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Guy Buys Old Nissan Leaf With Upgraded Battery and Now Has a Road-Trip-Ready EV for Cheap

We all know EV prices are crazy-high and have gotten even higher in the past months. Hence, the idea of saving money by buying an electric car seems funny today. And yet, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too, as one happy Redditor has found out. He bought a cheap 2013 Nissan Leaf, upgraded the battery, and ended up with an EV he can take road trips in and even sleep in at camping sites.
Guy buys old Nissan Leaf with upgraded battery and now has a road-trip-ready EV for cheap 6 photos
Guy buys old Nissan Leaf with upgraded battery and now has a road-trip-ready EV for cheapGuy buys old Nissan Leaf with upgraded battery and now has a road-trip-ready EV for cheapGuy buys old Nissan Leaf with upgraded battery and now has a road-trip-ready EV for cheapNissan LeafNissan Leaf
I know the first-generation Nissan Leaf doesn’t have a good reputation regarding battery degradation and range. Brand new, the car only had around 70 miles (113 km) of range, which would have gone down very quickly since the battery lacked thermal management and was prone to overheating. This is why these EVs are dirt-cheap on the used-car market, but this doesn’t mean they’re crap.

Cliff did a lot of research into the first-generation Nissan Leaf before taking the plunge and only bought one after finding a company that offers battery upgrades. Thanks to the very generous Oregon EV incentives for low-income residents ($5,000 for a used vehicle), Cliff could afford the Leaf ($15,000 for a used but nice 2013 model) and pay for a nice battery upgrade (from $11,000 for a 40-kWh battery). The bottom line, it cost him $15,000 to drive home an EV with 160 miles (257 km) of range, which is more than double the new car’s performance.

Despite its peculiar shape and bad reputation, the Leaf is a nice ride that can DC fast-charge at 50 kW. Cliff had a few emotions when he drove the first 200 miles (322 km) home but has gotten in love with the car in the past four months since he bought it. He already took it on road trips, the longest being 615 miles (990 km), which took him three days to complete.

Cliff could not be happier with his electric car and says he already saved $1,000 in gas after only four months. He even installed a sleeping platform inside the car so he could camp at RV parks to charge overnight. That’s because the Nissan Leaf, even with the upgraded battery, still lacks thermal management. This means the battery will overheat after around 300 miles (483 km) or three fast charges, so it needs to cool off. At this stage, the charging can only be done at a level 2 charger. Hence the overnight stay is mandatory.

This is just about Cliff’s only complaint about his EV, with everything else being on the plus side. This includes the free charging at work, which the Leaf happily takes about twice a week, and the upgraded battery does not degrade as fast as the original one, thanks to the newer chemistry. The environmental benefits are the icing on the cake, proving that you can be environmentally friendly and save money in the process.

 
 
 
 
 

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