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.

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