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I’ve been driving a 100% electric car for a year now and thought I’d share impressions and results. This might help you decide whether an EV is right for you.

General Notes
I’ve driven my Mitsubishi iMiEV 7000 miles. I haven’t had any mechanical or operational problems, or complaints about comfort or basic operations (seat belts, wipers, seat comfort, etc). I’ve never run out of charge, as the car keeps me well informed about remaining charge/range and I’m aware of where and how far I plan to drive in a day. The worst logistical problem I had was concern that a valet parking attendant wouldn’t know how to start my car.
I measured the plug-in wattage during recharging. Given the range (see below) and the costs of gasoline versus electricity, the fuel cost-per-mile is roughly the same as a gasoline car delivering 110 mpg.  
I’ve noticed a slow but steady increase in the number of other EVs, mostly Leafs and Teslas, driving about town. (There are a few Volts around here. I’ve only noticed one Ford EV, but they’re less recognizable than the other EV models so I could’ve overlooked them). If this increase continues, it means EVs are morphing from “early adopter toys” to “mainstream consumer goods”. In keeping with that, the prices are dropping as with any new tech gizmo.
I think the EV is, right now, today, an excellent solution for some drivers. For others, it might remain unviable for a long time. Arguments about whether it is a perfect replacement for the gasoline car miss the point. A better question is, whether it’s a perfect replacement for your gasoline car.

What’s the range, really?
It’s hard to get straight answers about range. Published answers are full of disclaimers about what type of driving and so on. For my car, Mitsubishi claims a 92 mile range (which I never believed, expecting it to be marketing hype). The EPA rates it at 62.  Consumer Reports claimed less than 50 miles. This has shaken my trust in Consumer Reports.
Here are some genuine numbers measured in the real world:

Urban and suburban streets  (0 - 45 mph with occasional stop/start) - - 80 mile range
Moderate highway speed (60-65mph) - - 65 miles
Fast highway (70-80 mph) -- 50 miles
(Yes, a battery-operated device will really zip along just fine at that speed. It takes some getting used to ("it works! it really works!"))
This is why nobody can give you a simple “range” answer. You need three numbers instead of one. Mixed driving, of course, will average between these numbers.
If you run the air conditioning, deduct about 5 miles at high speed, or 10 miles at low speed (because low speed means you’re runnng the AC for more hours to go the same distance) .
Heat is expensive. Reduce your range estimate by 35% or so when you run the heat. This could be a problem for you northerners. A workaround is to rely on the heated seats, the theory being that if your bum is warm you don’t mind chilly cabin air.
Driving up monster hills (like the one on rt 2222 near Ribelin Ranch Rd) causes a disconcerting plunge on the Remaining Miles indicator. However, coasting back down the hill on the return trip gives the satisfaction of seeing the remaining miles increase again (you even gain bars on the battery gauge) as the car converts gravity to stored charge.
You’re focused on the wrong thing. Range doesn’t matter.

EVs compete on who has the best range, but the real answer is that the range is Good Enough for you if it meets my official Range Equation:
R > C + 2E + 5
Where R = Range, C = Commute, E = errand
In other words, your EV needs enough juice to do your daily commute, handle two typical errands, and reserve a cushion of five miles to avoid anxiety on the way home.
Example:  suppose your personal stats are
(C)ommute = 30 miles round trip
(E)rrand = 8.5miles, if you average (grocery = 6 miles round trip) and (kids’ soccer = 11 miles)
C + 2E + 5 = 30 + 17 + 5 = 52
If your EV can go 52 miles, you’re all set. It’s a viable solution. After work and the second errand, plug it in to recharge while you sleep, and you’re ready to do it again tomorrow.
If you typically drive all day for work (field service, realtor, etc) then Tesla is the only EV  that might be the right answer for you.
Charge time doesn’t matter. Public infrastructure doesn’t matter.
Charge the car at night. Who cares if it takes 3h or 8h? Your eyes are closed anyway.
Who cares if there are recharge stations all over town or not? You don’t need them because you’ve satisfied the Range Equation.
What does matter is that you have a reliable place to plug in overnight (such as your garage). If you don’t have that, then an EV might not be the right answer for you. You can pay an electrician to install 240V service in your garage, or (like me) just not bother, and recharge on an ordinary 120V outlet.
You need a strategy for long trips.
Forget about QuickCharge, utopian infrastructure, and so on. Most days your driving is about Commute and Errands (see Range Equation). Occasionally you want to drive to the coast or mountains, and you need a strategy to deal with this. Solutions include:
> Owning a gasoline car as well (e.g. “the spousemobile”)
> Buying a Volt instead of a pure EV
> Being willing to rent a car every time you decide to go out of town.  
The rental might be $100 extra for that camping trip. You can think of it as part of the purchase price of your EV. Twenty camping trips = $2k. You’re still saving money overall, because:
It’s the Maintenance, Stupid.
This is a big plus for the EV.

