Nissan finally stopped letting us renew the lease for the 2015 Leaf we bought in 2014. We turned that 2-year lease into 4 years at a ridiculously great rate of $106 per month. I did the math, and with the free months they gave us for renewing, the total cost to own it (money down plus monthly over the entire time we had it) was insanely low. But all good things come to an end, and as much as we probably could have kept driving it for another four years, we had to give it back.
The deals aren't quite as good this time around, because there's actually some demand for these cars now. The new Leaf has a better range at 150 miles, up from 90-ish. We never had any significant issue with the other, but there were a few days where we simply had to limit the driving, even locally. That's a non-issue now, for sure. Nissan has done a nice job refining the Leaf, and it's a far more attractive car. They also have real regenerative braking now, so it drives more like a Tesla (though, annoyingly, you have to enable it every time you turn on the car). I think it's the ultimate commuter car now, and loaded with neat technology. The buying process from a traditional dealer was better this time (negotiated entirely by email), but the delivery end of things is still not ideal. I'll write about that another time.
With the delivery of our Model 3 in June (boy have we put some miles on that car), we're now in our second round of plug-in electric vehicles, for a total of 75,000 miles or so of non-tailpipe driving. Four years have made a pretty big difference. Combined, the cars average 50% more range, while cost is down a little for the Nissan and a lot for the Tesla. The Model 3 is still too expensive to be a "mass market" car, at least until they start shipping the $35k version, but it's progress in the right direction. People are still asking the wrong questions about EV's, but the interest is higher, the sales are higher, and it's less of a novelty to see an EV. I know we constitute little more than an anecdote, but going electric has no in any way limited or inconvenienced our lives. In fact, things are more convenient. We haven't gone to a gas station in more than three years. Now we're even starting to power the cars with solar!
We started going down this path four years ago with some degree of healthy skepticism, but I think this will be the last EV that we lease. I think they've now moved beyond proof of concept in the market to a bona fide option. The cars are getting less expensive, while we spend half as much compared to gasoline in the best case, Prius scenario. More importantly, we're able to do our part to reduce carbon emissions. We're on pace, with the cars and solar, to reduce our carbon emissions by 25 tons per year. Every little bit helps.
Actually, if I'm being honest, none of that even matters when you consider the fun of launching the car when the light turns green. Four years into this endeavor, that never gets old.