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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking of replacing the wife's car (2011 Toyota Verso 1.3 petrol) for a while and an electric car seems the perfect replacement as my wife does 5-6k miles a year and doesn't go far from home so home charging will be fine. Up to a year ago I was a little sceptical about EV's but since getting a Prius as a company car I've grown to love electric driving (its just a shame it only lasts a mile or two on a petrol hybrid but its just so nice!!!) and that's made an EV very appealing (along with the no tax and cheaper electric running costs. I've been looking at the various electric cars that can be purchased used and I keep coming back to the Nissan Leaf. We're looking at a budget of around £10K. I've found a 2017 30KWh 3.3KW charger Black edition with 35k miles. It looks nearly ideal but I thought I'd ask for advice what to look for as I've never bought a used EV before and have a clue what to look for and what questions to ask. I'm guessing the most important question is about battery condition and potential outstanding warranty. Dc charging port is another question to ask as I gather that could be useful too.

Any advice would be gratefully appreciated as I'm so new to EV's.
 

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I've been thinking of replacing the wife's car (2011 Toyota Verso 1.3 petrol) for a while and an electric car seems the perfect replacement as my wife does 5-6k miles a year and doesn't go far from home so home charging will be fine. Up to a year ago I was a little sceptical about EV's but since getting a Prius as a company car I've grown to love electric driving (its just a shame it only lasts a mile or two on a petrol hybrid but its just so nice!!!) and that's made an EV very appealing (along with the no tax and cheaper electric running costs. I've been looking at the various electric cars that can be purchased used and I keep coming back to the Nissan Leaf. We're looking at a budget of around £10K. I've found a 2017 30KWh 3.3KW charger Black edition with 35k miles. It looks nearly ideal but I thought I'd ask for advice what to look for as I've never bought a used EV before and have a clue what to look for and what questions to ask. I'm guessing the most important question is about battery condition and potential outstanding warranty. Dc charging port is another question to ask as I gather that could be useful too.

Any advice would be gratefully appreciated as I'm so new to EV's.
DC charging port will be standard on a 30kWh black edition.

Definitely battery condition is the most important, it can vary A LOT!

The Nissan battery condition report from servicing is useless, so pay no attention to it if there is one (it has 5 star ratings on).

You'll need the Leaf Spy app and a compatible OBD reader to connect and check the battery state of health accurately.
 

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Can't speak to specifics of the car you're looking at, but I've been very happily driving a Leaf for a year and my biggest regret by far is that it took me two years to get round to buying one; if I'd been decisive I could have been enjoying EV (and savings) for three years already. AFAIK all Leafs have Chademo DC charging, we've found it handy a few times for a top-up when out and about (you can add a fair amount of range in the time it takes to buy some chocolate, given a charger at a local supermarket). Most charging is at home at night rate, which is both convenient (no more petrol station queues) and cheap.

Oh, and the Leaf is a much bigger car that I initially thought; it'll take a mountain bike withe the front wheel removed if you fold the seats, and half a dozen 25kg bags of horse feed without folding the seats.
 

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In your situation, I would consider using a forum member who offers a 'buy to order' service for around a £350 fee. He is based on Orkney but can buy and deliver anywhere in the UK. You give him your wish list and budget and he uses his trade contacts to source a car for you. This is a vid he produced to explain the service and an example of a recent deal.

 

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There’s a 2017 Tekna currently listed in the Classifieds.
Leaf Tekna
 

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I would say go for it, I bought a Leaf about 3 years ago and it was a great move. They are generally very reliable cars and there's not many problems to look out for. Obviously they can go wrong and the electrics have the potential to be expensive, but so does any car and the Leaf isn't a known for being a problem car. The more you read on this forum the more you will find out about the Leaf.

Buy the 30kWh battery version, you'll want to use it for most of your driving and the 24kWh battery is quite restrictive on range.

Leafspy is good if you have concerns about the battery but it's not essential if that feels a step too far. There are some cars with the battery in better condition than others but any 30kWh Leaf with 12 battery bars showing on the dash will be more than adequate for your wife's low mileage. Some dealers will have the leafspy app and be able to give you a screen shot of the battery health and that would be great if they can do that.

The only other thing I can think of to watch out for is the wear on the rear tyres. There have been some issues with the rear tyres wearing very unevenly due to the rear suspension set up so they need replacing much earlier than normal. There's a very long thread on the forum about it. I think it was mostly resolved by the time of the black edition cars but it's still worth a glance at the rear tyres to check they aren't worn much more on either the inside or outside edge.
The Leaf I bought had this slightly, but not enough to wear the tyres out too quickly and I didn't notice any other issues with it.

They are great cars and sounds ideal for your use, go for it and enjoy EV driving.
 

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I have had a 30kw Leaf since new and love it. some good advice above. Mine has the 7kw (6.6kw?) charger which makes charging away from home quicker but to be honest, nowadays most of my charging is done overnight at home.

