If you’re looking for a cheap EV for city driving only, these Nissan Leafs with reduced range might be for you.
Earlier last year I casually came across a $2,000 2011 Nissan Leaf with only 40 miles of range and tweeted about it. A Jalopnik contributor and fellow twitter friend saw it, bought it, and is in the middle of swapping the springs and struts for air suspension.
Curious to see if cheap Leafs are an anomaly or an actual trend, a quick search earlier this week brought up three Nissan Leafs with reduced range, all for around $2,000.
There’s actually a fourth Nissan Leaf for $2,000 with 40 miles range listed in San Jose, but that listing disappeared as of yesterday.
The descriptions all sound similar,
Clean title, excellent condition, totally electric. Battery life is around 40% reason for the low price.
$2000 firm. Runs and drives. Battery drain after 40 miles of driving.
$2000 Car can only drive about 25-30 miles before needing charge, needs new battery other than that runs good and great car.
It’s no coincidence these are all MY 2011-2012. The early model years Nissan Leafs gained a reputation, after owners started driving them, for bad battery degradation and reduced range despite normal charging practices. It was so bad that, by 2014, Nissan overhauled its battery chemistry to better handle the rigors of hot climates and rapid charging.
Despite Nissan offering a longer warranty for particularly bad battery degradation of 70 percent or worse, a lot of Leaf owners suffered reduced range out of that warranty period. With upgraded battery swaps from newer model Leafs costing upwards of $5,000, they opted to drive them around, as is.
And now, as evidenced by these listings, 40 miles of range isn’t cutting it. Their loss can be your gain.
The worst one is the Nissan Leaf from Angels Camp with just 30 miles of range available.
If you know how far you drive for certain activities like work or grocery shopping, a cheap Leaf might be the move. For example, many who live around me commute just two miles to work at the local university. A four mile round trip is well within the range of this Leaf. They could add another four miles for a trip to our local grocery store without sweating it.
While the aforementioned battery swap can cost you $5,000, you can do it yourself for apparently half (including the cost of the new battery) if you send in your old one.
Or, if you’re willing to spend about twice the above listed prices, there are, of course, Leafs with little battery degradation too.
But, if you know you drive little, these Leafs might be your ticket.
It’s not just in California. Anywhere with a generally hot climate where these Leafs were sold, you’re bound to find some cheap Leafs.