Be an EV owner in S.E. Alaska!
If you're new to Electric Vehicles, please call! We're huge proponents of the EV movement, have tons of experience and a genuine willingness to answer all your questions. One test drive and you'll be hooked! There's never been a better time to GO ELECTRIC!!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
How can I be sure the used EV I'm buying has a good battery? For EVs with liquid-cooled battery packs (Chevy Bolt, Tesla and the current model Kia Soul EV, for example), degradation is minimal, regardless of climate. Studies show only a 1.0 -1.5% drop-off per year. However, with the Nissan Leaf, which is air-cooled and more susceptible to heat-related degradation, it's vital to test the battery's SOH (State of Health) before purchasing, especially if the car is being shipped up from a hot southern state. We perform this test using a specific OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) tool and software app (LEAF SPY), which provides us an exact readout of the battery's condition and insures we only secure Leafs with robust batteries. We're happy to run this diagnostic test for you in person and recommend only buying Nissan Leafs from sellers who can provide this crucial info!! Thankfully, once a Nissan Leaf begins to operate in Alaska's cool climate, the rate of battery degradation drops precipitously and slows to the same 1.0 - 1.5% per year as its liquid-cooled competitors! Ever wonder why you see so many Leafs driving in Alaska? This is one of the main reasons!
Is cold weather bad for my EV battery? Actually, just the opposite is true! Excessive heat is the enemy of batteries, so EVs generally love cooler temps. While you might use a bit more battery power to keep your car's cabin warm in the winter, the much more important fact is that long-term battery life is greatly increased in cooler conditions.
Most manufacturers have also put a lot of thought into mitigating cold weather issues. To maximize driver and passenger comfort, many models offer heated seats and steering wheels. A Climate Control Timer or Remote Start option is standard on most models. These amazing features allow you to preheat the interior of your car before entering. Few things are better than climbing into a toasty car on a cold winter morning!
What maintenance is needed for my EV? Insiders joke that the only maintenance necessary is changing tires and replacing brake pads and wiper fluid. Even brake jobs are few and far between because Electric Vehicles are designed with regenerative braking systems. This feature utilizes "engine braking," thus requiring less pedal and actually feeding power back into the battery as the car slows. There are also far fewer moving parts in an EV, so gone are the days of tune-ups, oil changes, head gasket repairs, timing belt replacements, water pump and radiator issues, etc...but most importantly, no more trips to the gas station!
How do I charge my EV? There are 3 levels of charging options and you can charge your car either at home or one of many public charging stations. Most EV owners charge at home. Your car comes with a "LEVEL 1" charging cable - one end plugs into a charge port near the front of your car and the other end plugs into any standard 110 volt wall outlet found throughout your home. This will slowly charge your car and most owners plug in when they get home from work and let the car recharge over night. The next option is "LEVEL 2" which plugs into a 220 volt outlet (similar to the outlet used for your clothes dryer). This will charge your car much more quickly, but usually requires an electrician to wire up a 220 volt outlet near your garage, or they can hardwire a line than can be connected to one of the popular brands of wall-mounted LEVEL 2 chargers, such as Siemens, Clipper Creek and Juicebox. In Juneau, if you have AEL&P install a dedicated LEVEL 2 circuit for your EV, you'll receive a 50% reduction in electrical rates when charging during off-peak times. Additionally, you can choose to rent a LEVEL 2 charger from AEL&P for a reasonable rate if you're not interested in purchasing your own. (See the links below and call your utility company for specific details - highly recommended!). The fastest means of charging is the "LEVEL 3 - DC QUICK CHARGE" which is typically not available at home due to the high voltage requirements. LEVEL 2 and LEVEL 3 chargers are available at many public stations. Typically there is a fee, but recently, the city of Juneau (in coordination with Renewable Juneau and the Juneau EV Association) has installed LEVEL 2 and LEVEL 3 chargers in town (CHAdeMO configuration only for Level 3) and they are FREE OF CHARGE!! LEVEL 3, for example, can fully charge a 24 or 30 kWh Leaf in approximately 30 minutes! LEVEL 3 charging does require the optional Quick Charge upgrade feature on your EV. Also, we recommend downloading the PLUGSHARE app on your phone. It will locate every charging station nearest your current position when you're on the move.
How will my EV handle in the snow? EVs are actually known to perform quite well in snowy conditions. They have a very heavy battery pack that runs along the underside of the car, creating a low center of gravity. This stability, paired with front-wheel-drive, results in solid yet nimble handling. Most EVs are still 2-wheel drive vehicles, so we do recommend snow tires in the winter. Always play it safe and never drive beyond your ability or in severe conditions!
Why does there seem to be a discrepancy between retail price and KBB (Kelley Blue Book) values?
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that KBB, NADA and other "car valuation" sites are simply way behind real-world pricing when it comes to Electric Vehicles. This disparity has occurred for two main reasons. Recently, the current world-wide micro-chip shortage has globally hindered auto manufacturing. The resulting lack of inventory naturally heightened demand, resulting in a rapid rise in prices across the board. This swift domino effect has left the KBB values lagging behind real-world values. Also, over the last 2-3 years, newly imposed and extremely stringent, state-sanctioned emission standards in Canada, Europe and now Asia, have caused a huge demand for Electric Vehicles abroad, so a large percentage of lease-return EVs are purchased and shipped north or overseas to help comply with these heightened standards. This has also greatly reduced the supply and naturally driven up local demand and price. In many cases, we literally can't buy cars wholesale for what they're supposedly worth retail. It's an unfortunate reality, but this price disparity is something we will have to cope with until the supply chain issues are remedied. Our goal is to get as many Electric Vehicles on the road as possible, so we painstakingly inspect and select only premium cars with superior batteries and will always do our best to offer these EVs at fair prices.
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Video Explaining Trim Levels and Features of Chevy Bolt
Explanation of 2018 Nissan Leaf Trim Levels and Optional Packages: