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By Russ Finley on Apr 13, 2015 with 111 responses

Nissan Leaf Drive Train is 25 Times More Reliable than Conventional Cars

[Updated 5/4/2015 to delete potentially incorrect information about storage space and battery size.]


My Leaf parked in front of a seventies vintage Ford Pinto (my first car was a Pinto). Car technology has come a long way.

Nissan recently released the results of a five year study that found 99.99 percent of its battery packs are still operating as warrantied (battery not having less than 80 percent capacity after five years). Using that information, a study conducted by Warranty Direct (an independent British insurance specialist) found that the Leaf drive train is 0.255/0.01 =25 times more reliable than internal combustion engines. This is, however, somewhat misleading because today’s conventional cars are amazingly reliable, especially compared to a 1973 Pinto. They found that out of 50,000 conventional cars aged 3-6 years old, only a quarter of one percent “had an issue that led to an immobilization of the internal combustion engine.” This finding appears to have led Glass’s (Britain’s used car guide) to conclude:

“They [Leafs] are good enough that, as an expert in this field, we will be looking again at our residual value forecasts for LEAF and probably revising them upwards. Long-term battery life has been a definite concern for used EV buyers but the new figures from Nissan effectively remove this worry.

“Really, Nissan has gone through a process with the LEAF similar to Toyota with the first generation Prius several years ago, where the cars had to be proven in real life conditions before used buyers could feel confident. Now, the Prius enjoys excellent residuals and the LEAF should start to find a similar level of market acceptance.”

Coincidentally, my neighbor pulled up in front of my house the other day in a 2012 Leaf with 11,000 miles on it that she had just purchased at a Honda dealer for $13,000. As an early adopter, I  paid $35,000-$7,500 tax credit = $27.500 for my 2011, which recently crossed 30,000 miles and has performed flawlessly with the exception of a flat tire, two new sets of wiper blades, and a failed key fob.


Leaf with trailer in Home Depot parking lot

Also, just this week the battery condition indicator dropped one bar out of the 12 bars that indicate a new battery condition. My battery isn’t like new anymore but still provides more than enough range for 99 percent or so of my driving needs. I sometimes pull a four foot by eight foot trailer with it and recently took it on a long journey to do maintenance on my remote forest property, which required two hour-long ferry rides and stopping at a charge station for 1.5 hours to complete the trip. The day some entrepreneur finds a way to put a fast charger at every 7-11 is the day electric car sales will really take off.


New Leafs have a 6.6kW on board charger compared to my 3.3 kW one. They also have a heat pump instead of resistance heating elements and a more heat resistant, higher capacity battery. Four or five years from now I will have to decide to spend roughly $6,000 to replace the battery or get another car.  On the plus side,  a Leaf with a new battery would perform like a new car. I’m guessing that a Leaf with a worn out battery will have very low resale value because the new owner will have to put a new pack in it. The electric motor is likely to outlive the rest of the car. Time will tell.


Photo taken last year.

I’ve read a few times that low gas prices have been hurting EV sales while improving SUV sales, and if true, I would not be surprised. If the day ever comes that there are enough electric cars to measurably impact oil demand, there will be a tendency for lower demand to reduce oil prices, eventually stimulating more oil consumption (SUV sales), and up and down it will go. Displacing oil isn’t going to be as easy as displacing coal, which has three strong competitors in natural gas, hydro, and nuclear.

  1. By Michael_R_Rose on April 14, 2015 at 10:21 am

    The battery pack under the floor of the vehicle is still the same size. The small increase in storage space in the trunk is due to the reduction in size and relocation of the on board charger. The charger was in between the rear shock towers and relocated to become part of the integrated stack of drive components under the hood. The motor and drive gear are at the bottom and the inverter and charger sit on top.

    • By Russ Finley on April 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Thank you for that information. This is the beauty of comment fields. My original source must have been speculating as to where the extra space came from, which in turn, got me to speculating as to why the battery might be smaller.

  2. By TimC on April 14, 2015 at 10:56 am

    “Displacing oil isn’t going to be as easy as displacing coal…”

    That’s true, and coal is not being displaced. The AEO 2014 (Figure MT-30) shows that coal as a fuel for U.S. electric power generation will hold steady for the foreseeable future. The only fuel that will gain on coal between now and 2040, according to the EIA, will be natural gas. Renewable power, as a percent of total U.S. power generation, is not projected to increase between now and 2040. That means that all of the Leafs and Volts and Bolts and Model Ss and other grid-charged BEVs will continue to be fossil-fueled for the foreseeable future. A BEV is just a different, less convenient way of using fossil energy for personal transportation. What did you do for the 1.5 hours that it took to recharge during your trip?

    Your 2011 Leaf is certainly a nice looking car, I’ll give you that.

    • By Russ Finley on April 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      That’s true, and coal is not being displaced ….The only fuel that will gain on coal between now and 2040, according to the EIA, will be natural gas.

      The above statements appear to contradict each other?

      Renewable power, as a percent of total U.S. power generation, is not projected to increase between now and 2040.

      I could see that as a distinct possibility. Projections vary by source. Do you have a link for that one?

      That means that all of the Leafs and Volts and Bolts and Model Ss and other grid-charged BEVs will continue to be fossil-fueled for the foreseeable future.

      True that, at least on average. Because of where I live, my power comes almost exclusively from hydro, with a touch of wind, nuclear, and coal. So at least some people can take advantage of low carbon sources with their electric cars.

      A BEV is just a different, less convenient way of using fossil energy for personal transportation.

      On average, you are right, with some caveats. Some people can take advantage of grids that generate less carbon than others and even when they can’t, the Leaf is still roughly equivalent to a Prius as far as emissons are concerned because the electric motor is so much more efficient.

      I prefer an electric car for many other reasons. Because we are a two car family, I find the range trade-off perfectly acceptabe. These cars are reliable, smooth, quiet, and very clean. No local exhaust, and other than brake fluid and a very small amount of coolant for the controller, no toxic fluids to spill or drip. As a mechanical engineer and airframe/powerplant mechanic, I find a motor with one spinning part much more appealing than a reciprocating engine with dozens of parts jerking back and forth ; ).

      What did you do for the 1.5 hours that it took to recharge during your trip?

      Walked to the nearest Srarbucks and wrote a large part of this article on my phone while washing down a breakfast sandwhich with an Americano ; ). I’m composing this response on that same phone.

      Great comment.

      • By TimC on April 14, 2015 at 6:05 pm

        “Projections vary by source. Do you have a link for that one?”

        The EIA just released the AEO2015 today. The link is

        I’m looking in particular at Figure 31, which shows how little they expect the fuel mix for U.S. power generation to change between now and 2040. Coal is projected to drop from 39% in 2013 to 34% in 2040. I would call that an insignificant rate of displacement.

        I certainly understand that there are several reasons to prefer a BEV like the Leaf. For one thing, I would imagine that the low-end torque of the electric motor comes in handy when pulling a trailer.

    • By BrianKeez on April 18, 2015 at 9:36 am

      I dislike getting into dicussions on power sources and building materual when it comes to EV’s because, somehow, there is little or no discussion on how those factors relate to ICE vehicles. One has to really nitpick to find the ‘dirt’ on EV’s.

    • By frank on April 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      People are so selective with their evidence, so I’d like to point out that none of the electricity in the region that I live comes from coal. Also I rarely hear BEV owners gripe about the costs of electricity, while complaints about gasoline prices by gas car owners are endless.

  3. By Forrest on April 16, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Unlike the Leaf, the Pinto in it’s day was a low cost econo box easily afforded and highly popular. So, based on environmental value in it’s day, way above the expensive low volume leaf of current day and consumer motivation to purchase such didn’t require $7,500 tax payer incentive. In addition the Pinto constructed mostly of easy and valuable to recycle steel as compared to composite and plastic material of the Leaf that is not valuable to recycle. Also, the rare earth metal composition of the Pinto near zero as the ensuing environmental harm the mining entails, nonetheless lessening of national security. The Leaf battery is not well rated upon environmental friendliness of material or ability to recycle. How about the value of the Pinto contribution to GNP? Consider the life cycle analysis of the Pinto that has simple technology to rebuild and afford local jobs vs the Leaf import of hazardous components of battery rebuild. The cost of Pinto rebuild would be a fraction of the new Leaf battery. Consider the Leaf owner has no choice of fuel. Meaning they take what the grid offers, even if the electricity is generated upon coal power plants. The Pinto owner can convert or blend fuel per propane and E85 fuels. Ethanol can be blended with gasoline or the car can modified per kit for FFV conversion of methanol or ethanol. The international population of old cars is large. These vehicles can minimize their harm to environment by utilizing higher blend ethanol that is a painless adaptation that will save them money and improve their local economy.

    • By Russ Finley on April 18, 2015 at 12:51 am

      I agree with you about the Pinto. Although the quality was horrific, the basic design is reflected in many modern cars today: rack and pinon steering, bucket seats (as opposed to a bench), shifter and parking brake between the seats, and also a hatch back. It blended the economy car with the station wagon. The only thing missing was front wheel drive.

      The Leaf is not an cheap economy car. Some day, a cheap economy version of an electric car will arrive. It might be an enclosed version of something like this (found as an ad on this website):

      • By Forrest on April 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        This is a Rotax three wheeled motorcycle. Looks great, but I’m sure not very environmentally friendly. The is impressive with 84 mpg hyw. They took the Pinto approach to maximize cost effectiveness and high mpg. The largest factor of mpg is wind drag and weight. This company optimized these two factors by reinventing auto design. Only reliable, cost effective technology and within a package to maximize effectiveness. It’s much like the above, but costs $6,800 as compared to the $23,200-$30,800 and achieves 84 mpg hwy. It’s a two passenger with roomy interior and impressive comfort. The vehicle easily exceeded crash test requirements. So, the Pinto effect. A incredible cheap mass appeal auto that consumers may choose instead of used car options. A car with high reliability and BEV operation cost performance.

  4. By Forrest on April 17, 2015 at 10:28 am

    The BEV is not a practical car in present condition. It’s a play thing for hobbyist, collectors, and enthusiasts that have wealth for the purpose. It’s not practical to own a car with such a long refuel cycle and short trip capability. I would guess the tax payer incentive probably not a factor in sales as this group of consumers have no such motivational need. Also, the range of the car is variable per speed, temperature, age of vehicle, terrain, etc. As the vehicle has such short range, the factors become extremely important to calculate. Judging by the current car fleet sitting on side of road with gas cover open, it appears consumers have limited talent for such calculations. The vehicle always resides within 2rd car status as conventional vehicle the base support for transportation. This 2rd car status is usually held as low use convenience car when the primary car unavailable. The vehicle status per the justification for tax, license, insurance, maintenance, and
    investment cost a hard one per the benefit. Russ’s personal experience appears
    to utilize the BEV about 10k miles per year. Very expensive second car and not
    worth the cost per utilization nor environmental improvement in most cases. However,
    if the car is in area of high hydro power, that would maximize the environmental benefit, that is, if the power were to go to waste otherwise.
    University of Toronto recently published their analysis of natural gas fuel for life cycle analysis of emissions, cost, and health benefits upon vehicles utilizing CNG fuel. As compared to conventional vehicle CV, utilizing CNG CV experienced 10-20% less emission. Utilizing a hybrid, CNG-HV saved 30% and comparable to BEV that was recharged per utility grade of natural gas turbine generator, but the problem with this vehicle, the cost of ownership was 30% higher. So, their study concluded the CNG-HV was the sweet spot to increase sales, benefit to consumer, and improve environment as the only benefit of the BEV was to relocate emissions. I should also note that a Calf EPA financed engine development program, Ultra Low Carbon per Cummins company that accomplished the task with E85 fuel per field trial of
    medium duty 12,000 GVW delivery van. The E85 optimized engine rated at 50%
    lower mission with convention fuel and 85% lower emission per cellulosic
    ethanol fuel as compared to conventional diesel and unleaded fueled vans. Yes,
    the van met and exceeded tailpipe regulatory regulations, achieved cost of
    operation of diesel, and surpassed unleaded MPG. Also, the vehicle was
    calculated as cheaper to manufacture and needed no special infrastructure for
    refueling. So, that should be a new sweet spot. Also, nice that ethanol,
    propane, or CNG fuel have zero mercury emission, nor the unhealthy unregulated
    emissions of petrol side. Cost of propane and CNG is below that of ethanol, but
    an unfair comparison given the lack of tax load and incentives directed to the
    fossil fuel CNG or propane. Both of these options also carry heavy conversion
    costs and expensive refill equipment in limited supply.

