Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Insurance, Leasing, and Valuation; The Near Final Chapter Of My 2016 S30

Previously I posted my car was worth $14,000 at least according to my insurance company. Well the financial process is just about settled with only ongoing costs (car rental) and collision deductible not reimbursed. Well the math doesn't work out so either;

1) My LEAF is worth about $1400 more than they said

2)My insurance company was able to negotiate a lower settlement with NMAC.

Whatever the reason, one thing is very clear;

Ray; I simply did not thank you enough for the great deal you gave me on my LEAF!

Finally; for those of you who put down payments on lease LEAFs and are afraid you would lose all of that if you had an accident early in the lease, realize despite what the NMAC policy appears to say; its all about what your insurance company will do for you. On my 2011, I put down a VERY large down payment to reduce rent charges and was told I made a mistake. But as I mentioned, I asked my insurance company how they would handle a loss before I did it and 7 years later, they did EXACTLY what they said they would do.

All of this is quite a surprise to me. I figured I might get a few hundred or so based on the current balance of the lease

After all, I still had 22 of 35 payments left on a zero down lease. I couldn't possibly be that far ahead, right?

So my insurance company sends me the evaluation based likely on a bunch of degraded California cars which kinda depressed me especially when thinking if they would have read my battery degradation rants, the mighta gotten a few hundred more! And now that few hundred is coming directly out of my pocket!

What is not shown is a "small" deduction based on what they say is "excessive" mileage. I have no idea how they came up with that claim! I averaged less than 68 miles per day! I thought about mentioning the monthly average mileage but THAT did seem a bit high...

But anyway, do the math. Does anyone come up with a figure other than $177.55? Sooooo, THIS!

It has always been my knee jerk reaction that insurance companies only cared about their wallet. Little did I realize how beneficial it was for me to be on their side against the opposition!

So how did this "creative" math come about? Recently someone was asking whether NMAC was dealing on lease buyouts. Is this the result? Can I. the lowly consumer have negotiated this discount?


Stay tuned for the final chapter on my 2016 S30 for the final eulogy. I haven't got a title for it but thinking about "How to lease a LEAF for MUCH less than $100 a Month"

One final and VERY important note; Now that Farmer's has a LEAF they don't want to keep. Watch out for auction listings. I am still owed the collision deductible plus rental car reimbursement which will come from liable party or from proceeds of the auction; which ever comes first. So bid high because Daddy needs a new LEAF!! 😊


A few people have asked why I let my insurance company handle the claim paying the $1000 deductible and car rental out of pocket (discounted thru Farmers) and my response;

I did it because Farmer's would have completed the claim much quicker reducing the amount paid to NMAC and getting me "some" money right away. As seen, I have already started getting money but if I had filed a claim against the liable party's insurance company, I would still be waiting for my first dime.

I also have full faith that the money will all come back to me and whether it takes a few more weeks or a few more months, it does not matter to me. I don't need it to replace the LEAF so its not a hardship to me to wait. FYI; On my 2004 Prius, it took over two months to get a settlement check from the other party's insurance company and this is despite the fact the other party accepted full liability immediately.

**EDIT** (again!)

Just got word from my dealer that earliest deliveries of the 2018 are not happening before Feb 12th so hopefully I will be celebrating Lincoln's Birthday AND a new addition to the family!


The final chapter will be in a separate blog but just talked to adjusters from the other two insurance companies involved and both are claiming a likely quick settlement based on corroborating witness statements from bystanders and the other two drivers along with a police report assigning zero blame to me, 12% to the car that hit me and 88% to the motorcyclist. So should have another check for $1280.88 for my $1000 deductible and car rental expense within "5-15 business days"

**Final Edit; One Year Anniversary**

Well I finally got my $1000 deductible back in April and a 60% payment from Motorcyclist's insurance company of my out of pocket expense in October.  The other 40% to be paid by insurance company of the driver of the car that hit me but they are still disputing their liability so still waiting on that exactly one year later.