1. Near zero scheduled maintenance
2. Very low wear-and-tear repairs

There are no oil changes, because there’s no oil.
There are no sparkplug changes (AKA “tuneups”), because there are no sparkplugs.
You never have to flush the radiator, because there’s no radiator.
You never have the following intermittent expensive repairs, because the thing to be repaired doesn’t exist:  Leaky/broken radiator, failed starter motor, new belts and hoses, muffler, head gasket, catalytic converter, valves, piston rings (and lots more - - but you get the idea).
This is not only about the cash saved, but the annoyance saved:  schedule interruptions due to mechanical failure, dropping off the car, picking it up, returning if your mechanic botched the job… UGH! What a wonderful thing NOT to have to deal with. You can even expect fewer brake jobs, since most of your deceleration is done by generating power rather than friction braking; thus less wear and tear on the rotors.
Actually, no. It’s the driving experience.
All that calculating and logical stuff is nice, but the truth is, it’s just FUN to drive the EV. It’s fun to have smooth whisking acceleration without the herky jerk of your automatic transmission changing gears. It’s fun to glide down the highway with none of the noise or vibration of a gas engine. In the quiet you can hear the music on your car stereo really clearly, or you can have a civilized conversation with your passenger without shouting. Stuck in a traffic jam? No idling; your car is silent and still, which takes away half the stress (Prius owners know this).
And it turns out to be really nice NEVER going to dirty smelly gas stations, standing there holding that cold gas nozzle and fussing with credit cards as the wind blows trash around you.
Okay, now what?
If you meet the Range Equation, and have the garage, give it some consideration. You’ll still be a semi-early adopter, so you have to be willing to take that risk (your new toy obsoleted by a technical breakthrough, the price drops a month after you buy, etc).
You have several choices: Volt, Leaf, iMiEV (they’re coming back with a 2014 model), Ford, Tesla if you have plenty of the green stuff; maybe BMW if they expand i3 distribution beyond Europe ; maybe Honda (Fit) if they get over their commitment issues.
Methinks I strayed from information-sharing to evangelizing at some point. Sorry -- couldn't help it.  

11:48 AM PT: I notice quite a few responses here from people who love their EVs. This is in line with a survey I read, which said that an extremely high percent of Leaf owners rated their car as "would definitely buy again". These observations could provide reassurance for potential buyers wondering whether to take the plunge.

Originally posted to Morgan in Austin on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 05:07 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (148+ / 0-)
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  •  It's 5F here in Central IL, (11+ / 0-)

    what kind of heating/cooling system does an electric vehicle have?

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 05:11:01 AM PST

    •  Same as a normal car (15+ / 0-)

      But running an electric heater takes a lot of energy.  And unlike a car with an internal combustion engine, there's no heat from the motor to draw from.  

      In my experience, running the AC decreases range by 2-3%.  So, over a 100 mile trip, I lose 2-3 miles in my EV.

    •  There's a reservoir of "radiator fluid" (14+ / 0-)

      There's no radiator, so the only purpose of this fluid is climate control. The liquid is heated by electric current (drawing from your main battery store) and circulated past the vents.

    •  Heat pumps in 2013 Leaf (17+ / 0-)

      Heating can be a problem.  As the author has stated, most electric cars are heated with electric resistance which sucks down your battery like a drunken sailor and can easily use 20% of your battery.

