Canada's first Nissan Leaf electric car driver: still committed after five years


Ottawa resident Ricardo Borba takes delivery of the first consumer Nissan LEAF in Canada

Ottawa resident Ricardo Borba takes delivery of the first consumer Nissan LEAF in Canada

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Over five years after they first went on sale, Nissan electric cars have racked up an impressive amount of mileage: more than 2.5 billion kilometers (1.6 billion miles).

The Nissan Leaf has proven that electric cars can handle the rigors of daily driving just as well as internal-combustion models.

At the same time, Leafs have inspired the continued loyalty of their owners.

DON'T MISS: First 2011 Nissan Leaf Electric Car Delivered To Canada (Oct 2011)

One of those owners is Ricardo Borba, who took delivery of Canada's first Leaf on September 23, 2011.

Since then, he's covered over 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles), and his enthusiasm for the electric car hasn't waned.

On the fifth anniversary of his Leaf's delivery, Borba discussed his ownership experience in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

2012 Nissan Leaf in the autumn outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [photo: Ricardo Borba]

2012 Nissan Leaf in the autumn outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [photo: Ricardo Borba]

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Canada's cold climate make might potential electric-car buyers nervous about decreased range, but Borba said that between workplace charging and having an enclosed home garage, it hasn't been an issue for him.

For drivers who must park outside, he recommends timing charging to occur closer to when the car will be driven and, specifically for the Leaf, using Nissan's smartphone app to preheat the interior while the car is plugged in, so that electricity doesn't have to be drawn from the battery pack later.

Borba said he only experienced range anxiety during the first "two or three weeks" of ownership, but quickly gained a sense of the Leaf's capabilities.

ALSO SEE: Three Years With The First Nissan Leaf Electric Car Sold In The U.S. (Oct 2013)

He also keeps a 2012 Chevrolet Volt around for longer trips, and recommends that model for those that only can only have one car, and can't afford a longer-range Tesla Model S or Model X.

Based on "back of the envelope" calculations, Borba believes he has saved $10,700 in fuel and maintenance costs by driving the Leaf for the past five years.

He says that is about equivalent to the price premium of the Leaf over the gasoline-car models he was considering five years ago.

Tesla Model 3 design prototype - reveal event - March 2016

Tesla Model 3 design prototype - reveal event - March 2016

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The Leaf has also lost 19 percent of its battery capacity, which Borba says is in line with Nissan's original estimate.

Borba plans to keep driving the Leaf for the time being, although he also has a reservation for a Tesla Model 3.

MORE: Four Years And 70,000 Miles Later, 2011 Nissan Leaf Going Strong (Mar 2015)

That car could replace the Leaf, but its longer range and Tesla's Supercharger DC fast-charging network mean the Volt could be the one that becomes redundant, Borba notes.

Model 3 drivers will get access to Tesla Supercharger stations but, unlike Model S and Model X drivers, they will have to pay for it.

Since Tesla doesn't plan to begin Model 3 production until the end of next year, and Canada isn't a top priority for deliveries, Borba likely has plenty of time to make his decision.

[hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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