frontrangeleaf
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:07 am
Delivery Date: 08 Jul 2019
Location: Denver Area

New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:50 am

New owner & member here. I've been reading/lurking for a few weeks. Got the car about a month ago. So far meeting all expectations. Nice little ride. Many thanks for the incredible range of information and awesome level of discourse here. Much appreciated! You guys rock!

A few words about us:
- We're empty-nesters, both still working, living on the Front Range now 25 years, originally from the mid-west. Early careers in Germany.

- I work on the people-side of IT, and am fairly handy and technical by most folk's standards. My wife is not, but she's the more adventurous one. :D

- After driving practical-to-a-fault cars for many decades, in recent years we've switched over to all "fun" cars now. GTI and Z4 are sticks.

- We "hire" cars for a specific portion of our transportation needs. The Leaf will be a "second" car, intended for urban corridor use only.

- The Leaf is mostly an inexpensive way to get into an EV to learn about them firsthand. Very excited to be here!!!


Rationale for Leaf Plus vs. Leaf vs. used vs other competition:
- In contrast to some here, given the rebates and incentives available right now in Colorado and our expectations for this car, buying the larger battery and stronger motor made sense to us because of the increased performance and lack of range anxiety issues. That is, we're not optimizing for the last dollar spent/absolute best value for the dollar. We want a nicely equipped EV (leather interior, decent sound system, up-to-date tech package, etc) to use around town. If we want to go to the mountains, we'll either take the roadster (summer) or the Q5 (winter). Longer road trips remain the Q's domain. The Q is also our camper tug - we own a small Lance travel trailer (highly recommended for a couple, no kids). Basically, with the Q we bought the fastest, most fun, most responsive, least ponderous tow vehicle that could safely tow our chosen camper through the Rockies. That should tell you something about our mindset, LOL.

- We've been watching EV developments for some years, have test driven Tesla's a few times (S and 3); very nice, but they're too expensive for our purposes with this car (certainly worth the money in our view, but not a good fit for our needs, that is). Will be interested to see how this Leaf fairs over time, and what VW among others will bring to market in the next few years.

- I'm aware of the water-cooled battery concerns, and have read extensively here regarding various pros and cons. A lively debate, it seems. But my wife doesn't like the Bolt, and other options aren't really available in Colorado, practically speaking. After rebates and discounts, the Leaf is also thousands less right now than any other competitor with similar range. It's within a few hundred dollars of a similarly equipped Corolla, in fact, which is a roughly fair comparison in my view on the ICE side.

- As to timing, we had an older Tiguan R-line we had bought used that was about to step down in value (approaching 6 years and 50k miles), so we traded it for the Leaf. I've been waiting for 200+ range in an affordable EV, mostly due to resale/acceptance concerns looking downstream in a few years, and to eliminate winter range issues. We'll see if the bigger pack does a little better degradation-wise, but unless it's much worse under our usage and climate than expected, it should still be plenty functional for urban corridor use even in a worse case scenario when we're ready to move on to the next thing.

- We expect to save around $700/year in fuel expense after all factors are considered that I'm aware of. Since we ride public transit to work, we don't actually drive that far in a typical year. Nice perk just the same. Not a gating factor for us.

- Given our intended uses, FCDC isn't that important, frankly. In fact, I doubt we will ever charge away from home, the RTD train station or work. I imagine that concerns around CHadeMo's future are prolly well-founded in the U.S., but are moot for the moment. YMMV


Early observations:
- On our driving cycle, we're getting GOM range ~240 miles very consistently in warm summer months, with AC on. Avg ~4.1 mi/kWh. I've been driving the car the way I would any car, to find out how well it does. Temps in the 80's and 90's. Battery temp per the car's UI never leaves dead center even a little bit.

- I prefer the "B" mode - makes the car respond very much like a stick-shift in a middle gear, in that you get noticeable but not excessive engine braking as soon as you let off the accelerator. e-Pedal is a bit too sensitive for my tastes. "D" too light.

- In the winter, I'll prolly use Eco mode to reduce wheel spin. We do run true snows on dedicated wheels on all of our winter cars (not the roadster). The difference is night and day. I've twice driven around an accident unfolding immediately in front of me because I could, while those around me, most with AWD SUVs wearing all-seasons drove into it. Formative experiences in both cases. Expect to move the all-seasons to 17x7 aftermarket wheel and use the stock 17x 6.5's for the snows.

- Seeing around 1/3 of total energy as reported by the car from regen. That works. I'm aware that Nissan's UI is perhaps not that accurate, but accurate enough at this point for my purposes. Still early days here.

- Not a high performance car, but quite nice, actually. Plenty spunky. Rides nice - a good balance of firm but compliant. Doesn't wallow excessively in corners unless pushed hard. We don't actually care about being first, but responsiveness is important to us - the standard motor would feel a bit under-powered to us some of the time, given the cars we otherwise drive. Even our Q is 0-60 in sub 6 seconds.

- Some torque steer if you gun it in a corner, but otherwise well-behaved for what it is. FWD always pushes in a corner, but you have to stay on top of it to hold a smooth line. Steering is WAY too light. Hoping that stickier tires might mitigate that. The GTI has no such issues (other than pushing in a corner of course). Different animal though.

- The responsiveness is so high it takes some getting used to. A couple of times I've gone to make a move in traffic and stabbed at the accelerator as I'm accustomed in our other cars, only to find that I needed to immediately back off. You better have room to go if you "goose" it!

- We had a 240v/50amp service installed in our garage with the standard 14-50 socket by our neighbor, who's a master electrician. Currently, we charge roughly every other week. Expect more like weekly in the winter. Easy peasy. Actual all-in rate with fees and such is $0.13/kWh per our Xcel bill. We do pay for 100% wind energy. Solar is not an option at our location - too many trees.

***

Overall, given what we know so far, would I recommend our Leaf to someone with similar needs and expectations? Yep, sure would. But don't kid yourself - this isn't a general purpose car in our view.

Do your homework and choose wisely. We don't expect our roadster to do well off-road. That's not what it's for. Similarly, many would think we're slightly crazy for towing a 20' 3500# travel trailer at highway speeds with anything less than a F-150. Some would claim it's downright dangerous. But we did the math and researched carefully before buying our Q5. It's dead stable and quiet even in significant cross-winds. Our trailer is well within the Q's spec on every measure. Power is a non-issue (430 ft. lbs and an 8-speed) and it has brakes built for the autobahn - 4-pot Brembos up front, vented all around, and the same size rotors as a Silverado (not that it can tow like a Silverado, obviously). And yes, I own a hydraulic scale so that I can set my tongue weight to 400# without guessing.

The point is that conventional wisdom is sometimes not exactly right, but generally not completely unfounded either. Details matter, especially when venturing into new technical territory. As always, YMMV.

***

Long introduction. I hope it helps someone else contemplating a Leaf or some other EV.

Cheers,

-brianV

Edit: fixed typo.
Last edited by frontrangeleaf on Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Empty-nesters - NW Denver-Boulder Area

2019 Leaf SL Plus
2015 Audi Q5 TDI
2007 BMW Z4 3.0Si
2012 VW GTI

webeleafowners
Posts: 1109
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:37 pm
Delivery Date: 06 Oct 2015
Location: Okanagan Valley British Columbia

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:06 pm

Great report. Thanks Brian. Ours arrives in February. We already have a 2016 Leaf. It has been bulletproof and the most reliable car we have ever owned.

Happy safe trails to you both.

John.
2020 Model 3 Tesla. AWD with FSD. Deep metallic blue. Our daily driver.
2016 Nissan Leaf SV 30KWh Culis Red. Sold. Was my daily driver. Loved that car.
EV only Family...well except for the big diesel motorhome. :shock:

frontrangeleaf
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:07 am
Delivery Date: 08 Jul 2019
Location: Denver Area

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:11 pm

Thanks John. Best of luck with yours.
Empty-nesters - NW Denver-Boulder Area

2019 Leaf SL Plus
2015 Audi Q5 TDI
2007 BMW Z4 3.0Si
2012 VW GTI

LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 15077
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:14 pm

- The responsiveness is so high it takes some getting used to. A couple of times I've gone to make a move in traffic and stabbed at the accelerator as I'm accustomed in our other cars, only to find that I needed to immediately back off. You better have room to go if you "goose" it!

