Washington Man Hits 78,000 Miles on Nissan LEAF

By · May 31, 2013

Steve Marsh's LEAF

At 36,500 miles, my 2011 Nissan LEAF is doing very well. In addition to a daily commute of 80-plus miles per day, it hasn’t suffered any problems, and saved our family a lot money in fuel costs. But Washington LEAF owner Steve Marsh is in a completely different league. A little more than two years ago, Marsh purchased his Black Nissan LEAF as a way to help him save money on his 130-mile daily commute. Now, after two years of ownership, his LEAF is well on its way to 80,000 miles.

Initially, Marsh charged his LEAF at home and then again at work—where a charging station was installed for his use. In the cold, wet Pacific Northwest winters, he found it necessary to wear extra layers, forgoing heat in exchange for increased range.

But lately, thanks to increased availability of rapid charging, Marsh has been utilizing the Blink DC rapid charge station on his route to and from work, allowing the luxury of speedier travel with less range anxiety. In addition, he charges to 100 percent using his work and home Level 2 charging stations at least twice a day.

Still Going Strong

Despite the high mileage and regular rapid charging to help him extend his car’s range, Marsh reports his LEAF hasn’t yet lost a capacity bar, indicating a healthy battery pack.

This is corroborated further by tests with an aftermarket GID Meter—a device which measures the capacity of the LEAF’s battery pack while fully charged. It shows that Marsh’s LEAF has some loss of battery capacity, but well within expected parameters for a car of its age and mileage.

In the course of nearly 80,000 miles of driving—pushing the car to the limits of its range—Marsh has only come up short once: running out of charge about a quarter mile from his work.

Worried About Upcoming ECOtality Blink Network Costs

Despite loving his LEAF and the money it saves him, however, Marsh is unimpressed with recent plans by ECOtality to charge drivers $5 per use for its network of direct current rapid chargers. Since he made his purchase decision primarily to save money, Marsh is worried the new fees will eat away at any savings he’s made to date.

“I’m looking at about $10 a day in operating costs,” he said. “That’s very similar to what a VW Passat TDI would be, and it offers heat, leather seats, and much more comfort.”

Since Marsh isn’t in a position to sell his LEAF, he says the only other options are to add an extra half an hour of Level 2 charging per day, buy a GID meter so he can continuously monitor actual battery state of charge, or find out about battery replacements if his LEAF’s battery pack falls below the required capacity.

Only General Wear and Tear

As you’d expect of a car with such a high mileage, Marsh’s LEAF is due for some new tires in the near future. In addition, he reports that his LEAF’s recycled interior is now starting to look a little dirty. “My Irish Wolfhound has managed to make the back seat dirty when few people sit back there,” he told us earlier this week. “The light (interior) color was a terrible idea.”

The only other major problem Marsh has suffered was a broken drivers’ side window control. Finding the part for $120 from an online store, Marsh decided to replace it himself rather than take it to the local dealer.


· · 3 years ago

“I’m looking at about $10 a day in operating costs,”

What is the breakdown for what he buys to get that $10 per day? My gas beater i use to go to work in uses about $12 worth of gas at 40 MPG, plus extra for wear and tear of course. If i used electric, that number would be more than half of that, between $2-$5 worth of electricity. I am just curious to know.

· · 3 years ago

Nikki, seems like you wore through your OEM tires much quicker than that.

· · 3 years ago

Another option is to reduce the amount of daily commute (either by moving or finding work elsewhere). Yes, I know easier said that done, and I'm not in his shoes. But that is almost always an option. We make lifestyle choices when we choose to live in one place and work in another. 130 miles daily is way on the outside of the typical range. And regardless of the cost, it is still a very heavy energy usage to transport oneself that distance, regardless of the fuel used.

· · 3 years ago

Jesse, Steve said that the $10 a day would be the proposed cost of a QuickCharge (each way) if EcoTotality decided to charge for it.

“I’m looking at about $10 a day in operating costs,” he said. “That’s very similar to what a VW Passat TDI would be, and it offers heat, leather seats, and much more comfort.”

Incidentally, he's saying that if he gets charged for QC, then his operating costs would make it similar to the Passat, except the Passat would be better, diminishing the advantages of having an EV in the first place.

