Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 20

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

LEAF LESSONS

 A pair of owners of Nissan's electric car say

A

RICHARD TRUETT
rtruett@crain.com

nna Nguyen and Steve O'Neil don't
know each other, but they have a lot
in common.
Both are ardent environmentalists and early adopters. Fitting each part of
that profile, both have piled tens of thousands
of miles on their 2012 Nissan Leaf electric cars.
Their experiences with the Leaf - and the
detailed maintenance records they have kept
- offer a preview of how electric vehicles will
affect dealership service once they sell in high
volume.
Nguyen, 57, is a software engineer who
works in the fashion industry in Austin, Texas.
In the six years she has driven nearly 61,000
miles in her Leaf, she has averaged one service visit a year to the dealership.

During the life of the car, Nguyen says, she
has spent about $650 at the dealership on
maintenance and updates to the operating
system.
"With my previous car, a Volkswagen GTI, I
did the oil changes and minor maintenance,
like brake pads and rotors," Nguyen told Fixed
Ops Journal. "Of course, I have not had to do
any of that on the Leaf."
Although her Leaf has not been trouble-free,
the repairs it has needed have been covered
by the factory warranty. Nissan replaced the
car's battery pack in 2015 and retorqued
wheel nuts in 2014.
The services Nguyen has paid for - a brake
fluid flush and new cabin air filters - were
part of Nissan's schedule of recommended
maintenance, which she entrusts to the dealership. Nguyen does light upkeep, such as

Steve O'Neil says
he'll only let a
Nissan store work
on his Leaf.

THAO NGUYEN

they'll drive it until it wears out ---- eventually

As the number of charging stations
grows, EV owners such as Anna
Nguyen can expect less range anxiety.

putting air in the tires and changing the wiper
blades.
"I am going to drive it until it dies," she said.
"The way the battery is holding up, it should
last until at least 120,000 miles."
O'Neil, 49, is a wildlife conservation teacher
in Brevard, N.C. He has logged nearly 58,000
miles in his Leaf.
The factory warranty has covered most of its
maintenance costs, including $2,000 for a new
integrated brake control module. His out-ofpocket repair costs have totaled $610 to replace worn parts and for diagnostic work.
O'Neil's previous vehicle, a Nissan 4Runner,
cost him about $2,000 in maintenance costs
for 30,000 miles of driving. Like Nguyen, he
says he'll drive his Leaf until it wears out.
"For computer work and anything that is
above my tech level, I will be taking the car to
Nissan," he says. "That is specialized, and so far,
there is no one in my area other than the Leaf
service techs who I'd trust to work on it." 

EV obstacles are coming down, for buyers and automakers
Several factors that limit the appeal of electric vehicles, to consumers and manufacturers, are changing fast:
 Driving range is increasing, to more than
200 miles between charges on existing and
announced new battery-powered vehicles.
 Charging times are decreasing. Nissan
Leafs and Chevrolet Bolts can be as much as
PAGE 20

DECEMBER 2017

90 percent charged in about 30 minutes.

 Public EV charging stations are proliferat-

ing. The U.S. Department of Energy says
16,535 stations with 45,288 outlets operated
across the country in November.
 Production expenses are coming down.
The costs of building EVs will become comparable to those of cars and trucks with internal

combustion engines between 2025 and 2030,
Boston Consulting Group predicts.
 Germany, France, Britain and Norway all
propose ending the sale of gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles between 2025 and 2040.
China and India are pushing for greater electrification of vehicles as well.
- Richard Truett



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Big verdict
Ho-ho-ho
Battery charge
Price is right
Tomorrow’s techs
Selling accessories
SEMA dreams
To the rescue
Profit Builder
Richard Truett
On the line
Letters
Real time
Feedback
After hours
Efficiency expert
Longer lasting
Shop Talk
Five Minutes With
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Big verdict
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 11
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Ho-ho-ho
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Battery charge
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 18
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Price is right
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Tomorrow’s techs
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Selling accessories
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - SEMA dreams
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 31
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - To the rescue
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Profit Builder
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - On the line
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Real time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - After hours
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Efficiency expert
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Longer lasting
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Shop Talk
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover4
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