One Week with the Nissan Leaf

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Well, it’s been one whole week since my family decided to get the new all-electric Nissan Leaf and so far we are loving it.

You might think that I’m bent in some philosophical way toward going all-electric or being a hyper-hippie about energy conservation or being “green” but the truth is that I made the decision based on a recommendation from a trusted friend.

That’s it. No deep introspection or religiosity but rather encountering someone that I trust and respect that had purchased one and in a very casual, off-the-cuff conversation, was convinced that I needed to take a serious look at it.

I think many of us make our decisions like this, nothing over-the-top and certainly not a “come to Jesus-like” moment but rather engaging with new information via trusted and respected sources.

This source was someone I went to school with and who married one of Sue’s long-time friends (they grew up together). He had purchased one for his new job and the benefits (tax credits, incentives) were too good to pass up. As such, he had done the conservative math on it and realized that they would, at the very least, break-even if not save some money on a two-year lease.

Not bad, not bad at all.

I walked in last Monday and 90 minutes later walked out with the keys. The gentleman who sold me my Leaf was the same guy that sold my friend his and so the circle of relationships was kept strong.

Here are some top-level thoughts about why this decision made a lot of sense for me and our family:

  1. Leasing – I’ve always purchased my cars in cash but this is the first time I’ve ever leased a vehicle. The reason is that this is essentially a “Version 1.0” of the product and future iterations will make this car much, much better. Consequently, owning the v1.0 isn’t as smart as owning a v2.0, especially after they get any kinks out of the vehicle after mass-usage and testing.
  2. Overall Cost, Value – Out the door (tax, tag, title) for a 24 month lease was $305/mo. I’ve heard of people getting into the low 200’s per month. The fact that I no longer pay for gas, oil changes, or significant mechanical maintenance fees helps this cost become very palatable. The electric bill increase is nominal considering my use as well.
  3. Travel – I am traveling much less and spending much more time working from home. In fact, I just terminated my lease of my office space in downtown Atlanta last week so I’m practically a homebody now. This vehicle will be used for small trips around town, the occasional meeting, and taking my kids to school and soccer practice. A perfect use-case. We have our Honda Odyssey for the longer gas-guzzling trips. Round-trip the Leaf  can give me about 90 miles on a full charge and there are enough power stations around Atlanta to make me feel secure.
  4. Amenities – The sound pollution of this vehicle is mind-numbling… as in nothing. Starting up and idling is as if the cars not even turned on. I love the silent ride and have opted to not blare my typical Top 40 tunes and just ride in silence. But if I do, I can plug in my iPhone and it automatically reads the playlists and can be played on some decently-crisp highs, mids, and lows. Blue-tooth was easy to setup for hands-free use of my iPhone and the sound quality and reception is peak. The spacious backseat (and it is actually quite spacious) is refreshing and the trunk is way big enough for all my stuff and can even collapse if I needed to throw my bike in there from time to time.

I’ll probably share some more thoughts in the future as I use it more and I’m sure I’ll find a number of things that I dislike about it as well, but for now I’m a very satisfied new Leaf customer.

Here are a few other random snaps:

And, of course, a short video showing you how easy it is to charge this thing, courtesy of Roenne:

Oh, and by the way, I’m looking to sell my 2006 Toyota Corolla as well that just passed 100k miles. Let me know if you’re interested! Definitely willing to pull out a super-deal.

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