2012-03-02 21:29:10

Our Electric Vehicle: Nothing But Good Things to Say


With all the negative articles that have found their way into the press recently, I thought I should tell our readers about our very positive experience with our zero emission Nissan Leaf.

In a phrase, no problem.

I'm sure the money behind the recent attacks on EVs has come from the petroleum industry. Their climate change denying spin doctors are very effective in getting negative stories published, but these stories are deceptive and wrong.

Before we bought our Nissan Leaf, we were driving an old Mercedes TDI converted to burn veggie oil. That worked fine, but it was smelly, and the car was — well — old. With solar panels installed on our roof, we were just biding our time until reliable EVs came back on the market. It ended up a toss up between the Leaf and the Chevy Volt, but we went for the Leaf because we don't need the back-up gas engine. Neither my wife nor I dive more than 70 miles in a day, so the Leaf's range is perfect. For longer trips, we have a Jetta Sportwagen that gets 42 miles to the gallon on diesel. We use that for camping and ski trips.

Now here's the amazing part. With the California State and Federal tax credits, we were able to shave nearly a third off the purchase price — which was pretty low to begin with. Because we leased instead of bought, we didn't have to wait to apply the tax credit to our taxes. The home charging unit, which must be bought separately, was also paid for with a rebate from our utility company. That included the installation by a qualified electrician. We also received carpool lane stickers and FREE parking in the A-lot at LAX. Sweet!

The Leaf has plenty of power, plenty of room for our family of four, and plenty of trunk space. We live at the top of a very steep hill. This car has no problem accelerating up the hill, and it's easy as pie to plug in. If you can remember to plug in your cell phone, you can remember to plug in your EV. The car fully charges in a couple hours.

Now for that so-called range anxiety. It's totally BS. The Leaf constantly updates you on range. You can even tell it where you want to go, and it will tell you if you can get there. Ask your gas-guzzler to do that. If you should run low on juice, you have options: pull over and plug in the regular wall plug charger, or pull into a Nissan dealership for a quick charge, or Nissan will send a truck out to rescue you. The last situation simply doesn't happen very often — maybe less often than running out of gas and having to call AAA.

The extra cost of electricity has been negligible. We were given a special meter for the Leaf, which measures the cost of power at a lower rate. We are paying — maybe — $40 per month for electricity for the car tops. If we were driving a gas-powered car, we'd be paying around $200 per month. There are also a fair number of free charging stations around Los Angeles, and an entire network of charging stations is being built along the highway corridors. It's just gets better.

Sure, the electricity is coming partly from dirty coal-fired plants, but here in California were are building lots of wind turbine and solar collection plants, so the ratio of clean energy is going up while the cost of imported gasoline is also going up.

Take it from my wife and me. EVs are great. Best of all, I get to give a middle finger salute every time I pass a Mobile station.

p.s. No! Nissan did not pay me to write this, and I received no special deal from them.

Richard Seireeni is author of the book The Gort Cloud: The Invisible Force Powering

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