BUT...The payment made to me did not take car of the $1000 deductible which I thought was paid to the insurance company. Instead, I received letter in mail from Nissan I still owed them $1000 for accident claim.

So this means if I get my  $112.35 for the remainder of my out of pocket, I will be about $500 ahead. If not, then the recommended course of action is small claims which I am debating as to whether that is feasible for me to pursue.  Either way, I "promise" this is the last edit.  :)

Monday, January 22, 2018

She Gave All

On Friday about 5:15 PM I was on my home leaving the office and headed down 54th St South to Tacoma Mall Blvd to get onto I-5.  There are 3 westbound lanes and I needed to get into the center lane to get on the I-5 ramp SB.  As it always is, the traffic in the center and left lanes were backed up several blocks north past me while the right lane was nearly empty.

This where I was on 54th St. Picture is facing west. The cars you see are 
in the center  left turn lane to enter I-5 SB. 

 The plan was when the light turned a block south of me and traffic started to move, I would see if anyone would let me in. So I was staring at the light and happened to turn and look to my left and there was a car headed right at me doing at least 40 mph. My first reaction was punch it and get out of his way, right?  But since I wasn't driving the new Roadster...

A half second later after traveling about 15-20 feet sideways, I was now on the rocks you see in the picture above with the car that hit me had rotated and was parallel to me. My face was literally 2 feet away from the face of the other driver.

Apparently, there was a motorcyclist headed NB on Tacoma Mall Blvd who turned left onto 54th St in front of the car that hit me and he swerved to miss the motorcyclist (who had his rumored to be 3 YO Daughter on the back) to hit me.   Now this wasn't the first time I had seen an accident caused by someone turning left here and it wouldn't be the last one "today"...

Well, I couldn't open the driver's door (not enough room anyway) so I crawled out the passenger side and quickly found out why I hadn't moved farther. Looks like the sidewalk won this battle.

Now I have heard stories about adrenalin taking over and masking the pain of injuries and all that but I felt fine. The front airbags, well known for causing as many injuries as the deaths they prevent, did not deploy. All the side bags did but other than a "busy 4th of July" smell, they did not hurt me at all. I have to guess the curtain bag prevented my noggin from ricocheting off the window so I am grateful for that but to be honest with you, it happened so fast, I am not sure what my head touched or didn't touch. 
Either way, the car was not drivable so I called a tow truck driver and guess what? The same guy who had towed me to Puyallup Nissan a few weeks ago to get my PDM replaced, took the call but guessing, he is wishing he hadn't. 

From our previous conversation, I know he lives down Highway 512 towards Puyallup so he approached the accident scene headed NB on Tacoma Mall Blvd to make that left turn and...

BAM! he hit a car!  Two accidents caused by people turning left in less than an hour!

Well, I had the LEAF towed to a collision shop in Lacey a few miles from my house mostly so I could take pix in the day time and double check to make sure I had not left anything in there and I have to say by the light of day, I realized that I was VERY lucky.  It could have gone real bad.  I am certain had I been in my Corolla, I would not have fared nearly as well.

This could be a problem with our rainy Winters!

No, the rear wheel isn't supposed to turn!

Sadly, she came up just short of 30,000 miles and I was so proud of the fact that she didn't even have as much as a door ding!  

But how did I fare so well? I was hit pretty hard but then I realized that in order to protect and  support the battery pack, extra bracing worked to protect passengers inside the box the battery pack lay under.  Despite being shoved sideways up over the sidewalk, trashing the wheel, etc., the cabin was completely intact. I was not even close to being in real danger. 

Looks bad doesn't it? Especially when one is sitting a few inches on the other side but

None of the impact is visible from the inside of the door. None.  And before you say it, I am not "that" much of a slob. All that white powder came from the side air bags and a total of 6 deployed; 2 on each side in the front plus the two curtain bags in the back. 

