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Nissan Leaf Depreciation Costs

March 16, 2014

By Paul Homewood




Plug in electric cars have two fundamental drawbacks:-


1) High purchase price

2) Short battery range and long charging times.


The Nissan Leaf, for instance, costs between £25990 and £30490 on the road, depending on model, and before the government subsidy of £5000.  In comparison, a comparable conventional car, the Ford Focus starts at £13995. (Ford also now do an electric version of the Focus, which is £14K more expensive than the same specced conventional model).


What has not been clear till now is how much depreciation costs are for electric cars such as the Leaf, as there has not been much of a second market. Now, though, some are beginning to come onto the market.

An outfit called Ecocars specialise in selling second hand models, and I found the advert above on their website.

On this example, a two year old car, with only 10159 miles on the clock is selling for £11995. Take away Ecocars’ profit margin, and I would guess the original owner would have traded it in for less than £10K. (The detailed blurb confirms the car is in A1 condition, and other Leaf’s are advertised at similar prices).

Looking at the spec, the model is equivalent to the middle of the range Acenta model, which currently costs £28490. This would indicate depreciation of £19k in two years, and for an extremely low mileage car.

Looking at current second hand prices for the Focus would suggest depreciation of between £8K and £10K over the same period.

This would all seem to confirm that high purchase and deprecation costs of the Leaf and other electric models are going to be an insurmountable barrier to mass market penetration, particularly when government subsidies are withdrawn.

  1. March 16, 2014 9:22 am

    Reblogged this on Did I Say That Out Loud? and commented:
    Thinking of buying a brand new electric car? Read this first…

  2. March 16, 2014 9:28 am

    It seems like it might be better to buy second hand!.

    What is the battery life on these cars?

    By that I mean do the batteries deteriorate and hold less charge, like other rechargeable batteries.

    Logically most of the price differential between electric cars and petrol cars must be in the cost of the batteries, so replacing them would be expensive.

    Would there be enough charging points if the number of cars increased dramatically?

  3. John permalink
    March 16, 2014 10:04 am

    Battery technology does not match the aspiration for domestic vehicles. People have a real fear of being stranded, or at best a whole day charging, to get home.
    Petrol & diesel vehicles have a power source everywhere, with quick filling & back to peak performance.

    The person who solves the battery dilemma will be a billionaire overnight

  4. dave ward permalink
    March 16, 2014 10:06 am

    1) ALL batteries deteriorate with both time and the number (and depth) of charge/discharge cycles.

    2) I have seen figures of 5-8 thousand pounds quoted for a new battery pack. Some manufacturers are trying to “soften” the blow by selling you the car, and leasing the battery pack…

    3) It’s the “Chicken & Egg” situation – there won’t be lots of charging points until there is sufficient demand, but people won’t buy unless they can be sure of being able to re-charge during their journey. Most of the existing points have been installed with government subsidies, and some have never been used. Realistically, most sales will go to people with off road parking spots, who can plug in when they get home.

    But even if there was ever a situation where a comprehensive network of Tesla style “Superchargers” had been installed, it would need massive improvements to the electricity grid to cope. One of the threads at WUWT (I think) had some very interesting calculations by a commenter to back this up. The other alternative is to have battery “Swap Out” stations, but this would need standardisation between manufacturers, and would still require a massive stock of replacement batteries, and some type of automated process to change them. As was pointed out, this might work on new cars, but once they were a few years old, corrosion and road dirt would lead to inevitable problems.

    And don’t forget that use of either the heater or the air conditioning will drastically reduce the range!

    • March 16, 2014 10:49 am

      Nissan offer a “battery lease” option. They knock £5000 off the price of the car, and to lease for 6 years would cost £6696.

      In other words, they anticipate the battery might not last that long.

      It’s also a moot point what happens when you sell the car on, but you don’t own the battery!

    • Joe Public permalink
      March 16, 2014 12:22 pm

      As will the rear-window demister and the windscreen wipers.

      Factors that obviously need to be taken into consideration because the Met Office has predicted heavier and more-frequent precipitation.

  5. Keitho permalink
    March 16, 2014 10:11 am

    We don’t have sufficient electrical energy already. Moving the exhaust from the car to a power station might have a local benefit but I can’t see a global one.

    That is why I am puzzled by the political desire to push battery powered cars without talking about the enormous infrastructural expenditure that will come about if they ever become popular. They won’t become popular until they have better range and much faster refueling times but will remain a very expensive toy for rich people who are subsidised by poorer people.

    Like bio-fuels these cars are a boondoggle. In fact like every “green” energy idea to date. Only low carbon energy sources that have been developed for economic reasons not for CO2 molecules are viable and that will remain true for a long time yet.

  6. March 16, 2014 10:32 am

    I don’t know why it isn’t possible to design a light weight, pedal powered 4 wheel vehicle as in “Bugsy Malone”. (did they really work?)

    This seems to come close, but I am not sure why two steering wheels.

  7. Hugh Sharman permalink
    March 16, 2014 10:43 am

    The lithium ion battery life is generally estimated to be 3 years. Less if the mileage is high. The battery, of course, constitutes the single largest cost of a pure EV!

    • jpwhitehome permalink
      March 16, 2014 11:41 am

      Where did you get this estimate? Seems very pessimistic. I’m on track to see a replacement at 6 years with 20,000/yr usage.

  8. Joe Public permalink
    March 16, 2014 11:08 am

    “Most electric car charging points in Bristol remain unused despite costing more than £100,000 to install.

    Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show for the second half of 2012 there were just 14 users.” [Could that be 1x user recharged 14 times; or, 14x users recharged once; or, somewhere between those extremes?]

    Yeah, and it was it only the ‘leccy-car users who stumped-up the hundred-grand capital cost?

  9. jpwhitehome permalink
    March 16, 2014 11:44 am

    LEAF depreciation is steeper than the average vehicle, part of the reason ironically is that the govt subsidies add to that depreciation. The 2nd hand buyer automatically discounts the subsidy as part of a 2nd hand purchase.

    I agree with QV a second hand purchase of a low mileage LEAF maybe the best value in EV’s right now.

  10. Brian H permalink
    March 22, 2014 9:27 am

    Meanwhile, some yr-old Tesla MSes are selling at up to 30% premium on purchase price. Because they’re the “best cars ever made” according to Motor Trend and Consumer Reports, and get the best-ever customer satisfaction ratings.

    Go figure. Really.


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