No, not that leaf. A Nissan Leaf!
I’m finally totally green. Beginning in 2009, I made a ton of lifestyle changes. Then last year I added solar panels to my roof. This year it’s an electric car—the Nissan Leaf! It’s not a hybrid—it’s 100% electric.
The Leaf has a 6 KW Quick Charge port and a normal charge/trickle charge port. The Quick charge port allows 80% charging in 30 minutes at public high-speed charging stations. Normal charge takes 4-5 hours and requires a home charging station. Trickle charging takes 20 hours for a full charge and requires just a 110 dedicated household outlet. A full charge at PECO”s current rate of ¢0.1515 (includes generation, transmission and distribution charges) would be $3.63. If you have solar panels supplying your electricity–which I do–your cost is zip.
I had an AV home charger installed in my garage just because I never wanted to have “range anxiety”. Some people do without and just go with a trickle charge, plugging it in on a daily basis to a dedicated household outlet to keep it fully charged.
The Leaf’s 24 KWh lithium battery (warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles) has an 80 to 100 mile range, depending on driving habits and outdoor temperature. The Leaf can go about 3.5 miles on one kilowatt-hour of electricity. The eco-mode increases driving range, as does the regenerative breaking system, which captures energy during coasting or braking and recycles it back into the lithium battery.
I know you’re wondering how much it costs–if you don’t have solar panels–to drive an EV (electric vehicle) compared to an ICE (internal combustion engine) car. PECO’s current cost for electricity is ¢0.1515 per KWh. Dividing 3.5 miles into ¢0.1515 gives the cost per mile–¢.0432. An 80 mile trip at ¢.1515 cents per mile would cost $3.45. The same trip for gas at $3.50/gallon in a 24 MPG car, would cost $11.66. If you drove an average of 12,000 miles a year, you would spend $518 a year in electricity costs. Compare that to $1,750 for gas. And don’t forget to add oil changes, yearly emissions tests and maintenance costs for your gas car. The Leaf doesn’t have a gas engine, so you can forget about oil changes. The Leaf has never heard of spark plugs, exhaust systems, carburators, transmissions, oil filters, fuel lines, timing belts, hoses and all those other components of gas engines that need maintenance.
Hesitant? What’s your concern? Let’s look at some common myths regarding electric cars.
But I’ll run out of charge and get stuck! The average person drives 40 miles a day. The Leaf has twice that range. There are charging stations all over the country. The Leaf will tell you where and give you driving directions. Even Media Borough has a charging station. Bet you didn’t know that.
EVs just replace the tailpipe with a smokestack. You could always add a few solar panels to your roof to supply power to an EV. However, plug-in cars still reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and most other pollutants compared with conventional gas or hybrid vehicles. EVs will reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions, even if the source of electricity is mostly coal, according to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and NRDC. And remember folks, this is a ZERO emissions car. It doesn’t have a tailpipe.
The grid will crash if millions of plug-ins charge all at once. Actually, off-peak electricity capacity could fuel the daily commutes of 73 percent of all cars, light trucks, SUVs and vans on the road today if they were EVs, a 2007 study by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found. Utilities are upgrading some local distribution systems to accommodate plug-ins, just as they do when residents add more air conditioners and TVs.
EVs take too long to charge. The most convenient time to charge is at home while you sleep. Even using the slowest charging method (trickle charge plugged in to a standard 110-volt household outlet), the Leaf can be charged overnight to 40 miles of range. Another convenient time is during the workday. Some people plug in at work and are ready to go at the end of the day, thanks to charging stations at workplaces.
Ok, now I’m going to take away another misconception—torque. The Leaf has amazing power. Step on the accelerator and it GOES. Immediately. It handles really nicely also.
Still wondering why you should consider an EV? Several factors are causing people to shift from ICEs to EVs:
- Toughening federal fuel economy standards and state caps on greenhouse gas emissions
- Projected price hikes for petroleum products as demand increases and supply flattens or drops
- The need for America to reduce its reliance on petroleum for economic and national security reasons
- Climate change, which is occurring faster than previously thought.
Need an incentive to entice you? There’s a $7,500 federal tax credit, a $2,000 PA rebate and a $3,500 rebate from Nissan for the Leaf. What are you waiting for?