I have never used Leafspy and the App never worked so I gave up on that. I can do most of the stuff I need to do either on my Zappi Charger (charging overnight) or using the Leaf software (warming up the cabin on cold mornings etc).

The only other advice is, if you are going on a journey, watch some of the Youtubers for advice on where and when to charge (Tesla Bjorn) did a great video, on a what a journalist did wrong - I learnt a lot from that.

Go for it!
 

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If buying a 30kWh car make sure that the Nissan dealer service history is up to date otherwise the battery warranty may not be honoured.

If using LEAFSpy doing so at full charge is of limited value - it is of most value at low states of charge so run the battery down below very low battery warning (VLBW) and then check for the difference between the cell voltages. The State of Health (SoH) reading can be misleading depending on what version of the software has been applied and depending on how the car has been charged over the last few charges. It typically will be in the region of 90% +/- 4% for a car of that age which can mean anything from "about to lose its first bar" to "near perfect".

Don't forget that the LEAF30 had 27.5kWh battery capacity from new, so 90% is around 24kWh which at 3miles/kWh in cold weather and short journeys is 72 miles range - seemingly plenty for your planned use. But like any EV that could be frustrating on longer journeys where you might want a 20 mile reserve to find a working Rapid charger (hence only 50 ish miles) and then can only Rapid charge to 80% so adding only around 40 miles (72 * 0.8 = 58 miles less 20 miles already in battery = 38 miles) so less than ideal on long journeys.
 

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Listen out for any suspension clonks over bumps and noisy wheel bearings. Drive slowly over speed bumps and also at speed around bends. When accelerating hard check traction control doesn't activate unnecessarily. Check steering wheel is straight.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
 

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My Leaf is for sale in the Classifieds section of this forum - 30 KwH Tekna 2017.
It's a brilliant car! The price is negotiable, too, so do PM me if you're interested.
 

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I keep looking at a similar spec of car but personally would only go for the 6.6kW charger version. The idea of charging at 3kW just seems too slow, the car wouldn't get enough charge the four hours on Octopus Go and even now on Agile making the most of the short low periods is much better with a faster charge rate.

Currently I have a Zoe and being able to add 25 miles(ish) of range in a hour is acceptable when you find you need to go out again but the range is at a point where you'd be in squeaky bum territory when you got back home.

@JennyJ Is your car a 3.3kW or 6.6kW charger? Adding an image of the charge screen from the dash would be helpful.
 
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It's a 3.3. We've never found it to be an issue; if we need to charge quickly, we use a rapid, otherwise it's easy to put it on to charge overnight at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the replies, they are very helpful. We are in a lucky position where the EV shall be used mainly by my wife who’s commute is a 20 mile round trip and we have access to a petrol hybrid so that reduces the need for relying on it for longer journeys. I expect we will only need to charge twice a week if it’s my wife who solely uses it, but I doubt that will happen as I will likely want to use it at weekends for short local trips. Having the DC quick charge available will be good if we ever need it but I expect most charging will be done overnight at home. I doubt we will go further than 40-50 miles from home in it but good to know we could potentially go further.

Battery wise I’d prefer a 30kwh over the 24kwh just for the extra range. A 2017 plate would be ideal as I gather it’s the last year before the model change.
 

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Personally as listed above I'd look at a cheaper one, maybe one thats lost a bar or two on the battery but is under the budget a good bit.

IE a 2015/6 30Kwh Tekna with upto 70k miles on it and under £10k.
Now hear me out on this.
Your only doing 6k a year, say maybe 7k at a push. Over the next 4yrs before the battery warranty runs out your going to do 28k miles...

That would keep you under the mileage and age limit for the battery warranty and for the cost of a nissan dealer service annually would make a warranty claim easier. Which will be needed on the battery before the warranty expires.
Then when it hits you get a nice recon or new 40kwh battery from nissan as there isnt a way for them to recon or build new 30kwh packs with ease.
Your then left with a car with a much better battery than most of the others on the road and with high value. thus you've lost in depreciation. and as you wouldnt need to worry about the range drop from a lower health battery for your mileage and usage youd be fine. The lack of mileage may even push the battery health down more so would help get you a new battery quicker....
 

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@Kingpled1 I think your assumption that the battery degrades to a 70% or less at exactly the right time might be a bit off. I know some very old leaf batteries have plummeted quite badly but with the latest BMS and the 30kW pack I am not so sure it will go down that far in the time/distance for the warranty. Get it just slightly wrong and you end up stuck with a degraded pack, even if you get it perfectly right you still have to put up with a degraded pack for a while which is going to be a pain.

