"A Delightful Commuting Appliance!"4.5 starson by Cupriwhorl
Pros: No gasoline, oil, or coolant consumption, ever. Oil still used for tires and wiper blades, but oh well.
Extreme mechanical simplicity and therefore, hopefully, reliability to match.
The battery - the component most limiting to the car's overall utility
Cons: Well, the limited range, obviously, as well as the admonitions against too-frequent use of L3 chargers.
No active temperature regulation for the battery pack like the Chevy Volt, Tesla, or Ford Fusion Electric designs use.
Summary: My commute is only 22 miles each day, so I can't realistically expect that the reduced operating costs (two cents a mile, vs. about twenty for my old ICE car, plus oilchanges and maintenance) will offset the premium I paid for the LEAF. But if your commute comes closer to the 60 mile comfortable roundtrip range (assuming the kinder-to-battery 80% recharge, and allowing for a little battery capacity loss), then take a serious look at the operating costs, 'cause a LEAF will come very close to being financially viable for you. If your commute is 30 to 60 miles each way, and your employer will make recharging available at their end, it's a clear winner (except for the question of why you'd want to spend so much of your time driving even as nice a car as the LEAF).
But there's also some value to the Leaf's much more pleasant driving experience. When my previous car (a '99 Eclipse GSX) just barely started after sitting idle for about a month, I realized I'm going to have to use it at least one or two days a month, if I'm going to keep it ready for long trips. When I took it out, I was AMAZED at the difference between it and the Leaf. The Eclipse always did kind of sound like its moving parts were made of sandstone, but I'd gotten used to it. After a month in the Leaf, though, going back to the Eclipse was a loud, smelly, hot, vibration-fest (OK, maybe not quite fair comparing cars of such different ages). Still, driving the Leaf is grin-inducing.
Maybe I'm still suffering from new-car euphoria; let's see how it goes over the next few months.
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