 The lower one came from the side of the seat while the other one drops down from the headliner

I can't even been to express how grateful I am that my LEAF gave all so I could be here. Its been 72 hours now and I am still not feeling any aches or pains and tossed in a 9½ hour workday yesterday and a 13 hour work day today. 

The saddest part of all this (written with a year's experience driving the 40 kwh 2018)

It was THE best LEAF I ever had.

LEAF Spy reading a few days before accident

Thursday, January 11, 2018

PDM (Power Distribution Module) Replaced!

Sunday on my way home from a 15 hour day, I decided to stop at the Blink QC at Tahoma Market where I had successfully charged the day before.  My other option was Tacoma Mall and being a Sunday afternoon, I figured it would be packed (it was) and Tahoma Market is viewable from I-5 and it was abandoned as I rolled by at 20 mph so there I went.

But a charge was not to be. I tried both sides several times and despite everything looking functional, the station would simply not provide me a charge.  I cursed Blink and headed to the mall.

When I arrived at the EVGO stations, it was packed including a Volt on L2, a LEAF not charging on L2 but with plug locked to the car. Both QCs had LEAFs charging and one was at 36 mins when I got there. It eventually stopped on its own around 50-55 mins.  So I had 15 mins more or less before I would get a station so ran into the mall, got some food, brought it back out just as the other person fast charging unplugged his LEAF.

So I plugged in and....nothing.  Station did everything it was supposed to but timed out eventually cancelling the charge. I call EVGO tech support and they reset the machine, etc.  all to no avail.  It was now I began to realize it was likely my port.  I had nearly no range left but Puget Sound Co op Credit Union was right around the corner so went there limping into the station with 6 GIDs and...nothing.  I tried both plugs several times and nothing.

So I called a tow truck. I couldn't think of anything else to do.  While waiting for a confirmation, I reset the 12 volt battery and tried it again and it worked!! L2 was back! So I called and cancelled the tow thinking I could charge again realizing later the "thinking" part was minimal at best...  So I got enough of a charge that I was willing to go back to Tacoma Mall to try the fast charge. Made sense to me at the time so off I went with 15 miles of range.

I got there and all the stations were still full including the LEAF with the L2 locked to the car and there was another LEAF plugged into the station I had tried and was on the phone with tech support and the unit was in the middle of a reboot. I was thinking maybe the station did something to my car?  But the LEAFer  had actually gotten a charge but the handle would not unlock when the charge was completed. The reset worked and he did get it unlocked and was on his way and by then, the other station was available and not wanting to try the first station again, I plugged in and...nothing.

I reset the battery cable and... nothing.  So I thought, I guess its L2 or nothing and went back to Puget Sound Co op and plugged in and...nothing.  Well, call the tow truck again... In the mean time I was pleading my plight on Facebook and Brian suggested I check DTCs (trouble codes) with LEAF Spy so I did,  and decided to clear the codes and L2 was back!...

So I charged a bit and then unplugged the L2 and plugged it right back in and.... NOTHING.  This was not going to work.  Living on Level 2? Hmmm!!

But I decided I had to have QC so I charged for a while with heat blasting away waiting on the tow truck, shutting down just before he arrived. My insurance company has a "Tow Truck Tracker" so I know when they will arrive which is good because he drove right past me. That is Google Map's fault due to how the addresses align.  I did the same thing getting to the charging station.

So the tow truck driver showed up, I drove it up onto the bed and he asked "Where to?"

Finally an easy answer to what had been a very hard day (starting at 2:15 AM when I left home)

"Take my car to Aaron McAfee!" I said.  A definite no brainer there!  The fact that I was a few blocks from another authorized LEAF dealer really didn't matter.  For sales, go to Ray in  Everett, for maintenance its Aaron at  Bill Korum in Puyallup

I then PM'd Aaron with my DTCs;

He shot back about a minute later saying PDM needs replaced. Will have to look at the car to make sure but that is what it is.  So he called his service guy to have him order the part.  Ok, so not quite as convenient as a house call but...

