robthemac: Long time lurker here. First time advice-seeker.
Looking at buying my first EV. My aging Altezza is starting to cost a fair bit to maintain and at 11L/100km sips heartily from the fuel tank.
I drive about 8000km/year. The vast majority of that is my daily commute, 15km each way. We're likely moving to a slightly more rural area this year, which will extend the commute to 30km each way. I don't need the car for long trips, although getting from Whangarei to Auckland (170km) would be an optional luxury. I would rather pure electric than PHEV. We have a second car for long distances and towing.
My budget is 10-15k. Obviously that means I'll mostly be looking at first gen Leafs. What should I be looking at? Are bars and SOH measurements really that useful? Do kilometres travelled mean much as the do on petrol cars? Any common problems that I should look out for?
If you pay only 10-15k for any EV, you really need to get the battery health checked out very carefully. There are already cases where Leaf batteries have failed and replacement batteries can cost anything between $11,000 to $30,000. Nissan quoted $30,000 to one Leaf owner (reported on Facebook) but local "unofficial" EV people can provide one a lot cheaper, but I don't think it has a manufacturer's guarantee. And it can take quite a while to find a suitable battery replacement which is an important factor to consider.
You might be lucky and get a first gen Leaf that has a "healthy" battery, but the batteries don't have water cooling which can contribute to faster degradation than batteries which do have this.
I would also suggest that you buy from a reputable EV dealer rather than privately. Some EV owners are very responsible and would never try and sell an EV with a fast-failing battery, but others might be prepared to give it a go …..
I suggest you read through this thread which is about electric vehicle battery failures:
From the above:
Steve Withers explains what happened to his Nissan Leaf:
It's also interesting to read this thread started by Matt Jackett about a $30,000 quote to replace the battery of his 2016 Nissan Leaf: