First EV car buying strategy advice...

Discussion in 'General' started by EVconvert, Feb 17, 2018.

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  1. EVconvert

    EVconvert New Member


    I'm relatively new to the idea of buying an EV, my husband has always been pro-EV and after reading an excellent article on EVs from a website called waitbutwhy, I am convinced that they are the future and would like anyone's general advice on our strategy:


    Currently own a 2010 toyota yaris with 98,000 miles on it, runs just fine. I need it to go to work with commutes ranging from 15, 20, and 35 miles one way (I work at a couple of different sites) about 6-10 days a month depending on my shift length. The 20 and 35 mile commutes have access to a charger port, although limited. I have been trying to check on my shifts how many ports are available when I arrive and it varies.

    Husband works from home right now and so we haven't really needed a second car. However, it is very inconvenient at times not to have an extra car and we are now going to put our toddler into daycare a couple of days a week, so we are looking to get a second car. The furthest day care we would consider would be a 20 mile one way trip.

    Our long-term goals would be to have a long-range EV that as the battery degrades and turns into a shorter range EV, we would just get another long-range EV.

    It appears that long-range EVs are reaching a critical point this year and so we are considering the following:

    Buying a very cheap Nissan Leaf, a 2011 or 2012. Even with the battery at 50% we should be able to cover our "worst transportation day," i.e. I take the gas car up to the 35 mile commute site if I couldn't be sure of getting a charging site and husband takes the toddler to day care on a 20 mile commute (being 40 miles on a there and back status). It looks like it takes about 8 hours to charge on the slow 2011 batteries, which should work out just fine for the day care.

    In our area a 2011 is selling for $6,000 with around 50,000 miles on it.

    The idea would be that we could keep this car for a couple of years and wait for the battery to degrade to a point where the range is <40 miles. At that point we could either replace the battery for $5500 plus labor costs and keep it all going for another 5-10 years- at which point there should be plenty of long-range cars and maybe we could have our dream car of a used Tesla ; ) or if it lasts a little longer than a couple of years we could dump it and just get another EV with 200 mile range on it which would be able to replace our gas car once it goes plus or minus getting another cheap nissan leaf as needed.

    Obviously things might change if the gas car goes kaput earlier...but thoughts? Anything I'm missing from our methodology?

    ETA: oh and we just had an electrician install a "fast" charger in our garage : )
    WadeTyhon likes this.
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  3. InsideEVs has this "Used Nissan LEAF Buying Guide" that you might want to look over.

    I think the big question with buying a used LEAF, especially a 2011, is the battery. The first ones degraded far quicker than normal and Nissan replaced a number of them (for free).

    I'm looking around at used LEAFs myself a bit, and am kind of hoping to find one with battery warranty left, that's degraded enough to be replaced for free. There's a video in another thread from a guy who bought one that was close, who then took steps to make it degrade prematurely and ten had it replaced.

    Of course, it'd be nice to just find a decent example at a good price and not have to worry about all that...
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Let me suggest also looking at 72 mi EV, end-of-lease, 2014-2015 BMW i3-REx. These are maintained well and go for ~$15-20k. The Range Extender engine gives a nice backup if the remote charger is down or you need to take an unexpected, long distance trip. Try to get one with dynamic cruise control and collision avoidance braking, well worth it inspire of the optical limits.

    Another option, a Prius Prime can be bought new for $27-33k with an additional $4k tax credit and significant discounts. The 25 mile EV range suggests you'll burn some gas on longer trips but the car is exceptionally efficient, 56MPG. It comes with stock safety system, TSS-P, with radar based dynamic cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

    There are also good values on first model Volts and the new Ioniq plugin but I have no hands on experience with them.

    Bob Wilson
    Domenick likes this.
  5. EVconvert

    EVconvert New Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone- I have been reading the Nissan leaf guide and sent it my husband.

    bwilson, the husband is pretty gung-ho on getting something 100% electric, so that would probably not work for us unless I can convince him otherwise...certainly I don't think he could be convinced to spend that much $$ on a plug in hybrid. We are cheap- never bought a new car and never spent more than $15k on a car before either.
    bwilson4web likes this.
  6. JyChevyVolt

    JyChevyVolt Active Member

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  8. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Glad to have you on the EV team! Once you go EV you never wanna use gas again! :D

    However, there's a reason that the 2011 leaf is selling for $6,000. :) Even completely satisfied leaf owners probably would probably not recommend you buy a 2011 leaf with 50k miles on it. If you do go for it, do like you said and plan on keep the leaf at home for your 35 mile trips.

    A used Spark EV or i3 would be better since their batteries hold up better over time. They probably cost 2k-3k more but it's worth it for superior batteries, longer range and just more fun to drive. Check with your local fiat or Chevy dealer to make sure they are certified to work on them though.

    Also check out the Gen1 Volt and C-Max energi. Both can be found under 15k easily with fairly low mileage. The Volt has a 35-40 mile range and can recharge in about 4 hours on an L2 charger. My wife has used gas in her Volt only once or twice over the past year. When she does use gas she gets about 40 mpg, but it is one of the few PHEVs that can be operated as an EV most of the time. Since you have a young toddler, the small back seat in the Volt would be no issue.
  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    My 'go to' place for used cars is eBay. Survey the completed sales to get an idea about realistic prices and availability. If going EV, limit the search range to the expected, one-way, distance. For a plugin hybrid, use as far as you feel like driving in a day or so. For example:
    • 800 mi - 2003 Prius
    • 463 mi - 2014 BMW i3-REx
    • 1200 mi - 2017 Prius Prime Plus
    Bob Wilson
  10. EVconvert

    EVconvert New Member

    Thanks for the replies!

    Jy- intriguing. I hadn't thought of leasing a car. Normally I would not consider it as it's the most expensive way to operate a vehicle. I did check out the websites and there isn't much in my area...I will keep an eye on it. I guess the thing is that ideally I would have at least 5 years until we buy a "long range" EV and in the meantime let our gas car run into the ground and EV car to degrade so much that I only get 25 miles or so per charge. This all depends on if the gas car cooperates, but I put 160k on another similar car before it was in an accident and wasn't worth repairing...

    Wade, at this point having a gas car, I don't really care about range, insomuch as it has at least 40 miles minimum. According to this battery degradation site (although to be fair, I don't know the accuracy of the website: ) even after about 10 years, one could "expect" the battery to be around 60-65% from where I live, which would be enough for our purposes, needing only 35-40 miles of range. A 2011 would be 3 years from reaching that 10 year mark and that's if the degradation goes that far that quickly, although it could go even further I guess. I drive a yaris, so clearly I don't care about the drive, lol. It is nice when I hop into my parents car which is a honda accord and get more power, I will admit, but not worth the extra $$. I will definitely check out the other models you mentioned though. The other consideration is making sure they will fit 2 car seats as we will probably have another child in a year or so. Most cars can fit at least 2 seats in the back though, so probably not a problem.

    Bob, I will check out ebay too. I've also started looking on craigslist.

    this is so exciting!! We are realistically waiting a few months probably since we won't do daycare until then and that makes the most financial sense to wait as long as possible...but very excited!!
  11. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    A lease is noting more than an option contract. I consider it money well spent, insurance if you will. I've had cars I fully expected to be done with that I've kept and cars I swore I would keep that I gave back. Any price difference between the lease/buy option and straight out buy is your option price. Not everything leases well so it doesnt always work, and you can't force the car into the lease, but the right mix and it will not be a huge difference. I have no problem with spending a little more to know I can hand the keys back to something I don't want or need. Sure beats selling it privately or taking a larger bath on trade in.

    When it comes to EV it's absolutely the way to go.
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