Personal Finance

My First Electric Car the 2013 Nissan Leaf

On December 24, 2013 I became the proud owner of a 2013 Nissan Leaf! I never thought I would own an electric car and even more so a leased one!  With all that said,  here is how I ended up buying one.  We are expecting our first child in January. I currently drive a 2008 BMW 335i coupe while she drives a 2004 Subaru Impreza wagon. The plan was I was going to trade/sell my BMW as we needed 4 doors and she was going to get a used BMW X3, Honda RDX, Volvo XC60, or an Audi Q5 crossover while I would drive her Subaru for a few years. We started test driving some cars this week but had not settled on anything yet. Posts about the “Free Leaf” Deal

I had heard Nissan was offering some good deals but had never considered it until this week when I saw this post on

Georgia Residents: Make Money and Lease a new 2013 Nissan LEAF S for $235/mo with VPP or $259 without VPP
While there are other posts on this, this deal is the best.

$235/mo package with $0 down on a 2013 Nissan LEAF S for two years.
The numbers work out so that you get a new (lease) car and get paid money to drive it, because the total lease payments get offset by a $5,000 Georgia state tax credit and gas savings.

The Math:
Total Payments: $5,640 (or $235 x 24 months)
State Income Tax Credit: $5,000 (or minimum(20% MSRP, $5k) = min(20% of 29k, $5k) = min($6k, $5k))
Gas Savings: $2,400 (YMMV but for me, it’s at least $100/mo based on $125/mo average gas cost minus added $25/mo electricity bill)
Total Profit = $2,400 + $5,000 – $5,640 = $1,760

Additional Details
12,000 miles/yr
Does not include the charger package
No ad valorem tax (included in lease payments/price)
Federal tax credit is already baked into the price
No oil changes necessary
YMMV on what maintenance is included in lease – mine came with at least the first 7,500 mi tune up free, but others have found out that additional services cost about $50 for rotations and battery/system tests. Make sure to discuss this with your dealer before signing.
$395 disposition fee at end of lease if you choose to not buy
Contact GA Power (link []) about EV plans where evening charging of the LEAF is at a lower rate than daytime usage

Now my curiosity was peaked!  Was this really legitimate? After doing some more searching and talking to a few people I realized how crazy this was.  I would rather drive a brand new Leaf than the Impreza and if the state of Georgia is willing to basically pay me for the privilege I said to Crystal let’s do it!.

Purchasing the Nissan Leaf

After seeing positive comments on Autonation Nissan in Lithia Springs we headed that way as it is only 6 miles from us. When we got there they had a lot of Leafs on the lot even though they said they sold 13 just yesterday! We found a base S with the charger package in black and took it for a quick test drive. I was VERY impressed and was immediately sold! I had never driven an electric car but I loved how smooth it was.

From the Slickdeals thread, I knew that $259 (non VPP) without the charger package was my target. First offer was $279 with no charger package and $279 down. I decided that I wanted the quick charger so they came back with $279 with charger and $279 down, third and final offer was $279 with charger and $0 down. We then decided to have them appraise the Impreza for a trade and they gave me $3,500 which was a good offer for a 10 year old Subaru with almost 100k miles. So that brought my total lease payment down to $131 a month! Factor in the $150 a month I currently spend on gas and the math looks like: $6,696 payments + $395 turn in fee – $5000 GA tax credit – ~$2,400 in gas savings = $-391. Not as good as VPP but still a nice deal!

I love the Leaf

After driving the leaf for two years I became addicted to how quiet and smooth they are.  For stop and go Atlanta traffic it is a perfect commuter car. I had charging stations available at work but never used them unless I was needing to make an airport run.  The battery did degrade a little, and the range of only 80 miles meant you needed to plan some longer excursions.  The only maintenance that was required in two years was new front tires!  Literally nothing else.  Compare that to my BMW, which was in the shop almost every other month for something.

When it came time to turn in my lease I decided that I wanted to stay electric and I upgraded to a 2013 Tesla Model S CPO