      However, the 2013 version of the Leaf introduced a heat pump which is much more efficient.  A heat pump basically works like an AC... it compresses air which produces both colder and warmer air.  But instead of pumping the cold air into the car and the warm outside like an AC, it just does the opposite.

      This brings both the heat and the AC load down to ~5% of your battery.  I assume other models will follow suit in future models (actually I would assume the Tesla already has this, too!).

      •  heat pump vs resistance heating (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pat bunny, Dvalkure, ER Doc

        Interesting... you still have to pay for whatever number of calories (or kWH or joules or whatever) of heat you produce. So why does a heat pump use so many fewer calories than the resistance heat system? IOW where is the heat loss waste in resistance heat?  Maybe it's in the initial warmup of the fluid reservoir?

        I attributed the energy-cost differential (AC vs heat) partly to the fact that we only expect about a 20 deg F drop from AC, whereas we might ask a heater to boost temps by 40 or 50 deg F.

        •  This is a really good point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc

          Other than the braking, the only other place I can see to get heat out of the system is tire friction. Tires heat up when driving, especially on the freeway. Perhaps an engineer could find a way to capture heat from both these sources with a single heat exchanger located near each wheel.

          I should think the motor itself would generate a little heat. Cooling it by transferring the heat away could improve efficiency some, but I don't know how much heat you could get.

          There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

          by BeerNotWar on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 09:32:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You don't actually pay for the heat (13+ / 0-)

          You move existing heat from a colder source to a warmer destination. That is, you cause heat to flow against its natural direction. The amount heat transferred is more than the same amount of electricity could make with a resistive heater. This is referred to as the COP (Coefficient of Performance), and a resistance heater has a COP of 1. A heat pump may have a COP of 3 or more.

          Air exchange heat pumps tend to suffer reduced efficiency when the outside temperature is very low. In addition, supplemental resistive heating may be needed to help keep the cold coil from icing over.

          To be first in the soil, which erupts in the coil, of trees veins and grasses all brought to a boil. -- The Maxx

          by notrouble on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:19:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Heat Pump 101 (23+ / 0-)

          The heat from a heat pump is coming from the outside air.  You don't have to generate it -- you just need to transfer it.  What the heat pump does is make the outside air even colder and transfer the difference into your dwelling.  You're paying for the energy needed to operate a compressor and a blower, but that's less that what you'd need for resistive heat.

          Heat pumps become a lot less efficient as the outside air gets colder.  But they work great down to about 50 F and still work down to about 20 F.  Below that you need a multi-stage heat pump which plays the same trick multiple times.

          You're right about a heated seat.  The human body needs its torso and brain warm to survive -- the extremities are expendible.  If your hands are cold, put on a sweater.

          In an electric vehicle, put on a sweater and turn on Rush Limbaugh.  As your anger level rises, you'll feel plenty warm :-)

          Better to hide your tax returns and be thought a crook than to release them and remove all doubt. [Adapted from Abraham Lincoln]

          by Caelian on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:25:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  heat pump advantage (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrayCat, badscience, ER Doc, BYw

          is it sucks heat out of the ambient air, discharges the cooled air, and circulates the warmed air or fluid. It still takes energy to do this but less than resistance heating.

        •  You don't pay the same to do different things. (0+ / 0-)

          When it comes to heat pumps vs. resistance heaters, the key to the difference isn't that one is more efficient than the other per se, but rather that the two types of heating units are performing entirely different tasks.  A PTC resistance heater of the type used in the i-MiEV converts electrical energy into heat, and it does that perfectly well.  The problem is that generating heat for a passenger cabin just takes too damn much energy.  We don't notice this in ICE vehicles because their inefficiency generates so much waste heat that diverting just a little of it is more than enough to keep us toasty in the winter.

