Friday, March 6, 2020

February 2020 Drive Report; More LEAF Battery Options Coming!

It was a short month so only went 1055.9 miles and this signifies the beginning of regular charging expense.  I home charged 44 kwh with power at 8.44 cents/kwh for a cost of $3.72.  I lost .09% SOH which was expected since my adjustment happened last month. Technically one day of the adjustment happened on February 1st but since March 1st saw no changes in SOH from February 29th, I did some creative accounting sliding the month over a day.  This accomplishes the feat of making February look better than it was along with making January worse than it actually was. Kinda like the Federal jobs report. 😎

EVGO's $250 LEAF Charging Credit. 

For anyone getting a LEAF from November 1st, 2019 on, EVgo provides a $250 charging credit. Since my NCTC ran out February 16th, it was time to start using that perk. To get the best rate, I signed up for a monthly subscription thinking the $7.99 fee would be covered and it was not.  Right after I signed up, a $7.99 credit was applied to my account making the balance - $257.99.  A few weeks later, I received a notice that my CC was billed.   Well, I had planned to only use the EVgo credit while away from home since I had until Nov 16th to use it up.  But since $7.99 subscription fee wasn't part of the credit, it became financially wiser to use up the credit faster rather than slower since each month would increase my overall cost per kwh.

I had been tracking my charging performance and with EVgo's 25 cents per minute rate (Only 22 cents per minute after 8 PM), I was still averaging 32 to 33 cents per kwh despite not charging more than a minute or so past the knee.  IOW, I was getting the power for about as cheap as possible for the time of day and it still wasn't great.  Cheaper than Blink for sure along with others but nowhere near what EA was giving me when I was averaging 17 to 19 cents per kwh on their stations.

Now EA bills a $4 a month subscription rate but their higher charging speed along with their 18 cent per minute rates meant I only had to charge 57 minutes to overcome that $4 sub fee advantage EVgo provides (EVgo credits the first $7.99 of charging costs every month so the subscription fee is essentially zero'd out)

EVGO's Maintenance Issues

I happened upon a tech worker from the manufacturer of the DC station in DuPont and we got a chance to talk a bit about the issues both at DuPont and Chehalis.  Acheron had had a comm error message since Thanksgiving and apparently a part was ordered that was expected in two weeks which means by my reckoning, the station should be up and running this week. It is my plan to swing by there today sometime to check it out.   Chehalis had different issues and he was leaving DuPont to upgrade various components there. Apparently he had already been there several times to repair it.  I did verify it was working when returning from the Portland Auto Show a few weeks ago. Lets hope this station stays up for an extended period of time which would be the first time since it was turned on last year.

Edit; I just checked Acheron and he/she is still down. I also found a disturbing situation.

So, the stations have a proven track record of fragility and this is what we do?  Zoom in on the pix. Its raining, the handle is wet.  "Shouldn't" matter but a Bolter tried to use it and had 2 failed attempts.  I hope she knows that EA is only 8 miles down the road.

EA Expansion

Electrify America is well into phase 2 of their 5 phase penalty and this phase promises a bit of redundancy, some connections to lesser traveled corridors, along with simply beefing up metro areas.  Despite their coming soon page, we have a surprise entry to announce.  Today someone alerted me to new stations in the ground at Target Plaza in West Olympia!

This came as a complete surprise and now makes me think I need to check out the Walmart in both Aberdeen and Shelton! Both would be VERY welcome locations to EVers vacationing on the Olympic Peninsula.  If anyone living in the area happens to notice something, let me know.

Nissan Battery Pack Upgrades

Believe it or not, Nissan has done a bit of an about face and is providing relief to LEAF owners with degraded packs in two ways;

The price of the 24 kwh pack which is no longer under warranty has been dropped to $5500 minus a required $1000 exchange credit.  This puts the cost at $4500 plus installation and in some cases (2011's and 12's) parts.  Remember in WA State; anything EV is still sales tax free and that does include parts AND labor.

30 kwh LEAF owners are the ones really making out...if they qualify for a warranty claim that is. Nissan is now replacing degraded 30 kwh packs with 40 kwh packs!  Like WOW!   This is not a rumor as 4 people have confirmed the higher capacity packs were installed.  BUT... Anyone with a 30  kwh LEAF who simply wants more range cannot buy the upgrade for anything less than a ridiculously exorbitant price!

What is even more confusing is that Nissan has NOT updated the parts price list for these  packs and a few dealerships were unaware of the new price until they actually went and ordered a pack to see the price come in at the $5500 cost instead of the $7,000 catalog listing.

The same issue exists for the 40 kwh packs.  Various reports (non really confirmed since no packs have been purchased) range from $12,000 to $18,000!!  With the 24 kwh pack costing $5500 or $229 a kwh, it would make sense the 40 kwh pack would be no more than that and normally bigger means a better price per kwh but even using the low end of the reports of $12,000 that is $300 per kwh.

