Buying/Driving an EV in FLorida

Discussion in 'General' started by Mel_La_Fee, Nov 7, 2018.

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  1. Mel_La_Fee

    Mel_La_Fee New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm sure this is one of the most asked questions you get, so sorry to be repetitive, but I'm REALLY interested in getting an EV and as of right now the odds looked stacked against me. FL is hot, insurance is expensive (more so for hybrids and EVs), and my drive to and from work is about 20 miles one way. That 20 miles equates to anything between 35min and an hour 1/2 because of traffic (though I've gotten pretty familiar with the back roads- drive distance is further but overall driving time is less). My family thinks I'm crazy, but this will be the first car I've ever picked out and bought for myself, so I really want it to be something I can live with and enjoy (as well as afford!).
    Unfortunately, it'll have to be a used car this go around, and I'll have to finance it. I have about 1k to put down and I found a 2013 Nissan Leaf that I like with only 22,000 miles on it, and already figured out that there's a WaWa super charging station less than a mile from my office. So, while I won't be able to spring for a home charging station for awhile, I'm assuming that during the week I can always recharge/top-off before heading home. But I read that the 2011-2015 Leafs rely on ambient air to cool the battery pack and in FL, that means a lot of hot air swirling around the battery while it sits in the parking lot :(

    Any advice as to whether I'm looking at the right model car? On range, drive time, battery usage? Am I looking in the right direction here? I think EVs are the way of the future, but I honestly don't know if it's going to work out for me right now as much as I want it to. Any help is much appreciated!
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  3. Jimmy Truong

    Jimmy Truong Member

    Your 20 miles in traffic can drain battery as much as 60-70 miles. The Leaf may not work for you on round trip.
    Super Charge is only recommended for long trip once in a while not daily driving because it stresses your battery so much to reduce its longevity. If I’m in your situation, I’d consider a 200-mile range car. For that, BMW i3 with extended battery, Chevy Bolt and the $35k Tesla Model 3. I’ll pick Tesla over the other 2.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I'm not a fan of air-cooled batteries as I'm seeing some early capacity loss in our Prius Prime and this was a latent problem with our Gen-1 and Gen-3 Prius. Heat is the enemy of batteries and living in Florida, the cold not so much of an issue.

    I would recommend using eBay auto to look for used:
    • BMW i3 or BMW i3-REx ($18k-$25k)
    • Bolt or Volt
    There is a completed sales option on "eBay" that lets you see the real prices paid.
    Desirable features:
    1. End of lease from dealer - should have residual warranty and ~30 days after leaving lot
    2. Avoid first model year - many early problems are fixed in factory
    3. Test drive car at a dealer to find out if 'it fits'
      1. When you walk out of dealer and they give you a final offer, ask "Can I call you back on Monday?"
    If you go with a plug-in hybrid, expand the search radius to 500-700 miles. You can handle the financing and insurance with your bank; you'll need to put a deposit to hold car (needs credit card); get a cheap flight to arrive in morning; inspect sign deal, and; drive home.

    Bob Wilson
  5. Mel_La_Fee

    Mel_La_Fee New Member

    I appreciate the responses. It basically confirms my fears about range and the heat here in FL as it pertains to a Leaf. Sadly, I don't know that I can work something out with my bank in terms of financing and even if I could (my credit score is 667 right now so maybe), I have to think about the monthly payment plus insurance. I've worked myself up from not much of anything and I can't risk jeopardizing my economic stability to make a $400+ car payment.

    I do understand that in the long run, I might be better off with a new or barely used car with a warranty because it gives me years of less maintenance than a traditional gas car and charging is much cheaper. But my price range right now has to be less than $200/month, or at least around that price point because I already did an insurance quote search and the range is between $160/month and $350/month depending on the model car. I don't even have accidents or tickets on my record and that's the best they want to do...A car that costs 18K is not TOTALLY out of reach, but a payment of 5-6 hundred/month for a car payment plus insurance is not feasible.
    I just really want a car that will get me those 20-some miles to and from work and I want it to produce as few emissions as possible. I want to be part of a positive change... but I'm kinda poor...sigh.
  6. DaleL

    DaleL Active Member

    I live in Florida. Cold drains a battery far more than does heat. I regularly get 50 to 55 miles of EV range from my Honda Clarity PHEV. Florida is a great place to have either a pure EV or PHEV. My insurance did not go up when I switched from a less expensive Civic to the Clarity. However, you are correct that Florida is an expensive car insurance state.

    Other than a used Leaf (80 miles range), I don't think there is an EV within your price range. This is heresy on an EV forum, but you may have to settle on an efficient ICE car until your finances permit an EV.
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  8. Mel_La_Fee

    Mel_La_Fee New Member

  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    A private listing, sounds like an individual, not a dealer. You'll have to talk with them about the practical range of their Leaf. There may be a VIN decoder that allows you to see the factory options. IF you decide to drive it back, NOT A GOOD IDEA FOR FIRST DRIVE, lets go over cross-country planning.

    Using, I set the charging filter for:
    • CHAdeMO - this is the high-speed, DC charger. Most likely at Nissan dealers, you'll use these as your primary chargers to keep the trip time manageable. But there are commercial chargers. Regardless, look at the comments of each to see if anyone has gotten a charge or problems.
    • NEMA 14-50 - you'll need a NEMA 14-50 to J1772 charger. Typically found at RV parks, they will give you the fastest, AC charge rate limited by the AC charger in the Leaf.
    • J1772 - a mixed bag, there is no way to know the amp rating. I've seen from 16A to 40A.
    Using, trip planning, I found the optimum route is Nashville to Savannah to Orlando:
    Once you reach I-95, there appears to be a reasonable density of CHAdeMO and other chargers to reach Florida. However, you must check every charger in PlugShare to see which ones are working and identify the access hours. For example, dealers are closed on Sunday and often shorter hours on Saturday and then just business hours during the work week.

    1. Keep shopping to try and find something within one charger radius of your home. Driving home with only one charge session is much safer than a 600 mile trip. @Domenick can help with:
    2. Have car shipped. Although expensive and paid up front, this avoids having to deal with a strange car in a strange place. You might investigate U-Haul and/or using a tow bar to a towing vehicle. Ideally, the front tires on a two-wheel carrier.
    3. Drive car home - the riskiest and potentially most expensive, I've tried to give a rough outline of what is involved. But it would be a great adventure!
    There is lady in Huntsville, AL, interested in selling her 2014 BMW i3-REx, asking $19,000. She is taking it in for service on the REx on Monday. Once working, we can code the car so you you can easily drive 700 miles in a day to reach home.

    Send me a private message if interested. Please include the City you live in. If she gives the OK, I'll reply with her number and you' all can work out the details.

    A limited range Leaf is not an ideal cross-country car BUT it can be done. Just you need to plan for what can go wrong and have resources to deal with problems on the road.

    Bob Wilson
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    DaleL likes this.
  10. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

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