          A heat pump, by contrast, generates almost no heat.  Instead, it does something entirely different, using an electric compressor to move heat.  That is both its strength and its weakness.  Because it's just capturing heat from the surrounding air and pumping it into the cabin (in what's already been noted here as A/C in reverse), you can actually get more heat into the cabin than power consumed, which is a pretty neat trick.  But there's a catch - this process can only increase the temperature of the outside air by a limited amount.  When it's just cool, say 45degF, the heat pump can keep the cabin comfortable using significantly less power than a PTC heater.  But take it down to 25degF and it's a different story - a car-appropriate heat pump (you don't want to tow it in a trailer behind you, after all) can't boost temps by anything like the 50degF you mention, so a resistance heater must be used to make up the difference (this is why the LEAF's new heater is called a "hybrid heater").

          For our friends in the frigid northeast and upper midwest, a heat pump helps a bit in fall and spring, but does little to improve the situation in winter.  To deal with real cold, the best, most efficient solution is (wait for it) burning stuff.  That could be kerosene, it could be diesel, it could be some bio-fuel.  It doesn't take a lot, because while setting chemicals on fire is a pretty awful way to generate motive power, it's just superb for generating heat.

          Interestingly, in northern Europe, where diesels are popular and human populations edge toward the arctic circle, they've had to deploy exactly this solution.  While high-efficiency diesels generate a lot more waste heat than electric motors, it's still not enough to maintain comfortable cabin temperatures in serious cold, so supplemental diesel-fired heaters are used.  Some Russian and Scandinavian i-MiEV owners have already installed supplemental heaters from Webasto, and report good results.

          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 Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 05:46:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  uses a Carnot cycle (0+ / 0-)

          much like a refrigerator or the A/C or your heat pump
          in your home.

          it doesn't heat resistance elements it instead pumps heat
          from the outside.

          works pretty good until it hit about 26 F

          at that point you are somewhat hosed, and need
          to use supplemental heat.

          the way a heat pump works is it extracts some of the
          heat in outside air and makes it  a little cooler to make the
          inside a lot warmer.

    •  with the Volt, the engine has to run. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nirbama, eztempo, ER Doc

      At least that's what my brother in law's son told me. He just got one. The only source of electric heat is the heated seats which really help get things warmed up fast in there. He just got it so he's still learning about it and with the ice and snow up here, he's getting an education fast.  Seems like a nice car.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 09:01:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I could see it as 2nd car (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    white blitz, Edge PA, JeffW, Assaf, ER Doc, pixxer

    but if it were to be my first car it needs a range of 300 miles
    so I can go to the lake house.

  •  Seems to have a market niche (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, white blitz, JeffW, ER Doc

    may not be for everyone, but for some....  possibility.  That's enough at this stage of the technology.  My 63 mile one-way work commute is out of the question.  But...  there's other options (Volt) or better technology (Tesla).  

  •  EVs vary just like conventional cars do (19+ / 0-)

    Great article and summary of your first year. My EV is a Toyota RAV4 EV.  It is essentially a Tesla Model S, with the 40 KW battery, and a RAV4 shell.  I drive about 1500 miles per month, and have only been close to empty one time.  The range is between 125-155 miles, depending on driving conditions (speed and altitude gain, primarily).  In my view, the charging infrastructure is very important.  Although I rarely need juice during the day, I still try to top off when I can at the various free charging spots throughout Southern California.  And if I can't, then I plug in at home and charge in the middle of the night, when there's a much cheaper rate, thanks to my local electric company (HT SoCal Edison).  

    What you didn't mention was the great subsidies and benefits:
    tax credits, both state and local, for EVs; access to HOV lanes; free or reduced cost for toll lanes; no wasted time buying gas.

    My next car will be an EV when the lease runs out in 2 years.  At that time, I expect prices to drop and range to increase.  This is all dependent on battery technology.  As energy density increases, weight decreases, charging time decreases, and prices plunge (and that will happen, without doubt), there will be many more cars with 200+ range at prices comparable to conventional cars.  

  •  Way to go! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, GleninCA, ER Doc, pixxer

    OK, there's a pun hiding in there, but you've written an excellent exposition of your personal experience.  I can't see any reason why my next car should not be an EV.  Although I'd like to have an ELF instead of an EV car.  But then I'd have the life expectancy of a mayfly; bicycles and such are not safe to use in this town.

