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Nissan LEAF Named Best Used Electric Car Choice

Driving Electric has given the Nissan LEAF its best used electric car award for 2020, an honor the car richly deserves.

Driving Electric, based in the UK, bills itself as “Your ultimate guide to buying and owning an electric car.” On its website, it offers lots of useful information about how to charge an electric car and what the differences are between battery electrics, plug-in hybrids, and hybrid cars — which the folks at Toyota like to call “self charging electric cars.”

Nissan LEAF

The site is a useful educational tool for people who are curious about electrics but want to know more before making a buying decision. In a world where any number of fossil fuel trolls say the most outrageously inaccurate things about EVs — Don’t drive one in a thunderstorm. You might get electrocuted! — the more correct information people have available the easier it will be for them to get over their fear of new technology and embrace driving on electrons instead of molecules.

For organizations like Driving Electric, one way to draw attention to itself is to issue “Best Of….” lists on a regular basis. J.D. Power and Associates has raised this to a high art, handing out awards like “Best Mid Priced Small Car For Grocery Shopping On Tuesdays” and the like. The latest Driving Electric 2020 Awards — now in their second year — are out and they are a compendium that covers every type of car with a battery you can think of.

It’s a little like one of those elementary school exercises where every child gets a ribbon of some kind. Virtually every EV made — whether battery, plug-in, or hybrid — gets an award or at least an honorable mention. If you want to know the Best Electrified Commercial Vehicle or the Best Used Plug-In Hybrid, Driving Electric has you covered.

While the whole process may seem a little silly, one award is worth getting an honorable mention of its own, the one for Best Used Electric Car which this year goes to the Nissan LEAF. Here’s what they have to say about it.

“With electric car prices yet to fall to the levels enjoyed by petrol and diesel vehicles, many people’s first electric car will be bought used. Here, the LEAF is a very safe bet: it has always been a practical, family focused car, and its low running costs and perfectly adequate range from a full charge will surely get buyers hooked.”

You can read the full review of the current car here.

The reason for mentioning this at all is that I actually bought a used 2015 LEAF 18 months ago and it is my daily driver. During that time, I have bought new front tires and that’s it. Nothing has gone wrong with car. Its 75+ mile range is adequate for my needs. Drive it, plug it in, repeat. It is comfortable, quiet, and peppy (I love leaving the Stupid Duty diesel beside me at traffic lights to marinate in its own exhaust fumes when the light turns green).

I can’t tell you how much the electricity it uses costs me each month because the impact on my utility bill has been negligible. When I replaced a 40-year-old freezer with a modern unit, my bill went down by $30 a month. Adding the LEAF to daily service hasn’t made it go up enough to register in my consciousness.

The LEAF is like a gateway drug for electric cars. Several CleanTechnica staff members who now own Teslas started out as LEAF drivers. Used ones are quite affordable. With 25,000 miles on the odometer, mine cost $12,000 minus the residual value of a well traveled and much loved Mazda Miata that was old enough to qualify for antique plates. It’s hard to find a reliable, low mileage used car of any kind for that amount of money.

All in all, the car is super affordable and trouble free. But again, I have to stress it meets my particular driving needs, which are modest. It would be a lousy car if I had to drive 100 miles each way to work every day or wanted to strap a surfboard to the roof and head out to California to shoot the curl off La Jolla. As Clint Eastwood would say, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

I do get up most mornings and look outside to see if the LEAF has morphed into a Tesla Model 3 overnight like a butterfly exiting the chrysalis, but no luck with that — so far. But that day is coming and when it does, it will be because the LEAF taught me how to stop worrying and love the electric car. When it comes to an introduction to the world of electric driving, the LEAF is da bomb! Just ask the people at Driving Electric.

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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