelevant. One potential deal breaker for some on the leaf might be that there is no spare tire. But if that’s not a concern this seems like a great car for your situation.
Thanks Pdxnative (your username made me think of our visit there a little while back, eating at Mother's Bistro and Stumptown Coffee....mmmm).

Every so often I read an Apple News story talking about some amazing lease for an EV, even yes down to $200 a month, but in our area, I've not seen anything remotely close to that. We just don't have that type of market here, apparently.

I'm glad to know that EV batteries operate differently than electronic devices. I never understood how something would say 40% and then just die. I still don't understand, though, when I read about Leaf batteries, why for many drivers the number of "bars" left doesn't seem to correspond to the actual miles they get, but anyhow.

I think my only concerns have to do with battery longevity on a used vehicle, and whether or not I can justify the cost. If I had the money, or maybe I should say if I didn't care about saving money, I would buy a new EV and I don't think I would be worried about range anxiety at all. I just really want to set my expectations properly on a 4-5 year old used EV, so that I'm not disappointed or feel like I wasted my money. This thread is extremely helpful, though, so thanks to everyone for your input.

teamDE
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by teamDE » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:40 pm

There's some great deals on Chevy Bolts through the end of the month. Low $20s, even sub $20k after fed/state rebates and if you hit the trade in allowance criteria, etc.

I have several friends with them now. One guy has two of them. One guy has a Model 3 as well. All are very happy with them.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:45 pm

JonnyB wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:13 pm
As far as 150,000 to 250,000 miles? First think about that. If you are driving 25 miles a day, you are talking 15 to 25 years. Electric cars are advancing so quickly that I doubt you will be interested in driving today's LEAF 15 years from now.
No, you're right about that--I certainly don't think I would be putting that many miles into it. But I'm interested to know if the vehicle's battery is designed to handle that kind of longevity, charge/discharge, etc.

This is promising--I think I will strongly consider this. Unfortunately I don't see many EVs in my area, and the ones I do see appear to be overpriced (based on what I'm hearing others on various forums getting them for).

Topic Author
angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:47 pm

teamDE wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:40 pm
There's some great deals on Chevy Bolts through the end of the month. Low $20s, even sub $20k after fed/state rebates and if you hit the trade in allowance criteria, etc.

I have several friends with them now. One guy has two of them. One guy has a Model 3 as well. All are very happy with them.
What city/region are you in? I've not seen good deals here. I had heard of some great Bolt deals out in Northern California, since they appear not to be selling all that well. As much as I would prefer a Model 3, I'd still be thrilled with a Bolt, and I think I would buy a Bolt in the next few months if I could get one sub-$20k. I've actually never purchased a new vehicle in all my life, so perhaps I'm not looking hard enough!

plumberboy
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by plumberboy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:53 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:44 am
A Ford C-Max Energi might be a good fit.

After the ~22-24 mile all electric battery is used, it is a regular hybrid with another battery. Let's say you can't make it all the way on your commute. So what, it goes into hybrid mode. No range anxiety at all. Plug in at work if you have a spot. Winter range is reduced to ~18 miles due to heater use.

We had a C-Max Energi and now a Fusion Energi. Both are fantastic cars that can be had used at pretty good prices.

The 2013 C-Max had ~70k miles and I bought it for $8k. Drove it to 125k miles.
+1

BBBob
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by BBBob » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:29 pm

Angelscrest, you ought to try and connect with other EV drivers in your area, if any, and get some info from folks with actual experience in your region. You might try to get a connection via the folks at pluginamerica. (By the way, this is the group that was the pro-EV star of Who Killed The Electric Car, and they have been educating and encouraging folks since the 90's. A great group of people, and nationally connected)

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