    • By Frank on April 18, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      “the range of the car is variable per speed”. That’s true for every type of car. And few gas cars can match BEVs in terms of acceleration and reliability. Gas cars have too many parts, too much can go wrong, they are smellier and noisier, they are slow to warm up, sluggish in winter, much more prone to catching on fire, and require pricey oil changes. The next wave of BEVs in 2017/2018 will have double the range; we can expect the gas car to start to go the way of the 8-track tape.

      • By Forrest on April 18, 2015 at 6:15 pm

        The expert analysis of BEV vehicle penetration of sales is marginal for decades. I think they are wrong as the vehicle is very useful per autonomous operation in metro zone. Meaning this vehicle is the solution to horrible traffic conditions within the city. It will replace public transportation. It is not hard to envision the entire transportation sector controlled by phone apps and central computer. Recharge, coordinating routes, passenger share, drop off, no parking, and zero chance of accident. I would guess private passenger car operation would be prohibited and tourist would be required to park outside city and use phone app to hail a autonomous vehicle. Note the above benefit is not directed as a head to head competition of replacing the convention automobile. The BEV can’t do that.

        • By BrianKeez on April 19, 2015 at 10:17 am

          I suggest looking a true market trend trajectory instead of ‘expert analysis.’
          My BEV replaced my conventional vehicle four years ago. Keep in mind that we are in the first generation of mass market EV’s, the technology advances quickly. Range is the last benefit of ICEs and the countdown has begun.

          • By Forrest on April 19, 2015 at 2:23 pm

            We’re both speculating upon future value, here. Most believe EV is competing within the second car market, metro zone. That sales will be slow and foreseeable future belongs to ICE with mild low cost hybrid technology gaining in popularity. Even doubling range of EV will not propel high sales. The cost, recharge time, recharge stations, weight, and adequate grid infrastructure are big deterrents.

    • By Jeff Carlton on May 27, 2015 at 5:32 am

      I leased my 1st LEAF for 2 years. It WAS practical for everyday use. My 2002 Honda Insight, a hybrid ICE, sat for months at a time without being driven. I would only fire it up if I needed it for longer road trips. I did drive the LEAF on one 100 mile trip from my home in Reno, up over Mt. Rose Summit, down around Lake Tahoe, up over Spooner Summit, down to Carson City, up to Washoe Valley and around back home to NW Reno. I could have stopped to charge in Incline Village, or in Carson City, or S. Reno leaving or returning, but I did not need to. On other trips in the 140 mile range to various trail heads I just threw in a charge where I could to get me back home.

      The residual value of my leased car was too high after my 2 years was up relative to some of the used deals out there. I turned it in and found a one-owner 2013 LEAF SV (6.6 kW charger) with 12,356 miles on it for $12,500 in Fremont, CA, and drove it 270 miles back to Reno, rising up more than 7000 feet over Donner Pass, all using free level 2 charging stations. The car still charges to 100% with all 12 capacity bars, and it has the level 3 charge-port/LED headlight package. It is pretty much like-new clean in appearance and wear. Buying pre-owned eliminates the steep depreciation factor that is a problem with electric vehicles, due in part to the federal rebate. Since Nissan pushed leases and most owners buy or lease new LEAFs at their lease end, there is now a glut of gently used post-lease cars out there. This means dealerships are selling some of them several thousand dollars below book value. If not at first, then later when they have sat around awhile, and inventory is piling-up. They are an affordable bargain that very few are aware of. Yes I got a good deal, but even better ones come up here and there on CarGurus. Look for pre-owned deals if you are considering a BEV!

      Even though my old Honda Insight still averages in the low to mid 60′s mpg-wise on summer road trips (it got 74.8 mpg when it was younger on a round trip across country) I am going to take my new/used LEAF on a trip this June to Portland and back for the UU General Assembly. I am a HS teacher and there will not be any real time constraints. My plan is 2.5 days each way with overnights in the Mt. Shasta area (a wee hour start from Reno), and then one with family in Eugene. Often my ‘fueling cost’ will be free, and will save me money over the cost of doing the trip with my highly efficient ICE hybrid car, even factoring in food and camping fees near Shasta, as long as I economize. The main drawbacks are the charging waits and limited route options. Here in Reno I am currently investing time exploiting free public charging sites for 80% of my charging needs, even though home charging at night is more convenient. No CHAdeMO chargers in Reno, so I read, explore, go on walks, eat, shop, etc, as my car charges at one of the 8 to 10 free level 2 spots scattered around the city. The Insight sits unused. The LEAF IS a practical car for my needs. When it is not, the Insight gets fired-up.

      Most families these days have more than one car. When one is a LEAF, from what I am hearing, it becomes the preferred ride unless someone has an atypically long commute to work . No need to ever stop at some stinky gas station. Plug the LEAF in if needed when you get home.

      Yes, electric power does equate to a long tail pipe, but here in Nevada the power plants are spaced out away from our cities, their nearby residences built there for the convenience of their workers. LEAF owners are not spewing toxic fumes into their neighborhoods or at pedestrians walking along our roads. Studies show that the closer pregnant women live to congested road arteries the higher their incidences of miscarriages and having babies with birth defects. Oil extraction has destroyed pristine habitats and native ways of life in Nigeria, Ecuador, …, the list goes on. Oil spills and pipeline failures will continue. Some of the fisheries will take multiple generations to recover once the oil reserves in those areas are exhausted. Oil can often come from countries that don’t share our values, and as it makes its way to our gas stations it impacts the quality of life, and the health of all those unfortunate people unlucky to live near the extraction sites, the oil spill areas, or the refineries. The easy to get oil is increasingly rare, so the carbon footprint, and harmful environmental impact of each gallon continues to rise. Flyover video of Canadian tar sands regions are horrific for the devastation visible as far as the eye can see. Native lands and lives destroyed, with no consent ever given, international laws and agreements ignored and broken. A few who profit, a trail of many more victims in the wake of this industry.

      You call EV owners hobbyists, collectors and enthusiasts. Couldn’t we also be patriots, swearing off mid-east oil. Or people sickened by what we have read about the abuses of big-oil, trying to do what is best for current and future generations. I pay about $240 extra for my electric each year to voluntarily participate in NV Energy’s 100% renewable power program. That’s geothermal, hydro, solar and wind. It supports Nevada based renewable energy projects, and brings new jobs to our state. When we spend our dollars we vote for the world we want to live in. Most of the time we turn a blind-eye toward the impacts of our vote. The marketplace hides these impacts from us. Factory farms, for example, are mostly hidden-away in innocuous looking buildings in rural areas. There are even laws written that criminalize those who seek to expose dark hidden truths that our markets actively seek to hide from us. We can go about our lives in blissful ignorance only worried about our daily needs and economic efficiency. What gives us our best bang for our hard earned buck. It makes total sense if we choose not to look deeper. But there is perhaps a more responsible way to prioritize our resources that might lead to better outcomes overall now, and down the road. I am not trying to ride a high horse, just argue for an alternative way to approach consumer choices based on a conscious effort to uncover their consequences for not only ourselves, but all species impacted down through the supply chains.

      It is patently obvious from your writings that you are a deep thinker and an avid researcher. You are not one of those one-sided ideologues sometimes found in comment sections. You seek out pros and cons of various technologies. I envy your DIY skills, and admire your analytical powers even if I don’t always share the assumptions behind the studies you cite or conclusions you reach in the end. You do good for your family using your considerable skills, even when they exasperate you. All highly admirable. I too strive to stay open to different outlooks, unintended consequences of actions, and to weigh out and expose corruptions that are found regardless of whether I might be inclined to favor the person or group that is screwing-up or the thrust or end result of the direction they are headed. Anyway, that is my intent and truth, even if I sometimes fall short of it.

  5. By BrianKeez on April 18, 2015 at 9:46 am

    My 2011 LEAF is at 75,000 miles and is the very best car I’ve ever owned. For a first generation product, the car far exceeded my expectations. It redefines reliability for cars. I see oil sticking around mostly due to influence as opposed to product superiority.

    • By Forrest on April 18, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      My GMC 1/2t is at 270,000 miles and is the very best vehicle I’ve every owned. The truck hauls a ton of cargo and pull heavy tailors. It’s a workhorse and can suffer much abuse. I bought the truck used from UPS employee for $3,000 2003. I had to replace starter, generator, and transmission. At a DIY cost of below $500. So, the twenty year old vehicle still looks good has high resale vale, can be cheaply overhauled ($3,000 with 100,000 mile warranty) for another 300,000 miles. It achieves 24 mpg on hwy and 18 mpg typical around home short trips. The car is all steel and valuable to recycle. Oh, it runs E85 well and suffers 15% mileage loss with 29% cheaper fuel. A fuel that is rated very high upon environment. The truck experienced 200,000 of the fuel in latter part of life cycle. My cheapest car was a ebay purchase for college daughter. A $170 purchase that per her negligence had to replace engine. Still not expensive. I put into that car about $1,200 for 100,000 miles of travel. It was a steady 25 mpg Tempo even with E85. The environmental value rating of these vehicles are high as they achieve long life cycle. The cost of ownership is extremely low.

      • By Ernie on April 19, 2015 at 1:02 am

        The cost of ownership is extremely low? You mean minus the $4000 a year you pay in gas, right? And *all* that other stuff you just listed? I also seriously doubt you paid less than $500 for your transmission.

        The cost of making my Leaf go is around $500 a year. Plus there’s no oil changes and little to no other maintenance save changing the cabin air filter. The rest of the “maintenance” I can do myself with my phone, which will tell me everything about the state of the battery. My transmission, should it *ever* need to be replaced (it very likely won’t), would cost less than yours because it has *one* gear. There’s not even a need for a reverse gear, nevermind a clutch or automatic transmission fluid.

        I grew up helping my dad maintain his truck, who did all his own maintenance. It was a lot of money and a lot of work, and in the end, there was very little that he hadn’t replaced.

        • By Forrest on April 19, 2015 at 7:22 am

          I keep expenses on Quicken. The GMC data: purchased 2/05 for $3,000. I’ve averaged $161.70 per month expenses. The oil, washer fluid, antifreeze is expensed to both vehicles and not included. I took out the insurance and licensing, but will say both were a nice cost savings as compared to new vehicle. The transmission was weak and reason I got such a good deal. It was the first generation electronic transmission and weak per GM standards. The rebuilt was $300 per ebay purchase from local guy with trade in. The truck is extremely easy to wrench. The transmission for example. Per Russ’s example the Leaf is a $35,000 cost of vehicle or $32,000 more than GMC truck. Rebate not included as that is not a comparative factor. In rough numbers per my personal experience, I would do a cost load upon such investment at the rate of 1% per month. That figure is attach to consumer expense per loss of capital per investment, even if paying cash as the money has future worth for life i.e. IRA investment, stock investment, purchase of really good deal, new business, ability to pay off high interest consumer loans, etc. So, from the get go the Leaf would need to be burdened at the rate of $320/month until the car sold or scrapped. The final accounting of cost of ownership would include real numbers for depreciation, repair, maintenance, fuel, would be added to monthly expense and that $320 figure. These are real life expenses to investments. As you can see, the Leaf a horrible investment to average citizen that must balance life expenses to maximize savings or earnings. Also, the GMC pays a substantial load of road tax per E85 fuel that is burdened equally with gasoline per gallon. Leaf skates on most of this. The 1/2t pickup is extremely safe for teenagers per my observations and reason the vehicle first purchased. My daughter backed over a Ford Taurus. The truck totaled the Taurus and received a slight bend to back fender that was hard to ascertain. The truck is valuable for my work purposes and highly praised by friends and family that seek out such need.The vehicle also, provided job opportunity for kids for part time work.

          • By Forrest on April 19, 2015 at 7:49 am

            I can travel to northern Wisconsin on one tank of fuel or 550 miles. This is comforting as sometimes Chicago traffic will add much fuel consumption and delay upon the trip. I can imagine sweating bullets with short trip Leaf running out of power. Were always throwing large payload in box for children’s visit or such as helping a in law per yesterday’s visit with removal of his limb storm damage refuse that is inconvenient within city. The refuse becomes an asset per my wood stove.

