Armen Hareyan's picture

Are LEAF Owners Taking Nissan's $5000 Lease Buyout Credit?

Few days ago Nissan announced a $5,000 leas buyout credit to 2012 and 2013 LEAF owners, but is the deal good enough? Some say no, others say yes because it is roughly the cost of replacing your LEAF's battery.

I asked the question to some Nissan LEAF owners at SF Bay Area Nissan LEAF Owners group to get their opinion whether they are going to take this credit. Here is how they responded.

I am not making any purchase of an electric car unless it has a range of close to 160 miles. Even with $5,000 off, 70-80 Nissan LEAF range is not satisfying. Also, the public charging stations aren't always reliable. Especially blink stations with QC have the worst record with most down time. As these batteries gets worn down like old cell phones, where they become lifeless not too long after unplugged, it would be even harder to get rid of them. I might consider a used Tesla Model S when after they release the X Model.

That was one opinion, but on the other hand the offer basically pays for a new battery and that makes the LEAF even more competitive. One can keep his LEAF with a new battery. think what Nissan is saying is this. Hey, let us replace your battery and you keep the car. They know they will have to do it if people trade their LEAFs for a new car. And some LEAF owners see it that way too.

"It's interesting to consider as it essentially pays for a new battery. My lease isn't up until 2017 so I have some time to see what happens," replies a user named Brian. But another respondent named David writes that while the offer is tempting, he is going to hold for an EV with more range.

Others, like Rozel, are attracted to plugin hybrids. They point to the range still being an issue and the lack of charging stations in their areas. These people are looking for either plugin hybrids or electric cars with more range.

The last part of the discussion in the group under my question showed that Nissan needs to do more marketing work to raise more public awareness. Here is why.

One person replied that he was not planning to take this $5k credit because $5k isn't making up enough for the depreciation of his LEAF as the battery wears down and he also said Nissan hasn't come out and said much about battery replacement and the cost of it. But he added that he loves his LEAF and will be willing to lease another one again if he can find a good lease deal and any mileage boost with the 2016 model

Now you can see that Nissan needs to do more work to get the word out to at least its current customers because the public may simply not know about the announcement Nissan made last year regarding the cost of the replacement battery. Last year Nissan did come out with info on the cost of replacement. It's about $5k if you give them the old battery.

Thus, I think it's best if Nissan just made an announcement or a letter to its current 2012, 2013 LEAF owners saying, if return your car and decide to trade it in for a new vehicle we have no choice but to replace the batter and then sell again. So why don't you keep the car and let us replace your batter for free. I think this is what this offer is all about.

My conclusion is that what Nissan is offering (add to that the incentives that dealers may offer) is a good deal because one basically gets a free replacement battery. Now, this may not be ideal for everyone as it depends on charger availability in your area and driving pattern.

Also see: Month to Month Leasing of Nissan LEAF a Good Alternative to Buying a Used One

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Sorry Nissan,
I love my 2014 LEAF, but I need 200 miles of real-world range (meaning 200 miles of range at 65 mph with heat on, outdoor temps at 20 degrees and snowing). Thanks to a mid-LEAF-lease divorce, the LEAF is my only car, and it doesn't cut it. I've twice run out of charge, both times in the cold with my 2 kids in the car. On the other hand, I'm NEVER going back to gas, so if you can get me that EV with 200 real-world miles at $35k or less, I'm all over that. And, BTW, do something real to get a real EV charging infrastructure in place. What we've got in Colorado, and 95% of other places, is totally, and completely inadequate.

Here's what Nissan should do asap:
Build a well designed minimum-weight, lower-cost, 200 mile battery pack that allows replacement modules like the BMW i3. Build one battery and offer it with an adapter to all generations of the Leaf.
This will immediately remove the worry all Leaf buyers have about Nissan's battery support of their used cars and will immediately increase the value of used Leafs.

This should be a factory certified, factory administered program with the dealers providing the installation labor.

BEVs are not ICE cars; they will last far longer with a minimum of maintenance and the battery is their area of the most concern; the ICE policies of the past do not apply and new policies must be drafted to cover these facts.

Good write up Armen. We too have a 2011 Leaf and the battery is ha "Getting old". The replacement cost of $6500 is a big hunk of cash. I would question the wisdom of buying out your lease and putting that money toward a new battery. The deprecation on the Leafs is very high. Its my understanding that the residual on the Leaf leases is several thousand more than the re-sale on the car and that prompted Nissan financing to offer the cash. This is actually a good thing since Nissan is offering to take the loss and give it to its customers instead of the used car buyer. As it turns out people like me who paid Nissan twice as much to buy get nothing.

I just took the $5k offer, and negotiated an additional $1k more for a total of $6k reduction of the current lease payoff which had been $17,200. So I ended up buying my 25 month old Leaf with 28k miles for $11,200. Not bad at all! I'm very happy with the deal, my car has still not lost any GID's yet although my wife's co-worker lost his first one at 24k miles. ANd yes, the new replacement pack being only $5,499 is music to my ears. I'm looking forward to my gaughter learning to drive in this car. One, she can pretty much only go where she says whe's going with the limited range! Lol.

Compared to buying a used 5yr old Civic EX for $11,200, the Leaf's efficiency (cost to charge and eventual battery replacement) will still be cheaper than the price of fuel for the civic. So, I'm not sweating my purchase at all. WE did just buy a 2015 Toyota Prius C in addition to buying our Leaf last week, and let me tell you, the Prius C is one sweet little ride (comfy, reasonably quiet and averaging 57mpg with some 100+ trips in the mid 60's and shorter 10 mile trips in the 70's and 80's) a couple months ago, they were giving them away when gas was cheap. I timed this perfectly!

My biggest beef is with the styling of the current Leaf, namely the headlights! Lol. Oh well, you can't have it all. Oh, and if you want your leaf to handle well and can give up just a few miles of range, THrow on some 17x8" +35mm offset wheels with some 235/45/17 tires. I run the Drag DR38 wheel which in a 17x8 is only 18lbs. Tire is 23lbs...nearly identical to the weight of the OEM setup at 40.5lbs per wheel/tire. I'm recommending 17x8 but I actually have a 17x9" rim on my car but it is not necessary. I just happened to find a deal at $92 a wheel.

I'd love to see a picture of your new wheels and tires. How did they effect your range?