2011 Nissan Leaf electric car crosses 150,000 miles of commuting (updated)

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Steve Marsh's 2011 Nissan Leaf: 11 Months, 36,000 Miles

Steve Marsh's 2011 Nissan Leaf: 11 Months, 36,000 Miles

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Many drivers with a 130-mile round-trip each day to work and back might deem the 73-mile EPA-rated range of a 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car far too little to qualify for the commute.

Not Steve Marsh, though. The Washington resident continues to rack up miles in his early Leaf.

He crossed 100,000 miles back in December 2013, when he was honored by Washington state governor Jay Inslee for that accomplishment.

Since then, Marsh has continued to rack up the miles on his trusty Leaf—and yesterday we received a note from him with the photo below attached, showing that he'd reached 150,000 miles.

Steve Marsh's 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car, showing 150,000 miles, May 2016

Steve Marsh's 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car, showing 150,000 miles, May 2016

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[Editor's Note: We've covered Steve Marsh's story several times before on Green Car Reports. This article is heavily updated from one published in January 2013.]

Far from being a reason to stay away from electric cars, Marsh's 130-mile commute to his job at Taylor Shellfish in Washington state was the very reason the company controller went electric--he was just spending too much on gas.

Despite that commute being almost double the 2011 Leaf's 73-mile range, there were plenty of options available to ensure Marsh made it from home to work each day.

One of these was to get a charging station installed at his workplace. The owners of the firm were happy to oblige, ensuring the Leaf could be recharged during the workday before the return journey.

By April 2012, 11 months after buying the Leaf, Marsh had already racked up 36,000 miles. In June 2013, that total had climbed to 78,000 miles.

By then, Marsh was also using a Blink DC rapid charger on the West Coast Electric Highway on the way to and from work, allowing him to drive a little quicker on his highway commute, without worrying about running out of charge.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

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The car has been incredibly reliable, but in June 2013, it lost its first battery capacity bar on the display--with around 17 percent degradation in capacity. That's within expected tolerances for the mileage, though.

[UPDATE: Marsh wrote in May 2016, "I have now lost 5 bars. In fact, I am down to 52 percent battery capacity according to LEAF Spy.  In 2014, I purchased a 2014 Leaf because replacing the battery in my 2011 car wasn’t an option."]

When Marsh crossed 100,000 miles in his Leaf, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson and representatives from Nissan convened to congratulate him.

He was thought at the time to be the first Leaf owner in the nation to reach such a milestone—and may well still hold that distinction today.

It's proof that with a little planning, electric cars can be used for longer commutes than their EPA-rated range suggests.

And when gasoline costs for 150,000 miles would run into many thousands of dollars, the additional expense of purchasing an electric car like the Leaf no longer seems that bad.

We can only wonder which battery-electric car owner will be first to hit 250,000 miles.

[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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