Buyers' Guide: Turning over a new Leaf
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If you’ve been thinking about switching to a fully electric vehicle (EV) you’re not alone.
As you walk through a car park or shopping mall, it’s hard not to notice their increasing popularity.
In 2017 there were 2922 light electric vehicles sold in NZ, with used EVs making up the lion’s share (2232). This was mainly due to used vehicle pricing and availability. This trend has continued with 1562 used EVs sold in the first six months of 2018.
One of our AA members approached us to share her story of what life is like with a used Nissan Leaf EV she bought in 2017.
An EV convert’s story
Before having an EV, the member had a large SUV. She used the vehicle only for short trips; going to and from work (a short round trip of about 8km) and the occasional trip to her local supermarket or shopping mall — all of which never even gave the vehicle a chance to heat up.
She was struggling to justify keeping this type of vehicle in addition to her main family car.
What did she buy?
After looking around at what was on the market, she decided to purchase a used Japanese 2015 24kW Nissan Leaf with around 8000km on the clock.
This was the newest and lowest mileage model she could afford at the time.
The model was priced between $20,000-$23,000 with an estimated battery range of about 120-130km.
She also considered a newer 2016 30kW Leaf, which had a longer battery range of 160-170km, but after reviewing driving distances and budget she decided she didn’t need to upgrade to a newer model.
How long does the battery last?
In winter, a full charge lasts them about eight to 10 days.
Winter driving requires wipers, lights and air conditioning, which can all have a negative effect on the discharge rate of the battery.
Summer charges tend to last 10 to 14 days as wipers etc are used less. Battery range can also be affected when carrying more people or traversing a lot of hills.
How do owners charge the battery?
They generally charge at home and have installed a 15 amp wall socket into their garage, which cost them around $800-$1000.
They charge from around 20 per cent battery (they never let it run down below 20 per cent) which takes about three to four hours.
Before the 15 amp socket was installed, it took between four to six hours, which was still manageable.
They don’t use public charging stations a lot as they’re able to predict how often they need to charge their Leaf at home, but they’re pleased they’re available for when they do need them.
What about servicing?
Maintenance has been minimal, but they have had the vehicle for only about 10 months. EVs still have conventional brakes, brake fluid, coolant and other items that require periodic inspections and servicing.
Is she happy with changing to an electric vehicle?
Overall she is happy with changing to electric as it works better for her needs; a vehicle for shorter journeys within a budget she can afford. Other elements such as the positive environmental effects due to having less carbon emissions than a petrol vehicle are a bonus.
There are nearly 9000 EVs registered in New Zealand, and it is predicted this number will continue to grow as new models enter the market, they become more affordable, and accessibility to charging stations increases.
The AA has also launched EV Charge Finder which uses the revolutionary and world-first EVRoam platform. Hosted on the AA’s Time and Distance calculator, EV Charge Finder enables drivers to plot their journey between charging stations, removing range anxiety stress for EV drivers who will now know, with certainty, there is a safe and reliable charging station on their route.
● Go to aa.co.nz/travel/time-and-distance-calculator and select charging stations.
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