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Published on December 16th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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Why 100,000 Miles In A Nissan Leaf In 2½ Years Is Super Logical



Update: Steve Marsh (aka TaylorSFGuy) has added cost/savings specifics in the comments below the post.

steve-marsh-2011-nissan-leaf

Washington resident Steve Marsh is being honored today by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, and folks from Nissan. Why? Because the man is logical and did a little math.

The common (often incorrect) talking point is that electric cars aren’t ideal for people who have to drive a lot. The rationale is that it might be hard for them to charge up when away from home, and the range on (non-Tesla and non-PHEV) electric vehicles might not be long enough for the to only charge at home.

However, there is one huge reason why an electric car is a lot more sensible for someone like Steve who drives a ton. Driving on electricity is much cheaper than driving on gas. For this reason, the more you drive, the more you save. (That is, assuming you aren’t driving more than you would otherwise simply because you love driving your EV so much.) In Steve’s case, since he has to drive about 40,000 miles a year (well above the national average of 13,476 miles), he has saved some massive moola… just as he planned.

Of course, along with the huge fuel savings, electric cars have almost no moving parts and require almost no maintenance — no oil changes, no transmission or transmission problems, forget all the broken tubes and valves, more protected and longer lasting brakes, etc. At 40,000 miles a year, I’m sure not having to worry about all that adds up, as well.

Steve uses a charger at his workplace and a Blink DC rapid charger along his route — part of the West Coast Electric Highway — to charge his car on his workday commute. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing any indication as to how much Steve has saved. There are a lot of assumption to be made if you want to calculate that, including which car Steve would be driving if not the Leaf, so I’m refraining from running some calcs for Steve’s story without more info.

Keep up with the hottest electric car news here on CleanTechnica, and if you’re really into this cleantech solution, make sure to grab our free EV newsletter.

h/t Green Car Reports

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Tony Reyes

    This particular leaf appears to have lost 3 battery capacity bars, which is likely close to a 30% to 40% reduction in initial range. Steve probably has difficulty completing his daily one way commute of 65 miles, I would bet its nearly impossible to do so actually. I’m considering a leaf, luckily my round trip commute is only about 22 miles.

  • TaylorSFGuy

    Cost to charge: At
    work – $1.80, at home – $2.00 based on single commute leg.

    Equiv. cost to charge: $0.83
    to $0.92 per gallon based on 30 miles per gallon for Honda.

    Gas not purchased: $11,660 based on $3.50/gallon average
    over last 2-1/2 years.

    Total net
    savings: Over $8,700 just in
    “fuel” costs, plus no oil changes – 10 @ $40 equals over $9,000 net realized
    savings compared to car it replaces.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      A decent guess, I’m sure. But I didn’t feel comfortable making any assumptions on behalf of a specific individual.

      • RobS

        I think using a national average ICE vehicle mileage for the comparison in the absence of specifics is reasonable as long as you openly state what you are doing.

      • BBROCKMAN

        Hey Zachary…TaylorSFGuy is Steve Marsh. Those are his calcs.

        • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

          Ah, i thought he might be at first, but then i thought the username was too different. Thanks! :D

    • Oscar

      There is a company that can install an additional battery pack for around $6500. This would give the Leaf double the range. Sincerley, A future LEAF owner.

  • anderlan

    More miles = more money. It’s true. I’ve thought about a business plan involving an S and a trailer hitch and transcontinental shipping with no marginal fuel cost. But something tells me Tesla would quickly deny me free Supercharger juice in addition to refusing to honor my (mandatory) $50/month service contract.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Damn, that’s a bloody good idea. :D Let me know if you get it going and need a VP of Marketing. :D

      • anderlan

        There’s already online marketplaces to bring small haulers and customers together. S owners don’t usually (financially) fit the profile of a hauler on those sites, but I still wouldn’t be surprised if there was an S owner doing it already.

        • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

          :D

    • Bob_Wallace

      I had a friend who was telling me what good money he was making hauling horses in his spare time with his pickup and trailer. Good money left after he deducted the cost of gas.

      After we subtracted out his vehicle expenses (wear and tear) he was making $1.16/hour.

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