            • By BrianKeez on April 19, 2015 at 10:06 am

              For rare long trips, I rent gas burners. Because of mass market EVs, gas cars have no value to me unless I am driving over 100 miles one-way. When I do that , the expense of gasoline only last as long the rental contract. Why pay for gas every day when it’s only needed twice a year?

            • By Forrest on April 19, 2015 at 2:34 pm

              Brian, in your case apparently so. Some can’t justify a car at all. Most will purchase conventional car and low cost 2rd car. If they are financially set and have unneeded money enough to waste on hobbies or niche special interest cars per desire, they may love the BEV per the attention generated, but they can’t justify the expense upon saving money. Read my 2 day ago post that included analysis of University of Toronto that concluded same. Also, the Elio Motors car appears to maximise low cost transportation within new car.

            • By Arnis on April 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm

              I have driven BMW for 5 years. Love everything except tailpipe.

              Old 2001 car needs service every year for 300 €/$ plus fuel up to 2000€/$. Average is 38,5mpg – 6,1l/100km of diesel (city 32mpg). Very powerful (0-60 in 8s). But that still did not stop me. I still bought a Leaf. Now I drive 20500 miles (33000km) with the Leaf and about 1200 miles (2000km) using BMW. Leaf does have many weaknesses, like seats, headlights, sound insulation, build quality but it is quieter and smoother and nippier in city compared to high quality German ICE. I wish to own 5-series EV, not a PHEV nor ICEV.

              BTW when I signed the EV incentive I accepted to use 100% green energy for minimum of 5 years. I pay about 10€ more every year but I can say that I drive clean (wind mostly). Our general grid is really dirty (worse than coal, which I thought was impossible) so it does make sense.
              And I drive Leaf up to 300 miles per day (whole country is 100% covered with rapid chargers).

              There is no question: two cars for heavy user, end of story. So enjoy your GMC and other guzzlers but on daily basis drive EV. Especially Americans who love to own more cars than Europeans :D
              Forget Prius: you can’t kill two rabbits with one bullet without ruining the fur.

          • By BrianKeez on April 19, 2015 at 9:48 am

            You are comparing the cost of a new car vs a used car. Simeone else paid the new price of that truck in 2005 and you should add that to the total cost for the life of the truck. Comparing a liftback to a pick in regards to utility is reaching. Both have their mutually exclusive uses.

            EV’s don’t need oil, add that cost to you truck expense. Also add in the cost of your labor for doing your own work on your vehicle.

            EV’s get less expensive over time and you have provided proof that ICEs just continue to cost tremendous amounts of money over time.

            • By Forrest on April 19, 2015 at 3:01 pm

              Opportunity costs, also known as the cost of capital the primary determinant in financial decision making. You have $32k available for Leaf, house down payment, IRA, HSA, or starting a business. Not all of these options immediately available, but you need to place a time value upon your capital to keep from blowing your money needlessly. Maybe you have a risky credit card zero interest loan that could balloon to 24% that needs to be quickly paid off. Maybe a deal on a foreclosure wherein a 50% ROI opportunity exists. An IRA can return 25% to 50% ROI and HSA is both tax free upon purchase and selling for health care. Much like a Roth, but at zero tax load. Even purchasing large quantities of food stores has a carrying cost per saving money on sales, but can net a consumer 50% ROI. Each of us have to make purchase decisions and should do so upon the above. These decisions are personal. My calculations were personal as I do have interest and ability aligned with the GMC truck for a second car. Every seven years a top financial businessmen/investor will double money per compound effect. So, a young person blowing $32k on a Leaf (a depreciating asset) will take some amazing monthly savings to justify such expense. I have interviewed a couple young low income single women with children that went chapter 9 as they sit with a new Prius thinking the car saved them money.

            • By BrianKeez on April 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm

              We need cars in the U.S. because we put our money into roads, not trains. I recommend young people to buy used LEAFs. I have had lots of brused knuckles, burns and aches from working on $3k gas burners….. thank goodness for mass market EVs!

            • By Forrest on April 20, 2015 at 7:38 am

              Keep up with the autonomous vehicle technology as it will replace public transportation. For example electronic sensor computation will allow vehicles to achieve high efficiency, high speed, and safety by tailgating and elimination of air drag. There is a communication standard developing for automotive to control traffic for optimum efficiency and safety within the group. Taxi transportation will become highly cost competitive and safe without personal driver costs. EV’s or HV will play an important role in this development. Actually, the road network may become obsolete in distant future for cross country travel. This is the viewpoint of technology trends. Road construction will become prohibitive for low population density areas. Autonomous air delivery of freight is quickly developing. Passenger transport will follow. The technology for new car sales with hands free driving option will be common only ten years out.

          • By Ernie on April 19, 2015 at 7:01 pm

            Hmm. New GMC 1500: starting at $26,670
            New Nissan Leaf: starting at $21,510

            And expenses are an average of $161 a month or $1940 a year? Versus my $400 a year?

            Your argument is basically “my truck cost more and it costs more, and it’s the best value for a vehicle I’ve ever had!”

            Come back here in another 6 years after you can pick up a used Leaf for $2000 with a dead battery + $1500 for a used refurbished battery that would be far easier to replace. *If* you had the right lift to get it in there, because tools are free and all that.

            I kind of actually expect that the future for used EVs is going to be quite promising, seeing that batteries are getting better over time. If you keep the rest of the car in good shape, I could fully expect to see more than a few with 400,000 miles on the odometer.

            • By Forrest on April 20, 2015 at 7:19 am

              Ernie don’t forget this thread was a discussion with Brian on our personal best car owned. The GMC is not comparable to Leaf other than cost of ownership. Leaf purchase, “The base 2015 Nissan Leaf S starts at about $30,000. That steps up to about $33,000 for the mid-level SV, and about $36,000 for the top-line SL”. Sure, currently a tax paid rebate of $7,500, that is extreme for a debtor nation and if as you say the car is so economical, unneeded. The sales tax, shipping, and property tax costs add quite a bit, as compared to low cost used private party purchase. Most recharge car at private residence and must include cost of charging station. The insurance for my truck is low, about $1,000 yr. High risk youthful drivers must put maximum concern on insurance bill. Your yearly operation costs don’t include opportunity cost of money nor depreciation. For young people this is of paramount importance as they have maximum need to start the financial compound value of money rolling. Trucks like my 1/2t have extremely long cycle life and totally recyclable. My 20 year old truck lost $1,000 dollars in depreciation over 10 years of ownership. I read in paper of taxi cab drive in NYC that put a million miles on his Cadilac taxi and has become an iconic cab within the city. My local paper had a husband wife transport team that put well over a million miles on their one ton diesel delivery truck for travel trailers. I wouldn’t recommend those that rent homes and on the move to purchase Leaf as the vehicle is very constraining per refuel. I take a lot of 12 hr trips and need a long haul vehicle to get me to destination ASAP with out layover costs. These trips usually require fording Chicago traffic snarls that can be very problematic with short trip vehicle. Per your concern over maintenance and low fuel cost, a single person should look hard at the 2016 Elio Motors debut at $6,800 with 85 mpg. The car utilizes extremely reliable and cost effective hardware.

            • By Forrest on April 20, 2015 at 7:55 am

              Don’t forget to review the University of Toronto natural gas fuel analysis wherein the BEV was 30% higher in cost of ownership and provided little environmental benefit as compared to natural gas hybrid that is cheaper alternative. An interesting story per Russ’s mention of Pinto. An old maintenance co employee told me he loved the Pinto. Ultra low cost used vehicle purchase with great mpg. Simple easy to repair and quite reliable. His transportation cost were extremely low as he funded his retirement instead.

            • By Ernie on April 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm

              “Ernie don’t forget this thread was a discussion with Brian on our personal best car owned.”

              It was? Maybe that’s what you were using it for, but the article you’re replying to says nothing of the sort. It looks like you took a wrong turn back in Albuquerque. ;)

      • By Glen McMillian on September 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        Your ignorance is showing VERY badly when you say ethanol is an environmentally desirable fuel.

        Moonshine used as motor fuel is an environmental disaster. Anybody who has ever read anything about the issue other than industry propaganda knows this is the unvarnished truth.

        The only people who believe otherwise are people who know nothing at all about the environmental considerations involved in modern day industrial scale farming. The people in the ethanol industry are lying their asses off but of course some people including some farmers believe these lies.

        Incidentally I am retired university trained industrial ( modern day) farmer. Farmers who sell a lot of corn used to manufacture moonshine are quick to drink some and lie about the rest. I don’t have friends or family in the midwestern corn states so I have no need to lie about it.

        Now in the interests of full disclosure I drive only older conventional cars and trucks because old cars and trucks can be bought so cheaply that the price of gasoline and repairs is dwarfed by the savings on the initial purchase costs. I also do almost all my own repairs.

        Your transmission job alone would have cost most drivers a thousand to two thousand or even more.

        • By Forrest on September 21, 2015 at 8:01 pm

          The GM transmission was common and widely understood device. Cost me $300 on e-bay and was an easy install. But you forget the BEV can’t replace the truck at any cost. Moonshine is a spirit for human consumption. Corn is widely utilized for beer production, Budweiser for example. It’s interesting to compare edible moonshine to poison gasoline. Compare the buffet table clean burning sterno flame to monoxide poisoning of natural gas furnace, alcohol medical sterilization and use to cancerous petrol and health warning to wash upon skin contact. I read where Poet is donating ethanol to a volunteer organization that has invented a stove for cooking and heating within poor households. The practice saves a lot of labor since no need to forage and destroy woodland. The fuel makes for healthy living air quality. You know they just forgot about the gasoline solution. Oh, the villages can invigorate farming practices as these farms can actually grow a cash crop for local use. More money for farmers = more food for villages. So, tell me again the indirect land use penalty for farm land dedicated to ethanol?

        • By Richard Caldwell on December 12, 2015 at 8:10 am

          Your ignorance is showing VERY badly when you say ethanol is an environmentally undesirable fuel. Yes, the old corn ethanol technology was questionable, but the new cellulosic ethanol technology is far better. Keep up with the times!

          • By Russ Finley on December 12, 2015 at 12:04 pm


            A Prius will emit fewer emissions than a Leaf or not, depending on source of electricity. My electricity comes from hydro, so where I live, the Leaf wins hands down. The Prius would win in a place like Indianapolis, but not by as much as the Leaf wins in Seattle ; )

            As for keeping up with the times, read Cellulosic Ethanol is Going Backwards by Robert Rapier

    • By TimC on April 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      A 15 gallon gas tank holds more than twenty times as much energy as your Leaf’s battery pack, and takes one-twentieth as much time to recharge. And the tank, unlike the battery pack, lasts for the life of the car. That’s product superiority. When it comes to transportation energy storage, it’s really just very tough to beat a tank full of light liquid hydrocarbons.

      • By lee colleton on April 20, 2015 at 12:36 pm

        Unlike an electric motor, the engine and emissions-control system of a combustion powered car degrades over the course of its operational life.

        Hydrocarbons are more energy dense than current battery designs, but also tend to be flammable, carcinogenic, and produce negative health outcomes such as asthma, emphysema, heart-attack, and stroke. Aside from these more serious outcomes, they’re more expensive than electrical power generation for a given distance. This means that a liquid-fueled vehicle owner needs to work more hours to afford their “superior” vehicle.

        Also, a LEAF can be recharged to 80% in 30 minutes with CHAdeMO which is perhaps five times as long as the average driver spends at a gas station (not twenty).

        • By Forrest on April 20, 2015 at 1:30 pm

          Hybrid ICE efficiency is surpassing that of coal power plants and produce no mercury emission. Coal fuel powers around 40% of the grid and will hold firm for decades. Natural gas the darling fuel of power generation is better off utilized within typical ICE hybrid as this auto will pleasantly compare to BEV per life cycle emissions and save the consumer 30% expense. Non the least a comparison of Cummings E85 engine is reaching efficiency of gas turbine power generator and suffers no line loss per BEV charging. The engine is lighter and cheaper to build than diesel with same operation costs and can easily meet emission standards with conventional catalysis. They expect to use the engine in medium duty delivery vans. Note this engine could also benefit from hybrid technology. Particle emissions of the engine is only attributed to the 15% gasoline side of fuel, same with most of the harmful emissions. Also, the engine rated at 50% reduced carbon per Calf regs and 85% if powered by cellulosic ethanol fuel mix. Note the BEV is rated on average 30% reduction.

