Cars

Published on April 7th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

33

Nissan Juke vs Nissan Leaf (Cost Comparisons)

April 7th, 2013 by  

Update: the 2013 MPGe rating for the Leaf is actually 116 (not 99), so the calculations below are actually heavily biased in favor of the Juke. Feel free to play around with the spreadsheet to see more accurate comparisons.

Reposted from EV Obsession (with minor changes):

About a month ago, I asked readers which gasoline-powered cars were most similar to some popular EVs on the market. I’m finally using that feedback and updated 2013 EV numbers to run new cost comparisons between these EVs and their gasoline-powered cousins.

To start with, in this first post, I’m going to run down a few cost comparison scenarios for the Nissan Leaf and Nissan Juke. The next post will do the same for the Nissan Leaf and Nissan Rogue. And I will eventually publish more articles comparing other EVs to their closest gasmobiles.

As always, what matters in a cost comparison is what you actually compare (which factors you choose to include), and what assumptions you make. I’m going to be very conservative in my calculations (as in, lean in favor of gasmobiles). I’m doing so for a few reasons:

  1. I think anyone who really cares about human health and the environment is already going to be biking, using mass transit, or at least driving an EV.
  2. I’m obviously in favor of EVs, in general, so I don’t want to be (or come across as) biased towards EVs in my comparisons.
  3. For simplicity’s sake. Adding in the extra costs I’m going to note below would be more challenging and time consuming. (Of course, if you’re really comparing the costs of these cars in an OCD cost-benefit analysis way, you can add in more variables.)

Now, real quickly, here are some of the factors that are not being included in the cost comparisons below:

Pros

  • The benefits to your health, and public health as a whole, from not emitting the pollution that comes from burning gas. (That’s a huge cost, and if you were to add that in, EVs would be the hands-down winner in almost all comparisons.)
  • Same thing for the climate. (Again, if you add climate costs in, EVs would be the clear winners.)
  • The benefits that come from greater comfort. (EVs are nearly silent and offer a smoother ride.)
  • The benefit of not having to stress about gas price swings.
  • The benefit of not being as affected by inflation.
  • If you have solar panels, being even more protected again inflation and increases in “fuel” prices.
  • The time savings from not going to the gas station, not getting oil changes, and bringing your car in for maintenance less often.
  • The benefits of reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil, and thus improving national security.
  • Of course, the good feeling that comes with all the benefits above is a benefit in itself.

Cons

  • If financing, more likely with an EV since the sticker price is higher, you pay more to the bank/financer.
  • If driving a long distance, you have to plan intelligently and take more breaks (or rent a car, if the company you bought your EV from doesn’t offer that for free).

Anything to add? Drop a note in the comments.

On to the fun:

nissan leaf

vs

nissan juke 2013

After taking the $7,500 federal tax credit, below are 5 hypothetical cost comparisons between the Nissan Leaf and the Nissan Juke (feel free to conduct your own experiments / change the assumptions using this spreadsheet). Maintenance costs per mile and battery replacement costs are kept constant in my 5 comparisons — see the spreadsheet for assumptions.

Comparison #1 Assumptions:

  • Don’t live in California. (Californians can get an extra $2,500 tax credit.)
  • $4.00/gallon of gas. (Average over the course of ownership, but used from Day 1.)
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity. (Currently, the nationwide average, but can vary greatly from region to region and based on time of day. Also, some utilities actually offer extremely low or $0/kWh EV-charging electricity rates.)
  • 13,476 miles driven per year. (The nationwide average based on the DOT’s last count.)
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.

Result:

Nissan Leaf is cheaper after just over 1 year of ownership. Save almost $7,000 after 5 years of ownership.

nissan leaf vs nissan juke 1

Comparison #2 Assumptions:

  • Live in California.
  • $4.00/gallon of gas.
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity.
  • 13,476 miles driven per year.
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.

Result:

Nissan Leaf is cheaper within 1st year of ownership (and ever after). Save almost $10,000 after 5 years of ownership.

nissan leaf cheaper than nissan juke

Comparison #3 Assumptions:

  • Live in California.
  • $4.50/gallon of gas.
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity.
  • 13,476 miles driven per year.
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.

Result:

Nissan Leaf is much cheaper within 1st year of ownership (and ever after). Save over $10,000 after 5 years of ownership.

nissan leaf crushes nissan juke



Comparison #4 Assumptions:

  • Don’t live in California.
  • $3.50/gallon of gas.
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity.
  • 17,000 miles driven per year.
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.

