Why I got a cheap, used electric car

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About a month ago I got a used 2017 Nissan Leaf. I was excited that I was even able to get an electric car because they are all relatively expensive still. But its price and its history of reliability since it originally came out in 2011 is what ultimately made me decide to go with the Leaf. And I’ve learned that there are plenty of reasons an electric car is just better than a gas car.

Of course, there’s no having to go to the gas station! I’ve been mainly charging at home, from a regular outlet in my garage. A few times that I’ve charged it while out using a charging station, it’s typically taken about 20 minutes to essentially fill it, and costs a quarter of a gas tank. The driving range you get on that charge is shorter than the range of a gas tank though so maybe half the cost of gas is a more fair comparison. But if you just charge at home, that cost drops significantly, barely causing a dent in your monthly electric bill.

There is less maintenance that needs to be done than a gas car, including no regular oil changes to deal with. Overall, the cost of maintenance comes to about half the cost of a gas car over a car’s lifetime. Electric cars are about ten times less complex than gas cars so of course that comes with fewer potential issues and better reliability!

And sure, there is also the whole climate change thing too. But at the rate we’re going with buying electric cars, we may end up making a bigger impact on gas emissions by deciding to eat plant-based burgers instead of cows!

So what’s the catch?

The key issue with any electric car right now is the range its battery gets on a charge. Since I work from home, I don’t normally use my car a whole lot in a given week. Weekends going across town somewhere would probably be the most driving I do. And being how spread out Phoenix is, that can be a drive. The couple of times I took longer trips, I did end up having to find a charging station on the way back home.

Which is why the Leaf is a cheaper electric car (at least used). It has a limited battery size compared to other electric cars. And it’s why electric cars are currently so expensive. It all has to do with the size/capacity of the battery. Companies have gotten good at producing batteries on a smaller scale for our phones and they’ll eventually get better, and cheaper, for electric cars as well. Also, like phones, car batteries are replaceable. An electric car could have a very long lifespan since all it needs is a new battery to greatly prolong its use past the 100,000 miles.

How you much you use your car is something you’ll have to consider if you wanted to buy an electric car, but there are plenty of charging stations available now that you should generally be fine. A used Nissan Leaf is a great example of the promise of electric cars and their value!