    You did leave out one consideration.  From the pictures I've seen, that iMiev is ugly.  :)

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 05:48:54 AM PST

  •  I've had my Chevy Volt for 2 yrs now (26+ / 0-)

    However, I drive my Volt like it is a pure EV.

    I've gone 1.5 years, since May 23, 2012 since I let my Volt switch over to gas.

    I now have 41,500 miles on the odometer, however only 139 of those or gasoline miles.   I guess, if it was not for VoltStats, I would not try so hard, but it is fun trying not to use gas.   If anyone wants to take a look, here are my statistics.

    Winter driving is definitely more of a challenge where the colder temperatures really affect the range.  It would be worse if I used the heat on my commute, but staying 100% EV is more important than being warm.  My commute is 39 miles r/t and that is a piece of cake during the warmer months.  When it gets cold, below 40F, then it becomes more of a challenge.

    I've saved over $6,000 in gasoline costs since I bought my Volt.   I'm driving 20,000 miles / year and my electrical costs are around $45 / month.  So, if I can keep at this pace for 8 years, I will save $24,000 which was my initial investment into the Volt.   After that, the Volt will be making me money.   In reality it will be much sooner than that due to very low maintenance costs.  

    In 2 years, I've rotated the tires 5 times, had 1 alignment, and changed the oil once (3 weeks ago).  Most Volt owners only change the oil every 2 years.   The Volt actually said I still had 90% oil life remaining, but Gm recommends changing the oil when the life ticks down to 0 or 2 years, whichever comes first.

    Overall, the Volt is the best car I ever owned, nothing else even close.

    •  Gasoline ages poorly (9+ / 0-)

      Be sure to put a gasoline stabilizer additive into your gas tank on the Volt.  Gasoline deteriorates with age.  The best known brand of stabilizer is Stabil; there are others.  Anyone using a tank of gas every month or two doesn't need the stabilizer additive.

      •  I wonder if also getting non-ethanol gas mix (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        would help. Lore around here is that the ethanol breaks down into water vapor and causes problems. I shoulda thought to call Click and Clack about that before they retired ;-)

      •  Fuel Stabilizer Not necessary in the Volt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt, BYw, patbahn

        First, the fuel tank is pressurized, second only premium gas should be used, third the Volt monitors the age of the fuel and when the average age is a year old, it forces the car into Fuel Maintenance Mode.  It will burn gas until it is diluted by 100%.   This is why I carry only 1.2 gallons in my tank.  

        I burn around 0.3 gallons / year in routine engine maintenance that the Volt will run every 6 weeks if the engine is not used.   I've had 14 of these Engine Maintenance Modes.   The rest of the gas I will burn off when it enters fuel maintenance mode and will fill up again with 1 gallon or so.

      •  if you really are running 99% on EV, keep the tank (0+ / 0-)

        almost dry, keep 1-2 gallons in, enough to guarantee getting to a gas station, if you need it, but given you are in NoVa,
        i'd flirt with a single gallon.

        Stabilizer is nice, but, really, keep a gallon in and once
        every 6 months take a trip to burn up some of that gas.

    •  Nice EV stats! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice, ER Doc, BYw

      Driving that many electric miles on your Volt is impressive!

      Wendy Davis for TX Governor, 2014!

      by GleninCA on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 09:00:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a hand-me-down 2006 Prius (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, ER Doc, defluxion10, BYw, patbahn

      that I got a few months ago. I love it! The little consumption graphic really does encourage better/more fuel efficient driving habits. For a while there I was hypermiling, but with cold weather  (like 10 degrees) I need heat, and I have brand new snow tires so my mileage is suffering accordingly.

      •  On my second Prius now... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badscience, BYw, GleninCA

        Had a 2006 that I waited 6 months for; traded it in early 2010 for an identical new 2009. The dealer had gone out of business, so there was a lot of inventory that had been sitting on the car lot for 6 months, and the new dealer was selling it cheap.
             The first one had about 95,000 miles on it. The 2009 has about 145,000 miles now. I've just moved to a new city & new job, so no more 107 mile commutes each way. My farther hospital of two is now 18 miles away, but I drive 90 miles into St Paul or Minneapolis a couple of times a week, and the lake home (where I used to live full-time) is 240 miles away. I average 43.8 mpg; now that more of my driving is in town, that should go up a little. No plans to trade this one any time soon.

