Grant, Thanks for your considered comments and thanks for playing "devil's advocate". I posted on the blog exactly to try to encourage discussion. If I wasn't more than happy hearing others opinions, both supportive and contra, I would not have posted!
Taking your initial comments:
1) I read on one of your blog post you had a caravan, is towing still a requirement?
The caravan is permanently sited now so there is no towing requirement. If we need to move the caravan we have friends who can tow for us as a one-off.
2) What requirements did you have for 2 cars and are they still valid
Sally and I are independent people. We have always both hated the idea of not having our own transportation. However, we do almost everything together and I cannot think of a time in the past few years when we actually "needed" two cars. There have been times when we have used both cars but on all occasions we could have slightly reorganised ourselves and made do with one. Having 2 cars is therefore nothing more than historic, habit if you like.
3) What real world scernarios existed in the past 6 months when your famiily needed 2 cars? How would that work with 1?
4) How much will the Ampera be worth in 2/3 years time? Would that pose barriers if you then need 2 cars again
This may sound rather trite but should our circumstances change such that we needed 2 cars we would just buy another! What we bought would depend heavily on why we needed the 2nd car but it could be electric and by then the Zoe ZE and Focus Electric might be options.
Moving on to your suggestion that a frugal diesel might be a better option. I think it comes down to whether we actually need or want 2 cars. As you say, cars are emotive beasts. If we all bought cars on the numbers alone no one would buy any expensive cars at all! It is a combination of financial constraints, personal and family requirements and emotion. We bought the Leaf mostly because we wanted to be part of the electric revolution. It wasn't a financial consideration at first. Sally had just got over cancer and we felt that we wanted to be a part of the future now. We still strongly feel that a year on. So to buy a new car that is not all electric or hybrid is not on our agenda, regardless of the cost to some extent. It isn't whether we can afford it, we can, it is whether we want to do it that is the driving force behind these decisions. Having said that, we don't want to just throw our money away so we must balance the financial costs against the other issues.
Having accepted that we will no longer buy a straight ICE car our options are still rather limited. Keeping the Leaf is an option for local trips but if we keep the Leaf a 2nd car would be mandatory for longer trips as now. Take vising the caravan for example. It is 79 miles each way. In the Leaf we can just make it in one hop. However, should we need to go somewhere else shortly after arriving, or should we need to return home the same day, we can't as the battery would be empty and a charge of about 10 hours is required before the return trip can be made. This sitaution was rather scary! We had arrived at the caravan but should either of us have any kind of emergency we were stuck without transport. It was at that moment I decided that perhaps the Leaf, with its 80 mile range and slow charging, was not suitable for going away to the caravan or on any long trips really. Fine is all goes well but should anything unexpected happen then I feel very, very exposed and vulnerable. If we kept the Leaf we could only use it for short trips and certainly not for visiting the caravan... something we do almost weekly in the cricket season.
So keeping the Leaf is not the answer for me and as we have mandated that we will only buy electric cars or good hybrids the only sensible answer for us seems to be the Ampera or Volt. We love the Ampera styling and hate the Volt styling so it must be the Ampera. We have test driven it twice now and truly love the car in much the same way we love the Leaf so replacing the Leaf with an Ampera would not be an issue emotionally. We can easily live with one car so it just comes down to whether we are happy financially with the change. The sums I did to come up with the figures above assumed a 25% depreciation year on year for the Leaf and Ampera and a 25%, 20%, 15% depreciation for the Freelander. These are guesses really but based on existing used cars prices. The loss of value since new is not considered as that has happened and is the same regardless of whether we sell or keep them. The figures strongly suggest that we would be better off financially by about £4000 after 3 years so that is not going to be a barrier.
So it boils down then to do we want to do it?
The jury is still deliberating but it is not looking good for the Leaf right now!!!!
BTW... we cannot bear to sell the Leaf so we are keeping the Leaf also. This means that as we both do mostly local driving we will have the two cars in electric mode for local trips and the Ampera available for all the trips we can't do in the Leaf.
Yes, it is a luxury and I am certain you could easily and sensibly argue that we don't need to spend this kind of money to acheive this but the fact is we just want to own an Ampera. Call us mad if you like and I won't disagree.
In fact, as far as the cars are concerned they are sensible cars for our use... it is just the cost that is the issue.