Sunday, December 22, 2013

Eulogy for my 2011 LEAF; Goodbye #258, You Were Wonderful!

The Basics;

35 months and 2 days
44,598.2 miles
$1083.05  with $28.38 public charging
10,996 kwh   4.05 miles/kwh from the wall
average ending GID count 236
ahr 57.10  Hx 57.16  SOH 87%
2.4 cents per mile.
Payment total; $15,508.68
Maintenance; $361.38
TCO; 38 cents a mile.

It was VIN # 258 delivered with 3 other LEAFs (One went to Patrick, the other to Sam and the 3rd was shipped to Arizona) and I was the first one to pick mine up on January 18th, 2011. I remember the day like it happened yesterday for but all the wrong reasons.

First off, I had originally said I was purchasing but then changed my mind in the last few weeks before delivery (keeping in mind, my purchase decision had been made over 4 months earlier) going for a lease instead. I picked Rairdon's Nissan of Auburn for two reasons; one they had cheapest sale price and my local dealer was not an option when the sign up process began.

We start the paperwork and the price comes in way higher than expected. I look it over and advise there is no sales tax for EV purchase which is the rub. They don't enter in the sales tax. Its put in automatically by their finance software. They don't know how to take this out (Remember I am customer #1, there is no precedence, no other dealer to call for advice, etc)  So they hammer it out with Corporate and determine a workaround which essentially is guessing what the payment would be without the dollar figure of sales tax (about $3300!) and come up with a number. Still pretty high and found out it was the MF which was higher than Nissan's Corporate which I later found out could have been negotiated downwards. I wish I had known that.

So to make it "close" to the total I would have paid (without considering other investment options) I reduced the "rent" charge (essentially interest) by writing a check for the largest amount I had in my account (I had set aside $2,000 for the expected down I was paying) for $10,000 lowering my payments to $162.02 a month.  Later, everyone told me this was a bad idea in case the car was wrecked, I would lose my equity but I called my insurance company before doing this and they advised I would get "replacement" value no matter what was owed to NMAC.

But despite the ominous beginnings, the car was better than I had hoped for. I had no illusions of getting 100 miles in all anything but ideal conditions. I drove an EV for 3 ½ years before getting the LEAF so was very familiar with EV range promises. Soon, I got one of the first EVSE upgrades from Phil and was soon blazing down the charging path at 240 volts and a massive 12 amps!

Now, don't know if I simply got a better LEAF or just got lucky but I had ZERO issues with the car. I got the brake SW update but didn't need it. I got the charger compatibility update but didn't need that one either and got the A/C "fix" but again, didn't need that one either.

I had no rattles, no vibration, no A/C issues, but did have some tire issues. I did hit a semi truck tread on an I-5 on ramp which took out both tires on the left side. That was a $260 repair (with alignment)  and had a 3/4 " bolt in a tire that was fixed at firestone for $21.97 (will NEVER go there again!) I also acquired a bubble on one of the tires (I think it was from cutting the corner on a roundabout...) and went to get it replaced at dealer and they did without charge (I was standing there with credit card in hand...) but have to admit, I cheated a bit. the wheel cover on that tire was scuffed, so I swapped it with one on the other side... I feel guilty about that and I hope I get over it soon.

Finally, I paid $78 for the brake fluid flush at first battery inspection. I did this only because I had taken the cap off the reservoir dozens of times for some reason I am not quite sure of when showing other people the LEAF.  Then later I found out that moisture in the braking system could be an issue so probably didn't need to but thought it good to replace fluid anyway. Obtw; never removed the cap anymore.

So that is it in a nutshell.  Oh one other thing. My office is in Tacoma so its a 22-23 mile drive there and in Feb 2013 one of the vans was wrecked (not really that bad) but was not replaced. So after that; I was able to use my LEAF a lot more for work. They pay mileage tax free and this year it ran from 33 to 46 cents a mile (based on regional gas prices)  My mileage reimbursement will be near $5,000 with about $800 coming from using the gasser, the rest from the LEAF.

All in all; the only real question in a customer service satisfaction survey is

"Knowing all that you know now and if given the chance to do it all over again; Who you still have gotten the LEAF?"

My answer?

You will have to wait for my next blog entry!

Merry Christmas all!

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