      • By BrianKeez on April 20, 2015 at 12:38 pm

        I disagree;

        70-85% of the energy in that 15 gallons of gasoline is wasted and does not turn the wheel(s) – poor use of energy. I don’t want to pay for that type of waste. Then that waste has a cost in air pollution (pollution to extract, transport, refine, then use). My LEAF can travel 1,980 miles on the energy contained in 15 gallons of gasoline.

        My LEAF battery pack will out-last the life of the car, it can store electricity to power my home. 70% battery capacity might not meet my transportation needs, but it’s plenty of storage for sundown-to-sun up use.

        Gotta aim pretty low NOT to beat liquid hydrocarbon/ICE combo.

        • By Forrest on April 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm

          The Leaf still a short range vehicle as compared. The life cycle emissions of Leaf not that great. Better off utilizing natural gas within conventional hybrid than incurring 30% more cost to run the natural gas through generator, grid, to your battery charger, for expensive EV operation. Your battery pack will have salvage value YTBD.

          • By BrianKeez on April 20, 2015 at 1:32 pm

            Indeed, the LEAF is a short range vehicle and has worked for me for four years of 2,200 miles/month. Swapping gasoline with NG is an improvement but still requires that terribly inefficient ICE. Solar combined with a re-purposed EV battery pack is, in my opinion, a better way to go.

        • By TimC on April 20, 2015 at 2:06 pm

          I can fill the 15-gallon tank of an ICEV for $37.50 ($2.50/gallon), then hop in and drive 600 miles in 8 hours (75 mph, 40 mpg).

          Or, I could drive 600 miles in a Leaf with 60 miles of range, stopping nine times along the route to recharge for 1.5 hours/stop, for a total trip time of 21.5 hours (8 hours driving + 13.5 hours charging). Ten 24 kW-hr charges at $0.10/kW-hr will cost $24, a savings of $13.50 over the ICEV, but at a cost of 13.5 hours lost, making my lost time worth $1/hour. Like most first-world adults, I value my time much more than $1/hr, which is why I prefer to drive an ICEV. ICEVs and hydrocarbon fuels will be sticking around for a very long time, because they offer real economic advantages over BEVs, FCEVS, and other types of vehicles, not because of some sinister “influence.”

          Honestly, explaining basic transportation economics to BEV fanboys is like explaining why the sky is blue to a six-year-old.

          • By lee colleton on April 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm

            You’re missing the point of this article, which is specifically about the superior reliability of the LEAF powertrain that meets the needs of most commuters.

            Who is proposing a 600 mile drive in a LEAF? Nice strawman you’ve knocked over, there.

            Honestly, arguing basic transportation economics to BEV haters is like explaining why the seas are rising to a Florida republican.

            • By Richard Caldwell on November 24, 2015 at 5:06 am

              Actually, no. The article says that both regular and electric cars are very reliable. A 0.255% chance of harm amortizes to very little current value. And if 0.255% is too much a risk for you, just buy a car known for reliability. That they slapped on a misleading headline to grab clicks is just the nature of the business. “Leaf’s failure rating is 0.245% lower than, not a reliable car, but an average car”, well, just how many clicks is that gonna get?

          • By lee colleton on April 20, 2015 at 3:56 pm

            Your strawman is also flawed in that a LEAF can be recharged to 80% in 30 minutes, so that 600 mile trip would require 10 recharges at 30 minutes a pop for a minimum of 5 hours charging and 10 hours driving at 60 miles per hour, not 13.5 hours charging and 8 hours driving (at 75 mph?!) as you suggest.

            However, the average time-sensitive driver would just take some of the $1500 they save on fuel every year and rent a car for their road trip. Your argument is invalid.

            • By TimC on April 20, 2015 at 5:02 pm

              Your hypothetical time-sensitive driver, on his way to the rental car place for the umpteenth time to rent an ICEV so that he can actually go somewhere, would be very wise to pull into a car dealership and trade his BEV in for an ICEV of his very own. This would be true even if his BEV has practically zero trade-in value due to the age of the battery pack.

              The ability to take long trips, sometimes even longer than 600 miles, is no strawman, it is a demand that most people make of their personal vehicle. The inability of BEVs to meet that demand is a real, concrete example of their inferiority to ICEVs as personal vehicles.

            • By lee colleton on April 21, 2015 at 1:28 pm

              It was _your_ hypothetical time-sensitive driver, Tim. I live across the street from a pair of ZipCars, which can be reserved within minutes and are a real alternative to owning an “ICEV” for the occasional 600 mile trip. It’s a fact that the average commute in the United States is 25.1 miles; a distance within the range of even my own little i-MiEV.

              The internal combustion engine isn’t dead yet, but it’s going to go the way of the dinosaurs which it burns. For many city-dwellers with cheap, easy, and reliable access to rental cars there isn’t a reason to own an extreme-range vehicle.

            • By Richard Caldwell on November 24, 2015 at 5:13 am

              Your assumption is flawed. ICEs can burn biofuels just as electric cars can use renewables. Electric cars have NO inherent lower CO2 emissions than liquid/gas fueled vehicles. Today, a Prius and a Leaf in the USA emit essentially the same CO2 per mile.

            • By lee colleton on November 26, 2015 at 8:26 am

              In some areas, a Prius will be close to the LEAF in terms of global warming emissions. However, as the grid de-carbonizes we will see electric cars pulling ahead of hybrid vehicles in every state. Take a look at the UCS report if you’re interested in the facts

            • By Richard Caldwell on December 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm

              Lee, internal combustion engines can decarbonize just as easily as EVs. That 15% corn ethanol could evolve to 85% cellulosic ethanol. And your link agrees with me that the Prius handily beats an EV. It says, Driving an average EV results in lower global warming emissions than driving a gasoline car that gets 50 miles per gallon (MPG) in regions covering two-thirds of the U.S. population

            • By Forrest on December 10, 2015 at 7:19 am

              You bring up a strong point per carbon ratings of light vehicle fleet. It must be a collusion of science to never bring up the high blend ethanol solution with hybrid technology as a comparison to EVs. Toronto Univ had a comparison of powering cars on different technology per natural gas. From high efficient power plants to fueling cars directly with NG. They rated the cost of operation and benefit per life cycle analysis. The conventional car, hybrid, plug in, and EV. The NG hybrid was as effective as EV, but cost of operation was way less. Plug in didn’t add that much. They suggest much more effective and quicker results to go down the path of hybrid car. So, that study would imply that high blend ethanol hybrid would be even more superior.

              Lee’s linked article reads like an infomercial rather than science. You notice they rate the car mostly upon western part of the country hydro power per emissions. They camouflage that fact by making a qualifier of “where they’re sold”. Also, I’ve had access to some of these comparisons and realize the life cycle often ends upon the battery life. Meaning the manufacturing cost of conventional vehicle really drops with full useful life. Also, the evaluation always assumes the grid will operate within it’s rated carbon rating. If you pulled that much power off the grid, it should become evident that this would cause the backup power and polluting power to generate. The green power is always utilized first and totally consumed with out EV plug ins. Meaning their is no green power for EVs. Also, the grid and all the rest of energy sectors suffer no indirect subtraction of their power carbon rating as ethanol is penalized and done so upon an hypothesis that defies reality. Just south of me they ripped up a huge swath of forest to place a power line. Since wind and forest opportunity gone, shouldn’t corn or farmland get better rating for this land use? Their is large tracts of land that is currently wasted such as freeway. Wouldn’t that be a remarkable positive rating for ethanol land use.

              Add to this the fact that scientist are just now understanding the carbon cycle sequestration is heavily weighted to soil microbiology and deep root growth. It’s not the forest trees that is so valuable as the deep roots beneath the soil. This should put agriculture and land use to the forefront of CO2 sequestration. Investing in the power of nature is cheap and all so powerful. The BEV within this shadow is just but a footnote. And yes, the biofuel solution should jump to top of list per environmental rating unless science colludes to hide the fact.

            • By lee colleton on December 10, 2015 at 9:00 am

              It isn’t true that combustion engines can decarbonize “just as easily” as electric vehicles because of the lower efficiency of hybrid vehicle technology as compared with fully-electric drive. I’m sorry that’s a hard concept for you. I don’t think further discussion of this point will be of any use. Good day.

            • By Forrest on December 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm

              Ah, the obfuscation. Lee is right within semantics, if carbon fuel is utilized within the auto it can’t decarbonize. So, what’s the value of EV? Remote carbon fuel utilization? You see how nutty rationalizations become with those to invested within the solution. Meaning the net result or life cycle analysis of the choice of vehicle is the measure, but not to those whom dream of daisies sprouting as they pass by with their EV. When the math is added up the ethanol solution is tilted to negative carbon rating. You can’t get better that that. And the cost, inconvenience, and disruption per the biofuel solution is but a mere fraction as compared to the competition. All this talk of massive investments to overhaul our entire power generation, control, distribution of the grid is quite disruptive, expensive, and upon a forever time frame. Even if you could break the bank to save the world per green power, you still have a fragile easy to fail energy distribution system with extremely expensive storage and control. When the French first evaluated Green energy, they factored in a quick 50% in drop of power needed. They’re on to something. Best to eliminate half of the power needed as a starting point.

            • By Richard Caldwell on December 12, 2015 at 8:02 am

              Hybrid drives are MORE efficient than electric drives because electric drives have the inefficiency of a combustion engine (at the coal power plant) AND transmission losses AND charging losses AND battery degradation (which is at least double electrical costs) Current hybrids are far more efficient, PLUS they give free heat! And future hybrids will be even more efficient. Plus, as cellulosic ethanol ramps up, hybrids will decarbonize FAR faster than EVs.

          • By Glen McMillian on September 21, 2015 at 11:36 am

            I am as people go these days a relatively poor man, in terms of cash I can spare for new cars- but I still have two cars tagged and insured and another sitting in the back yard that I could drive after calling my insurance agent and dmv and getting tags for it.

            The only people who have to WORRY about the limited range of a Leaf are the ones who can afford only one car. Just about everybody I know who can afford a fairly new car has two or three cars in their household.

            A Leaf is going to prove out to be by far and away more economical and reliable to own and operate as the primary car for nearly every two three and four car household compared to a conventional car – over a period of years.

            A conventional car can be reserved for special occasions such as the long trip to Grandma’s house or the wedding party if the LEAF is too small.

            • By Forrest on September 21, 2015 at 7:41 pm

              Compare a Leaf to Ford focus as they are about the same size. You can drive a flex fuel focus and get 30 mpg on E85 for $1.69 per gallon. I bought a used ’09 at auction for $3,000, two years ago. The car is good for 250,000 miles. Brakes, alignment, struts, tires, steering components, and body maintenance about the same on both cars. The focus will require spark plugs and air filter change every 100k miles. Oil change every 6k miles, transmission oil change every 60k miles. The Leaf probably has a gear drive that needs oil change, battery change, and maintenance on motor, bearings, receptacle, and electrical components failure. The focus running E85 fuel probably has lower emissions as compared to average grid power BEV. The focus is a much more convenient vehicle to own, has no issues with range anxiety, more opportunity for low cost purchase, dependable, and as you say can operate as one car solution. The Leaf doesn’t surpass common ICE vehicle low cost of ownership, nor for capital expense of purchase.

            • By Bill T Hamilton on August 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm

              I would very likely have bought another Ford Focus (wagon) but for Ford’s decision to discontinue the wagon for North Americans. Beautiful car (The Estate Wagon, Focus) but only for Aussies, Europeans and those in the UK. So now, having had the ’03 Ford Focus wagon ‘crushed’ ($3K Province of BC Incentive) we’ve purchased a ‘used’ 2013 Leaf and in large part, for its load capacitiy (saw a photo of a guy having loaded a new dishwasher into the back of it). That did it for me/us. Great, solid car (and cannot say ‘little’ car… it’s too spacious inside!). That’s my story.

          • By Matthew Bucknam on June 6, 2017 at 1:55 am

            Have you driven the Volt?

            • By TimC on June 6, 2017 at 12:22 pm

              No, Matt, I’ve never driven the Volt, but I would like to test drive one. By all accounts it’s a terrific car. It’s just too bad that the GM engineers succumbed to oil industry “influence” and put a 9 gallon gasoline tank onboard.

      • By rarnedsoum on June 13, 2015 at 5:37 pm

        Especially when a 1.5 year old LEAF only gives you 60 miles per charge, and Nissan refuses to help you under their 8 year battery warranty.

      • By Will Davis on August 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm

        “And the tank, unlike the battery pack, lasts for the life of the car.”

        Most EV battery packs are warranted for 8 years. 8 years from now, today’s battery technology is most likely going to be redundant anyway. And let’s not act like most ICE cars don’t need replacement parts before they’re 8 years old. Yes, batteries are expensive, but as I said, you’re under warranty. Even if batteries are the same 8 years from now – which, based on current technological developments seems highly unlikely – one thing’s for sure: they’ll be much cheaper.

        “When it comes to transportation energy storage, it’s really just very tough to beat a tank full of light liquid hydrocarbons.”

        This is true. But you have to bear in mind that EVs are convenient in a different kind of way. Aside from long trips, which I’d be hesitant to conduct in anything short of a Tesla and their supercharger network, the vast majority of daily use is short trips for the average person. In many ways, waking up with a ‘full tank’ each morning is convenient enough to compensate for the occasional hassle for those occasional longer journeys. If one is unprepared to use public charging and endure a longer journey, all is not lost. There are, as other comments pointed out, other options available.

        To clarify, a lot of charging is done during convenient times. When you’re out doing something. When you’re working. Sleeping overnight. It’s the main area where Tesla is more practical than a LEAF. You can drive 2-3 hours, then charge for 30 mins at a motorway service station (truck stop with shops and restaurants for you Americans; I suppose you could think of it as a kind of outlet mall?)

        “Your hypothetical time-sensitive driver, on his way to the rental car place for the umpteenth time”

        I think you’re over-estimating how often the average driver does a super long journey. If someone truly drives long distances that often then it’s immediately obvious the LEAF isn’t the best car for their needs. A guy who often drives beyond the range of the EV they wish to buy is about as clever as a nut allergy sufferer deciding to buy a lifetime supply of Peanuts. All you’ve done is cherry pick a worst-case example to bolster your argument.

        “Honestly, explaining basic transportation economics to BEV fanboys is like explaining why the sky is blue to a six-year-old.”

        This is demeaning and arrogant. People make lifestyle choices based on what works for them. One of my parents decided an EV suits their lifestyle, they chose one, and it suits them perfectly. I see plenty of EVs in my area; even saw a LEAF taxi the other day. Fantastic idea. I live in the UK so the trip distance is tiny; most taxi fares are 5 miles or less. To simply dismiss people as ‘fanboys’ is incredibly naive and childish.

        You would do well to consider their arguments as valid rather then simply dismissing them as ‘fanboys’ because they disagree with you. Grow up. I’ve often heard said that when someone resorts to insults, they’ve already lost the argument.

      • By Matthew Bucknam on June 6, 2017 at 1:51 am

        Tim, let’s be honest, you’re driving the equivalent of a
        flip phone. In 12-15 years, you will be hard pressed to purchase an internal combustion engine. You’re comparing a generation 1 EV, on the market for about 6 years to 140+ years of engineering.

        There are so many advantages to an EV that it’s evident you
        don’t own one. Having owned autos by Ford, GM, Porsche, Volvo, Nissan & Toyota, my current EV is vastly superior in most ways. I could highlight many of the advantages first hand to include the lack of parts/maintenance, engine noise, oil stains, lack of smell. Other advantages include avoidance of the pump, influx of fuel prices, instant torque/power, low center of gravity and aggressive handling. Then you could go into the debatable environmental benefits, usage of a domestic product, the use of a renewable resource, leaning
        off foreign oil, benefits to our GDP, national security and military sandbox obligations.

        You have highlighted the range limitations, and unfortunately
        further compounded by limited charging infrastructure in many regions. Cross country road trip, not going to happen unless you’re on a tow truck or own a Tesla. But consider the current round of EV’s is really the equivalent to an iPhone 1. We have already crossed the tipping
        point of EV adoption; very evident by the dozen or so manufactures wanting to take the crown. The best is yet to come.

  6. By ReaMuch on April 21, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Great to see that trailer behind the Leaf- so practical. Does this work well with the Leaf’s regenerative brake system? D or B mode when driving?

    Those picking on EVs based on the current grid status need to wake up and smell the tar sands. Estimates put the amount of energy required just to mine, prep., pipe, and refine oil sands into one gallon of gasoline at 13 kWh! I can drive our new 2015 Nissan Leaf 52-60 miles just on this processing energy! Maybe ICE and hybrid drivers are buying certified “green” gasoline?

    The grid gets more renewable energy every day. Every new solar panel put up can displace dirty energy. EIA is not a credible source for predicting renewable energy production in the future, as their track record is poor (haven’t measured distributed generation).

    Electric vehicles will only get better and cheaper as time goes on. The market for electric bikes, motorcycles, scooters, delivery trucks, etc. is huge. This is a fundamental change in transportation that is happening right now.

    • By Russ Finley on April 23, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      The trailer hurts range on the interstate quite a bit. Has little effect
      on performance below 35 mph. I have not noticed any difference in regeneration. A heavy load, however, always needs extra braking and probably puts more wear on the discs.

  7. By Forrest on April 21, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Apparently, some commentators haven’t bothered reading Russ’s post wherein one would find the title is just a tongue and cheek play for attention. Reading the post will reveal accurate data and analysis that conventional cars are also extremely reliable only suffering 1/4 of 1% immobilized defect rate. Nissan 5 yr study boasting of 99.99% of it’s vehicle batteries perform as warranted per battery degradation would be akin to boasting of 100% quality per ICE operation 5 yrs per meeting specified defect rate or that their vehicles have no range degradation 5 yrs out. Yes, I know an advantage to have real life proof of manufactures claim within new vehicle fleet, but modern conventional vehicles are a new breed as well and the conventional wisdom of old polluting engines not accurate. I have not witnessed or experience much mpg loss or range loss per old engines other than mechanically impaired engines that will soon be toast. Most modern day engines preform close to original standards for multiple 100k runs or about in line with life of vehicle, unlike the experience upon an old BEV battery..

    I was watching Motor Week last night coverage of auto show and coming ’16 models. Very impressive fleet of conventional vehicles glistening with luxury, power, economy, turbo’s, hybrid technology, four wheel drive. Only at the end did they show a BEV and discussion of their future. It appears consumers currently have range anxiety. That simply running out of fuel for a BEV is not as simple as toting a gallon gas can. They claim the BEV is here to stay, but sales are below 1% of the new car market. Until charging stations are ubiquitous and batteries improve greatly, not much consumer demand other than wealthy seeking novelty or evangelist BEV missionaries that will put up with such expense and inconvenience. Ask the BEV evangelist, “if your car is so practical and cost efficient, why the need for a massive $7,500 rebate check?” “If what you post is true, why is Chevy selling the Volt to solve some of the problems at a premium cost”. Russ posts of the challenge of taking a trip with BEV, straying away from known supporting infrastructure. With true precision of his pilot craft to calculate and preflight route check he successfully made a trip with only a 1-1/2 hr recharge delay each way, hooray! Can you imagine some teenager with a beer under his belt, lost in unknown part of town acting with such responsible behavior? Also, I would argue the BEV is not reliable as that is usually an indicator of safety to make a trip and return without concern. The BEV consumer will have white knuckles moments unless affording max effort to meet his refueling requirement or risk suffering serious penalty. The perfect zone for BEV is frequent short commutes, probably inner city, with known destination points for recharge capability. The trip has long delay cycle to allow internal charge cycle. The owner does not mind micro sized vehicles and has a primary ICE vehicle for emergency, long trips, traveling unfamiliar destinations, and hauling of more serious passenger or freight needs. Elimination of tail pipe emission is a mixed benefit. Emissions just relocated and have different makeup. Cost of electric power will increase and efficiency of grid will decrease, given that some claim this needn’t be the case, if, if if, $,$,$. Grid is currently at breaking point with AC peak demand and has no extra capacity for BEV within such conditions being compounded by wind power gyrations. The grid would need massive and expensive overhaul before making much inroad to offset liquid or gas fueled vehicles. This can’t be easily accomplished, given our debt and entitlement load. They’re easier, quicker, more productive, and more cost effective ways to improve environment. Hybrid natural gas conventional vehicles do as much for environment. The life cycle cost to owner is 30% less as a perk, but given infrastructure cost would still be of concern. Interesting, that most environmentalist are attempting to minimize Kwh use of grid with extremely efficient appliances. They offer cash rebates for the cause and claim even the mercury within the CFL per breakage within households is less harmful to health than typical coal powered generation of power. Increasing the efficiency of conventional auto with low cost or mild hybrid technology is extremely cost effective. Increasing ethanol fuel portion of gasoline fuels in which all ICE powered, extremely powerful solution and one that requires minimum infrastructure cost or modification within consumer habits. The magic of this solution is the improvement is immediate and across the board from lawn mowers to performance cars. Just allowing easy access to E15 will accomplish more than battery car for decades out. Upping mid grade to E30 would trigger a generation of high efficiency ICE, that would not only improve combustion efficiency of ethanol, but of the gasoline side as well. The efficiency would compare to typical grid efficiency of fossil fuel power plants. By adapting E85 optimized engines we would push extreme low carbon emission solutions and actually experience a cost saving over current practices. Emissions would drop more than only those BEVs powered directly by hydro, solar, wind, or nuclear and the vehicle wouldn’t require those nasty rare earth metals non the least probably do more in total for our domestic economy.

    • By Forrest on April 22, 2015 at 7:30 am

      Estimates from EIA among others project 2025 future of energy sources powering grid and vehicles, not that transitional. Everything about the same. Some growth in wind, but still a small percentage. BEV will maintain a small percentage of new car sales, but will increase. Mild hybrid will increase much, but the conventional car rules supreme. Crude oil will prices will not dramatically increase per all the alternative fuel competition and dramatically higher Mpg efficiency vehicles. Ethanol production and consumption will increase, but not dramatically. Same with CNG, propane, and hydrogen fuel cell. Coal and nuclear will lose, but not by much. Appears nothing is pushing the market one way or the other as the consumer pretty much satisfied with choices. On top of that the national concerns may sway more to direction of national security and paying crushing costs of new found entitlements and debt. We may be entering an age of best we can do, is to maintain. I would guess the most disruptive technology would be within light vehicle transportation. Autonomous car sensors and computing technology should quickly move to mainstream. This will dramatically change vehicle design and consumer habits, especially upon metro zone. The BEV will be dragged into favorite car use per the technology. These cars will be extremely small, light, and controlled by computer through communication protocol of traffic, recharge, position, need, drop off, pick up, maintenance, etc concerns. Downtown parking will go the way of dinosaur same with collision insurance, restraint devices and vehicle engineered crush zones. The commuter will experience frightening tail gates, speeds, and greatly decreased commute delay. Families will revert back to single car ownership and probably enjoy large four wheel drive luxury SUV’s for cross country travel since the environmental harm will be minimal per cost decrease of use. Since the vehicles can tailgate and eliminate air drag, they may become quite large and afford rail car convenience to walk around. Commuter control of acceleration will make the ride more comfortable than air or train at a higher convenience. Think or watching sport games with popcorn and beer in hand and later cooking breakfast, sleeping, potty, and catching up on reading only to discover parked at destination site.

      • By Forrest on April 22, 2015 at 8:00 am

        Oh, btw, the large SUV could be powered by most of the above except the battery. The cheaper the better, probably a large tank of gasoline with ethanol mix or straight up E85-E100. Diesel engine, not worth the extra expense. This really helps the infrastructure cost/need of BEV that now can concentrate upon best use….high density population centers. The hydrogen fuel cell does have ability to interrupt and displace the entire landscape from power generation, transportation, and general household or industry power use/needs. Most think this will happen sooner or later and that solar, wind, nuclear, coal, biomass, hydro, and geothermal will pivot to primary concern of production of hydrogen. The fuel is easily piped (low cost distribution) and balancing energy consumption now a cake walk. Cost of maintaining and expanding grid will implode.

  8. By Forrest on April 22, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Did you read of Edmound’s report of the Prius and Leaf owners lowering loyalty to repurchase and opting for SUV instead. Lower cost of gasoline means they can enjoy luxury and convince of traditional vehicle. This will continue for at least a decade upon cheap fuel. First time the loyalty rate dropped below 50%. Ouch. Remember, ethanol is a big asset to push gasoline prices lower. Also, of note the Energy Department has announced funding of program to maximize value of biofuel upon light vehicle transportation fleet. They are coordinating fuel supply, optimum mix, and technology to increase engine efficiency, decrease carbon emissions, help develop technology, and do so upon maximum benefit trajectory. “Optima Initiative”.

