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Cost Update – 4 Years at 153,000 km

Year 4 of ownership has now passed by in my 2014 Nissan Leaf SL electric vehicle (EV).  This post is one in a series, the rest of which can be found at Cost Info Posts.  Note that all costs are in $CDN.

I’ve included a summary of costs over the 4 years.  Further down you will find my usual detailed 6 month interval update, and below that any tidbits of news or information I found interesting from roughly the fall of 2017 to the spring of 2018.

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So first off, the summary of the last 4 years at a glance:

4 year cost summary (click to enlarge)

I’ve broken out ongoing operational costs like regular scheduled maintenance and fuel costs in the first columns.  The green column is the operational savings each year, plus the total from 4 years.  $15k… not too shabby!  The blue column includes operational costs plus financing costs as compared to a comparable gasoline car (same as my usual charts, see further down for more).  The purple column is if I had been able to get the $5,000 incentive at the time of purchase (but it was unavailable for a short time in BC when I bought my car… unfortunately for me 🙁

Over those 4 years, I’ve avoided emitting 27 tonnes of CO2, and approximately 60 kg of nitrous oxides, and 90kg of volatile organic carbons (some of which are known carcinogens).  There are also a smorgasbord of other pollutants, check out the BC Ministry of Environment website for more.  Air quality has a large impact on human health in urban areas, so aside from the GHG, there are many other good reasons to get out of petrol vehicles!

Detailed Cost Report

Now for the regular detailed cost table from the last 6 months:

2017 cost details by month (click to enlarge)

2018 cost details by month to end of April (click to enlarge)

There really wasn’t much of interest during this time frame that impacted cost.  At the very tail end, gas costs went up quite a bit, which will likely start to show an impact in my savings rate for the upcoming 6 months!

Moving on to the graph showing cumulative costs:

Cumulative cash flow to April 2018 and cost forecast to 14 years (click to enlarge)

Looking back to my last cost post, you’ll notice a number of changes to the forecast:

  • I’ve extended the forecast out to the typical lifetime for a car, ~14 years, which at my rate of accumulating kilometres, would put my Leaf at about 500,000 km (or a bit over 300,000 miles)
  • I’ve kept my first battery replacement for this fall (more on this below), and added in a second replacement another several years out
  • I haven’t made a guess at major maintenance costs for the gas cars, though there would be sure to be some doozies in there (transmission, head gasket?) over that many km’s
  • You’ll note that the price of getting into a used 2nd generation EV is higher then I had predicted it would be for the last few years; that’s because only the Chevrolet Bolt has been available for over 1 year now (where I thought a few years ago that there would be at least a few others), and the Bolt had a pretty high initial selling price in Canada (used ones are still high 30’s); so luckily for me, I made the right choice to get an EV when I did!
  • At the end of 14 years, I will have saved enough money to purchase a replacement EV!

Back to that battery replacement though:

  • I’m still not aware of anyone who has replaced their battery in Canada, so we don’t know for sure the cost here
  • New fast chargers have been installed in the towns between where I live and where I work, so now I’ve got options for days where I use more juice (e.g. bad winter days)
  • I’d like to replace our Forester with an “equivalent” EV
  • I still have somewhere over 80% capacity in my battery after 4 years and just shy of 100,000 miles

So for these various reasons, I don’t think I’ll replace the battery in our Leaf.  I am more likely to get a second EV and switch to commuting in that car, at least during the winter when the extra range would be helpful.

So with that in mind, I thought what would the cost chart look like if I “retired” the Leaf from doing the long commute each day?  Retirement would mean it would get driven around the Nelson area each day instead (by my wife shuttling kids to school and off to work), and probably only accumulate 10,000 km per year.  At that rate, we would never replace the battery!

Cost prediction for “retiring” the Leaf to town use (click to enlarge)

Crazily enough, by cutting out those two battery replacements, I save about the same amount of money in total over the same 14 years!  The Forester is also a pig on gas around town, which irritates me to no end.  So I suspect we will do this, and I will stretch out the use of the Leaf for my commute until I can find an all-wheel drive electric vehicle as a replacement (hello Model Y?)

Other Interesting Items

Canada sales for 2017:  battery electric vehicle sales almost doubled from 2016 to ~ 10,000 units.  The market for BEV/PHEVs went up almost 70%.

Canada sales for Q1 2018:  holy smokes, electric vehicles are at almost 5% marketshare of new passenger cars! (Which is basically the only market segment they exist in right now in any number.)  Sales are up 75% from Q1 2017.  Yes folks, they are selling in more and more numbers all the time.  Your next vehicle is likely to be electrified in some way!

Charging networks in the Kootenays:  thankfully with all of those EVs coming, we are also seeing a relative explosion of fast charging opportunities in BC right now, including right here in the Kootenays!  The Accelerate Kootenays project just put the finishing touches on the Highway 3 route, which included 8 fast chargers.  Linden (my youngest) and I were able to attend the opening ceremony in late May in Creston, which was a lot of fun 🙂

With the new chargers, I’ve been able to go to Red for a day of skiing, and we now head to Salmo each weekend so the entire family can enjoy learning how to ride and race BMX bikes!

AWD EVs are coming, finally!  Audi has introduced the pre-production e-tron quattro (a lifted station wagon, drool!) and will show the production version at the end of August, going on sale in Europe by the end of 2018.  We should see it by mid-2019.  Jaguar has released the i-Pace in Europe, which should also come here soon.  Both of these are upmarket though.  Volvo is supposed to release an electric XC40 in 2019.  The Tesla Model 3 will be available with AWD fairly soon, and Tesla has also been hinting at the Model Y, saying they will unveil the concept version in March 2019, aiming for production 18 months later (pretty ambitious).  We still don’t have any in the truly affordable range ($30k range, e.g. RAV4, Forester, Santa Fe, etc) though, and likely won’t until 2020 or 2021.

kootenay andrew
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6 thoughts on “Cost Update – 4 Years at 153,000 km”

  1. Can we go for a coffee? I live in Fruitvale and I am very interested in getting a used leaf. I would like to know more about; where you got your leaf, how did you get it here, what maintence do you need to do on it and how often…

  2. Hi Andrew. My husband and I just bought the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV AWD. We are super excited. We never buy new cars so this was a calculated leap. Nothing like apocalyptic fires to spur a family into action.

    1. Hi Sandy, hope you both enjoy the new vehicle! There seems to be a lot of excited owners on the “Canadian EV Owners” Facebook page. Cheers!

  3. Pingback: Cost Update – 4.5 years at 172,000 km – Kootenay EV Family

  4. Hi Andrew. Thanks for this site. I only recently discovered it, but was intrigued to see what looks like a North Shore bike rack on the hitch of your Leaf in this post. 2 questions.. 1, how does the leaf drive with a 4 bikes on the back, and 2, are you considering using the same rack on your new Model 3? Congrats on that and good luck on your journey.
    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Jeff! That is indeed a NSR on the Leaf with 4 bikes – all around the 30lb mark. Puts a total of about 170lbs on the rear of the Leaf – surprisingly it holds the weight up pretty well. It doesn’t feel overloaded or mushy. We then put all of us in the car and drive around in it no problem. You do notice the weight going over humps in the highway etc, but it hasn’t been scary at all.

      And yes, I have a second NSR sitting in my carport waiting for spring to come – I have a Stealth hitch on order for the Model 3, and once that is mounted, I’ll have the NSR on probably from April through October. I’ll definitely post updates on how that goes.

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