Thursday, January 31, 2013

We Put a Deposit on a Nissan Leaf...

4 days ago (on Sunday) we decided it was time to look into replacing our old but very trusted Toyota Corolla.  We'd surpassed the 200,000 mile mark on the odometer, and that dear car had been nothing but good to us, but it was time.  Instead of putting more money into repairs it was going to need, we decided to go shopping.

It was at our 4th dealership that hubby came practically running back to the car where I sat with the children who were tired of car shopping in the freezing cold, and gasped something along the lines of, "You have to come in the showroom.  I've just found our new car!"

There it was.  A 2011 previously-owned but hardly used, fully-loaded and looking brand-new Nissan Leaf.  (You know, the fully electric car.  I wrote about it back in 2010.  Funny that this one was the same shade of blue as the one I pictured here on the blog!)  It even had solar panels on the spoiler.  We were instantly smitten.  Seriously, we were making goo-goo eyes at the car... THE perfect car for The GREEN CT Realtor.  We were practically doing cartwheels in the showroom.  We put down a deposit because we would need to come back on Monday for a test drive - we had friends coming over in 40 minutes and had to get home.

Monday we had a snowstorm topped off with freezing rain/sleet so we rescheduled for Tuesday.  Hubby cleaned out the Corolla for a trade-in and left early for work because the roads might be icy after the storm on Monday.  Turns out they weren't icy at all, but that wasn't the reason why hubby called me just 15 minutes after he left for work.  He had been in a car accident - a woman had pulled out right in front of him here in town, and he'd been too close to stop in time.  Our car was totaled.  (So much for the trade-in!)  The other driver was at fault.  I had to pick up hubby from the emergency room.  (His back & neck are hurting.  Hopefully that passes.)

So after hubby spent the day on ice packs and taking the meds prescribed at the hospital, we went back to the dealership for the test drive thinking we were going to be driving home the new car.  The test drive went really well, but the salesman wasn't able to answer the questions we had about some of the technical aspects of the car, questions about the batteries and mostly the electrical questions.  OK, so we had a lot of questions, all very reasonable.  We're actually great candidates for an electric car because we generate our own electricity with our 40 PV solar panels.  Also, when hubby built the carriage house garage he ran a dedicated 240 line with the intent of an electric car in our future.  Smart guy, right!

Turns out, we had a LOT more questions than they had answers for, and the cost of having to replace the cell batteries under the car when the warranty ran out could potentially be as much as the price of a whole new car.  It also took much longer to charge than we initially thought, and the lack of infrastructure to support electric cars in our area could be a concern.  The perks like the tax credits that came with buying it new didn't apply to buying it pre-owned.  We started to doubt.  As much fun as the car was to drive (and it is super peppy!) and as much as we love the GREEN aspect of the Nissan Leaf, we just didn't feel secure in our decision to buy it.  There were too many uncertainties, and we don't have the luxury (and by that I mean money) to take a chance on losing money that quickly.  So even though the car that had been $40,000 fully-loaded in 2011 was now $24,000 we went home without it.  Even though it can go about 100 miles per charge and hubby only drives about 30 - 40 miles per day, and even though we'd never have to buy gas for it, we went home without it.  Even though it has an app for our iPhones called CarWings that could start, heat & cool the car from our phones and give other real time information about the car - how cool is that? - we all drove home in my Mazda.  I'm still a little sad.... the way you're sad after a breakup when you know it wouldn't have worked out but you're sad just the same.

Will there be another electric car in our future?  Perhaps.  I hope so.  We just need a better understanding of what we're getting into - and we weren't able to get that in this experience.  Perhaps the technology is still too new for those answers at this time.  Perhaps we look at the hybrids, but find the same questions come up when it comes to the battery/electric aspect.

If you happen to own a Leaf, I'd love to hear your experience with it!
Thanks for reading!

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