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View Diary: The Electric Car, Cost-effective and Affordable: Available Now! (207 comments)

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  •  As a 2012 Nissan LEAF Leasee, I second, and add: (18+ / 0-)

    There's more than one affordable EV/PHEV option out there now. If you need a 5-seater, then the Leaf is a very comfortable one, and it's only marginally more expensive than the Mitsubishi.

    You can leaseback (i.e., a lease on only part of the value, with the car going back to the company at the end) most EVs - and I highly recommend it, b/c the technology improves too fast for the value to hold if you buy it outright.

    Our Leaf was leased with $4600 down, and beyond that the lease is essentially free after deducting the gas savings (it's $99/month for 2 years).

    Meanwhile, the 2013 Leaf has 14% greater range than the 2011/2, and larger cargo space, etc. etc. By fall 2014 when we return the car, we can have even more and better options.

    As to usability:

    Considering most household's use patterns, you can already replace at least 25% of urban/suburban residents' cars with the existing EVs without losing any comfort.

    It can be almost any 2-car family's second car. Easily. So when one of your cars is due for a replacement - do consider an EV.

    We were a 1-family home, but we kept our old 2001 gas car (which was falling apart) on the side. In almost 5 months, we have moved it about once a month.

    Republished to climate change SOS. Beyond everything else, this is a global warming issue - moving to a more electric locomotion is a crucial 'wedge' on that front.

    •  I meant, we were a 1-car home. Effectively, still. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, kyril, Chi
    •  I've had my Leaf for a month. LOVE it! (7+ / 0-)

      End of year lease deals were fantastic.  I'm paying $199/month with 0 down (had to pay $800 in taxes, though).  So, for the entire 2 year lease, I'm paying a total of about $6k, BUT I still get the CO rebate (state rebates aren't applied to leases).  I'll get about 1/4 of the total $6k rebate due to the way they do leases (in 2 yrs, the value will drop about 1/4), but that still $1500!

      Biggest problem I've had so far is my girlfriend keeps stealing my car...

      •  Did you install (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Assaf

        a charger at your house?

        Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

        by delphine on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:10:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll chime in on that (5+ / 0-)

          We have a leaf - since July - do have the charger, but in retrospect probably would not do that part again.  Love the car and the charger is somewhat convenient, but the only people who need the 240 charger are people who use a large fraction of the battery capacity on successive days.  The 110V takes something like 20 hours to go from totally out to totally charged - so if you had a 60 mile daily commute the 240 would be good to have.  But we only charge up about every 4th or 5th day, since we don't go that many miles.  It's a fairly unusual day - less than once a month - that we use a large amount of the stored energy.

          "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

          by Chico David RN on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:48:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I heard that it's better for the battery to use (0+ / 0-)

            the 240.

            Not as good for the battery to use the 110 all the time.

            That's what I was told... not sure how true it is.

            •  I've been told the opposite (0+ / 0-)

              Fast charge is hard on the battery, "trickle charge" leads to longer battery life.

              Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

              by DrFood on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 06:04:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  110's fine, just less efficient (0+ / 0-)

              240 is NOT "quick charging" - that terms refers to the convenient but nasty high-amperage DC chargers (CHAdeMO and CCS) that jolt the battery to 80% full in 15-20 minutes.  All modern EVs are built for 240v charging, and the current is far, far below anything that would affect their longevity.  By contrast DC fast-charging is much closer to the acceptable limits, and done too frequently can shorten battery life of EVs sold in the US.  Mitsubishi offers a version of the i-MiEV in Japan that uses heavier SCiB batteries from Toshiba that can handle multiple slams per day from the fast-chargers in Japan's CHAdeMO network.  The batteries have less range than the GS Yuasa batteries used on cars sold here, but because there are so many CHAdeMO stations, the SCiBs are practical in Japan.  They aren't offered here because we have such limited charging infrastructure, so it's more important to have longer-range batteries than higher quick-charging tolerance.

              The downside to 240 is the need to install a 240v EVSE and (god forbid) upgrade electrical service if that's necessary (it's a 3kW load for the Mitsu or current LEAFs, 6kW for Focus Electric and the new upgraded LEAF).

              A 110 EVSE is supplied with the car, so there's no hardware expense associated with that option.  The problem is that you'll draw more total watt-hours for the same level of charging.  It's not a big difference, and it would take a long time for it to make up for the cost of buying the quicker 240v charging EVSE.  The main reason for going 240 is that it lets you fully recharge the vehicle overnight (less than 7 hours) instead of taking all day (up to 22 hours).  If you don't drive a lot of miles, 110 may work for you, but you'd need to keep in mind that you would not have the car's full range available for daily use.

              Finally Major Grey said, "I think you can see, Bill, that your desire to live without drugs is incompatible with this society." [Wyman Guin, "Beyond Bedlam"]

              by vike on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 10:53:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  What do you do if you are (0+ / 0-)

            planning a longer trip?

            My commute is tiny, less than 5 miles.  But if, say, I am going to drive to San Diego, I would have to be fully charged.  

