If you want to know what it’s like to own a vehicle that’s powered solely by electricity, why not ask the owner of one? Nissan recently ran a promotion on its website wherein folks who were on the fence or just curious about buying an electric vehicle could send in their questions to be answered by real Nissan Leaf owners.
People really seemed to want to know whether the Leaf (and electric vehicles in general) were practical to drive, given the fact that they have to be charged. The answers may have surprised them. Here are a few highlights. You can find the rest on Nissan’s site.
Q: “What is the actual cost of ownership?”
A: “Aside from my lease payment, nothing so far. I have had my LEAF for a year and have had no other costs for maintenance. I know that my electric bill probably has gone up, but I don’t even notice it so it must not be by much.” –Sandy D, TX
A: “By far less than a gas car. We pay $236 total a month. Before, we paid $180 for JUST gas. We also had repairs left and right which we don’t have with the LEAF. There aren’t oil changes either. And no emissions test! I love getting the tag in the mail without doing a thing. It all adds up!” — Micah P, TN
Q: “Are there any ways to extend your range?”
A: “Driving down city roads (rather than highways) will extend your range because you get charge back by braking or going downhill. Also, driving less aggressively helps conserve miles.” — Bieke P, TN
A: “I plug into a 110 volt outlet everywhere I go. If you tell people it cost 10 cents an hour to let you charge, everyone will let you plug in. That really extends the range.” — Andrew N, TN
Q: “What is the longest trip you’ve ever taken in your Nissan Leaf?”
A: “Had some fun testing our new Leaf in mountain climbing. We put on our bike rack and bikes and drove 11 miles up a mountain, about a 1500′ climb. Started with 67 miles available and had 34 available after the 11-mile climb. But after a bike ride and a wood-fired pizza we drove down and gained 16 miles back generated from braking. Ended up only “using” 17 miles for a 22-mile drive up and down a mountain.” — Anne P, VA
A: “My longest trip was about 130 miles, and that was done with L2 chargers.” — JP W, TN
Q: “Have you ever come close to or run out of a charge?”
A: “I drove to the top of the mountain here and brought it down to 0 bars and 1 mile remaining on the estimator. Coasting home, I earned 4 bars back and another 40 miles of driving.” — Joshua B
A: “Haven’t run out yet. Been down to 0 bars left but never ran all the way out. I try to get the most that I can and luckily I haven’t run of out battery power yet.” — Peter B, CA