• Sep 27th 2011 at 11:48AM
  • 30
Being on the cutting edge is cool-so long, as you don't actually get cut. There are thousands of people living on that edge with modern plug-in vehicles, and plenty of reports on the Internet sharing their first-hand experiences. Fortunately, for early owners of the Nissan Leaf, getting plugged-in has been anything but painful. To wit:

Since Jim Stack bought his new Nissan six months ago, he's come to enjoy watching fuel prices bounce around. Stack and his wife have racked up more than 4,000 miles while only powering their electric Nissan Leaf by plugging it into a socket. ...
"It exceeds anything I could have managed," Stack said.

That's from a report on Phoenix-Tucson-area Leaf owners. Planners there have found that EV drivers are excited about their vehicles and that any outbreak of "range anxiety" has been both mild and short lived. The only real disappointment has been how hard it's been to get a Leaf in your driveway. Production of the Leaf has been lower than expected, in part due to the disruption of the Japanese earthquake. However, with more EVs arriving, officials are scrambling to keep drivers smiling by installing additional charging locations.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's not a good point.. that guy is an idiot. You don't have to be a greenie to be into electric drive. He should be pulled aside for some education about how the world around him works. I HATE this idea that to lower your environmental impact on the earth you have to be a tree hugger. I would have told him off right there. lol.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am a greenie on the leaf waiting list but based on what I have heard from Hans and other reviews I would prefer leather seats in the leaf.
      • 3 Years Ago
      @miles ...good point but it still sounds very nice to not gas up anymore for a ton of reasons. Things are headed that way and when EVs and renewable energy are more advanced and utilized, I think the air could be cleaner. So I am glad to hear encouraging news. GM really sucks for trying squash EV by perpetuating the term "range anxiety". Pretty soon, people will realize the EV range is adequate to handle a large percentage of the populations driving habits without inconvenience.
        miles
        • 3 Years Ago
        I agree, also PR's points were all true as well. I was obviously too brief in making my point. I was trying to say these opinions of early adopters could hardly turn out any other way. The title of the article might just as well have been "EV Lovers ... Love their EV's". I eagerly await the day I can go full EV, but with a 100+ mile commute & Michigan winters & no way to charge at work, that won't be happening in any pure EV on the market any time soon. I'll likely be an ICE driver for a long time yet. I just don't have the bucks. Now when they both have the range AND start paying for themselves...that's a different story!
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @miles
          Actually, early adopters very much COULD have come back with very negative reviews. Go look into Smart car early buyer's reviews of their cars after they waited on waiting lists to get them. So I agree that early adopters have a positive bias, and are willing to overlook more than a mass market buyer. But the Leaf still had to deliver enough that early adopters would be willing to step out and put their names behind their reviews of the cars. So I disagree that good reviews from early adopters are a given that is set in stone and automatic. These are legitimately good cars. I understand that the Leaf isn't perfect for everyone, with your commute being a prime example. You have an atypical commute that will require an atypical car. In the short term you might be better off with a Prius, or a plug-in Prius, or a Volt, or a TDI depending upon how many miles you drive at highway speed vs. city. It might be a few years until a pure EV with enough range will be affordable enough for your needs. That's just the way it is. It's no different than a New Car Buyer who needs to tow 20,000 pounds, drive off-road, and carry a ton of construction supplies choosing a Chevy K3500 diesel instead of a Hyundai Elantra. Just because a certain car doesn't fit 100% of every single driver's needs doesn't mean that car isn't worthy of praise. It just means that there is more room for more EV's/PHEV's/REEV's in the market to suit more driver's needs.
      porosavuporo
      • 3 Years Ago
      EV plus ZipCar signup would pretty much cover ALL my needs easily, short of a cross country roadtrip. Maybe ZipCar should actually come up with a dedicated shared ownership plan for EV drivers.
      miles
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yes, early adopters would say that unless it's a total disaster. Early adopters are NOT a valid sample of the motoring population.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @miles
        Yes, early adopters are not a valid sample of the entire motoring population. Just as the entire motoring population is not a valid sample of New Car Buyers. And early adoption vehicles (like the current version Leaf) are not a valid sample of the products that New Car Buyers will find generally available for sale in the Mass-Market after the initial limited release early adoption phase is over. Right now demand of early adopter drivers greatly outstrips supply of early adoption vehicles, so the opinions of non-early adopter New Car Buyers is frankly irrelevant. Nobody cares what non-early adopters think about early adoption cars they will never buy. Their opinion just won't come into play until AFTER all the early adoption cars have all been sold to early adopter buyers, and mass-market EV's begin being sold. Nissan themselves are is anticipating an improvement in capacity at about 8 to 10 percent year over year. And their US plant should reduce Nissan's cost to build Leaf's for the North American market. So by just 2015 (when true mass-market sales should be going full-swing) the Leaf should be cheaper, and the EPA range is likely to be closer to 120 miles instead of the current 73 mile EPA range. Only once EV's hit production numbers that would require attracting New Car Buyers in the mass market will the opinions of those buyers matter. So as long as early adopters are happy with early adopter vehicles, everything is working fine, and the entire motoring population doesn't matter.