This is why I usually use Eco mode even on my 40kwh Leaf. The power is still there if you floor it, but the car is easier to control.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

jjeff
Posts: 2127
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:10 am
Delivery Date: 13 Jul 2014
Leaf Number: 422121
Location: MSP MN

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:39 pm

Nice OP :)
Very very few in MSP seem to use dedicated snow tires even though we get quite a bit of snow/ice, All Seasons are instead the standard(but most people have AWD vehicles of the SUV or Pickup variety).
I've always had All/Season tires but a couple of years ago purchased a lease return '12 Leaf from So. Cal that had summer tires! While they handle OK in the summer(I'm not a very demanding driver, I don't think they are any better than the Ecopia's on my '13 Leaf) they handle like CRAP! in the winter, they'll spin on the least bit of snow or ice. As they roughly have 50% tread left I figure I have 2 choices, wait until the snow flies and purchase a set of good winter tires(I like what I've read of the Michelin X-ice 3's) and swap back to the summer tires come spring, or just dispose of the summer tires(let Costco keep them) and purchase a decent set of A/S tires. I've read(and you reiterated) snow tires are superior on snow/ice but someone here posted on tires with an outline of a mountain on them that apparently are better than A/S tires in snow/ice but you can still use them in the summer, so no costly/hassle tire swaps. I have no interest in purchasing a spare set of rims/TPMS's, finding room to store 4 tires alone will be hassle enough.
I wonder if Nissan will ever come up with an AWD Leaf, with electric motors I can't see how it would so difficult, I mean is sounds like even the Prius is coming up with an AWD version, albeit not on the Prime :(
2012 SL purchased used 2/'16
2013 S w/QC purchased new
Juicebox Premium 60a L1/L2 EVSE, Ebusbar 16a L1/L2 EVSE
'12 EVSEupgrade'd 20a L1/L2 EVSE, '13 EVSEupgrade'd adjustable 6-20a L2, 6-13a L1 EVSE
Zencar 13, 20, 30a L1/L2 portable EVSE
GE Durastation 30a

Oilpan4
Posts: 1497
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:51 pm
Delivery Date: 10 May 2018
Leaf Number: 004270

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:27 pm

I was just going to use a chain saw on those pesky trees to make way for my solar panels.
trumpvirus
Is going to get you.

frontrangeleaf
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:07 am
Delivery Date: 08 Jul 2019
Location: Denver Area

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:09 pm

Hey JJeff, thanks for the welcoming thoughts.

Having grown up outside of Chicago and attended school in MN and WI, I'm familiar. Not running true snows in the winter in the mid-west strikes me as maybe a little odd since icing is pretty common, but I know it's the norm. What I know or think I know about snow tires I have from personal experience and reading too much on Tirerack. Here's my understanding such as it is:

M+S - "Mud and Snow" designation goes back to the old belted bias days, and refers strictly to tread geometry. That is, there is no performance requirement to gain that designation. Nowadays virtually any so-called "all-season" has that designation. As far as I can tell, "M+S" is basically meaningless or nearly so. It's not a racing slick. Good to know, LOL. :)

"All-season" itself is purely a marketing designation. Depending on the tire, it may well mean "all seasons in Florida..." (hot, dry and wet). As I understand matters, all-seasons are typically optimized for temperatures down to around freezing, but not lower. I regard all-seasons as basically 3 calendar season tires depending on where you live. Might be less in Canada for example. Any tire rated for dramatically long mileage is suspect in the slick.

The "3 peak mountain snowflake" symbol to which you refer, on the other hand, is a "severe winter service" rating associated with a tire providing at least 15% more traction in a linear direction (when braking and accelerating, not laterally in a corner, that is) when compared to a reference tire under lab conditions. These tires are optimized for temperatures as low as 0 degrees as I understand matters. They are the tires to which I was referring in my OP. I am looking hard at the Michelin X-ice3s. Great tire (I've had them on a different car), and also efficient. I'll prolly go with a 205/55R17 on our stock wheels. Narrower is better on a snow tire. Just a touch taller doesn't hurt either.

True snows employ a whole range of technologies to get grip under lousy, slippery and cold conditions, beginning with the rubber formula, extending into silica (sand) particles embedded in the tread, micro pores to pump water off the tread, and on and on. They are a different animal, but tend to wear quickly under warm temperatures because they are formulated to stay softer and more compliant under cold conditions, so that they can grip microscopic irregularities on the road surface. In Colorado, it is now illegal to drive on tires inappropriate for winter conditions when the "chain law" goes into effect in the mountains (whenever winter storms hit, basically). So many people were driving on iffy tires in the winter time and causing accidents and traffic jams during ski season, that the chain law for big rigs was extended to all vehicles. The fines for causing an accident on bad/inappropriate tires when the chain law is in effect are steep. I gotta say, I'm OK with that. The mountains are no place for iffy tires in the winter time.

Pure "summer" tires, on the other hand, are not rated for temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. They are definitely inappropriate and even dangerous in winter conditions. I'm not surprised you had bad experiences with the tires you got used from SoCal. Our Q came with them originally, which I was OK with, since we bought dedicated snows for it as soon as winter broke.

