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Leaf EV vs C-Max Energi  RSS feed

 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2044
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
174
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Now that we are settling into Portland, and I am once again earning a paycheck, we are pondering a different car for me. Right now I am driving a 2000 VW Golf TDI with 210K miles on it. It's been a great car, it used to average 48-49 mpg per tank (meaning, mixed use - both city and highway) but now it's not getting as many miles per gallon. OK, still over 40, but that's diesel fuel. We've repaired almost all the major motor systems--it's going to keep going for quite some time--but it's beginning to show its age. The seat heater has a short in it that threatens to catch fire to the seat cushion, so it can't be used. The front bumper catches on parking curbs and pulls away from the car on the right side, then drags on the ground until I shove it back where it belongs. The entire front right wheel well came out when I bumped a particularly steep and tall curb while parking. I have it, but it's in the back of the car because it ripped in a couple of places. It has several spots that need to be sanded/derusted and repainted. Little things, really. . .

Two cars we are considering are the C-Max Energi and the Leaf EV. Both will seat 5: the C-Max has more headroom (and a huge sunroof that is cool) but the Leaf actually has more cargo space because the Energi has extra batteries (versus the regular C-Max) that take up maybe half the space in the hatchback. My commute to work is brief (~12 miles) but includes both city and highway driving. I could just about make it there and back on just electricity with the C-Max, and if I can charge it at work then certainly I could. I should be able to drive to work, and back, and all around on a single charge with the Leaf.

The C-Max will be a bit more versatile in that it can head off into the wild blue yonder without worrying about finding a charging station every 90 minutes (or less). The Leaf is a simpler machine, and there's something appealing about that.

I could go on, but I'd like to hear what you think.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Electric only worries me. No way would I want that little range with no way to quickly "top off." Yes it is simple, but that leash is really limiting. It is a golf cart with AC in my book. Toyota made a generator trailer for the original RAV4-based EV prototypes. You basically recharged as you went. The idea was they would rent you the trailer when you wanted to take a road trip. Obviously they didn't go anywhere with the idea, but it might come back again.

 
Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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Our family has been known to just up and go to the beach on a couple days notice from time to time. If this describes you, I would not recommend the Leaf unless you had another way to get out of town.

Our family just got ourselves a Fusion Hybrid Thanksgiving weekend. We really like the car, but so far their fuel economy estimates are not close to real world driving (It's still a damn sight better than our previous POS, though, so it's not a big deal). We were getting around 38mpg before the freeze and now we're getting about 32 or 33. Ford claims we wont see optimal mileage until we get to 6000 miles and right now we have 350, so we'll see. I do expect the mileage to get better as we recover from our little freeze, but the point I'm trying to make is your Energi may not get quite the EV range you envision unless you don't mind leaving the heat off and not listening to your radio. It may still be a worthy investment, but it's something to note.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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Julia, just an off-topic note... I hope you've discovered Powell's. It's the best book store in the world. One of the best parts of Portland!
 
Julia Winter
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Posts: 2044
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
174
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Thanks for the input! We do have a second vehicle, a 2004 (2006?) Honda Odyssey minivan that we use for car pooling kids to school and road trips, so even with an EV, a trip to the beach/mountains is possible with the van. Of course, the mileage on the van is not good. . .

I'm embarrassed to say we still haven't been to Powell's City of Books. I'm well aware of the place--when I was here for just one day in the mid-90's I made the time to visit it then. However, we asked for gift certificates in lieu of presents for the girls' birthdays this summer and we got lots of Barnes and Noble gift certificates. Thus, all our recent book buying trips have been to the Lloyd Center's B&N. Still, we're going to get Powell's gift certificates from Midwestern relatives for Christmas!

Right now we've discovered a place that specializes in VW TDI's. We need to check out the price of biodiesel (there's a place near us in Cully that sells it) and perhaps we will trade in the Golf for a 2004 Passat wagon. I generally feel more comfortable buying a used car than a new one, so if biodiesel is feasible, this may be the way to go. I'm just bummed that the Passat wagon TDI's don't seem to have a manual transmission option--I'm quite fond of coasting, and you need a clutch for that. Hubby tells me that diesels use very little fuel when idling, so taking my foot off the accelerator will accomplish almost the same thing.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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The TDI is wonderful. I'm thinking hard about getting one.
 
ronie dee
Posts: 619
Location: NW MO
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Julia Winter wrote:Now that we are settling into Portland, and I am once again earning a paycheck, we are pondering a different car for me.

Two cars we are considering are the C-Max Energi and the Leaf EV.

I could go on, but I'd like to hear what you think.


The Leaf is "Consumer Reports" pick for EV's for 2014. It gets 129 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). The Tesla is better, but the price tag is $90,000. The Leaf has a track record since 2011. If you average less than 100 miles per day consider the Leaf. I love the Leaf and am hooked on EV's forever. I get 110 miles per charge in town and it is about 106 for hwy driving. There is a van and a sports car scheduled to be released April 2014 - I don't know if they have been released yet, don't care as the money I save on gas with the Leaf, vs the gas vehicle I was driving, pays for the Leaf.

I'm hoping for a decent electric truck in the near future.
 
Markus Loeffler
Posts: 30
Location: Altadena, CA, USA
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Julia,

I have a LEAF since 3 years now and I am very happy with this car. I use it every day for work commute and weekend activities. Especially getting a carpool lane sticker makes my work commutes a pleasure. I use a mix of roads and freeway and get an average of 75 miles out of a charge. If you want to find out about charging station i can recommend these apps: "PlugShare" and "ChargePoint" so you see what is available at your important destinations.
My cost of driving dropped from $120 (Gasoline) to about $30 (electric) each month. I do get an average of 4.4 miles/kWh out of the LEAF
 
Julia Winter
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Posts: 2044
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
174
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An electric van would be super cool! We could retire our Honda Odyssey minivan. . .
 
Tina Lee
Posts: 27
Location: Garrison, Montana
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I bought a Leaf in March of 2012 and love it. I can haul more in it than I had thought and it has not failed me even when the temperature was below zero. We used it for our commute to work approximately 56 miles round trip and the saving in gas (we only have trucks) almost paid for the car. The insurance is not high and neither are the taxes (at least not here). Now that there are charging stations going in around Montana I am pretty excited. Before we had to drive a gas guzzling truck for long trips.
 
Julia Winter
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Posts: 2044
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
174
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Update: we ended up buying a "clean diesel" (HA!!) Jetta TDI VW wagon, but I never loved that car like I loved my old Golf TDI. Then we sold the giant "mini" van and got an all-electric VW Golf.

The e-Golf has been a terrific car for us. We were planning to install a fast charger, but we still haven't done that. We are charging the car by running an outdoor extension cord from the back of our house to the driveway in front. It works. It's not fast, but in the morning we've got 70-90 miles, and that is way more than we need. It's kind of fun to sit down and realize you are awash in charge, so you can just fire up the seat heater and indulge in jackrabbit starts for the fun of it. This car is zippy! I usually drive like a hyper miler, but sometimes it's fun to leave some jerk in the dust. . .

More recently we ditched the stinky Jetta and got a Ford C-Max Energi. The two cars are sharing the same charger, Max charges mostly during the day and EV charges mostly at night. It's been great.
 
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