Result:

Nissan Leaf is cheaper within 1st year of ownership (and ever after). Save over $7,000 after 5 years of ownership.

nissan leaf vs nissan juke comparison

Comparison #5 Assumptions:

  • Don’t live in California.
  • $4.00/gallon of gas.
  • 12¢/kWh of electricity.
  • 10,000 miles driven per year.
  • Leaf: 99 MPGe / Juke: 29 MPG.

Result:

Nissan Leaf is cheaper within 1st year of ownership (and ever after). Save nearly $5,000 after 5 years of ownership.

leaf juke year 5

Previous comparisons can be viewed here:


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.



  • johnnymac

    What about $2.15/gallon gas?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Think it will stay that cheap?

      Everything I head says that oil prices will rise but not return to the $100/barrel prices we’ve seen before. Once we burn through the current surplus prices will rise. A new ceiling has been set by the cost of bringing new shale oil wells online.

      $3/gallon won’t sell EVs as well as $5/gallon gas would, but to be competitive gas would have to drop to about $1/gallon.

  • ga

    Use a lease comparison to remove all the depreciation and battery life risk. The Leaf leases for as low as $199/month with $2k first month. If you’re driving a typical mid-size ICE for suburban “kid-cycle” driving, you’re likely to be doing around 250 miles/week at 17mpg. You could basically pay the lease with the gas savings alone.

    BTW, the Leaf is rated for 99mpge but our long-term average is closer to 140mpge (4.3 m/kwh)

    • thanks for the tip. i’m generally not a fan of leasing, but with the nascent EV market, makes more sense in some ways. would be interesting to do a leasing comparison.

      looks like a flubbed on the MPGe, since the 2013 is at 116. but if the long-term avg is closer to 140, that would really shake things up. by “our” do you mean you and your household’s or do you mean Nissan Leaf owners in general? if the latter, have a link/source for that?

  • ga

    In heavy urban driving, the Juke isn’t going to get close to 29mpg. Conversly, in high-speed highway driving, the Leaf isn’t going to be practical. The biggest difference is that in wealthy lib areas, getting out of a Leaf looks better that a $100k luxury gas guzzler while a Juke looks like a teenage economy car.

    • ha, great addendum! that will be added to any future comparisons on these two. 😀

  • Well done Zach. It might be good to compare the Leaf with the Honda Fit EV, Ford Focus EV etc…

    • yeah, that would be interesting. at the Leaf’s currently super low price (thanks to US manufacturing), i’m pretty positive that it blows all other non-Tesla EVs out of the water.

      my impression is that without any big moves by others, the Leaf, Volt, and Model S are the most intelligent options (with the “best” depending on one’s circumstances).

  • Otis11

    What was the justification for comparing the Juke to the Leaf? I don’t understand that… Even the Rouge is a bit of a favor for the Leaf (Although, in fairness I did equate the two earlier and had to correct myself at a later date) Plus, it will beat the Rouge from day 1 as after tax credit it is cheaper upfront.

    The versa hatchback would be a good comparison though – and would likely pay for itself within 4 years. 5 years if you included a worst-case interest rate, something like 5.5%!

    And getting 17,000 miles in one year on the leaf would be unlike (although not impossible). If you used this as a commuter car, assuming you work 5 days a week, 50 out of the 52 weeks a year, you would be traveling 68 miles a day, when the leaf only has a range of 78 miles IIRC. Sure, if you drive a couple miles on the weekends that lowers it a bit, but still cutting it fairly close for comfort IMO.

    It would also be interesting to see what extreme you would have to go to in order for the EV to NOT be cheaper within the first 7 years (incredible interest rate, low yearly mileage, $3.50 gas, 20c/kwh). My guess is the results would be quite comical…

    Really, unless a significant portion of your trips are outside the vehicles range, there’s little reason not to get an EV. Even so, they have HEV and PHEVs for just about everything (Except Pick-ups for some reason…? Excluding the VIA of course, but for good reason – $$$).

    • Otis11

      BTW – that spreadsheet link is View only. I was going to try the things I suggested above…

      • yeah, i just noticed that. i’m confused, because i’ve got some cells protected and others not. but guess you’ll just have to copy & paste into your own spreadsheet until i figure that out.

    • Bob_Wallace

      13,476 miles. Not quite 17,000.

      Assume 50 weeks, five days a week and half as far on each weekend day.

      That comes out to about 45 miles on work days, 23 on weekend days.

      • Otis11

        Yeah, I guess that makes it much more reasonable… I guess I don’t really know what’s normal for weekend driving…

      • Otis11

        Oh, just realized we were talking about two different things – for one of the cases he used 17,000 miles, which while possible is not very likely given the range.