Also you mentioned that there is no way for the to easily recon a pack, but for the cost of a new one I'd be utterly amazed if they started giving away 40kWh packs. Opening up a battery and swapping the few cells that are faulty isn't hard for those in the know with the right tools. They don't have to do it on your pack then and there, just pull yours out, slave in a pack that is "OK" and then take yours off to be reconditioned which will then be put in someone else's car.
I've been looking in to swapping the pack for a larger version but just getting hold of the packs is flippin' expensive.

@JennyJ.....Oooooooh what I'd do to have a rapid even remotely close to me. I'd need to travel about 12 miles, normally in the wrong direction to get to the nearest Polar. 😢
 
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@Kingpled1 I think your assumption that the battery degrades to a 70% or less at exactly the right time might be a bit off. I know some very old leaf batteries have plummeted quite badly but with the latest BMS and the 30kW pack I am not so sure it will go down that far in the time/distance for the warranty. Get it just slightly wrong and you end up stuck with a degraded pack, even if you get it perfectly right you still have to put up with a degraded pack for a while which is going to be a pain.

Also you mentioned that there is no way for the to easily recon a pack, but for the cost of a new one I'd be utterly amazed if they started giving away 40kWh packs. Opening up a battery and swapping the few cells that are faulty isn't hard for those in the know with the right tools. They don't have to do it on your pack then and there, just pull yours out, slave in a pack that is "OK" and then take yours off to be reconditioned which will then be put in someone else's car.
I've been looking in to swapping the pack for a larger version but just getting hold of the packs is flippin' expensive.

@JennyJ.....Oooooooh what I'd do to have a rapid even remotely close to me. I'd need to travel about 12 miles, normally in the wrong direction to get to the nearest Polar. 😢
Zarni they are already putting 40kwh packs in to 30kwh leafs globally. I think there's some cases in the states of late 24kwh vehicles getting them.

I don't think the calculation is that off.
If a car has done that amount of miles already and not degraded much it's going to mount up as the latest firmware just masks the issues they already had by expanding the available power from the pack.

We will see what happens over the next few years but a car that's warranty runs out on the battery in 2024 is well worth buying if you can keep that mileage below the threshold....
The amount of cars out there with 12bars is very high but very very few give you an actual soh which varies wildly between 85-96% I've seen one advertised with this year, it'll come down quickly enough though for those buying with high soh I think.
 

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Ok. I stand corrected then. Some people are getting a nice upgrade. I'd be singing Nissan's praises if they changed my 24 for a 40.
 
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Having just bought a 30kWh Leaf a few months ago the two things I'd recommend above all else are:

1) Check the battery health with Leafspy before buying, especially if you're buying privately or from an EV illiterate dealer. Leaf batteries are known to degrade faster than many other EV's but there can be quite a spread from good to poor battery health among cars of similar age or mileage - the only way to know is check. If the battery health is poor for its age/mileage or what you're willing to pay, walk away. There are plenty of others to choose from and another one will come up.

2) Make sure that you find the drivers seat comfortable on an extended test drive. (!!) I don't find the unadorned drivers seat comfortable at all, and I'm still playing around with different padding/covers etc months later trying to find something truly acceptable. I'm still getting significant hip and tailbone pain while driving.

I've talked at length in a couple of other threads about what I believe is wrong with the seat design so I won't rehash it all here again but very quickly, I find the base doesn't have enough back tilt for a 6 footer, (and lacks any base tilt adjustment) and the side bolsters on the base are too close together, too tall and pointy and too hard so they dig into my legs. In addition there is no reach adjustment for the steering wheel.

I suspect people with narrow bottoms and/or shorter legs will find the seat perfectly comfortable but those with longer legs and/or wider bottoms will find it quite uncomfortable.

I'm referring to the "leather" Tekna seats - I have no idea what the cloth seats in the Acenta are like to sit in.

Aside from the seat and a slightly firm ride I'm very happy with the car. It's not particularly fast (certainly not compared to my ICE) but it makes a good family/commuter car.

I do a mixed urban/motorway 38 mile day round trip commute - in July I was getting home with 67% charge remaining and now in winter on the coldest days we've had so far (-1C) with the heater cranked up to nice warm 22C I'm getting home with about 57% remaining, so a 20 mile round trip in comfort would be a piece of cake on a 30kWh.

Although a 30 is quite a bit more expensive than a 24, when you factor in keeping a ~20 mile safety buffer the increase in useable range over the 24 is a lot more than it first seems, and the 30 will also rapid charge much faster than the 24 so is better for the occasional longer trip that might be made.

We've done quite a few day trips on the order of 110-120 miles which only required a short 10-15 minute top up at a rapid charger on the first half of the return leg to get home with plenty of spare range up our sleeves, so if you're willing to stop at one rapid charger, journeys in the 120 mile range are quite feasible.
 

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For anyone interested in our Leaf, I've just ordered an OBD dongle, so I'll be adding the LeafSpy SOH to the listing as soon as it arrives.
 
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