  9. By ReaMuch on April 22, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Here are some facts concerning electric cars for those thinking about buying. I give you these facts because certain posters here, and on other forums on the web, make statements that are either blatantly false or just conjecture.

    A new Nissan Leaf S ( USA base model) has a sticker price of $29,010. Nissan may also offer $1,250 cash back, in addition to a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit that can be applied to a lease immediately (any buyer) or gotten later when taxes are filed (assuming you have $7,500 in federal tax liability in a year). Net price before any dealer discounts: $20,260.

    The federal government gives such tax credits to support the development and sale of energy efficient cars, in addition to reducing air pollution. Some state and/or counties/cities offer local incentives.

    The base model is well equipped, rides well, and has interior sound levels that are lower than almost all cars on the road, except for maybe high end luxury cars above $50K. In other words, this car cannot be compared to a Nissan Versa or even a Toyota Corolla. It is superior in many ways. The major limitation is interior space at 92 cf for passengers and 24 cf for luggage (classified as mid-sized car). Front head room is great and front leg room is average. Rear head and leg room are only average. In other words, there is space for 4 adults in this car or 5 passengers if 3 younger kids are in the back.

    The car has a range of 50-100 miles with a full charge when new. This assumes charging to 100% and leaving 10 miles of spare range in the battery. The car also has a 7 mile safety factor (additional range) when the battery gauge is on zero. Higher range comes from efficient driving, city driving, and driving during mild temperatures. Lower range comes from aggressive driving, higher speed highway driving, and driving during cold weather. We drive efficiently and get the EPA city range of 126 MPGe right now (3.74 miles/kWh at wall (120 volt) x 33.7 kWh/gallon gasoline). This will increase to 142 MPGe when we install a 240 volt 3.6 kW EVSE which is 13% more efficient due to faster charging (less overhead loss).

    Charge time for the above scenario (10% to 100%) is 16 hours on 120 volt trickle, 6 hours at 240 volt 3.6 kW, and 3 hours at 240 volt 6.6 kW. Quick charge (80% charge in 30-60 minutes) is also available as a feature or option, but the charging network is more limited.

    Our cost per mile for energy/fuel is $.038 (.267 kWh/mile x $.143/kWh).

    Full insurance coverage on this vehicle is only $400/year! We are excellent drivers with excellent credit. It pays to associate with like minds (Leaf drivers) and drive a safe car that is next to impossible to steal.

    Finally, battery capacity should realistically be 50%-70% after 10 years of typical driving. Calculate the daily driving range accordingly. Current battery replacement cost is app. $6K and this should go down over time.

    Electric cars are here to stay!

    • By Forrest on April 22, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      EPA ratings of BEV, . It is a rating, but not comparative to energy consumption. I will use a far fetched and unfair example to illustrate. Per EPA logic one could take the gasoline from service station pump to power a generator and recharge the BEV. Whereupon the agency would inform the public of the excellent efficiency of the car per the motor’s ability to convert energy. A BTU conversion of electric and gasoline results in MPGe. I guess my space heater puts the gas furnace to shame. Does this mean I could save much energy and eliminate pollution per heating the house with efficient space heater? Why would distancing the vehicle from actual fuel source be necessary for improved efficiency? Lol, they should allow car manufactures to utilize a heavy duty starter to gain EPA ratings. They can achieve stellar MPGe by running the car in neutral and utilizing alternator via starter for the mission. Problem solved.
      Also, the cost comparison doesn’t compensate per practice of gas road tax benefit. EPA rates the range of vehicle per stalled or stopped wheel motion and not per practical operation. Meaning the BEV will probably suffer performance issues before stopping, unlike the conventional auto.

      • By ReaMuch on April 22, 2015 at 6:18 pm

        MPGe is what the EPA uses to make relative comparisons between ICE and electric cars. If you have a problem with this, I suggest you contact them.

        As far as actual costs, please post your fuel cost per mile traveled. You posted your expensive insurance costs already. Maybe you should park the old truck and drive an electric car locally and then use the truck sparingly. We have an ICE minivan parked in the drive that gets very infrequent use. It’s paid for and insurance/registration is cheap, so no big deal. I suspect many registered and inefficient ICE vehicles are getting minimal use in multi car households.

        Road taxes calculated on MPGe would result in a whopping tax of $51.29 for us at 10K miles per year in our state. Peanuts. Now if you want to make the road tax fair, base it on the weight of the vehicle (directly correlated to road damage) and actual miles traveled from a yearly odometer reading. Electric vehicle owners would welcome this change.

        You seem to be unfamiliar with regenerative braking.

        • By Forrest on April 22, 2015 at 7:44 pm

          ReaMuch, read up on the EPAe calculations. I’m finding a whole bunch of info that points to the corrupt figures. Nothing remotely honest with the EPA rating system. It appears government did have an accurate system in place per Energy Department calculations called wheel to well whereupon they took honest real life efficiency and energy calculations of grid power. Also, for a apples to apples comparison they added refinery energy lost and distribution loss per gasoline. Obama Administration influence pushed a different measure that eliminated all the inefficiencies of grid power. It was a simple gasoline equivalent measure that wholly made the BEV mileage numbers look tremendous. Were talking of a 96 MGe dropping to 36 mpg per realistic comparison. This is why University of Toronto claimed better to use natural gas within a hybrid than burn the fuel within grid to recharge BEV. I agree with some points of your posts, and do think their will be a valuable place for BEV per extremely light metro personal transport system network.

          • By Forrest on April 22, 2015 at 7:55 pm

            This would mean your BEV is cheap to run mainly per cheap coal and old depreciated coal power plants. Same for nuclear. Hydro the same, but a small fraction of grid in most parts of country. Natural gas would operate 30% cheaper if used within hybrid car and leave the grid alone. Wind electricity would make your car expensive and solar would make your car cost prohibitively expensive.

            • By Forrest on April 23, 2015 at 7:55 am

              Dig into CAFE calculations and you find same corruption. I’ve lost respect for EPA. Don’t know if I’m just catching up on their shenanigans or if this particular juncture in history just ripe for political contamination? First the mileage benchmark is the old EPA ratings that were inaccurate per real world tests. Always much higher and untrustworthy for consumer needs. My guess they opted for this benchmark to score political boast upon politics. Also, you’l find they randomly award BEV and hydrogen a double factor for auto company compliance. Why? Because they like the technology and wish to force automotive to jump through their hoops. Also, when awarding FFV CAFE benefits they force automotive companies to prove E85 per statistical evidence to gain any CAFE perk. Why? Because they chose not this path for car companies to jump. The department must be loaded with activist full of prejudice and politics that pick and chose to meet their hearts content. Not good. This is a type of irresponsible tyranny that only concerns itself within the spectrum of government politics and not U.S. consumers/citizens. The only recourse is legal? Something is wrong with this fascists form of control. Are they drunk with power since receiving unlimited reach per control of the CO2 molecule? Scratch my head.

            • By ReaMuch on April 23, 2015 at 9:23 am

              I had no problem with the old EPA numbers (before they were downgraded) and found them to be accurate. Maybe that’s because I drive the speed limit. I notice that many USA citizens break the law on a daily basis by speeding, but our laissez-faire government enforcers don’t do anything about it. Weak.

              MPGe was really geared towards the range extended Chevy Volt when it came out. I agree that it’s not a good gas-electric comparison metric and miles per kWh is the better measure. Annual or monthly fuel cost (with disclosures) is also a good measure for electric cars because the electric rate is much more stable than the price of gasoline or diesel. Anyway, MPGe is still a good comparison between electric cars. MPG is fine if you assume that conservative drivers will typically get 10%-15% higher than the estimate.

              I’m in favor of a pollution tax and rebate to account for externalities (see example in British Columbia, Canada). I’m also in favor of making the oil and NG drilling industry follow the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, just like all other companies in the country do.

            • By ReaMuch on April 23, 2015 at 8:57 am

              Natural gas cars are less attractive than electric due to high vehicle prices (sans any hypothetical hybrid), lack of public/private filling infrastructure, and much higher home filling unit costs. In addition, many households like our don’t have natural gas service and don’t want it. High efficiency electric heat pump used here for the last 14 years with lower overall heating costs than NG over the same time period. Old NG pipes are rotting in the ground everywhere and must be replaced at a great cost. Our IOU recently upped everyones monthly service charge $12 on the NG portion of the bill just to pay for it. Many NG customers are unhappy over this. Expect many pipe replacements everywhere in the USA in the future. I’ll pass on paying for this and stick with electricity. Add to this NG reserves that won’t last very long. I expect NG prices to return to $8+/unit within 5 years after the easy stuff is drilled/fracked.

              The grid here is just fine. Our IOU has excess capacity right now and in 2017 they will lose an additional 10% (500,000 MWH) demand when one large industrial customer switches to cogen from NG and stops buying electricity. If every single household in this area (140K) bought one electric car, drove 12K miles per year, and got the average efficiency of 3.3 miles per kWh, then the IOU would be even. Do the math if you don’t believe me. Plus, the demand for electricity at night is low. Shifting demand to night for car charing has grid balancing advantages and can take advantage of cheap wind farm production.

              Yes, I said cheap. Wind is the lowest cost form of new energy right now. Next comes CCNG, followed by utility scale solar. Even residential solar pencils out at app. $.13/kWh for much of the USA with the 30% tax credit. DIY can be done at the same price or less without any tax credit. The equipment is not that expensive and it protects you from yearly utility rate increases. We will have solar soon.

              In case you haven’t noticed, there is an energy efficiency “revolution” happening everywhere. New LED bulbs at $5. New heap pumps with COPs of 3.8 and 21 SEER. Heat pump water heaters. Low electricity consumption appliances. Etc. Etc. Consumers are doing it and big businesses are doing it. The result is flat electricity demand, even with a growing population.

            • By Forrest on April 23, 2015 at 10:34 am

              That is the trend to minimize electric demand per environmental benefits. Natural gas was sure a big advantage to the commercial CHP customer. Actually, that technology is expanding fast within Europe and Japan. I’m a big fan of consumer CHP power. Commercial power plants can’t compete with user CHP technology per the efficient use of heat. It was explained to me, that where ever a need exists for low grade heat we should be placing a CHP generator. Main problem is political might of utilities that in Michigan, for instance, do everything possible to omit competition and working to increase vertical monopoly to hide inefficiencies and high cost. These CHP generators, for home use, need not be expensive as the technology is mature and not that expensive. What keeps the price high? Don’t know? The heat pump water heater is fine if working within AC needs but low value upon heating season. Opposite for incandescent light that can compete with CFL in heating season for efficiency. BTW, now back in vogue is the Edison bulb. People love the warm glow. Natural gas pipes around here have been maintained, but our grid system is suffering. Dramatically per the sudden enacted regs of coal plants. Price of power is always on a steep trend vs natural gas economies. Much can be saved environmentally and cost by choosing natural gas appliances. Stove tops just better on natural gas. Same with clothes dryers and water heaters. Heat pump is nice in recommended regions. Funny thing they could be even more cost effective if powering the pump via ICE natural gas. One manufactures offers such model and claims cost justified. Around here households are investing in natural gas generators to the tune of $3k per desire to maintain power. Natural gas is almost never down. You do know that balancing energy needs of natural gas infrastructure is close to effortless. Maintenance of same is incredibly low. Storage of natural gas energy is easy and ultra low cost. Life span of pipelines are excellent, many decades, even with the old steel lines. New plastic line extremely durable, extremely low leak rate, and much improved lifespan with easier install. Oh, they are cheaper to boot. Pipeline infrastructure for gas is a cake walk and extremely efficient as opposed to electric infrastructure that is fragile with difficult energy balancing, high maintenance cost, and suffering relatively high energy loss. Laying new power lines are extremely expensive as well. Usually, cost prohibitive from region to region, thus no ability to harvest Midwest wind energy. Since fuel cell technology has greatly improved manufacturing cost, the device is not of concern to automotive. Hydrogen storage is a bigger and more expensive concern. Add to the lower cost of fuel cell to the fact the suburb CHP balance of power to heat, the appliance is expected to sit within many users in future. The technology easily scaled per need. From commercial to private household power needs. No storage needed once the pipelines in place. The device will meet your hot water needs as a by product. Hydrogen pipelines now meet meet challenge of extremely low leak rates. Wish natural gas pipe would suffice. Anyways, not hard to see a future whereupon grid not needed. That BEV will pull up to a charger with fuel cell on back side powered by hydrogen pipeline. They claim hydrogen will propel use of remote hydro and wind cut off currently per costly grid hookup. Also, nuclear and coal sitting upon the development cycle for hydrogen production.