    • BrianKeez

      I did the unlikely – 25,000 miles in year 1 in my Nissan LEAF.

      • Otis11

        True, true – very possible, but I would guess you are the 1% in this instance.

        But since you drive so much – thank you for switching to electric!

      • HUGE savings. 😀 (Assuming you weren’t driving extra for the fun of it. :D)

    • i’m pretty sure you recommended it. 😛 with the Leaf being “between” the Rogue and the Juke.

      will run a comparison with the Versa hatchback, too.

      • Otis11

        Yeah, I remember recommending the rouge originally because of the similar features and interior volume, but then after talking to people much more familiar with the car industry than I, found that it was more comparable to the Versa… could have sworn I forwarded that info but if not, my mistake.

        I don’t remember talking about the Juke as it’s a “sport utility” – whatever that means – so probably not competing in the same market segment. If I did mention that, that’s my mistake.

        • no worries. will publish a comparison or two with the Versa, too.

          • Otis11

            Oh, some math for ya. Look at leasing. Idk how it plays out for all of them, but look at this math for the Ford Fusion electric:

            Focus S Sedan: $2524 up front, 179/month for 39 months
            Focus Electric: $929 up front, 284/month for 39 months.

            That comes out to $9505 for the less equipped Sedan vs. the $11,153 for the electric. How long do you think you have to drive to make up the $1648? My guess – given that your google data chart compares this to the ST and has a difference of $1620.27/year at 13,476 miles/year and $3.50/gallon of gas, I’d say 18 month max… and it’s cheaper the whole time you have it.

          • Thanks, very useful! Yes, that is looking good. I’ve always been turned off by leasing, but in the case of EVs, it really might be a good option. As we’ve seen with the Leaf, the cost has come down a ton after just a couple years. My bet is that EVs will be much more attractive in 3 years.

            Of course, there are clear benefits (esp. moral benefits) to being an early adopter.

          • Otis11

            Yeah, I typically shy away from leasing too, but with the tipping point we are at with EVs right now and the explosion in battery technology I’m expecting over the next 3-5 years, not to mention qualming ALL fears about battery life until people are more familiar and comfortable with EVs (as it is covered by every lease I’ve seen), it may not be such a bad idea.

            And to note: I conducted an in-depth cost analysis about a year ago and found that for major brands, the data shows leasing only costs ~5% more than depreciation and expected maintenance if you keep your car between 3 and 5 years on average. For those who keep vehicles longer it does not hold, but since that covers a large portion of Americans, it’s really not such a bad option for people who aren’t car-savvy or simply don’t have the time to haggle with dealers or sell the car on their own.

            This extra cost could also be viewed as insurance that you will not have to deal with any technological complications that may potentially, however unlikely arise during the time you own the vehicle. Not such a bad deal IMO.

    • Oh, regarding one of your other comments, note that the assumptions change for each scenario (what one should really do is insert the numbers that fit them).

      In some scenarios, the nationwide average (13,476) is used, in some less (10,000), in some more (17,000).

      • Otis11

        Yeah I understand that – Just thought it would be hard to get 17,000 miles in a single year given it’s range, but definitely not impossible.

  • Andy

    Don’t understand the figures in the tables, what are they?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Total cost of owning through stated year. By year 13 you can see how much you would have spent over the 13 years.

  • BrianKeez

    What is the maintenance cost break-down?

    • Bob_Wallace

      If you go with recommended maintenance and have it done at the dealers the EV comes out a lot lower based on numbers someone presented on a different thread.

      And then there’s the much lower brake rebuild costs. EV brakes should last at least twice as long as those on gasmobiles.

      I also ran across something that said that some insurance companies were giving EV drivers lower insurance rates. But that may be because they expect them to be more careful drivers.

      • BrianKeez

        I ask because I’m at 40,000 miles after 19 months in my Nissan LEAF and have only needed an alignment so far. I will be needing tires in another couple of thounsand miles though. The only recommended maintenance I know about is the annual battery check, which is free for the first three years.

        • i haven’t found great studies/numbers on the costs yet. so much is simply theorized. you can see my assumptions & sources in the spreadsheet, but would love to have even better ones if you ever run across them.

    • ga

      The Leaf seems to eat tires pretty quickly but otherwise needs almost nothing. Nissan has items like changing brake fluid on the maint schedule. I’ve never done that on any car and certainly unlikely to do it on an EV that hardly uses brakes.

    • they’re right there in the spreadsheet, and sources on the right. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsDzwXJeEr1pdDVxT245YWlMLXBPWFF2enB4NjFEeHc#gid=3

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