5 reasons I switched from a Nissan LEAF to a Chevy Bolt

This is my favorite photo of my incoming 2017 Chevy Bolt and outgoing 2014 Nissan LEAF that I took today :-). [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
editor's blog iconI’ve been driving a leased 2014 Nissan LEAF for three-and-a-half years, with three of those years being years in which, thanks to divorce, my LEAF has been my only car.

This past Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 I signed on the dotted line to lease a 2017 Chevy Bolt for the next 39 months. This means I will have to say goodbye to the LEAF, which I am scheduled to turn in at Larry Miller Nissan in Littleton, Colo. this Monday (Oct. 3).

However, for the past week, I have had both electric cars, and it’s made me realize that despite writing multiple blog entries about how much I will enjoy the distance freedom of the Bolt, that I will in fact miss my LEAF.

At the top of the list of why I will miss my 2014 LEAF stands its nicely appointed car interior and the surprising amount of space the LEAF has. You can easily do a Costco run and have no problems fitting all of your bulk food items, all of your groceries — even a giant-screen HDTV into the LEAF — plus your kids and (ex)wife ;-).

The LEAF’s seats are very comfortable, especially when they’re heated 🙂 — and all four seats in my LEAF have heating units, something my two kids, now 12 and 11, appreciate very much. (My Bolt LT with convenience and confidence packages does not have heated rear seats, although the Bolt Premier offers them.) Driving visibility is also quite good in the LEAF — although the metal frame that houses the tiny little triangle windows up front blocks some visibility and is especially annoying at at four-way stop intersections.

The LEAF also has plenty of pep, and drives well in the snow. Basically, it is a pleasure to drive. And I would have stuck with Nissan and the LEAF — if Nissan had offered more range on the 2018 LEAF, which will have 150 miles and a 40 kWh battery pack.

In a one-car only post-divorce household such as mine, the more range the better — as long as that extra range is reasonably affordable (I could have had much more range than my LEAF offered years ago — if I could afford a Tesla Model S, but I cannot).

The extra range offered by the Bolt’s 60 kWh battery  — 154 miles more than my 2014 LEAF — is definitely affordable. I will be paying $40 more per month for my Bolt lease than I did for my LEAF lease. That’s not a bad bargain for nearly three times as much range. Which leads me to the Top 5 reasons I switched from a Nissan LEAF to a Chevy Bolt –>

Drum roll, please — but there won’t be any suspense, sorry…

5. Range

4. Range

3. Range

2. Range

1. Range

Maybe I am overstating the range advantage of a Chevy Bolt, but then again, maybe not: Again, I am in a single-car, post-divorce household, and I cannot afford a Tesla. The latter is likely true for the Model 3, which I am certain, if Tesla offers leases on it, would cost me a lot more than the $338 per month I am paying for my Bolt.

The LEAF and Bolt go head to head. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
I ran out of charge twice in my 84-mile LEAF, both times in the bitter cold of winter. I “turtled” it at least three or four additional times in my LEAF, and came closer to running out of charge than I would have liked at least a dozen times more.

I won’t have to sweat it nearly as often in a 238-mile EV such as the Bolt. In fact, it’s going to be a bit strange driving the 70-100 miles I often drive per day without having to worry about where I can (often cannot) charge, and whether I will run out of juice.

Basically, the Bolt gives me — in an affordable, all-electric package — peace of mind plus the ability for me to drive into, and back out of the mountains west of Denver without having to charge.

Yes, the REAL problem is not necessarily lack of EV range, but a sadly still very inadequate charging infrastructure. However, I cannot change the electric car charging infrastructure. I can change the electric car I plug into that infrastructure, and I am: Hence, the switch from a LEAF to a Bolt.

I will miss my LEAF, and I am appreciative to Nissan for helping to lead the way on affordable electric car driving with a very solid car. I am sure my LEAF’s next owner(s) will enjoy Nissan’s first mass-produced electric car. But I’m going to guess that the new owner(s) will drive my old LEAF as a second or third car in a household with at least one gas car for long-distance driving — a situation I had when I first started in February 2014 with my LEAF but which changed along the road of life.

Two electric cars chillin’ on a Saturday afternoon in Littleton, Colo. 😉 [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]