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Hi all, I need help on this decision. But first, a little context to the situation.

In August, i'll be leaving for college about 90 miles away from my parents house and want to have the security of a car while away. I live in SoCal, so the EV infrastructure (quick chargers and chargers in general) are not a problem, but I am concerned about the longevity of both the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.

Based on some research on both forums, it seems that the Volt is rock solid when it comes to reliability and performance of the main traction battery, but the price of used Volts are thousands higher than comparable year Leafs with much lower mileage.

I personally prefer the Leaf because it's fully electric, but know that Leaf batteries vary wildly in performance in different climates. This is the main drawback of the Leaf so far, and it's hard to get over.

So I guess what I'm asking is (I know it will be biased :D) which car do you think will fare best in cost of ownership and general reliability for 4+ years?
 

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A 90 mile trip might be a little iffy in a Leaf. But if that's not an issue, purchase price would be the next thing to look at. I suspect the Leaf will be cheaper. Given college expenses, that's a factor.
 

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First, I personally wouldn't advocate getting an EV unless you have charging at your residence. Although CA likely has the greatest density of available public chargers, if used as your sole method this will get old fast.

If you can get past the first issue, then between the two I would go for the Volt. You will likely be moving around a lot for a few years between college and career, and the Volt provides greater flexibility. The Volt also has better reliability and a battery design with proper thermal management.
 

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Had both. Yes the Volt is vastly better than the Leaf, which is an exercise in cost cutting (hence why it's thousands cheaper). However, more importantly, while you may think charging infrastructure isn't a problem, the fact is that it is. So it's a no-brainer. Get the Volt.

However, if you don't know you'll have access to charging, I wouldn't get the Volt. No point in having an electric car if you can't plug it in.
 

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I have to agree that the volt would almost certainly be the better option. Although there are lots of charging locations that can be utilized in CA, there are also a lot of people who do use them and you'll find sometimes the more popular chargers (always the ones you NEED) are almost always occupied. Also with the 90 mile drive being pretty close to the range limit of a new Leaf, it might be out of range for one that has suffered battery degradation and certainly more so over 4+ years likely getting to a point where that 90 mile drive to the parents house out of range without a stop to recharge. Of course the benefit of a Leaf is certainly more than 40 miles AER which is always better than running an engine which then begs the question of how often you plan or will need to exceed the available AER of the Volt? Also keep in mind that the volt will always have some source of power available when you don't have time to charge such as an unexpected errand or trip. What option would you have on a leaf with 10% or less battery remaining?
 

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Hello

Remember too the Volt has an 8 year 100,000 mile powertrain and battery warranty, - so if you get a 3 year old
Volt you will be under warranty until a year after you complete (4 years) college.

Also, the volt will be available all the time even though you might not have a charger available close to your dorm, and you will have all the advangtanges of an EV over a conventional gasoline car.

Volts are extremely reliable and maintenance free. In 3 years, i had NO maintenance on either my 1st or 2nd volt in over 25,000 miles on each except for a free oil change when the oil got old. Be sure to get a CPO (certified pre-owned)
 

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I'd pick a volt if only for the reliability. Leafs have a bad rep for cutting corners on the battery.
You may save a couple thousand now, but if you need to spend a couple thousand on a new battery in 2 years, are you really ahead?
As a former student, I understand the need to reduce costs, but there's also a point where you consider how long you need something to last vs how much you pay for it. You pay a little bit more now, but you get to use it longer, so better off in the long run.
 

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If those two cars are your only option, I would recommend the Volt. As others have stated, the 90 mile trip is not reasonable for the Leaf in a single charge. The Volt has better performance and is more pleasant to drive (in my opinion), so it also wins in that category.

The price is the only place where the Leaf excels, but that price is, in my opinion, justified. Its battery life has been proven to be unreliable. The total overall range even when the battery is fully operational is just not competitive anymore.

Because you have until August before you must go to school, I suggest waiting a bit. GM has forced most of the manufacturers' hands at this point, so their next offerings are likely to be 200 mile BEVs. That means used, short-range EV prices are going to drop even more. This might sound counter intuitive, but you might actually save money leasing a new EV as dealerships try to clear their lots. Heck, you can even wait to see if the Hyundai Ioniq EV (it's supposed to be available in California by April) would fit your needs because it might come with some very good lease deals. You are likely to spend $5,000 to $10,000 for a used Leaf, while some of the better lease deals might have a net cost of < $5,000 over three years.

First, I personally wouldn't advocate getting an EV unless you have charging at your residence. Although CA likely has the greatest density of available public chargers, if used as your sole method this will get old fast.
I would add: Or work/school. If the OP is going to college, the campus likely has EV charging. I don't have charging at my apartment with my Bolt EV, but I do have work charging. For me, it is the same experience. I have to be at work for about nine hours a day, and when I come back to my car in the evening, it is fully charged.

Remember too the Volt has an 8 year 100,000 mile powertrain and battery warranty, - so if you get a 3 year old Volt you will be under warranty until a year after you complete (4 years) college.
In California, it is 10 years/150,000 miles.
 

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Without a doubt get the Chevy volt
 

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Neither, get the cheapest beater of a car possible and when you get a Job when you have finished college, then move up to car that is in your budget, possibly a Volt.
 

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When I was attending a university as an undergrad, my transportation was a bicycle. I suggest that you consider buying one and not wasting time and money on transportation and trips that will distract your energy from studies. When you are living down by a river during graduate school, then you will want a van. Volkswagen is supposed to be coming out with an all-electric camper van soon. A hybrid vehicle would be better, since dual energy systems allow travel when one power source does not exist.
 

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Volt, it's safe with decent pep. For a busy student, you can't always rely upon charging, so having a gas backup eliminates having to worry about where to charge when finals come around.
 

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Neither, get the cheapest beater of a car possible and when you get a Job when you have finished college, then move up to car that is in your budget, possibly a Volt.
+1

When I was in college and graduate school in the early '60s, I got the cheapest thing I could find: In those days, usually a Renault 4CV, which were going in Southern Cali for $200-$400. When one would expire, I'd get another one (I had at least four of them, maybe six--I honestly can't remember)! Today, I think that a Leaf would look like a modern-day 4CV, and would buy one dirt cheap with the idea of getting another if it gave up the ghost. Move up to a Volt when you get out of edu-poverty!
 

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I've had both cars. A used Leaf would make a great, cheap car for a college student, especially if driving was not a necessity, but rather a luxury. However, I will agree with what others have said.. If there is no charging at your residence (which wasn't specified), then forget it. If you have a find a public charter every time you want to drive somewhere, it is going to be irritating. In fact, having a Volt may even be worse in this regard because charging is even slower. So honestly, if there were nowhere to plug in at your residence, then maybe a traditional hybrid or ICE car would suit you better.
 

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Neither, get the cheapest beater of a car possible and when you get a Job when you have finished college, then move up to car that is in your budget, possibly a Volt.
=1. Given how so many people get student loan debt nowadays. I would not get a car at all and put the money towards investing in your education, making sure you get through school without debt. Having a car during college means that everyone will be asking you for a ride somewhere, you will be tempted to take road trips when you should be studying, and you run the risk of doing something stupid like drinking and driving. Not having a car really helps you focus on the important things at hand, getting that education and landing a decent job upon graduation.

Make sure you major in something that has a future where you can make a decent living, so no PhD in German Polka History, or Left-handed Puppetry. It's amazing how many people go and spend a fortune to get a social work degree only to earn nearly nothing upon graduation. I had two roommates in college who were english majors where upon graduation, one became a bank teller and the other ended up selling nuts and bolts.
 

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... I had two roommates in college who were english majors where upon graduation, one became a bank teller and the other ended up selling nuts and bolts.
But they were doing it in English. See using those newfound skills right there!
 

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But they were doing it in English. See using those newfound skills right there!
The point was they struggled in life to get good paying jobs where all of my engineering friends and roommates are making 6 figures now, some even in the $200k range and one even over $300k last year. The lesson learned is that being an art history major or a social worker might doom you to a lifetime of low wages struggling to find gainful employment. Certainly there are successful positions at the Smithsonian and as CEO of the United Way, but those positions are few and far between. With some of the entry level jobs from some of these majors, you're better off wage-wise delivering pizzas than working in your major.
 

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<snip> go for the Volt. You will likely be moving around a lot for a few years between college and career, and the Volt provides greater flexibility.
Definitely this. I remember my college and just post-college years and if they could be defined by one word it would have been "mobility". Things changed frequently and quickly as I worked through my education and then my first couple of jobs and if we'd have Volts and Leafs back then, the Volt would have worked fine, the Leaf not so much.
 

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I disagree with the emphasis on "cheap". Cheap cars are older cars and older cars are significantly less safe. I'm befuddled by parents who spend so much time and energy on their children and then put them in an unsafe vehicle. Where I am it's more giving a 17 year old a BMW M3 -- you can figure out how that usually ends up -- but it's also true for older less safe beaters.

Even the oldest Volt is reasonably safe so that's not a problem. But "beaters" are an entirely different story. If you have your whole working life ahead of you, no reason to cut corners on vehicle safety. Not worth it. Death or serious injury can get in the way of a successful financial future (and of course that's not actually the big problem).

The point was they struggled in life to get good paying jobs where all of my engineering friends and roommates are making 6 figures now, some even in the $200k range and one even over $300k last year.
I'm a big fan of doing what you like and/or are good at. Plenty of English majors on Wall Street, and I think they do pretty well there. ;) In truth it's not necessarily the degree as much as other factors. A finance major or engineer with a personality has "success" stamped all over them. One without not so much. Big world out there with many different paths to success.

Having a trust fund isn't a bad idea either, if you can swing that!
 
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