It’s been 17 months since we first took delivery of our LEAF. Yesterday, as I was driving to work, I had to pull over and take this picture as we had just hit the 30,000 mark. For us, it’s an impressive milestone. I don’t think we’ve ever driven any of our past cars that much in such a short period of time, specially considering most of the driving on the LEAF has happened within the city. For comparison, our gas car only drove 12,000 Km during the same period, which shows that the LEAF is not a good second car like many say, but it is in fact the first car in our family.
30,000 Km also means a lot in terms of savings, for both our pocket and for the environment. Our gas car would have burned at least 2,500 liters of gasoline to drive the same distance, cost about $3,125 at the pump and thrown 6 tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. By comparison, the LEAF cost us about $470 in home electricity, without any gas, oil changes or tailpipes.
On a yearly basis, we drove 21,496 Km in 2012, using just $333 of home electricity. That’s $28 per month, or half of a Corolla gas tank, to drive almost 1,800 Km. Overall, we saved $2,150 in gas, oil changes and car insurance last year.
In terms of issues, the electric power train has been working flawlessly and I haven’t noticed any drop in battery performance or range. There were only two issues that required service under warranty and they were both unrelated to the electric power train: the parking brake actuator got stuck and had to be replaced, and more recently, the power lock actuator in one of the passenger doors also had to be replaced. Carwings remains the single most annoying thing on the LEAF. Nothing to do with the car itself, but with frequent outages in the telemetry service.
The LEAF has also proven to be a very low-maintenance car. The only item we had to replace so far was the cabin air filter, a $20 part that you can buy on eBay and replace yourself, though I only discovered that later, after having the dealer change it for me (for $70). Without any oil to be changed, regular maintenance services are only required every 12 months. They cost the same as any regular car, minus $50 because there’s no oil change! Regular 6-month services are optional but I decided to have them performed as well because they happen right after winter for us, and its always a good idea to have things checked and lubricated after all the slush, sand an salt from ‘the Ottawa roads. They are also considered a “minor” service and cost a bit less than the yearly service.
Finally and most important, the LEAF continues to be very very fun to drive! The instant torque, great acceleration, the low center of gravity (for sharp turns!) and all the quietness and comfort make it always a very pleasant ride.
On to the next 30,000!