        -7.25, -6.26

        We are men of action; lies do not become us.

        by ER Doc on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 01:45:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Having the range is why (11+ / 0-)

    I bought a Prius.  While a lot of my daily driving is in the "range", I have MIL's that are too far away to get there on one charge.  They are in their late 80's and we are over their at least once a month.  I have trips over 80 miles several time a month. I'm sure the technology will be there for the next car i buy, right now this just made more sense for me.

    My Brothers Keeper

    by Reetz on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 06:00:08 AM PST

  •  Tags fixed. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morgan in Austin, JeffW, ER Doc, BYw
    Separate multiple keywords with commas.
    Everything scrunched into one tag wasn't a good thing.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 06:35:57 AM PST

  •  i just watched "Who Killed the Electric Car" (11+ / 0-)

    last week.

    I'm not sure if driving for one year makes you an early adopter since they have been around for quite a while, but I understand your point.  There are still not a lot of them on the roads.

    THANK YOU for this very detailed and helpful diary.  I think the evangelizing is OK--that's kind of what I expected when I clicked on the diary.

    Congrats and keep enjoying your car!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 07:01:54 AM PST

  •  CR got the range right at 50 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Edge PA, wilderness voice

    based on highway driving. That's our limiting factor, evacuation. I live in FL and love my non-electric Honda Fit. My folks would really like an electric one, but they only lease in selected areas, not here.

  •  I've got one of those stealth Fords (11+ / 0-)

    I've got a Ford PHEV, the C-Max, and it's almost impossible to spot unless you see the charge port.

    My electric range is close to 21 miles, but that does meet my C + 2E limit, so I'm thrilled with it. (I don't need the +5 since I can always switch to gas)  My weekends often go over 100 miles, so that's when the hybrid gets used, but I'm electric all week.

    We've got a large assortment of EVs at my work, probably a dozen Leafs now, all competing for 4 electrical outlets in the bottom of the parking garage. Most of them don't need it, but it's always nice to get a few extra miles of range when you are parked.

  •  Good discussion of actually living with an EV... (6+ / 0-)

    Here in Phoenix, I've heard that the Leaf battery loses capacity due to our scorching summertime heat. It's probably too early to tell but is your battery holding up well?

    Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

    by Ian S on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 07:31:39 AM PST

    •  Battery is holding up well (but still brand new) (10+ / 0-)

      There's a 10 yr warranty on the battery. Mostly my confidence is based on the track record of the Prius batteries.  
      Summer here doesn't usually go above 107F so we don't really compete with Phoenix.

    •  Leaf owner here in the southwest (11+ / 0-)

      We're going into our third year without incident and the battery is holding up well.   I have no complaints about this car.

      The charging unit- installed by Blink- is another story.   The unit began making horrible noises and clearly something was wrong.  A few phone calls and an internet search later, I found out that Blink was bankrupt and there was a backlog of work orders for repairs.

      I used the trickle charging unit in the meantime- it took all night to recharge the car using the small portable device that plugged into our regular outlets, but we charged to 100% (it's harder on the battery than charging to our normal 80%) so we'd have enough miles to go to all the places we needed to go during the day.   Trickle charge is so slow- 10 miles gained per hour- and it was frustrating.

      I made more calls and a bit of (polite) noise on Facebook with the company that bought out Blink.   They came out and repaired the large charging unit in our garage- no charge!

      Back in business.   Our little Leaf is a workhorse.  Fold those seats down and it can haul feed sacks and tools and once, a patio set driven home in several trips.

      Reason, observation, and experience; the holy trinity of science. Robert Green Ingersoll

      by offred on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:48:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Still kinks (7+ / 0-)

    Nissan is working on batteries that have a good life in hot climates.

    Some electric cars (Tesla, Volt, BMW) have liquid cooled electric motors or battery packs.  I don't know the maintenance needed on these cooling systems.

