About

Welcome to Living LEAF!

With the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, we are on the cusp of potentially a pivotal point in the automotive industry. LEAF is the first relatively affordable, real-world capable, and broadly available battery powered electric vehicle (BEV) on the planet. Nissan already manufactures and distributes LEAF on a global scale, with plants in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. No manufacturer has made that kind of commitment before now with this type of technology. With LEAF about to burst into the automotive environment, I knew I had to take a closer look. I started this blog in 2010 as a means of documenting my own research, not only about the Nissan LEAF, but electric cars in general. I took delivery of my first LEAF in March of 2011. Two years later, I sold that car and leased a 2013. With the rapid changes happening in the industry, I thought the lease made more sense for me as I expect to see significant improvements in what I call LEAF 2.0. By the way, LEAF should always be capitalized as it is an acronym (a rather cumbersome one, if I might add) – Leading Environmentally friendly Affordable Family car.

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My name is Ernie Hernandez, and I am a 25-plus year veteran of the automotive business. As many others before me have done, I got started in the retail end of the business. I had the good fortune of selling Ferrari, along with Alfa Romeo in the late 1980′s. While I loved the cars, I quickly learned that my strength lay in the ability to break down often highly technical concepts and features into easy to understand terms. So I transitioned into the training side of the business, which is where I have been ever since.

Since 1992 I have worked as a free-lance trainer for the automotive industry. During this time, I have had the opportunity to work with over a dozen manufacturers, both foreign and domestic (including Nissan). While my primary area of emphasis has been product knowledge oriented, I have also worked in the “soft skills” area. One great benefit to this line of work is that I have learned about these manufacturer’s products from the manufacturer’s own technical gurus. Everything from economical grocery getters, to the fastest of the fast – sports cars and performance luxury sedans. Rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (yes… there is a difference). Trucks, minivans and SUVs have all been part of the mix as well. One vehicle that had not been a part of this training until recently has been the electric vehicle.

So Living LEAF is as much about my quest to learn more about this pioneering vehicle, as it is to provide that information to the readers of Living LEAF. Please let us know your thoughts on our posts, as well as letting us know what you would like to hear more about.

To contact me directly, please use the Contact page.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Grant April 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Hi Ernie,

I’m enjoying your blog. One thing that I have not read anywhere about the Leaf is what the experience of driving at night is like. How do the headlights look (from inside and outside)? How is the dashboard illumination? And anything else that may not be obvious. These are things that a new car owner often does not know until they’ve already purchased the vehicle and owned it for a while (since most test drives are during the day). Could you address these questions in an upcoming blog post? If so, that would be great.

Thanks.
Grant

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Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) April 20, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Grant – thanks for the suggestion! Look for something in the next few days.

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peter fletcher April 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm

hello, my name is peter fletcher I was just surfing leaf stuff and saw your post.
Ernie is my trainer at mossy Nissan great guy. I am the head leaf specialist at Mossy Nissan Kearny Mesa, I drive My Leaf home in the dark most days out of the week and there is no major difference in driving the Leaf vs an Altima or Camry at night. The head lights have great projection and I never have trouble seeing, and I can be a little night blind. The inner dash has a very pleasing white and blue light to is very easy to read, very easy to see things at a glance.
In short the Leaf is no different driving at night than any other car.

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Ernie Hernandez April 2, 2014 at 8:24 am

Peter – Welcome to Living LEAF! Glad you found my site. And thanks for the input.

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Mark Thomason January 4, 2013 at 4:59 am

Nice analysis and blog Ernie! Isn’t it nice when a brand new product lives up to high expectations?! Other than the owners in hot climates (AZ), everyone I know are very happy with their Leaf…I am!

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Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) January 4, 2013 at 5:18 am

Mark – Welcome to Living LEAF. And thanks for the nice comments!

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Martin Nicolaus June 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm

A new owner’s report on first week with the Leaf and with the public charging infrastructure: a blog post.
http://nicolaus.com/mn/2014/06/first-week-with-an-ev-charging-into-the-future/

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Kevin FitzSimons June 28, 2014 at 11:22 am

Hi Ernie,
I’ve worked with you in the Phoenix/Vegas/San Diego markets over the years. I’ve just taken delivery of a ’14 Leaf for my home in LA and am enjoying your site. Thanks!

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Ernie Hernandez June 28, 2014 at 11:24 am

Kevin – Welcome to Living LEAF. Thanks for the kind comment. I’m really looking forward to LEAF 2.0 to see how Nissan plans on improving it.

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David Porter July 15, 2014 at 8:16 am

Hi Ernie, I have had my 2014 Leaf since February. I have found it to be wonderful for me. I used to drive 70,00 miles a year with a Toyota Prius. Getting 60mpg vs 30mpg in my Camry meant that the Prius was free. Now that I’m retired, I decided to look at the Leaf. The lease price for the Leaf is the same monthly price as my monthly payment on the Prius was. I have also been saving $100/month which I used to spend on gas for the Prius.

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Ernie Hernandez July 15, 2014 at 6:52 pm

David – Welcome to Living LEAF. It sounds like you are enjoying now what many LEAF owners have learned over the past few years – the LEAF is an enjoyable vehicle that also happens to have a very low cost of ownership due to its reliance on inexpensive electricity rather than expensive gasoline. I continue to say that the LEAF is not right for everyone, but if it fits your needs it is indeed wonderful. Thanks for your feedback.

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James Hardy October 7, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Hi! I recently bought a used 2013 S Nisan Leaf with 9 Bars and 43,000 miles on it back in August (of 2018). I own a truck that I am still paying on, but bought the Leaf to essentially convert the $200+ I was spending in gas a month into a Leaf monthly payment. I have a commute that is 36 miles roundtrip mainly on freeway (there is one day where it is stretched to 42.5 miles). Last week the car dropped to 8 bars. I had heard a few different things about the warranties on the batteries, so I drove it into the dealership and found out that there are two different warranties and that the battery capacity warranty where they would swap the battery out for a new one ended for this car on 4/27/18. This is something one would think I should have figured out and known before I bought the car, but even when I was test driving it and took it to a dealership I was told by a Nissan employee that the batteries are warrantied to 100,000 miles or 8 years = he didn’t bother telling me about the two different warranties or didn’t even know about them. I am partially calm and partially freaking out. I owe $8,000 on this car and now I don’t even know if it will be able to do my commute within the next three years. I have started this thread because the biggest question I can’t find any answers to is how many years do I have before my car becomes un-useable? I am totally aware of all the dependable factors i.e. where you live, how you charge, how you drive. Although my work does not have a charger, there is a Nissan dealership right by with a level 3 and level 2 (although the level 2 ones are always taken). I still have the option of selling the car to someone else that lives and works within a super small distance. Any advice or wisdom would be highly appreciated. Thanks!

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Ernie Hernandez January 3, 2019 at 4:58 pm

James – welcome to Living LEAF. Sorry about the delayed response. You’ve already done your homework. Degradation will slow down. Since you already have the car, consider quick charging at the dealership at lunch time or before or after work while you get a cup of coffee. If you can live with this change to your routine, this car could work for you for some time still.

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