One possible explanation is another rumor that Nissan is only offering the discounted price on the 24 kwh packs until the current supply is exhausted. This would explain why the catalog price was not changed or why the 40 kwh pack price is "seemingly" out of sync.  If this is the case, a $300 per kwh price point won't have many takers and that is a shame because...

Another Option

Recently I celebrated a famous LEAF's 9th birthday with a drive! (build date 03/11 #1561)  It was amazing on several different levels.  For one thing; a year ago, this LEAF had a 35 mile range and 6 capacity bars.

As I settled into the "very" light cream colored microfiber seats, I quickly wondered if I swapped seats with my E Plus, if they would notice?   I started the car and took off.  Despite the age, the miles, the degrada... oh wait.  Ignore that last comment.   Anyway, I marveled at how really nice the first LEAF was.  No rattles, no vibrations. Just the quite hum of the motor. I quickly realized that other than the motor sound which is all but gone in the E Plus; this car was in every way, nicer than mine.

Part of it was simply the owner. He really knew how to take care of cars and he might have amassed over a quarter MILLION miles on his two LEAFs, but I am still more awe struck at how long his tires lasted.  By now, this person is no longer a mystery to most of you and in a few days (sorry but have a gag order til Tuesday) , much more details on how this drive was even possible will be revealed.


Or Nissan instrumentation.  Remember LEAF Spy only parrots back what it reads, right?  Since I have more than tripled my level 2 charging this past month, I have noticed that Hx seems to go up when DC charging but goes down while AC charging?  What does that means? (not a rhetorical question!)

Since the super high Hx thing started with the 40 kwh packs, now wondering if its some sort of number that may indicate a score or evaluation of charging habits?   Since Nissan isn't really on board with LEAF Spy, they are not providing any kind of help to the developer and other than Hx is acting radically different since the 40 kwh packs, all we have is conjecture.

CARB Is In The House!

Well, actually the house just passed the bill which means WA will join California and others requiring all major auto manufacturers to provide us zero emission options (which means plugs!) in the near future. Unfortunately, after it becomes law, manufacturers have two years to comply so the wait is not over yet but the light at the end of the tunnel is on!


  1. Your comment about the CCS handle on the ground reminded me of my favorite free old CHAdeMO location. They replaced the Nissan unit with the new dual unit, and the CCS holster was broken the first time I saw it.
    No more free charging while watching the seemingly permanent Bolt parked in the other stall.
    I wonder if the holster is porrly desigend, either fragile, or not well understood.
    The station is oddly placed. It is supposed to be a non-parking stall, but it is always used, and people actually have backed into the plug when it was the Nissan unit.

    1. Well, I think the issue in her case was

      1) Position of CCS port on car (left side) and position CCS handle on station (right side) causing extra strain. There are MULTIPLE reports of Bolters having to hold handle in place while stations authorize on EA. Granted shorter, stiffer cables undoubtedly lend to the issue.

      My guess is previous user tried to put handle in its holder and did not click it into place so it simply fell out as soon as the person let go and they were simply too..."something" to attempt to reinsert.

  2. The old LEAF is nicer than your 2018? That's awkward.
    With 65,000 miles and 10 bars on my 2013, I ponder what I want to do electrically for the future. My commute is only four miles now, so I could ride a bicycle, but I occasionally need to drive somewhere else for work (including a 222 miles trip that might need three stops to ensure charger overlap).
    Lotto winner: i-pace
    Need a replacement car for whatever reason: something coming off a three year lease, maybe a 2018 LEAF or others).
    Reality: I have always expected that a replacement 24 kWh would cost around $5000. I know people that would be capable of swapping in a junkyard battery, and I do like my LEAF.
    In my four years, the only thing wrong is that there is a worn spot in the edge of the driver's seat, where my tush catches it against the plastic hinge cover.

    Other than wanting something new and shiny, I have no reason to stop driving this wonderful little car.

    I'm at the northern fringe of the SF Bay Area. Going north is a difficult charging proposition but improving for my 75 mile range (the 222 mile trip wouldn't have been possible a year ago, and might drop to two charging stops if Safeway comes online soon).
    Going into the greater SF Bay Area, I am one charge away from all of the places I want to go. My son is marginally within range. My daughter, I would have to drive at 50 mph, or charge once at the aforementioned station.

    We'll never make a road trip in a LEAF-sized car. We have a Mercedes for that.

    1. In a few days, I will present another battery option that I alluded to in this post. FYI; I now have a 2019 E Plus. And yeah, the seats on the 2011 were more comfortable.

      But I am comparing my 2011 SL (top trim) with a 2019 S (bottom trim) so hardly a straight shot. The real gist of my comments were that the 2011 has held up VERY well. Other than the million chips on the front hood, the car was immaculate. It still drove like a new car. No shakes, no rattles, no sound at all other than the motor and road noise.

      My 2019 is a lot quieter but a lot that is having a much more powerful motor so its not working as hard as the 2011 did.

      Another reason for my comments is the price of these cars are selling well under $3000 and its due to lack of range. The real question I had before was how much more is the car worth if it had 150 miles of range. I felt that the car could easily make someone happy for at least another 150,000 miles.

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