Neomaxcom here with an update.
I found a nice Chevy Volt Premium with just over 50000 mi that avoids all the aspects of range anxiety and will be able to provide a pure electric commute at the current job if we can find a place to charge there and, with the addition of a 220v level 2 charger at home, very little use of the gas power range extender. The car is nice and fits the bill and also allowed me to do business with an advertiser on my site. As far as the deal, I got it for about $500 under the Edmund's private party price for the car which had been detailed to like new condition at the new car dealer. They had the car priced at $400 over the dealer price Edmund's established so it was a good deal.
That said my wife notes my jealousy at her having the 'tech' green car and while she's happy with it and appreciates its 'green-ness' (she is the driver of the household recyclable efforts), she's just not as interested in cars in general and would have been happy with a Corolla that gets 35mpg. That said she's being quite generous in letting me use the car on her days off.
Still, I currently have a small fleet of ICE vehicles that I acquired on the personal judgement that three or four 'cheap cars' are, in aggregate less expensive and more reliable than one new more expensive one. Given that the fleet will assuage any range anxiety - assuming they can make the trip without breaking down
- I figure that even the range on a deprecated Leaf with seven bars might serve my local needs of running to the store and maybe to town with a typical round trip of most of my travels being under 30-35 miles.
How much range does a Leaf with a seven or eight bar battery have? I would think they would reliably be able to travel at least 50 miles between charges.
The second question is what is a 9 bar or even 8 or 7 bar out of warranty Leaf worth? What I've seen the body and interiors are probably just fine as well as the running gear and the car might come across as a real clean used car at average or even clean condition. But with the $5500-6000 cost of a replacement battery that has to be factored into the cost, as at 9 bars it is imminent and at 8 or 7 or even 6 bars, the car is in need of a replacement because its utility is becoming increasingly restricted. I mean if an ICE car needed a new engine and transmission, you could purchase it for a song even if the rest of the car was neat as a pin.
How common are these restricted utility leaf's? I think they are more common than most folks realize.
I've seen a lot of 10-11 bar cars and a couple of nine-bar cars like the 2013 SL I mentioned earlier. I recently spied on Craigslist in Atlanta, a 7-bar leaf 2012 SV that the guy was asking $5800 for. I asked for the VIN as I wanted to call nissan to see if it was still under warranty and the guy was just not aware. He did not reply and the listing is now gone. Notably, none of those seeking to sell these cars seem to be very forthcoming in regard to the condition of the battery in their particular leaf's. Often, the only mention is the photo of the dash display and I've seen one 'dealer' ad in which the only dash display had the entire display photoshopped to black, I assume to disguise the facts.
I saw another one with what appeared to be 8 bars on a 'dealership' lot ... it was a chain of dealerships, BTW and while this particular dealer wasn't a Nissan store, there are affiliated stores. Anyway, this particular dealer's used car lot offers somewhat attractive 'no-haggle' pricing. I emailed them a lengthy analysis of their car suggesting that with eight bars it must be out of warranty and the battery would need replacing and wondering if they would come off the 'edmunds private seller' level pricing. They blew me off responding they offer no-haggle pricing.
I've also looked at places like copart.com auctions which offer bent Leafs at auction on an as-is basis. Without knowing how the leaf is put together, I'm reluctant to look seriously at these cars, many of which are noted to run and drive but seem to have damage at the rear or front. Of course copart never shows the battery health bars. For instance, what is the likelihood of battery damage on a leaf that has been re-ended or even flooded but showing power up? I get from the few stories I've read about battery replacement that some proprietary programming has to be done at a Nissan dealership on a replacement battery in a best case scenario. Has anyone salvaged a battery, say from a wrecked 2015 for replacement in a 2012?
Anyway, I'm kinda still in the market for a leaf but as my wife's situation is now solved, I can wait and watch and choose the best deal.