Considering Buying an Ampera – Again!

Those of you that have been following my experiences with the Nissan Leaf will know that I was seriously considering getting a Vauxhall Ampera as a replacement for my Land Rover Freelander 2. You will know that when the Ampera was launched I ruled out buying one on the grounds that it was simply too expensive. Vauxhall had implied that it would be £28,000 but when it launched it was £35,000 for the Electron model.

Since then I have been reconsidering and this blog tries to describe my thinking and to explain why I am reconsidering the decision not to get an Ampera.

Currently we have two cars. An all electric Nissan Leaf and a Land Rover Freelander 2. Clearly these two cars do not complement each other in a good way. The Leaf, an all electric car, with great emissions and CO2 credentials. In fact, as we have solar PV and are on the Ecotricity 100% “green” tariff the Leaf is, for the most part, 100% CO2 and emissions free in the truest sense. The Freelander is good for a 4×4 but is still 200gms/Km of CO2 and is an expensive car to run with reasonably high insurance and servicing. Not only that but we never use the Freelander. The Leaf does almost all of our journeys and I am having trouble owning a £30,000 car just for the odd journey that we cannot do in the Leaf.

So, we are reassessing. We initially rejected the Ampera on the grounds of cost. Purchase cost. However, we now are starting to think that this decision was a little premature.

We have a Freelander valued at about £30,000 and a Nissan Leaf at about £18,000 on the secondhand market. That is £48,000 of cars. They are costing us the best part of £500 insurance and £500 servicing between them. All this so we can have 2 cars for the 4 times a year we need 2 cars and so we can go places not possible with the Nissan Leaf. Some3thing that happens no more than a few times a year. It just doesn’t make sense.

So what is the alternative? Selling both cars and getting an Ampera? I wanted to look at the economics of that vs keeping both cars for the next 3 years. This is the results.

The outcome of this reassessment is rather surprising.

Taking into account depreciation (25 % for the next year), insurance, road tax and servicing the figure look like this:

Keeping both Leaf and Freelander £26875

Selling both and buying Ampera £22334

Saving of £4541 over 3 years

A clear saving over the 3 years of £4541. This saving is reduced a little because with the Ampera some of the trips we could do with the Leaf as 100% electric would use some petrol but to be honest, the number of trips that would take more than a gallon or so are negligible.

So all in all, taking all the main factors into account, we would probably be financially better off selling both cars and buying an Ampera and definitely better off as we would have no travel restrictions enforced on us because of limited charging infrastructure or charging speed limits. The question is then… is that what we want to do?

If I was being 100% honest I am in two minds. I love the Leaf. It is a superb car for what it does and I want to support the all electric movement towards an electric future. That is partly why I bought the Leaf in the first place. However, it is proving to be difficult using it for all our trips. There are times when we can do the trip but to do it in one day is impossible because either charging is not available or even if it is available then it cannot charge fast enough for us to be able to continue on to our destination or to return home the same day. The Ampera would allow us to make those trips albeit at the cost of a bit of petrol. This is a compromise that is difficult to ignore.

So the question now is this: do we keep the Leaf and Freelander or do we sell both and buy an Ampera?

My gut feeling is telling me we would be better off selling up and buying the Ampera. We have given electric a chance and we just love, it is definitely the future, but it is a huge compromise right now. The charging infrastructure is not there yet and the range of the Leaf, combined with its slow 16A AC charging, is proving difficult to live with. OK, it has CHAdeMO DC fast charging but there are very few of those around and although there will be many more being installed in the next 2 years or so we feel that it will make little difference to the usability of the Leaf for us.

Right now we are thinking that selling both cars and buying the Ampera might be the better option for us all round and that is what I am now seriously considering.

Clearly, there is more to say on this later!

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