We drove our Nissan Leaf over 33,000 miles on nothing but electricity in and around Redding over the last 3 years. 33K miles, 0 gallons of gas.
We have some some observations.
We love this car. It’s incredibly easy to forget gas stations forever. You plug it in at night, and it’s all charged up in the morning. Much like a smart phone.
No smog checks. No oil changes. No burnt hydrocarbon smell. Just quiet, nimble, and torque. Lots of torque. We love driving this car. It’s flat out fun to drive.
And cheap to drive. The Kill-O-Watt meter shows just $4.95 to charge all day. But it takes only a half day to charge on 110 VAC (standard household voltage). Of course, you are still going to have to pay the price for costly insurance, but if you have a look at some Progressive reviews, you may be able to find a great deal on a car like this.
But there are downsides to driving electric around Redding.
- Lack of charging stations on and around Redding. There just aren’t many around here, and few new ones arrived in the 3 years we drove it. That’s a pitiful reality, for a city that owns its own electric utility.
- Range anxiety. It’s real. We always found ways to work around it, but the car becomes less useful the more you “work around” its limitations.
- It ate tires. Okay, so that might be the way we drove it. Torque can do that. If you’re looking for cheap tires, have a look online and look into the benefits of buying tires online over buying them in garages.
Seriously, we loved the car. And importantly, we discovered that electric propulsion is surely the future of automobiles. It makes for a great driving experience. And maybe the future for the planet, if we are to have a future. It was good not to have a tailpipe.
Right now, the Chevy Volt looks like a better fit for our business and our local geography. As a plug in hybrid, it has a 50 mile range on electricity alone, and also a gas generator to increase the range if needed. So we returned the Leaf at the end of the lease. Will let your know how well our new Volt works.
“If the leaders find that the concept of phasing out all emissions from coal, and taking measures to ensure that unconventional fossil fuels are left in the ground or used only with zero-carbon emissions, is too inconvenient, then, in that case, they could instead spend a small amount of time composing a letter to be left for future generations. The letter should explain that the leaders realized their failure to take these actions would cause our descendants to inherit a planet with a warming ocean, disintegrating ice sheets, rising sea level, increasing climate extremes, and vanishing species, but it would have been too much trouble to make changes to our energy systems and to oppose the business interests who insisted on burning every last bit of fossil fuels. By composing this letter the leaders will at least achieve an accurate view of their place in history.”
NASA Scientist, James Hansen, from Storms of my Grandchildren.