            I guess I'm totally ignorant - where do you charge?  At your house via a normal outlet?

            Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

            by delphine on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:24:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, you charge at home, but . . . (0+ / 0-)

              . . . you use a 240v charger that takes about 6-7 hours to fully recharge the car (usually much less, since you'd normally not run it all the way down).  If you used a "normal" (i.e., 110v 15A) outlet, a full charge could take up to 22 hours.

              Since you say San Diego, it's worth noting that California is one of the few states where you can find CHAdeMO chargers that can recharge CHAdeMO-ready Leafs and i-MiEVs (not all are so equipped) to 80% while you wait, 15-20 minutes or so.  That said, you probably don't want to use those on a regular basis, as they'll likely be as costly per mile as gasoline and they burn life out of your batteries.  

              If this were to be your only car and you don't want to make lifestyle adjustments to suit the vehicle's limitations, I'd look at a Volt instead - it would be all-electric for your commuting and errands, but give you the range you need for road trips by running on gasoline.

              Finally Major Grey said, "I think you can see, Bill, that your desire to live without drugs is incompatible with this society." [Wyman Guin, "Beyond Bedlam"]

              by vike on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 11:02:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Various ideas... (0+ / 0-)

              When I go to my parent's house or stay with a friend, I usually can charge at a 120V at their house.  Cost to charge the car in electricity is $1-2.  I buy them a beer. :)

              It is pretty easy to find a 240V charger these days at commercial locations, though you need to check websites or Google.  So, you can generally recharge during a day of shopping for example.

              Some states like CA have a large number of DC quick chargers so you could recharge while having a cup of coffee. They are starting to show up in some weird places like TN... probably because the Nissan plant is there. :)  CO, where I live, doesn't have any.

              Honestly, though, I use the Leaf for a work commuter and running errands around town.  I live with my girlfriend so we have a 2-car household... which I think is pretty typical in the US.  So if we are going on a long trip, we drive the Jetta.  In the first month, though, we put about 1000 miles on the Leaf at a cost of about $26 in electricity vs the $120 it would have cost in gas at 25mpg in the old car.

              •  I guess (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not typical for the U.S. unless one of my dogs purchases a vehicle.

                My car is paid off, so I should not be looking at any cars!  But I have to admit the Leaf seems like a fantastic option.

                I work in the "green" field and my car only gets about 20 MPG (despite Toyota's claims), so part of me just wants to do it because it's the right thing, even if not the best idea for me economically.

                Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

                by delphine on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:19:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  seen the 2013 pricing? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Nissan just announced 2013 specs and pricing in the past few days.  They now have a stripped down "S" model for $28,800.  With the federal tax incentive of $7500 +CA incentive of $2500, you can get a new car for $18,800!  If you live in CO (like me :) ), the state incentive is $6000, bringing the price down to ~$15k!

                  If your car only gets 20MPG, you will be saving around 13 cents per mile in electricity vs gas.  So for a typical 1000 miles per month, you'll save around $130!  Plus no oil changes, and basically 0 maintenence.

                  Not sure if that makes it worthwhile for you, but run the numbers and check it out.  It's pretty amazing how cheap an electric car can be when you factor everything in. :)

                  •  Right now I (0+ / 0-)

                    only drive about 10 miles round trip to work every day.  

                    I probably fill up the tank about 1.5 - 2 times per month, and yeah, that's about $130.  Plus the extra "cost" of feeling crappy as I fill my tank up with planet-killing poison.

                    Thing is that my car payment is Zero Dollars.  So I have to do a lot of self-talk about why I am considering taking on any sort of payment or debt right now.

                    However, my car, paid off, is a 6 year old Toyota with less than 70k on it.  

                    Trade in or sale would probably get me around $8k, bringing your theoretical sale down to about $10,000.

                    Wonder what the payment would be?  

                    None of the tax rebates apply when you lease, though, do they?

                    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

                    by delphine on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:53:56 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

          Sorry for the delayed response... ran out to a movie right after posting comments and hadn't checked them!

          As some other commenters below mentioned, the Leaf comes with a 120V charger than can be plugged into a regular outlet, but takes 20 hours to charge the car from empty to full.

          I installed a 240V charger in my garage so I could use the full range of the car each day if I wanted.  I also wanted one because I plan on continuing to buy EVs in the future, and with battery improvements they will probably have higher capacity batteries that will take even longer to charge.  I bought mine for $750 from Amazon... they are also available at Lowes and Home Depot.  Prices have been dropping fast, and that should continue over the next few years.

          I added the 240V circuit and plug to my garage myself for $50.  I had the advantage of having a 125A main on my house, current low usage due to efficiency improvements I've already made, and an unused slot in my breaker panel.  Any newer house shouldn't be too difficult to add a new circuit as long as it is near your breaker box, but if you have to pay an electrician to do it, costs could rise quickly.

    •  Had my LEAF since 2011 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, Assaf, davehouck

      best car I've ever owned.

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