Impressions having driven an EV for 2 months now.

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Jul 16, 2016
Toronto, Ontario
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Thought it'd be cool to share some of my experiences while they're still fresh in my brain.

Back in July I traded my ICE (2012 Sonata) towards a 2017 Nissan Leaf 4 year lease. The transmission on my car was starting to act up a bit and I didn't want to dump a bunch of money into it and then trade it to Tesla this year. Figured getting rid of it and getting into an EV sooner made sense. Especially with us starting to need 2 cars as my partner isn't self employed anymore and driving him back and forth to work would be a pain.

I'm happy to report that the experience has MOSTLY been good. The worst experience was the initial delivery and the dealership model. We had to drive 2 hours to another dealer to get the car as the Leaf is pretty popular here. We drove home and stopped to charge several times. Each time the charger didn't work. Presumed it was just unreliable chargers and continued on. The car did charge at one charger so we got home. I tried at several level2s around town, nothing. Same thing with the trickle charge at home. Turns out the charge port was broken on delivery and it took 3 weeks to replace and repair it. That was a nightmare as we were stuck between the local Nissan and the other Nissan fighting over who was paying for the rental car and who was ordering the part etc. Thats a fail on the dealership model though, not EVs.

The bizzare looks of the car have grown on me. It feels like I'm driving something out of a movie. Especially with the electric whoosh sound. In a way it's almost a good thing it looks strange as I get a lot of people asking me questions about it. Everyone seems curious.

The driving experience itself is the best part. The 0-30 acceleration is crazy compared to an ICE. I often step on it when next to a souped up BMW just to prove a point. Everything is just smooth and quiet. I've had to drive an ICE a few times over the last few months and its a big adjustment to get used to the stiff steering and uneven throttle response.

We've done 4500KM so far. Done 2 bigger roadtrips. Once is a 600km roundtrip to Toronto and the other was to Ottawa. Level3 charging makes the trip mostly brainless. Just stop for a coffee and the car is done charging. I actually find roadtrips are much more enjoyable as you're only thinking about getting to the next charger. It's mandatory breaks. Range anxiety is a thing for sure but I'm just finding its due to the lack of range the Leaf has. If I could get 400km of range I'd not be concerned. With the 170 I find sometimes I'm getting home with 20 or 30km left.

I do find that the EPA range is pretty generous. I tend to drive in a way to extend my range but I'm not hypermiling or anything like that and generally the car reports I'm at about 220km of range. So it's worthwhile to keep that in mind. Highway its closer to 170 but the trick is to not use cruise control. It's not that intelligent and drives fullspeed up large hills wasting a bunch of power.

I had planned to not install an EVSE but opted to get one after having the car for a couple weeks. I knew at one point I'd be wanting to do something but couldn't. To me that defeated the point of having an EV. I didn't want to trade my freedom I had before for a car with limited range and a 24 hour charge cycle. It really hit me one day when I had a spontaneous errand come up and it almost prevented me from going a few cities over for dinner. Cut it close with 15km left as there was no way I could quickly replace the range I used earlier in the day.

So we opted to get the JuiceBox Pro 40. Base model Leaf doesn't have any charge scheduling. I'm on a flat rate for electricity (long story short in new subdivisions they do flat rate for a few years to ensure meter time accuracy). Having the EVSE has made ownership a no brainer. I just charge overnight every few days. So far I've saved about $300 on fuel costs.

Only EVSE downside is the rebate. They can't process my rebate application for the EVSE until the car has been done and they're 4 months behind on the vehicles. The dealership just fronts the value but now I'm stuck waiting until next year.

Owning the Leaf has just me all the more excited for the Model3.

Edit: Wanted to add I also have never felt like I've had to make any concessions. There are virtually no drawbacks on the Leaf VS an ICE besides range but I've still be able to do whatever I want. Best part is my lease is $79 a month. The car is paying for itself and I'm driving it a hell of a lot more then I did my ICE.
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