      Ronald Wolf
      • 3 Years Ago
      Range anxiety is just a Volt propaganda campaign. Very few people who buy a Leaf ever experience it.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ronald Wolf
        True, but those who felt that the range would be insufficient, bought a Volt!
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 3 Years Ago
      Now that sounds very logical and would make a very good PR, "press release" : 0
      • 3 Years Ago
      I purchased my leaf back in early August. The car is better than we ever could have expected. So good that I am considering selling my hybrid to become an electric only car family. The car is quiet, fast, smooth, and simple to drive. My wife isnt crazy about EVs like me and now she doesnt want to drive anything but the leaf. Once people get a taste of driving electric they will become converts as well. I will never own another gas vehicle. They seem so outdated now after seeing what is possible with electric. It's so much cheaper to drive, not to mention all the other benefits. Freedom....to choose how the electricity is generated to fuel my car...keeping that money in this country. You really can't put a price on it. Plus the car pays for itself in around 10 years, so if you can afford to buy a new car then you need to seriously look at the Leaf. I could go on and on, but wont do that here....
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        "Once people get a taste of driving electric they will become converts as well. I will never own another gas vehicle. They seem so outdated now after seeing what is possible with electric." Everyone except Jeremy Clarkson seems to have this same exact experience. An electric drivetrain is superior in so many ways, especially in terms of the driving dynamics. The 'electric grin' hit me in 2009 when i test-drove my first electric bike. I was in love with electric power within a minute! Started building electric bikes immediately and nowadays i fire up my gas car with great reluctance as if it was a chore. i still have dreams of owning a Leaf or Tesla. The only negative about electric is that it's a big investment. It does take a while to get over the price hurdle. But it's so worth it if you have the means.
          nbsr
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          PR, it isn't Dan's idea. He is just "a bit" obsessed with it. Don't dismiss it just because one internet troll is a fan of it. A paradox of EV adoption is that the most usable and practical small commuter cars are (still) uncompetitive because of high prices. At the same time premium cars where the price is less an issue suffer from mismatch between the technological development and user expectations. In a long term the prices of EVs will drop to the level of ICE cars or below. There is nothing in EVs, not even the battery, that would justify such a price difference. If anything they use less resources and are much simpler to produce. It's just a matter of ramping up a mass production and getting the competition to work.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Yes, exactly spec. The bigger the battery too, the less worrying about range etc. Recharge time becomes less and less of an issue. That's one reason why i like littler cars like the iMiEV. An electric SUV is not going to work out so well if you drive ~100 miles a day because the limiting factor with your charge speed is the amount of juice your household wiring can pump out. When you get into 2 wheel territory it becomes hilariously fast to charge. I can fill up my 60 mile pack from 0% SOC in 1 hour, or 30 minutes if i'm truly impatient. Smaller vehicles will make the electric revolution happen quicker, for sure.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @PR and NSR The issue of designing a car to fit these aburdly idealistic requirements, is just that, no one would by one. (Well, ok, not enough will buy). People buy cars for different reasons, but comfort ,safety, image and practiablity are are far more important purchasing motives, than esoteric design concepts or even fuel consumption and price.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          The range and refuel time are also negatives. But they are really not as negative as most people make them out to be. As the statistics show, most people drive less than 100 miles a day and everyone sleeps at night thus giving the car ample time to recharge.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Menace -- I have very bad news for you. When you talk about your lightweight EV bike being so fast and easy to charge for the range, you have unwittingly made Dan Frederiksen's arguement for him. (ouch!!) The thing about your EV bike is that it is so light that it takes very little electricity to charge. Build an EV with 300 miles range that is also so lightweight that it can charge from empty to full overnight on a standard outlet, and suddenly people who complain about "range anxiety" start to sound like complete nutters. Doesn't it suck when you inadvertently make Dan's point for him? *grin*
      MarcCBR
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love my Nissan LEAF would not think of buy any other car in the $40K and below range. It does everything the car it replaced did and much more. It also saves me quite a bit of money. Win win situation.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Encouraging, but these are self-selected EV fans so that is to be expected. It will be more interesting to see what happens as the user base grows beyond the EV fans.
        miles
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        That was my point. Apparently posts that are accurate but not up-beat are worthy of downrating. Oh well.
      krona2k
      • 3 Years Ago
      They should have called it the Nissan Future because that is what it is, and no amount of bleating will change that.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      @2 Wheeled Menace Take it easy. The salesman wanted leather seats to be available. He was pointing out why Nissan may have made the decision they did. Take your anger and aim it at Nissan. And I have had the same type of thoughts . . . I didn't like the polar bear ads because it was pigeon-holing the Leaf as a tree-hugger car. Even the name 'Leaf' is a bit over-the-top.
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