Naturally, the PDM varies too much to have them in stock, so it had to be ordered. (Just my luck)  But Aaron assured me it takes 1-2 days to get one so no later than Thursday.

Well, Wednesday afternoon,  Kelly the service guy from Bill Korum calls up to advise car is charged up and ready to go but it was another one of those "end to end" work days and it would have been after 5 PM before getting there and I was just too busy to do it but Thursday was an early day and she has returned!!

All in all, not bad at all. I haven't actually tried charging it yet and opportunities in the very near future abound so I am guessing I will find out soon but I have faith in Aaron's abilities and found that the ability to reset DTCs in LEAF Spy Pro has all of a sudden become "the" best value ever.  As I understand it, LEAF Spy Pro is cheaper now. I paid $20 (a GREAT deal) and I am glad to see it was worth every penny I paid AND all the other pennies that stayed in my pocket!


So a few comments to add

** I don't think charging on Blink had anything to do with the PDM failure. I had fast charged Saturday but also went home and did a full level 2 charge without issues not noticing the charging problems until I tried another Blink fast charge the next day.   In the blog, I had to clear the DTCs every time to start a charge.  As mentioned above, I had been charging on level 2, unplugged it for like 10 seconds and plugged it back in and it failed to restart so had to clear codes again to get the car to accept a charge. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

DIY Charge Timer

The goal; Determine the reliability of using formulaic process for custom charging levels.  As we know, the LEAF has a timer that lists charging times for various EVSE speeds.

120 volts @ 12 amps.
240 Volts@ 16  amps
240 Volts @ 27.5 amps

Now the bottom one "could" be different but not likely.  Now I don't have the 27.5 amp version to test but the reality is there are several different EVSEs running at all different speeds and if  my experiments using my Clipper Creek running at 24 amps proves to be reliable and predictable, I might be tempted to test my 20 amp EVSE upgrade as well.

Background;  Using a Clipper Creek 24 amp charger running at 24 amps or 5.76 KW

Day One;  Happy Thanksgiving!  Starting the charge when I get up so I can monitor it. I want to charge to roughly 80%.   The issues I will be trying to figure out is how much of the estimated charge time is devoted to cell balancing. Initially, I was thinking about 90 mins plus 30 mins ramp down so my estimate would be the time estimate minus 2 hours to hit near full.

A full charge of say 90% DoD (for me) still being about 28 kwh @ 90% efficiency which takes 4.9 hours. So 80% would be just under 4 hours.  These are approximations since an 80% charge would experience no ramp down.

 Charge start;  6:34 AM

SOC  40% (41.6% LS)  Car timers  (6 KW, 3KW, L1) 6:00, 8:30, 24:30.
 With starting SOC of 40%, only 40% needs to be gained. with a 90% charge taking 4.9 hours, my charge should take  2.17 hours or roughly 2 hours and 10 mins.  Estimated time completion to 80%; 8:44 AM.

7:36 AM
SOC 62% (60.3 LS)  Car timer (only 6 KW is showing now) 4:30

8:44 AM Charge ended.  SOC on Car 84%, LEAF Spy 79.3 %  10 SOC bars.

Summary;  charged 130 mins gained 44% or  2.95 mins/%

Next to Check

40% SOC start good so check higher SOC starts and at least two low SOC starts of 20% or less if possible
granularity of 120 volt timer better to use?
Timer does not appear to update when car is powered off while charging

Day 2;  SOC  56%  Charge Start 0927    timers 5.30, 7.30, 19.30
Target  90% or 34% gain.  Estimated time  100 mins.  or  1107

time check; 10.24  time elapsed  57 mins  should be  19.3 % increase;  actual  75%  19% increase.

1115. elapsed   should be 92.6%  is 90%

1141   96%

Day 3;   10%   1718            timers 8/11.30/32.30

Target 90% or 80% gain   236 mins.

December 2017 Drive Report; Getting Ready For The Best Year Of The EV Revival!

