The owners of the first Nissan Leaf e+ to reach Australian shores have reported that after driving it for one year they have broken even on the cost of owning the vehicle, showing just how economical electric cars can be to run.
The Leaf e+ is a step up from Nissan’s original Leaf, packing a 62kWh battery that offers up to 385km driving range. It is available to order new from Nissan from $64,990 driveaway.
Karen and Shane Maher, who imported the Leaf e+ they dubbed Yuki as a “grey import” from Japan last September before Nissan made the vehicle available to buy new in Australia, have driven a little more than 30,000kms in the last twelve months, charging mainly at home off their Zappi wall charger.
The savings from not having to pay for fuel to run their Nissan X-Trail instead – almost $4,000 – mean that the registration, insurance and maintenance costs have left them out of pocket by only $100 or so.
In a video released on their Youtube channel “EV4ME” they describe their ownership experience and break down the savings and costs.
“We imported this from Japan a year ago and time just flies, and yeah we’ve been driving around for last 12 months we’re more than happy with it. You know, it makes driving enjoyable … and that’s very rare to say about a car,” says Shane.
Karen, who works in disability support, says the Leaf has made her a favourite amongst clients, particularly those with hearing sensitivities.
“I use it for work and for shopping,” she says, adding that, “My clients love that it’s quiet and that we’re doing the right thing for the environment.”
“It’s fabulous not having to go into a service station or anything like that,” says Shane. “…it’s just a wonderful way to get around.”
Another advantage of their electric vehicle that is perhaps less spoken about but the couple have found very noticeable is the lack of fumes.
“One added advantage is it’s less smelly,” says Shane.
“That sounds like a bit of a strange thing to say but when the car’s in your driveway because it doesn’t have a tailpipe and you haven’t got all those exhaust and emission smells that are all around and you only really notice it when you’re behind another car or you’re sitting at a set of traffic lights and you’ll have your windows down,” the couple says.
“That’s one thing you don’t really appreciate until you actually have an electric vehicle.”
Zero range anxiety
Having taken a number of trips in Yuki throughout the last year – from a range test without charging over 350km arriving home with 4% on the battery, to a weekend getaway covering 1,000km in three days, to a drive out to Dubbo Zoo – has afforded the couple lots of great opportunities to enjoy the vehicle.
“It’s not a hassle,” says Shane. “You know (how) jump into a car wondering, ‘I’ve got to drive to Sydney it’s going to cost me 60 bucks’ – you know it costs a lot less than … when driving an electric vehicle.”
“It brings the enjoyment back into traveling,” he says. “Taking those Sunday afternoon drives to Stanthorpe winery or something like that, you know it really brings the passion back into the driving and that’s what we like about this vehicle.”
Side note: assumptions that the Leaf e+ has the same gentle driving experience are wrong, say the couple – its zippy acceleration has landed them with at least one speeding ticket.
“You can’t hear the revs so you just don’t realise you are speeding,” says Karen.
How much does it cost to run?
When they first got the vehicle delivered it had 11,549 km on it. One year later, it has 42,123 km on the clock.
“So if we take those numbers away from each other we have travelled 30,574km in one year in an electric vehicle. That’s a lot of travel,” says Shane.
Shane says that over that year, the Zappi wall charger used 4,644kWh of energy at a cost of 18.89 cents per kWh.
“That’s $877 of electricity for the whole year just to run that electric vehicle for a bit over 30,000 km,” he says.
They compare it to their X-Trail for the pure and simple fact that it is the vehicle they are not driving thanks to owning the Leaf.
“So basically our X-Trail sucks down 11 litres of petrol per 100km,” says Shane.
“That’s 305.74 lots of 100 km… which equals 3363 litres of unleaded petrol we would have used throughout the whole year.”
As the average price of fuel has fluctuated between $1.20 -1.60 over the last 12 months the Mahers have based their calculations on $1.40 on average.
“It would cost us $4,708 for a bit over 30,000km,” says Shane. “That’s an energy saving of $3,831 … from one year or driving an electric vehicle. That’s fabulous.”
“Apart from the added advantage of not putting carbon in the atmosphere, we’re making a bit of a monetary saving as well.”
This amount is coincidentally about the same as the entire running costs for the vehicle over the past 12 months.
The Mahers list the running costs as:
- Electricity: $877
- Registration: $1,078
- Insurance: $1,025
- Tires and maintenance: $940
- Total: $3,920
“We did have one fault with the car – the Nissan click – but most Nissans suffer from the Nissan click,” says Shane, adding that it cost about $50 (you can view how they did that here).
“It’s a really easy fault to fix and because our car doesn’t come with any warranty we have to either fix it or take it to Nissan.”
New tires all around cost $650, and extra servicing cost $200.
“From the maintenance side of things just your tires and bits and pieces that it’s,” Shane says.
“It’s still pretty cheap compared to a vehicle running an internal combustion (where) you have to worry about replacing a fuel pump or replacing the water pump or replacing the whole exhaust system or, you know, the all those finicky little expensive things.”
“It wiped out our running costs for the whole year,” he concludes.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.