I have since replaced those original summers with a high quality "ultra-high performance all-seasons" - which I'm pretty sure is more marketing mumbo jumbo, aka a contradiction-in-terms. They are nice tires, though, and I like them. Conti DWS 06 is the model. I run them as our 3-season tires on all of our cars, the roadster included. Not a summer tire though, to be clear. And OK in the winter, but definitely more about performance in the dry and the wet. I wouldn't recommend them for MN as your only tire. Not likely to use these on the Leaf though, more likely to try the Conti Pure Contact LS for that car. I might go a little wider just for fun. Need to know more about the car first.

One of the problems with getting to a good all-season design that might truly be 4-season is that the things you do to optimize for rain and mileage de-optimize the tread design for snow, and vice versa. In recent years, so-called "all-weather" tires have debuted, first in Europe as I understand matters. I ran one of those on our Tig - a dutch tire from Vredestein called the Quadrac 5. Independent tests show it a step behind full-on snows, but much better than typical all-seasons in winter conditions. The tread design is literally split 1/2 for rain and 1/2 for snow. The Quad 5 does carry the 3 mountain peak/snowflake symbol. There are other all-weather designs coming out every year. Each is optimized slightly differently.

I get what you're saying about storing and paying for extra wheels, etc. Especially with active TPMS sensors (why not passive TPMS using the ABS sensors on each wheel, like everyone else does?), it does get expensive. We do have a lot of hills around here, some of them steep. Investing a bit more in tires that really work when the weather turns is important to us. Once you get past the initial hit, though, you spread your mileage across 8 tires, so that your running expense is about equal. And avoiding just one accident you wouldn't have pays you back with interest. Hence my conviction.

The first time we bought dedicated snows. we put them on our car just before a trip back to Chicago to visit family over Christmas. On the way home, this is years ago, we hit an ice storm on I-76. I'm driving along, and I'm seeing oncoming traffic in the other lane, and those cars are all full of snow and crap. Didn't think much of it. I check for brake grip and wiggle the wheel a bit - everything seems fine. But I slow first to 55 and then to 45 as things get worse. Pretty soon I have folks passing me on the left. 10 miles up those same folks are in the median getting out of their cars, off the road. Everyone looks alright, so we continue. "That's odd," I'm thinking. "Huh." I check brakes and wiggle the wheel again. Everything's fine. We pull into the garage at home an hour later, I open my door to discover almost 2 inches of ice on the car!

That was our first experience with the difference a good tire can make. I have since avoided 2 major accidents on I-70 up in ski country, both severe and unfolding barely 5-6 cars in front of us, because I could. I might also add, I've taken winter driving courses put on by the Rocky Mountain Audi club on frozen Lake George each winter. This is a thing we take pretty seriously.

Another long post, I'm afraid. I'll rein it in going forward.

Hope this helps,

-brianV
Empty-nesters - NW Denver-Boulder Area

2019 Leaf SL Plus
2015 Audi Q5 TDI
2007 BMW Z4 3.0Si
2012 VW GTI

frontrangeleaf
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:07 am
Delivery Date: 08 Jul 2019
Location: Denver Area

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:10 pm

Oilpan4 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:27 pm
I was just going to use a chain saw on those pesky trees to make way for my solar panels.

The neighbors might have a thing or two to say about that, since they're in the neighbor's yard...
Empty-nesters - NW Denver-Boulder Area

2019 Leaf SL Plus
2015 Audi Q5 TDI
2007 BMW Z4 3.0Si
2012 VW GTI

frontrangeleaf
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:07 am
Delivery Date: 08 Jul 2019
Location: Denver Area

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:16 pm

LeftieBiker wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:14 pm
- The responsiveness is so high it takes some getting used to. A couple of times I've gone to make a move in traffic and stabbed at the accelerator as I'm accustomed in our other cars, only to find that I needed to immediately back off. You better have room to go if you "goose" it!

This is why I usually use Eco mode even on my 40kwh Leaf. The power is still there if you floor it, but the car is easier to control.

Got it. I tried Eco mode, but in the summer I still prefer "B". I actually like it quite a bit.
Empty-nesters - NW Denver-Boulder Area

2019 Leaf SL Plus
2015 Audi Q5 TDI
2007 BMW Z4 3.0Si
2012 VW GTI

Oilpan4
Posts: 1497
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:51 pm
Delivery Date: 10 May 2018
Leaf Number: 004270

Re: New Owner - First EV = Leaf SL Plus

Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:44 pm

That sux.
My solar panel blockers are all on my land.
trumpvirus
Is going to get you.

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