Sunday, April 4, 2010

Leaf Prices Announced

Now that the Nissan Leaf has announced its pricing I feel a little better about deciding to give back #380. The purchase price as low as $25,280 with all tax credits and a lease price of $349 / month + $2,000 initial payment is less than the $600 for the Mini-e even considering the additional insurance costs of the Leaf.

Also considering the Leaf has similar range as the Mini-e but also has 4 doors and a back seat (although the size of the person that can sit in the back is unknown :). It also has more storage.

From the Nissan Web Site:

The vehicle at the standard SV trim level is well-equipped with a variety of standard features, including an advanced navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, including pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control. Nissan LEAF is equipped with energy-efficient LED headlights and makes extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials, such as seat fabric, instrument panel materials, and front- and rear-bumper fascias. Other standard amenities include Bluetooth connectivity; Intelligent-key with push button start; Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities and roadside assistance. Safety features include vehicle dynamic control (stability control), traction control and six airbags. The SL trim level, available for an additional $940 (MSRP), adds features including rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler, fog lights, and automatic headlights.

I don't know if I will get a Leaf next year or a Volt or something else, but the option to be "first in line" to get the BMW does not seem so important any more. In reality, I don't want to be first again. I will wait 6 months to a year and see which of the cars perform the best in the real world and then make a decision.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Giving #380 back in June

Well - after a lot of thought, I decided to turn #380 back in at the end of the current lease. They made the decision a little easier by making the lease payments $600 and saying that new credit applications would have to be completed. I don't need the hassle of "un-freezing" my credit reports so they can "check" again on a customer that always pays on time. A lower payment would have made the decision more difficult - mostly because I still enjoy driving the car.

I have a car (as I presume most of us do) that I also pay for and use for longer trips than the mini-e can handle. Also, I use the alternate car whenever I need even a minimal amount of storage space.

The car has been fun. I will certainly consider an electric in the near future - it looks like electric cars are finally here to stay.

I would like to hear from others on why they decided to either keep the car or turn it in.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How Cold Is It - My mini-e Ramblings

I have not written anything for many months - but I have been driving. Overall I am still happy with the car. I have had no problems at all. But after 6+ months of driving I have a few observations.

1. My commute is 40 miles round trip and the car is perfect. Even with limited range in the cold (more about that later) I have no problem getting back and forth from work.

2. I still really need another car. I would have loved to take the mini-e on trips, but the limited range and long re-charge times make the car impractical for anything but commuting and local shopping.

3. Now that the weather had turned REALLY cold in NJ I find that the maximum range I can expect is around 70 miles. Again, this is no problem for my commute, but may present problems for people that go a little further.

4. As much as I hate to say this, I think the all electric model as an individuals sole car is not here yet. I would like 400+ miles range and less than 15 minute charge times (or easy replacement battery technology). Perhaps the Chevy Volt model is a good interim approach. Charge my batteries when they are low from the gas engine. This will be used infrequently if the electric range is sufficient but would eliminate the need for an alternate car for longer trips.

5. Now that the announcement has been made that there will be options to extend our leases, I would expect the cost to be significantly less (Free would be nice!!!). We shall see.

6. It is really a pain not having any storage space (backseat or trunk). We knew about this going in, but it still something that I miss. I have had a few boxes that I needed to take to work several times and was forced to take another car because even a few boxes did not fit on the seat next to me.

7. The people using the cars in California are not getting the "fun" we having in east with the cold.

8. The Snow Tires that were put on the car work and are needed. Before they were put on, the car slipped like crazy. No problems now.

9. I only have about 3,500 miles on the car, but in the same 6 month time-frame I have driven other cars more than 3,000 miles (where I would have taken the mini-e if I could have).