I don’t run the heater much, but it is a heat pump heater, which is supposed to use less energy. I do use the heated seats and heated steering wheel. The heated seats are very nice.
You also need to drive these cars differently. Slower is better. Brake as little as possible. Drive in the economy mode that regenerates the battery by gently braking when coasting. The trick is to anticipate stops early enough to coast to a near stop and brake very little. Of course you might irritate drivers behind you so you have to pick your moments.
You’ll also feel better if you can trickle-charge it overnight at home so it’s near full-charge in the morning if you need to put 50+ miles a day on it. I don’t have that yet but we will get it put in soon. Trickle-charging is not fast. I’m not even sure it will go from 0 to 100% in 8 hours. It might take 12. However, most of the time you won’t be close to 0 when you plug in at night. To get a level 2 charger (the 4 hour charger) would cost anywhere from $400 to maybe $800, plus paying someone to install it. I don’t see any huge benefit from it right now. If we ever trade in our gas-powered car and have two EVs it would probably be worth investing in one.
I love the car but the range is significant limitation. We don’t need that much range, however. I may only get 60 miles of range when it’s really cold out. I haven’t had it long enough to really figure it out, but the other day I used up 60% of the charge and got about 36 miles out of that. I did use the defrost for a good 10 minutes as well.
They are increasing the range every year or two. Nissan has hinted at a 150-200 mile range for the Leaf by 2018. It’s hard to know when to buy or lease these cars. We got a great deal so we went ahead and purchased, but I may very well trade it in on a new one in a couple of years to get one with more range. The dealer has a program where we can keep the same car payment when we trade in.