Even though it costs more, to me the Chevy Volt is a better car that makes more sense. The Leaf is an interesting experiment that is going to suit a small percentage of people just fine. If all you ever need to do is drive to and from work and you’re never likely to go more than 100 miles in a day, the Leaf is great. I’m just not that person.
The Volt is a car that gives you options. Sure, you only get 30 or so miles from the charge, but when that runs out the gas generator kicks in and you’re good for another 300 miles. If my brother in LA calls and invites me to the best party ever, I could hop in the Volt and leave straight from work. With the Leaf I’d better have a backup car. Even then, I’d have to take time to swap cars.
But honestly, it goes beyond that. The Volt is just a nicer car. It looks nicer from the outside, and it feels nicer on the inside. The dashboard makes you think you’re driving an upscale car. Owners don’t have to feel like they’re leading a monastic automotive lifestyle just because they want to burn less fossil fuel. Don’t get me wrong, the Volt is hardly a luxury vehicle. It’s just a lot more luxurious than the Leaf.
The Volt is going to set you back at least $3,000 (and probably more) more than the Leaf. But for me, it’s money well spent. If the Leaf fits your lifestyle, then go for it. Nissan builds great cars and I have no doubt his one will do exactly what it’s designed to do. You just have to decide if that’s what you need.
I still think it’s important to do the math before you drive either car. Make sure you know how much extra you’re paying to save gas. But if you decide it’s time to plug-in, I’d plug-in the Volt.