If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that three years ago I leased a Nissan Leaf, which is a fully electric vehicle. You probably also know from my six previous Electric Car Diary Episodes that I’ve really liked my little Red Ninja.
Well, my three-year lease ended this month, and it was time to turn it in and get a new vehicle, or purchase the thing. It didn’t take too long to decide to purchase it, and that is what I have done.
I’ve kept up regular maintenance on the car and have really enjoyed how very little it has cost me to do so. Yes, I still have to take it into the dealership now and then (once a year at most?) for routine scheduled maintenance. It’s still a very inexpensive car to operate, too, since there’s no gas tank to fill or oil to change or spark plugs to wear out or transmission to flush. This week I replaced all four tires, because the car has about 29,000 miles on it, and these original tires were only just barely able to pass inspection this month. I got the alignment done on them, too, because it was part of the package, although strictly speaking, I’m not sure that was necessary. (But I thought it couldn’t hurt.)
The most expensive regular maintenance on this car, honestly, is keeping it clean. Houston has pollen and dust, my upholstery is light gray (and velvety soft), and I have two wonderful kids in middle school who are like little entropy machines.
Initially, I’d gone for a three-year lease because I wasn’t sure how the battery technology would wear over that time, but I’m pleased to report that everything is still going strong. The car continues to perform at the same level as it did when I bought it, and as it did when I first moved back into town from the suburbs.
In fact, the only complaint I have about this car remains that I can’t take it on a road trip, because we just don’t have the electric charging infrastructure in this country to support that.
But that technology is progressing nicely, too, and I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time before more than just Tesla can make a road-trip-worthy EV. Not only that, but my understanding is that the new Leaf coming out in a year or two is going to have much fancier battery technology that will allow for those extra-long ranges.
If you want to hear something that makes me feel a little old, note that The Red Ninja is probably going to be my daughter’s first car. That’s a stunning thing to me. It’s likely to — I hope! — still be going strong in four years when she’s ready for her own car. (I know I’m likely to still be paying it off, since I purchased it on a five-year note — for a much lower payment than the lease was, too, I might gleefully add.)
So my endorsement of the Nissan Leaf continues heartily! I love mine. Let the electric car revolution take root!
To read the previous Electric Car Diaries, in which you can experience vicariously the sometimes astounding and sometimes entertaining story of how I ended up with this car in the first place, what its features are (from a practical standpoint), and what it’s like to drive it, please click on the links below.