  10. By Forrest on April 23, 2015 at 8:35 am

    When vetting real world environmental benefits of BEV a few things pop. It is accepted generally, the car will suffer very low sales volume for predictable future. Hence, the same situation for the environmental benefits. It will cost the consumer, manufacture, taxpayer, and utility a premium for modest benefit. Nonetheless all of these players are making investments per hope of a better future. So, the BEV enthusiast should be very thankful of effort put forth. I have a suggestion when reading concerns of environmentalists. Put your effort upon best return of investment. Attempt an easy win, instead of holding out to convert entire grid and light transportation sector. Your up against formidable competition. The ICE just gets cleaner and more efficient, amped up with increasing cleaner fuel of propane, natural gas, and ethanol. The BEV probably will never catch up to the to environmental benefit offered by this route. You throw in the potential threat of hydrogen car and it becomes apparent the bright BEV future is not a forgone conclusion. What will pull the BEV into production is the metro light vehicle personal transportation mode that will be kicked into high gear per the autonomous vehicle capability. The technology will allow light vehicles back into market so desperately needed per low power and high cost of battery. Also, from this current position, for max benefit promote and foster BEL or battery electric lawnmower. This is a very comfortable competition given the current engines are horrible polluters sitting within air quality concerns of metro zone. The small engines have about zero ability to control emissions. The typical lawn mower pollutes more than auto. Think of the operating range so close to familiar recharge outlet. Doesn’t get any better than this for battery operations. Also, the lawnmower can flex it’s fuel supply needs greatly per usage. The benefit to air quality and physical health could be an easy win for battery power. City government would be highly interested in benefits to citizens. Utility might be interested if they can adapt some low cost way to control recharge per level loading power production needs. Commercial mowing business probably couldn’t conform or adapt, but they could be regulated to convert equipment to E85 fuel. That is much easier and healthier than most think. Actually, better for equipment if done right. The robotic lawn mower is steadily gaining sales and would push the battery lawn mower, as well.

    • By Forrest on April 24, 2015 at 7:36 am

      Another easy win for battery technology would appear to be the powering of auxiliary equipment. This is a low Hp demand application that has much ROI for consumer. Think of wasteful use of a car engine to power A.C. or heater. The practice common or forced upon traffic congestion and passenger comfort during parking. Notice the trend to electrify auxiliary equipment to gain improvements in control, efficiency, and weight reduction that improves the option. The turbo may even receive hybrid status for low exhaust energy intake boost and support of electrical generation. Some car manufactures thinking of utilizing the heavy duty start stop technology to power car several miles during traffic jam with engine off. Makes sense to exploit and combine best of technology to benefit customer cost efficient needs. Most customers aren’t warring over best alternative fuel vehicle.

  11. By Forrest on April 23, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Some have rightly forewarned the BEV sits currently in precarious battery life zone. They have increased the battery life, usually a good thing, but at this juncture consumers must decide if it’s worth investing such expense in 10 year old vehicle. Conventional car owners face the same decision and most always opt to not invest in new engine costs as the technology and improvements of modern vehicles pull most to abandon such thoughts. The new engine is cheaper than the new battery as it stands, so would guess the same phenomenon will occur in BEV owners. This will push BEV ownership cost high as most think in terms of gaining a “new” car upon replacing the old battery. This will never be the case. Manufactures should either make the battery cheaper and replaceable or forget it and make the battery max lifespan. Don’t think the rebuilt engine is inferior to new battery option. That is not the case and many a rebuild the engine above OEM specs and offer 100,000 mile warranty.

  12. By Andrew Fischer on April 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Many errors in the linked study. Here are two big ones:

    The battery pack is not the entire drive train. Comparing battery failure rates to drive train failure rates is not a fair comparison.

    In the UK, the majority of LEAFs on the road are between 0 and 3 years old. A few are five years old and NONE are six years old. Comparing the reliability of nearly new cars with 3 to 6 year old cars is not a fair comparison.✓&q=Nissan+LEAF

    • By Russ Finley on April 23, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      No transmission or clutch system and an electric motor with one moving part …I’m guessing they assumed there was nothing else to fail but the battery. Although I tend to agree that it’s pretty vague. I think the real take home message here is that the batteries are performing as hoped/expected.

      • By Andrew Fischer on April 24, 2015 at 4:18 am

        That is a common misconception. LEAF is not a simple car. There is a transmission and more than one moving part. The transmission is a single speed reduction gear with an integral differential. If you think about it the car has to have a differential. There is also a parking pawl with an electric actuator. Without it P wouldn’t work.

        There is also the charger, inverter, the cooling system and all the associated wiring and safety interlocks.

        Drivetrain aside, LEAF is like any other modern car. Other things like the 12V accessory battery, the electric parking brakes, the power windows can and do fail. 12V battery failures appear to be common.

        The traction batteries do appear to be holding up very well in the UK. A taxi operator has a 100,000 miles on a LEAF and it is only down about 10%. The other LEAFs in their fleet are doing just as well. Private owners that charge to 100% over night are mostly seeing one bar lost around 50,000 miles.

        • By Russ Finley on April 24, 2015 at 4:49 pm

          That is a common misconception. LEAF is not a simple car.

          You have to watch the strawmen with me ; ) I didn’t use those words.

          There is a transmission and more than one moving part.

          Again, not quite what I said. I said the motor has one moving part, and by transmission, I meant transmission in the conventional sense:

          …LEAF does not use a conventional automatic or manual transmission. It uses a single speed reduction gear…

          Today’s automatic transmissions can be very complex.

          Drivetrain aside, LEAF is like any other modern car.

          Yep. That’s pretty much what my article is saying. Note that I listed three failures associated with normal cars.

  13. By Andrew Fischer on April 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Mild UK climate is ideal for LEAF batteries. We aren’t seeing heat related capacity losses.

  14. By Forrest on April 23, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Battery life: Was checking if regenerative braking hurts battery life as my reading of rechargeable batteries referred frequently to battery life as defined by recharge cycles. So, the trick was to use full battery and avoid unnecessary recharge. Lithium battery apparently just the opposite. The battery likes to sit at 50% charge for maximum life. They like frequent charges that end in immediate use to dwindle voltage back down to 50% conditions. The battery suffers under fast charge conditions, long cycles of full charge or low charge. They also depreciate from temperature extremes. So, thermal management will lengthen battery life as well as frequent charging. Best if you never go over 80% charge, never use a fast charger, and avoid low discharge conditions. Keep the battery sheltered in winter and shaded in summer. Uk climate about perfect. The battery is a major major investment, so like the importance of changing oil in ICE engine and checking the dipstick, the battery car operator needs to pay constant attention to battery conditions to ensure coming home and long life of investment.

  15. By Forrest on April 24, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Automotive strategy for meeting consumer desires of alternative fuels appears to be migrating to the Ford idea of convertible use platform. The same sheet metal used for conventional car, hybrid, BEV, PHEV, or HFC. I’ve read automotive industry will continue to evolve to manufacturing production of the metal stampings and assembly of purchased parts, finish, and the rest of final product supply responsibility. The heavy duty truck industry already does this per need to keep costs down and quality up. Today, pickup options often will have alternative manufacture engines such as Cummins. My guess automotive will choose to purchase batteries, fuel cell, motors, and most of the equipment for low volume alternative vehicle equipment as the cost can be shared industry wide. A vendor has more motivation and capability to improve cost and quality as compared to large union run International Corp. So, manufactures will sprout base model with alternative drive options. The Motor Week 2016 model car show coverage confirmed the trend. This is a good development and affords alternative drive vehicles maximum benefit. Just don’t think with all the new model alternative fuel vehicles being developed that automotive is going whole hog alternative vehicle. Often the production is a loser for company and can only be justified per building customer relations, keeping politicians happy, and testing consumer reality of wants.

  16. By Forrest on April 25, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Rethink the value of Leaf. The neighbor pulled up with a three year old Leaf purchased at retail used car lot for $13k. That’s an ugly depreciation cycle when these cars sell in range of $35k. The three year old car had 11,000 miles. Wow, the original purchaser suffered an incredible cost per mile. It does make sense that new technology will soon be obsolete and suffer per the rapid development cycle. So being an early adapter will always be expensive. Also, probably the death knell for value in replacing battery. The car company is learning how to build these cars. Battery is ground zero for concern and they have to invent environmental controls and devices to maximize the lifespan and performance. The traditional auto built upon rugged mechanical components that performed well in extreme environments as opposed to a lithium battery than is sensitive to temperature extremes even during the off cycle or storage. The lithium battery requires maximum control for charging such as:

    1. Overcharge conditions will hurt battery life as opposed to overfill gas tank being just a temporary condition. Regenerative braking a possible culprit to overcharge battery such as when residents communing from high elevation.

    2. Complete charge condition will suffer battery lifespan over time as opposed to full tank conditions enjoyment of traditional vehicle owner.

    3. Low charge condition will suffer battery lifespan over time as opposed to empty tank conditions that merely require more fuel.

    Also, the company and consumer has to rethink how to heat cabin as compared to traditional auto that can utilize waste heat for the job. The Leaf owner now has to suffer fuel consumption for the benefit. Consumers expect to enjoy much heat, some enjoy cracking the windows and maintaining high heat load for enjoyment of air flow.

  17. By Forrest on April 25, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Rethink the inconvenience of Leaf as compared to traditional vehicle owner. Normal inconveniences of fueling line will become unnerving as the Leaf owner has little option to just continue on with the trip. The Leaf owner would forced to spend a good part of day to refill and may have to postpone or rearrange entire day’s schedule. Can you imagine attempting a one car ownership in central U.S. regions that can suffer -30 deg mornings or snow conditions that will strand the motorist. Often commuters will have to push snow with bumper for long distance and suffer extremely low Mpg efficiency. While their is plenty of driving range within traditional vehicle even these owners are warned per public safety messages to keep tank at high fill levels. Would anybody be foolish enough to attempt such feats with the Leaf? Heater on full blast to keep windshield wipers and viewing area clean. Utilizing much fuel per shoveling, rocking, and keeping warm. How about thwarting all the good planning upon a cross country trip per refueling needs only to find a horrendous traffic jam, strong head winds, and need of constant A.C. or heater operation. That would be a challenge especially if owner was attempting to maximize battery life per utilization of the sweet spot 60% charge ie 36 miles of travel upon a new battery.

    • By Arnis on April 26, 2015 at 6:32 am

      Pessimistic bull-shit. No specific information about anything. Just an average view about EV-s. Example: you have battery loss like in desert but you speak about -30 snowstorm.

  18. By Forrest on April 27, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Read up on the Volt’s battery thermal management system to get an idea of what manufactures are up against. It’s a complex undertaking balancing many variables and probably fraught with ensuing reliability concerns. Ideal temperature range 68-72 degree. Discharge held to 65%. Utilizing exhaust heat to achieve quicker thermal warm up below 32 deg F that would mean utilizing ICE cold start for heat before attempting usage of battery. This is unfortunate as the the ICE is at its most inefficient upon cold start ups and one would think the perfect zone for BEV to shine. Of course the Leaf doesn’t even have this option. Colder conditions upon the Volt will prevent the BEV side from operating. This must mean BEV performs poorly in such conditions. Same with high temps of heat of summer. Not good for lithium batteries and a point of concern for those attempting to maximize expensive battery lifespan. While the automotive company will balance the negative image of alerting consumer of such concerns with actual damage, the consumer prefers to be alerted and to understand all conditions that would hurt their investment dollars. I would encourage Leaf owners to bone up on such current information as the auto companies are going through a learning curve, as well. I just heard the unfortunate news that 22% of current owners migrated to SUV vehicles, the past year. My guess, the garage can be either a problem or benefit to Leaf owners. Some garages can best be described as ovens upon high summer temps without any airflow. That would be bad. My guess the Leaf owner would benefit much from an insulated garage with temperature control to maximize battery life and achieve max start up operating performance. In this case always park the Leaf in garage and if having to choose, always place the Leaf ahead of traditional auto. This link is good to understand thermal concerns of lithium battery during summer heat.

