This is the end… maybe

Posted: November 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Again, I’ve been quiet of late. As before if I have nothing to say then why say anything.

The Leaf has done me proud, I have now crossed the 142k mark and it still works for me. I was very lucky in that I only lost 1 bar after over 125k of travel. Can I say what gave me such fortune, no. Do I have an idea on it, yes.

Damien Maguire built a prototype, 3 pin charger that only charges at 8amps. The idea was that it could be used with any size extension lead and still cause no load on the power line. He tried to market it (but was shot down). As a thanks to me for allowing him to use my car as a test bed for it, he gave me the prototype. I have used it as my majority of charging for 2 (maybe 3) years, and it is my opinion that the fact I got such long life out of my battery is because of this charger. In case, you wonder, I repeatedly rapid charged but the low charge rate from Damien’s charger made up for any negative effects. Again, this is only my opinion, I have no scientific evidence for this, but then again ask anyone on the Irish EV owners group. No one seems to ever have gotten to 125k+ before losing a bar.

Anyhow, I write this post now because 1, I haven’t for a long time and 2, I may be finsihing up with it.

I wrote this blog to be honest about what it was like to own an EV. I believe I have achieved that. When I started this blog there was only a hand full of us (Brian, you can contest to this). Now the EV community has just grown from strength to…

So why am I saying goodbye (or maybe goodbye). Well, I dont know what more I can say, the Nissan Leaf I bought in 2011 has been amazing. A fantastic buy. I have saved so much on fuel by now I can’t even tell you anymore. At last count, it was just over 21k on diesel. That’s not a feckin small amount. The car cost me 36k, but to save save 21k over 4 years is not to be sneezed at either. Just so you understand, the 21k is the last check I did. I’m absolutley sure that its closer to 25k by now, I just gave up on checking the numbers. I just got used to enjoying the driving experience of my EV.

On a side note, myself and my partner had another kid (4 now) and I really really wanted the eNV 200 (7 seater). It ain’t out so I had to buy a 7 seater Trajet. Good car but I’d love to have the 200. Just in case anyone ever meets me in the diesel.

So, let’s get to the reason for this post (other than my usual yearly post). On December 1st, I will be now on my 4th year of driving an EV (a Nissan Leaf to be precise). Have I enjoyed it, FUCK yeah. Would I go back to petrol/diesel….. You must be fucking mad.. never.. never ever. I love a big diesel enough, I really do. Love the sound, love the grunt,…. but not enough. I love, love, …. I fucking LOVE…. getting up in the morning to a car that is, defrosted, warm, ready for driving (and I’m the model 1 version of the car, I’m so jealous of the guys/gals with heated steering, seats, etc). A car that responds instantly, when you put your foot down, not 2 secs later when the turbo kicks in, now!!.  No one can tell me how good that feels. How good it feels when some asshole sits beside you at the lights, revs, and trys to pull off in front of you and skip in, only to find when they are charging gear, they are now in my rear view mirror.

The car aint a drag car, it aint a rocket, but off the mark, it leaves 70% of cars on the line…. While they fumble with gears, I’m gone.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think I’m sided in 1 way or the other. After all Nissan have never given me anything, neither have ESB. All my posts are from actual real life experience. So please bare with me.

So getting to why I say, “the end”, I have been offered the chance to upgrade to the new “25okm” version of the Leaf. The 30KW battery. Am I tempted, yes. Is it worth it for me…. I dont know. The original model I have still does what I need. Yes, I have to charge a bit more than before but I still make it from Tipperary/Laois to Citywest on a charge. So why change?

It’s true, I have to charge more than I did before. Is it enough to upgrade, maybe! The difference between the mark 1 version and the latest version is big. 250km on a charge (170km in honest use) is big. I only ever got 120km on average, but I always got 120km, always. Just about no-one in Ireland needs more than that. After 150km driving you need a rest, why not charge while you have a sandwich.

So, anyway, Nissan have offered me an upgrade, 8,800k (trade-in) for my 4 year, 142k+ km Leaf. I think it’s pretty fair. Not only is my car well used but there is a serious dent in the rear passenger quarter panel and door. So I reckon the offer is fair enough, considering the price of the mark 1 has plummeted. I’m not annoyed at the price of my car going down so bad (it was 36k when I bought it 4 year ago). I’m actually delighted that the Leaf, Zoe, i3 and others have increased so well that mine is worth so little. It means the progress of these vehicles is increasing all the time.

