editors-blog-entry3I’ve been driving all-electric in my 2014 Nissan LEAF since February of 2014. And, since August of 2014, it’s been my ONLY car.

I love my LEAF and I will never go back to a gas car — not only because I can fuel my LEAF with clean, green, locally produced renewable electricity sources such as (home) solar and wind — but because it’s quick, quiet, and just a lot of fun to drive.

This in contrast to, for example, the 2017 Ford Escort I rented last week when I was visiting my sister in Goleta, Calif. What a dog — a super slow, not at all peppy, stinky reminder of why I will never regularly drive a gas car again.

I have paid a certain price for being so dedicated to electric vehicles: I haven’t been able to drive many places outside of Greater Denver/Boulder/Fort Collins, Colo. in my LEAF for the past three years thanks to a pretty puny 84 miles of EPA rated range.


In January of 2015, my Nissan LEAF ran out of charge 400 meters from my house — and I had to run a long extension cord into someone’s kitchen window in order to charge it enough to get home.

That noted, my LEAF has gotten me everywhere I need to go in regular (sub)urban driving. But it has not once gotten me into the mountains west of Denver, thanks to its paltry range, as well as a decided lack of charging stations along anything but Interstate 70, which happens to be the worst way into the mountains here in Denver, especially with the boatloads of Texans and Californians moving to Colorado at a crazy pace.

In 40,000 miles of driving, I’ve managed to run out of charge twice in my LEAF — both times in the winter cold and both times when my only charging options were so-called trickle charging at 120 volts. This meant that in both cases that I ran out of charge, I had to leave the place I was without a full charge (it takes about 17 hours to fully charge my LEAF at 120 volts!).

I’ve come very close to running out of charge on at least three or four other occasions in the three years since a divorce separated me from the two-car household that probably 97 percent of EV owners have: With the “second” car being that ICE that still gets you a heck of a lot further than 84 miles 😉

My ex took the Subaru, and I was on a two-year lease of a LEAF at that point.

I have actually twice extended my LEAF lease despite the fact that it doesn’t get me everywhere I want to go in my one-car household.

Why, you might ask?

First, a stubborn commitment to electric cars and the renewable energy they can, and increasingly do, run on. Second, Nissan just paid for three months of my lease, worth about $900 to me, if I extend through at least the end of September. That’s when the 2018 Nissan LEAF will debut, although it likely won’t be available in Colorado until at least December 2017, if not later.

I am hoping Nissan offers a 60 kWh version of the 2018 LEAF because 40 kWh and what TheDrive.Com estimates might be a range of about 160 miles is NOT enough. Not enough, at least, for it to be my only car, an only car that could finally get me into the Rocky Mountains west of Denver AND back.

My new EV must have at least 200 miles of range, preferably something very close to the Chevy Bolt’s 238 miles of EPA rated range (a range many Bolt owners claim to have substantially extended by driving 55 m.p.h. on the highway, etc.).

Nissan, if you’re listening, you will lose a loyal customer this October — after you’ve paid my LEAF’s lease for three months (July, August and September, thank you very much 😉 — to Chevy and the Bolt if you fail to offer at least one LEAF with 200+ miles of range, ideally at least 230 miles, for the same, or a better price, than the Chevy Bolt.

Again,  this car will be, just as my 2014 LEAF currently is, my only car. That’s worth repeating — because so few electric car drivers and proponents are in a one-car (zero ICE) household or situation. (I wish there were stats on this, but I haven’t seen any, although Cleantechnica.Com has done a survey that seems to show, not surprisingly, not very many EV owners have a short/mid-range EV as their household’s only car .)

Yes, I know some electric car buffs have one Tesla Model S — with an 80+ kWh battery pack — as their only car. But, I am sorry, that’s very far away from roughing it on range like I have for 40,000 miles with my 2014 LEAF’s 24 kWh pack.

So, Nissan, if you’re listening, you will lose a loyal customer this October — after you’ve paid my LEAF’s lease for three months (July, August and September, thank you very much 😉 — to Chevy and the Bolt if you fail to offer at least one LEAF with 200+ miles of range, ideally at least 230 miles, for the same, or a better price, than the Chevy Bolt.


8 Responses

  1. Lester Burnham (@paymeinbeahhh)

    Im at around 32k miles, almost 4 yrs in and thought the same thing. Nissan offered me a lease buyback i couldnt refuse however so about $6k out of pocket later i was locked into my 2013. Then the Bolt showed up.

    Never test drove 1 though — have you? Looked quite a bit smaller — may not be able to hold my bike in back as the Leaf does. But the range…man…200 miles would be awesome vs the 80 or so id get presently.


    11″ length difference. I dunno — gotta test drive. But i committed early. Was thinking back in 2013 that Nissan would have vastly improved the Leaf by 2016 when my lease was up. But no. The recent very modest 25% improvement in range clearly wasnt worth it.

    And btw last weekend i finally discovered the “reducing power to motor” (sic?) message with my instrument panel flashing blanks. Going up a slight incline on the freeway about a 1/2 mile to my freeway exit. I was breathing slow and hard expecting my Leaf to power down as the motor labored up the grade. But then i caught a tailwind going slightly downhill and it was level the remaining 1/2 mile to my house. …Whew…

    But back to the Bolt. Test drive the heck out of it. Its tough leaving the venerable Leaf for me — its gotta be exponentially better. Test drove the VW e-Golf and while it was “nice” it wasnt anywhere way better than the Leaf. Test drove the hydrogen fuel celled Toyota Mirai even. Big question if commercial hydrogen will be available in more places than the Bay Area and LA as it is somewhat currently, as least for the Mirai and its 400 mile range. But i liked the Mirai a lot — instead of batteries powering its electric motor you had hydrogen creating the ac/dc. (Or is it just the dc?) The lease number was a bit too high however and it wasnt a hatchback nor did the rear seats fold down so that i might have compromised. Still it was intriguing if you get over the hydrogen refueling (takes 5 minutes!) availability.

    400 miles: Id be recharging when i got down to 100-150. 200 miles? Id be recharging at anything under 100 for sure. Both range points are “quantum” compared to the 70-80 i get presently and of course 1 never wants to get that low but sometimes it happens when you are out and about.

    • SolarChargedDriving (@solarcharge_it)

      Thank you for your reply 🙂 I agree that it would almost make me giddy to have about 240 miles of range, via the Bolt, after having just 84 for so long. I could go almost “anywhere” ;-), at least compared to with my 2014 LEAF. So, will you leap to the Bolt?

      • Lester Burnham (@paymeinbeahhh)

        Afraid not that window kinda closed for now when i bought out my Leafse(sic). Besides my situations different as i have 2 ICEs for those occasional way outta town runs.

        Like i said, test drive the heck out of the Bolt! Its being leased out also. Let us know what u think. I will too if im near a chevy dealership with time to burn. Might change my mind having 3x the range plus all the assets of the Leaf….

      • Christof Demont-Heinrich

        Having 3 times the range I have now would be absolutely wonderful 🙂

  2. Sethzor

    Would you consider an aftermarket battery swap? I also have a Leaf and have decided the degraded “40mi” isn’t enough for me. So I’m working on a replacement for it as I figured I can’t possibly be alone in the want for more range.

    Only difficulty is what people will pay to have a 40kWh or 60kWh possibly active cooled replacement pack.


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