Well, a reality set in. December is the slowest work month for me by a long shot so the mileage I put on the LEAF this month is a bit shocking.  Like last year, I expected to be at or below 1000 miles but that was not to be.  I guess my holiday meanderings were more extensive than I thought they would be.

For the month, the LEAF traveled 1319.9 miles costing $25.56 or 1.9 cents per mile.  This is a bump from the norm because of a Semaconnect charge of $20. Without it, it would be well under a penny a mile like it has been all year long.   NCTC as always was the largest contributor of the month pitching 269 kwh.   Without NCTC and being billed the normal tier one rate (which actually wouldn't be accurate) my cost would have been $48.77  or 3.7 cents per mile.  As a side note; had I been a paying member of EVGO, I would have amassed a bill of $1227 for the year with $19.95 monthly and 20 cents per minute.  Although the reality is I had a grandfathered plan of $14.95  a month and 10 cents per minute but had to cancel that because EVGO was simply too confused... 😒

Now a lot of people would be unhappy paying over $100 a month for public charging fees and realize this is only one of 6 different networks I used but well over 80% of it was for work purposes, a job that reimbursed me $6200 in TAX FREE mileage reimbursement so its not nearly as bad as it sounds... 😊

I feel it fair to provide a bit of a disclaimer. Had I really been paying for the EVGO network, I would have had more charging sessions but shorter ones. I doubt I would have charged below 30-35 KW due to the per minute cost.  During the my busier months, I had a lot of 15-20 minute sessions anyway mostly because I was getting a charge I really didn't need and stopped to get some work done that I would have had to do when I got home anyway so it was a 2fer...

In reality, I think I would have stopped  charging in weather below freezing as well.  Too many times the charging rate started dropping at 60-65% SOC as opposed to it dropping at 82-85% in Summer!

AV Tumwater

EVGO Tacoma

A rough calculation says I am losing 4-5 kwh while paying the same $6!! (if I were paying...)


Using the Blink at Tahoma Market with warmer ambient temps but battery temps still in the same range, I saw no slow down at all.  It was a shorter 28 min charge (Since Blink will run forever) which would have been the case always to make sure I did not get billed any extra but it was also time constrained charge so I really should have pulled out at 25 mins but got sidetracked by a call...

Will post pix but had hiccup with LEAF that will be in another blog when the issue is resolved.

As you can see, the Blink did ok. Have to think the batteries were warmed up a little?? 

My LEAF Spy low water marks (which interestingly happened on the 30th and not sure why) were GIDs 363, ahr  79.68, SOH 100%, Hx 95.03.  To contrast, my ahr was 82.34 and Hx was 100.21% on the morning of the 30th (the 29th stats are recorded the next morning before the days drive so technically the miles I drove is on the right day but the LEAF Spy stats are recorded one day in arrears which is something I can live with) So the drop happened in one day AND coincided with first full level 2 charge in SEVERAL weeks which probably doesn't make a difference but still interesting anyway.


Hx is hovering around 99% and ahr is back to 82.34 but mostly due to my driving 120-150 miles a day. December was the slow month, January is the busiest month BY FAR.

As for the dark side; The Corolla went  207.8 miles costing $14.75 or 7.1 cents per mile.  I was advised on my last "be kind to gassers" day that I have a brake light that is non functional... so its being its normal "money pit" of a car!

A lot of discussion on losing efficiency in cold weather.  First realize, my Corolla ONLY  does high efficiency driving. Nearly all freeway, ZERO short errand runs, etc and it still shows a 14% degradation over Summer.  Add in the normal day to day most cars endure and that efficiency drop would be AT LEAST double.

On a brighter note; Dustin a LOOOONG time LEAFer, has decided after 110,000 miles to replace his battery in order to get another 7 years worth of use and his price?  $5600 which is what you were probably expecting me to say but realize WA State EVness is tax free (this includes labor!) so what you see is ALL of it! 😊