Dear Nissan: Why a Chevy Bolt, not a Nissan LEAF, will be my next car

I have twice run out of charge in my leased 2014 Nissan LEAF, which, thanks to a divorce, has ended up being my only car for the past 2 1/2 years. However, each time I ran out of charge, I had been forced to trickle charge at 120 volts prior to the trip in which I ran out of charge. I have not run out of charge since adding 240 volt charging capacity to my last two residences. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
I just got the following email from Boulder Nissan, where I leased my 2014 Nissan LEAF. I began what was originally a two-year lease in February 2014. I extended my LEAF lease in February 2016 for another year. I extended it again in February 2017 for another six months — to give myself enough time to get to an affordable 200+ mile electric car.

Right now, it appears that 200+ mile affordable electric car will be a Chevy Bolt which will arrive in Colorado in May 2017. Too bad for Nissan, which won’t be releasing a 200+ affordable until late 2017? I would have stuck with Nissan if it had gotten its act together and put out a 200+ mile LEAF in time to compete with the Bolt. But, for whatever reason, Nissan — arguably the pure electric car leader among mainstream automakers — decided not to do so.

Ok, here’s the email from Boulder Nissan — inviting me to buy/lease a 2017 LEAF, which at approximately 112 miles of range doesn’t have enough range for me — followed by the reply I sent to them.

The Email from Boulder Nissan –>

Hi Christof,
I hope this email finds you and your family in good health. You are receiving this email because you are eligible for an upgrade from your current LEAF into a brand new 2017 LEAF which offers increased range and more!

We are pleased to announce Nissan’s partnership with Colorado in order to further the EV market in our state.

Currently there are several purchase programs running that may qualify you for $10,000 off the MSRP of any brand new LEAF! We are also delighted to announce that the state tax credit pass through program is now live and you can take an additional $5,000 off the purchase price up front or $2,500 on a lease bringing the lease payment down to only $179/month!

Please contact Ed at the number below or email him at
— Nigel Zeid, EV Specialist, Boulder Nissan


Here’s my email reply to Boulder Nissan –>

Dear Nigel,

Thank you for your email. Do you know when the 2018 LEAFs will first arrive in Colorado?

I need an EV with 200+ miles of range as my next EV because I am a divorced, half-time single dad now and am living in a one-car household. It’s my understanding that the 2018 LEAF will come in with around 200 miles of range.

I’ve twice extended the lease on my 2014 LEAF in order to get to an affordable 200+ mile EV: Last Feb. for 12 months, and again this February for another six months.

Those extra six months get me to Aug. 2017 — probably not long enough to get into a 2018 LEAF, eh?

That means I’ll likely end up leasing a 2017 Chevy Bolt, which, as you know, has 238 miles of EPA rated range. That feels like a huge amount compared to the 88 miles of EPA range for my 2014 LEAF.

Although the LEAF has worked great and I’ve managed okay with it being my only car for the past 2 1/2 years — my wife left six months after I began my lease of my 2014 LEAF in February of 2014, and I am now divorced — my LEAF’s limited range has nonetheless significantly limited me in where I can drive. For instance, I never get into the mountains near Denver anymore. Simply not enough range — and, sadly, no charging infrastructure along any roads into the mountains except along I-70, which I like to avoid.

The 2014 LEAF’s limited range has also forced me into a position where I have fairly often had figure out how to get home for a mid-day charge. This, so that I have enough miles to cart my kids around to all the various places I need to bring them to in Greater Denver and Boulder.

I would stick with Nissan and LEAF if Nissan could get me into a 200+ LEAF by August 2017.

Too bad for Nissan, and me, though, as it seems likely that this won’t be a possibility.


Christof Demont-Heinrich

What would you do in my position? Leap to a Bolt, or figure out a way to stick around even longer to get into a Nissan LEAF with enough range — 200+ miles — to make it practical as an only car?