A New(ish) Leaf

The 2012 Nissan Leaf SL (above) had an MSRP of $38,415 when it was leased to a local couple in January, 2013. Two years later it came off of lease, and after being driven a few months by a dealer, I purchased it for $11,500 – almost $27,000 less.

A virtually new car, with only 8,000 miles.


This massive depreciation doesn’t bode well for anyone who actually purchased a new Leaf. But if you want to own an electric car, and can’t or don’t want to pay $59,000 to $76,000 for a used Tesla* (or $75-$105 new), this represents a great opportunity.


True, the Tesla is a luxury rocket ship with an EPA rated range of 230 – 270 miles (vs. 84 for the Leaf). With it’s impressive range, you could probably make a Tesla your only vehicle. But owning a Tesla requires more than just a commitment to electric driving. It takes a lot of money. On the other hand, while it’s equally true that a used Leaf is extremely affordable, unless your entire world is contained within a 40-mile radius, it might be impractical as your sole vehicle. As a second vehicle, however, a used low-mile Leaf appears to be an amazing value.

Which is why I bought one.


When you register your Leaf at the Nissan owner’s portal (which allows you to use the vehicle’s built-in telemetry), you’re asked to give your vehicle a name. For now, I’m calling this Leaf “AC/DC” (a more accurate acronym would be AC/DC/DC/AC as that’s the actual energy flow of the vehicle).

The funny-looking (cute?) Leaf should be capable of handling 80% of my driving needs, at an estimated 4 cents per mile – or about $400 for 10k miles annually. Now I’ll be making my 24-mile round-trip commute to work for a little over a dollar. And since there are no oil changes, total annual operating costs will be even lower.

How many miles AC/DC will actually go before recharging depends upon how its driven, how much the AC or heating system is used, and the terrain it will encounter. I am quite interested to find out what my real-world range will prove to be, especially in the middle of winter when the heater is running and the battery’s being heavily taxed. In the meantime, I’m plugging in and excited to see what the future holds.

Stay tuned.

*A one year-old Tesla holds 83.1% of its value, compared to the Leaf at 43.5%.

Forbes article on used EVs

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One thought on “A New(ish) Leaf

  1. I’m excited to see you buy an electric car, I think will shed additional light on the topics you’re writing about here. I like where this is heading.

    Keep it up!

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