· · 3 years ago

>>> But lately, thanks to increased availability of rapid charging, Marsh has been utilizing the Blink DC rapid charge station on his route to and from work, allowing the luxury of speedier travel with less range anxiety. <<<<

I was under the impression (from his comments elsewhere) that the DC charging was because his car was down on capacity about 15%. Originally, he could complete the drive both ways with no DC charging.

It is quite an accomplishment, however, that any battery powered thing could be exposed to all the elements like a car is (albeit, extremely mild elements in western Washington) and hold up this well. Lets hope some of the other up and coming electric cars do as well!!!!

· · 3 years ago

Steve actually is down about 17.5%. His GID count average ran about 232 so he is just to the point where he needs a charge. I suspect with Summer he should be back up to not having to stop most of the times at least in the afternoon which is when he would use the Blink in Fife. In the morning its AV's station in Tumwater which is half the cost (whenever they decide to start charging) at $2.50 supposedly although i personally think there is more behind the AV charge than meets the eye.

But gas is going back up again so even at 40 mpg it would be more than $13 a day in gas with much higher associated maintenance.

as far as Blink's pricing. I talked with him on Weds and i dont blame him for being upset. We both charged and got what we needed in less time than a single standard 80% charge so a blanket $5 is really hurting both Ecotality and the customer and it doesnt have to be that way



· · 3 years ago

I did a 130 miles round trip for a year in the Mini E before we moved. And I only had 120 volt charging at work. Never ran out of charge.

Now my commute is 20 miles, I highly recommend moving. But you cannot tell me that any gas car is a nicer ride than an electric, no way.

· · 3 years ago

80,000 miles is 2,666 gallons of gas at 30MPG, and $8,880 at $3.33/gallon! I like to keep score in the game of Oil Companies vs. Electric Car Owners.

· · 3 years ago

This guy needs to move closer to work.

· · 3 years ago

"In the cold, wet Pacific Northwest winters, he found it necessary to wear extra layers, forgoing heat in exchange for increased range"

That is the problem. So much for "modern travel with comfort". Most people won't do this. DC charger will add at least 15 mins to his daily commute. Most people don't have that much free time to "waste" on the way to work...

· · 3 years ago

Let's see. Sell house, try to find new house, and pay 6% broker's commission, plus moving costs, and uprooting kids from school if he has kids, wife finding new job if she works, potentially moving to worse neighborhood with bad neighbors, changing utilities, all account records, fixing gotcha's at new house, then possibly being layed off the next week,


stay put, and pay $10 per day or get another car.

· · 3 years ago

At 78,000 miles, this car just lost its 1st capacity bar, which coincides with the 15%-ish loss in range, and the Gidmeter data of about 17% loss of capacity.

· · 3 years ago

Test drove a leaf yesterday. Very nice car. This article reinforces my feelings that the leaf may be exactly what I need. My daily driving requirements are around 30 miles a day, occasionally 50. Nissan is offering a 36 month lease - 12000 mile/y for 199/m with 1999 down. If I step up my driving to get to the 36000 miles, gas savings alone will be approx. 6300 over my ICE vehicle, and since I use it for business, the 51 cents per mile the tax man allows will equate to approx. another 2754 in tax savings. As to cost to charge, I am currently driving an electric S-10 built by GM in 1994, charging at home every day and it seems to have increased our electric bill by almost $15 a month. Bonus for me, there are three Nissan dealerships within 60 miles that all offer free charging. Additional bonus for me, I live in SWFL, warm year round, virtually no hills, (there are hills but we call them bridges) On my test drive, I had the leaf up to 80mph and some in traffic bobbing and weaving and it handled very nicely. The other interesting thing is the lease, since I believe, rightly or wrongly, that electric technology will make this 2013 leaf obsolete in three years so I just drop it off at the dealership and move on. Also looking at the Mitsubishi I-Meiv and trying to find a Honda Fit EV to look at. Would love a Tesla S but that is out of my ballpark.

· · 3 years ago

adakeep, you've done your homework, go for it! You won't regret it. Two years and 30k on my Leaf (#1533), I plan to keep mine for a long time. My daily commute is 44 miles which an 80% charge easily satisfies. Although I admit I run to the last bar on those cold, wet, winter days, running the heater seems to be a %15 penalty. The leasing deals seems to have given a big boost in sales. Leaf sightings in the Portland area are now daily as opposed to once/twice a week 3-4 months ago.

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