    • By Forrest on April 28, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Leaf does have an advantage over Volt with park car status of thermal management. When plugged it is easy to draw extra amperage to heat or cool battery, thus eliminating the advantage and expense of garage air conditioning. Battery would be maintained at peak performance and max battery life conditions. Home fire insurance rates may play into this decision. If the car had an stable predictable schedule such as daily commute, the vehicle could be farther optimized per late charging just before need and heating or cooling driver cabin thus keeping Kw use down while on the road. Of course conventional vehicle could be optimized in similar fashion, but consumer not excited of extra work and choose instead to use the wasteful practice of remote car starters for the job. This practice tell me the majority of consumers will not go for plug in solutions. BTW, if ever the conventional car could be optimized in this fashion, the environmental impact would dwarf that of BEV.

  19. By Jobin Eram on August 9, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I see the black goomp from the ground sucking car drivers here defending their carcinogenic spewing and polluting cars.

    People will attach themselves to the strangest things, especially having their eardrums destroyed by unmuffled ICE engines.

    This reminds me of Harley riders defending their “superior” overpriced, unreliable and not very agile bikes against the superior and smoother running competition.

    If I wanted to ride a paint shaker I would go to home depot! :)

    I see gasoline powered cars will ultimately be classified as cigarettes, free to buy and use but massively taxed and restricted outside cities with yearly emissions check and compulsory maintenance, when the lungs of the people wake up to the nocive nature of a transportation that reduces our life expectancy 6 years due to the smog and poisonous nature of the liquid of death contained in those gas tanks.

    • By Russ Finley on August 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      I have four spark plugs sitting on my desk from my wife’s Prius. The bill to replace them and a PCV valve was $250, and that does not put a price on the time spent getting the car to and from the shop. That’s $250 and about an hour out of my life that I will not be spending on my Leaf ; )

      • By Forrest on August 9, 2015 at 4:03 pm

        That’s an ugly spark plug! Proof that the car is burning low ethanol blends. Spark plugs on E85 look clean as does the combustion chamber. The plug looks like a double tip and iridium. That is a 100k mile plug. I’ve never run across a faulty PCV valve. In theory it could plug with horribly worn out engine per water laden blow by oils, but usually the need of replacement lies per the easy to reach/replace scam bonus for garage. They want to replace the drive belt every 30k miles, too. They’re good for 100k. Most ICE engines good for hundreds of thousands of miles. My GMC 1/2 ton work truck pushing 300k miles on high blend ethanol. How many miles before the Leaf needs an overhaul per replacement battery? Oh, I can have the GMC overhauled by Accurate Engines of Grand Rapids for $3,000 with accompanying better than original equipment 100k complete warranty. The warranty is no hassle, no cost. The car will outlive the patience of owner whom will eventually just desire a new car. Oh, I bought the truck used for $3k many years ago. I can sell it now for $2k. It gets 19-21 mpg on trip and 18 mpg local short trips. I can get E85 now for less than $2/gallon, but suffer the lower mileage between 16 to 17 mpg. How would the depreciation of the Leaf compare? Operating expense? Hauling payload? The truck can go 600 miles after a 5 minute refuel. Tow a several ton trailer. The truck is easy to maintain and fix. Also, consider when fueling up on high ethanol blends the environmental rating of such a vehicle improves. Since the ILUC penalty within this country is bogus and that cellulosic component improves the fuel as well as the continuous improvements of processing, farming, and engine efficiency upon using the fuel all of which improves the comparison to Leaf. Especially in Michigan with high coal content of electricity.

        • By Forrest on August 11, 2015 at 8:06 am

          Also, those plugs remind me of long ago plug condition before common E10 fuel. Are your burning ethanol free fuel? If so your spending a premium on fuel that pollutes more and has been subject to evaluations that indicate the fuel is harder on engine components one of which is spark plugs. I’m pleasantly surprised at the excellent condition of my truck’s plugs. Pulled one out thinking it should be time to replace. They looked clean and gap was correct. Actually, the plugs have always looked good and makes me think exactly how long one could go with good spark plugs and mid level ethanol fuel?

          • By Russ Finley on August 12, 2015 at 12:33 am

            That plug has 135,000 miles on it.

            • By Forrest on August 12, 2015 at 9:28 am

              I pulled the plugs on my wife’s focus at the same mileage and appears to be same spark plug type. It didn’t look near as bad as yours. I was thinking of continuing the use, but had bought replacement plugs already. The Michigan car was bought used, but I’m sure the military just refueled with low cost regular E10. We use E10 through E40 now. Did you burn ethanol free? Does the car burn oil? My car plugs were almost seized in engine per long use. I was careful to use Never-seize on replacements, hope your mechanic did same.

  20. By Keith on October 21, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Coming across this site while researching the pro’s and con’s of possibly purchasing an electric car is a bit saddening. While arguing the costs of gasoline engines versus electric – people seem to miss the whole point of reducing our carbon foot print.
    My wife and I who are in our fifties have pretty much parked our cars and ride bicycles and walk. Granted this is not an option for everyone due to the city or location you chose to live. Cars remain a necessity for most people and that will most likely not change any time soon. We are however able to start making some small changes in our daily habits that will have a positive impact on both ourselves and our planet.
    Electric options for the future are not about “the cheapest way to go” but looking at the possibility of a “cleaner way to go”.

    • By Forrest on October 21, 2015 at 10:31 am

      The rare earth metals, composites, and light alloys that are utilized within these clean cars, you speak of, are very unclean materials. The use of these materials may eventually have a positive environmental return, if the car has long lifespan, per the better fuel mileage, but the immediate impact is negative. The long lifespan is the key as high utilization. Problem is utilization is down for these cars as they occupy 2rd car status for short hops. Also, the battery is a scheduled replacement item and carries a harsh environmental rating. A traditional steel vehicle if small and long lifespan is very green. Depending on your grid power and percentage of coal power, the battery car may not be that green. Consider the traditional Ford focus, the flex fuel variety. Owners claim 30 mpg on E85 fuel. A fuel that is rated between 30% to 60% less carbon than gasoline. The rating varies as EPA utilizes a rating system that is out of date and applies a theoretical indirect land use penalty that is highly controversial and unsupported by history. The focus car powered upon E85 fuel probably compares well to the average battery car considering the efficiency loss down the line from the power plant and fuel for power plant. The well to wheels energy evaluation. Ethanol is migrating from supplying traditional petrol fuel distributors as these distributors concerns only align with petrol. To improve cost and supply of E85 fuel, processors are going it alone. My distributor is the ethanol processing plant, about 50 miles away. The fuel derived from local grain. That is a very short efficient supply chain.

      University of Toronto compared powering a car on different forms of natural gas. Either directly or by high line wire for battery car. They found the sweet spot for owner ownership costs and environmental benefit to the natural gas powered hybrid car. The environmental benefits of this car very close to battery car. So, given that information one could easily ascertain the thought of much better results with E85 fuel upon hybrid car. Or even E85 optimized engine with E85 fuel with ethanol produced from sugar cane, sugar beets, or waste. Another bump up would be cellulosic ethanol and of that group perennial Miscanthus grass that to date would have a negative carbon rating. All of this with cheaper vehicles made with green materials and easily/quickly refueled enjoying long trip capability. The vehicle would require no taxpayer subsidy for sales. The production and consumer acceptance one would think would be a lot quicker then waiting for the grid to be powered by wind.

  21. By Greg on December 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I bought a 2011 Leaf with 21k miles and 11 bars for $8995. I use it for all my in town driving. I can charge it for free at the dealer, 2 miles away, or at home overnight for $0.12/kWh. I can go 4 km on one kWh. It gets the equivalent of 120 mpg.
    Takes 10 seconds to plug it in so I never have to wait in line at the gas station.

    I still have my 3/4 ton 4×4 Suburban for long distance, towing, and hauling Scouts around, when needed!

    I consider it an interim vehicle and expect to upgrade in 2018 when range is expected to jump to 250 miles or so.

    Great vehicle and is saving me a ton on fuel. Even better with free charging!

    • By Forrest on December 2, 2015 at 6:03 am

      You are utilizing the Leaf per sales forecasts. Metro, short trip, and 2rd vehicle status. This is a price sensitive market and limited since the usefulness drops if not a homeowner. Sales are sensitive to purchase price as all small cars achieve acceptable cost of operation. The typical ICE car is very convenient per enjoying 300+mile fuel range and unlimited cabin heat as well as A.C.. Also, range anxiety is particularly high with Leaf since refueling is more complicated than merely use of gas can.

      The technology of auto manufactures will continue to develop quality cars that exceed our expectations. They appear to be have plans to utilize the most cost effective solutions, such as mild hybrid, hybrid turbos, and low weight materials. They are investing in all technologies, but have stepped up the fuel cell investments.

      Of particular interest for auto fleet is the Elio car that maximizes use of fuel upon low cost technology. Read the website on strategy to produce a $6,800 vehicle that achieves 84 mpg. This is a refreshing development per the inherent reliability and cost of lower teck. Much like those whom chose to stay one generation behind in cell phone purchases to save a bundle. I would think the extreme cost effectiveness of this vehicle and ensuing popularity within limited budget households would make a large improvement in auto emissions. Fuel up on mid level ethanol blends and your operating upon top tier low emission vehicle on par with most grid energy.

  22. By Greg on December 1, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I think eventually businesses like restaurants will offer free or reduced cost charging stations to entice customers to eat there. Time will tell.

    • By Russ Finley on December 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      A lot of businesses already do but I’m pretty sure it hasn’t payed off. I have little use for the 240 volt chargers. They take too long if you count on them to get you somewhere. There rarely is a “need” to plug in while shopping and a few cents worth of free electricity is hardly worth the effort. I do like the prime parking, although I never bother plugging in.

      I have used the level 2 chargers away from home maybe four or five times in the 4.5 years I’ve had my 2011 Leaf. They’ve helped me finish trips I would otherwise not have taken in the Leaf but if they didn’t exist, I would have just taken the other car. I have yet to use a high speed charger.

      If every 7 Eleven (or the equivalent) could install high speed chargers that take credit cards next to their tire air pump machines which already take credit cards, I suspect EV sales would accelerate. Even with longer range batteries, people will still need to top off quickly when they over extend to get back home.

  23. By Chuck on January 31, 2016 at 8:29 am

    You guys are all a lot smarter than me so I can’t get into the ICE debate. I know I *LOVED* my 2015 Leaf with a passion – for me it worked out perfectly *while I had it*.

    I give all Leaf owners this one piece of absolutely precious advice, and I don’t ever dole out car advice, especially not on the internet.. GO *RIGHT NOW*, *RUN* to an insurance agent and update your policy, or get a gap insurance policy.

    Because of the federal tax incentive the leaf loses $7500 in value the second you drive it off the lot. This is on top of the typical loss in value a any car loses the second you drive it off the lot. Additionally there is a great deal of uncertainty when valuing EV’s because there are a finite number of goofballs like me out there who are willing to buy them, and the boogeyman of battery life.

    Long story short – 2015 Leaf has the LOWEST RESALE VALUE of any vehicle sold, period, end of story. This factors into ACV, actual cash value that is what your insurance company actually pays when there is a TOTAL LOSS, which is exactly what they declared my car after I rear ended a honda CRV two weeks ago (honda had a small scratch).

    I can tell you that I am a freaking ruthless when it comes to buying cars, I got a KILLER deal on the Leaf, $8,000 off sticker, 0 percent financing, no money down, $7500 tax credit, $3000 Maryland Excise Tax rebate. Everything would have been cool but…..

    Based on the ACV the insurance company will pay, and a $1000 deductible I am so far upside down on this loan it isn’t even funny, I am near tears. Sure I had the economic benefit of the tax credit (soaked up some capital gains from the sale of my home), and the Excise Tax (paid for the excruciatingly high heating fuel costs last winter) – but that money is long gone…

    So – another factor for EV ownership. Take it for what it is worth.

    • By Russ Finley on January 31, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks for that info. Sorry for your bad luck. I’ll take it into account next time I buy an electric car.

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  27. By CombatMissionary on December 5, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Under what circumstances does an electric vehicle make sense for a driver currently?
    If a driver travels almost exclusively less than 100 miles per day, lives in an urban environment, costs almost as little as an internal combustion car, recharge almost as quickly as an internal combustion car refuels, and has as long a useful life as an internal combustion car without paying the equivalent of a drivetrain overhaul. And we’ll have to have an industry developed to make the manufacturing and recycling of the batteries environmentally friendly.
    Much as I love internal combustion cars, I think we’re at a tipping point where EV’s are getting to the point where they’ll make sense for the majority of people in the next few years.

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