Now, that makes people think… I wont buy now, sure his car is worth so little… but I have saved easily more than 21k in fuel over the last 4 years.

Also in full disclosure, I am still paying for my car. €673 a month. I am on my last year now.

So to get back to the Nissan deal.

Nissan Windsor offered me 8,800 trade-in. With what I owe still on the car, which is now 8,256 to AIB leasing, it will work out at 530 per month for the next 5 years if I extend the loan.

So I’m on the fence, I can continue to pay 673 for 1 more year and then be free to try a new deal or buy a different car (Mitsubishi, BMW i3 etc.), or extend my loan and have a new model Leaf (with 30KW pack). I have asked for the cold pack so need to get the new quote with it. I’d also like to have the 6kw charger and solar panel. Anyway, thats a decision I will need to make. It does not take, in anyway, from the fact that I made the right decision by going electric. I have never, ever, looked back.

Now, on to my last subject…. The new ESB charges.

I have stayed quiet for a long time, even after they announced these charges.

Time to speak up.

What the fuck, are ESB eCars thinking. I mean really!!!

I appreciate the idea of charging by the minute on FC’s when it comes to ignorant muppets that are charging the last 20-10% and keeping others waiting. Yeah, the only way to punish pr*cks like that is to charge by the minute….. but…. charging by the minute is technically unsound.

30cent per minute.

In winter it costs you more than in summer. Petrol doesnt work like that. You per litre and thats it.

We live in a techincalogical time. Why cant you have your street charging attached to your house bill. At the end of every electricity bill, just a charge for the street charging. Seems simple to me. I work in the computer industry, I know it can be done.

FCP charges: You can see by going onto EV owners groups (see I said groups, stupid but thats where we are) that charging this way actually costs more than petrol.


ESB eCars, COP ON!!!.

Anyhow, at the end of 4 years with an EV and over 142000km of driving, I can say this. I love my EV. I love my Nissan Leaf. I love the the Renault Zoe with its ability to use a street charger to the best (in a way that the Leaf cant). I love the Tesla 3. I love that the EV industry is constantly upping its game. I love that EVs are being more popular, although I hate it means I have to wait longer in queue to get a charge, after all when I started I had the CPs to myself (with the exception of Brian and a few others).

So is this good bye….. maybe..

If I get a good enough deal from Nissan then its the end for this EV (4 years of great work). If I dont and keep the mark 1 Leaf, I dont know what I can tell you anymore. The car has done everything I asked it. It still does. I have no more to tell you about having an EV. Make up your own mind if you want one. For me, I’ll never go back.

  1. Joe McCarthy says:

    Great piece of writing …(well worth correcting the couple of typos for posterity). I always enjoyed your writings and will be sorry if it’s at an all end. You are one of the pioneers of the EV movement in Ireland. I enjoyed our couple of cooperations, such as, the Hilton in Kilmainham. If you do upgrade to the new LEAF, as I think you will, I would still value your opinion and views.

  2. Graham Wilson says:

    Hi self sufficiency,

    I have always enjoyed your reports, and bought a 13 Leaf two years ago.

    Your latest report hits the mark with the esb ecars charges – and I wish we could get the message over to them more emphatically.

    All best

    Graham Wilson

  3. Dan says:

    I have been following your blog for a long time now. Recently I seriously considered an EV. In the future if my commute is less I will seriously consider it. Especially if second hand EV cars are such a bargain!

    It would be ideal if chargers could know when you are up for work in the morning and intelligently charge as slowly as possible to be nice to the batteries. Even if this could be done by the car, where you say charge this time slowly. The app already allow you to warm it up before you leave the house so this could be easily done.

    I have also looked at natural gas conversion as a realistic option. There is a refilling station near my home and it can automatically switch over to conventional fuel when the tank is empty.

    In both cases second hand makes far more financial sense, although the cost of changing vehicle is keeping me with my diesel car for the moment.

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