    Starting in 2013, some Leafs have a heat pump heating system instead of the resistance heating.  This takes less power from the batteries and doesn't shorten the drive endurance as much.  We're considering a Leaf, and my wife would not be satisfied with just bun warmers to keep her warm on a cold day.  Nissan is said to have a six year redesign schedule for the Leaf.  That will mean an all new 2016 Leaf...maybe it'll no longer look like some reptile from a National Geographic cover.

  •  This matches my experience with the LEAF (14+ / 0-)

    Roughly, we replaced a 1998 Volvo with a new LEAF, and when you build the spreadsheet, it is actually cheaper to own the LEAF.  My driving is a mix of urban and suburban driving and I typically get around 80 miles of range.  I have taken advantage of the free level 2 (240V) chargers around and once used the DC quick charge (480V, gets you to 60 miles in about 30 minutes from dead empty, or 20 if you are topping off).   The fact that the electric motor doesn't subject metal, rubber and plastic to heat and pressure means the maintenance and repairs are absurdly low.  

    Mostly, it takes a small mental adjustment, but then for most it is actually probably a better solution for most cars out there today.

  •  I don't think I can deal with the range anxiety (12+ / 0-)

    of a pure electric vehicle, but you seem at peace with it, and I admire that.  I have a Volt and I've found that just the faux anxiety of running low on battery is enough for me; I don't think I could deal with actual range anxiety, where you have the potential of being stranded.  

    Watching how much battery power is left has been enough to alter my driving habits significantly, even knowing I have the gasoline engine as backup.  When I first got the car I found myself making the calculation on whether I really wanted to go somewhere because I knew it would cause me to run out of a charge. It was definitely a Seinfeld-like "sponge worthy" type feeling.  That has gotten better with time, and after a year and a half I don't sweat running out of charge as much, but I definitely plan my errands in a loop all the time now.  I still can't imagine not having that safety net of the gasoline engine.  

    One thing I've noticed with the Volt is that my range is decreased in lower temperatures.  In the summer I regularly have a 40-42 mile charge in the morning, while in the winter I get a 36-37 mile charge.  I live in So Cal and these aren't extreme low temperatures, either.

    My understanding is that the Volt calculates range based on prior driving style and some other factors, so I think it has to do not so much with any charging difference but due to a decline in battery efficiency at lower temperatures.  I don't drive any differently in the winter so that's my guess, anyway.  

    How does your iMiEV deal with the colder temperatures?  Do you see a decrease in range?

    Interesting diary, thanks!

    •  "colder" ? & anxiety (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, JeffW, ER Doc, Caelian, Lawrence, BYw

      Sorry, no data to offer on cold temp vs range - - it's rarely below freezing during daytime around here.

      My range anxiety only kicks in when the blasted "LOW BATTERY" signal starts BLINKING. Which it does at 5 mi remaining. The blinking drives me nuts even if I'm only 2 mi from home.

      Until then, I'm like ... okay, I only have 10 mi left, but home is only 5 mi away, so everything's cool. I also know how to find a few chargepoints around town, so I can promise myself that if it came to that I could stop off somewhere, but it never comes to that.

  •  I wish that my commute allowed for it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian S, ER Doc

    My round trip is over 80 miles and sometimes get stuck sitting in traffic for extended periods.  Sigh.  

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:26:25 AM PST

  •  Terrific info. (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up.  I would love to get an electric for the hub.  He commutes about 40 miles a day.  That's the only use his car gets.  What you describe would be great for his needs.  

    I schlep too many kids around.  When they come up with an electric mini van, I'll celebrate it.  (I own a mini van... When did this happen to me?)

    Can you call yourself a real liberal if you aren't reading driftglass?

    by CJB on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 08:41:12 AM PST

  •  Ford C-Max Plugin w 21 mile range good enough (11+ / 0-)

    Very interesting diary and comments.  I am driving a Ford C-Max Engergi plug-in hybrid.  Ford advertises the range as 21 miles on electric before the internal combustion engine kicks in.  During the summer I averaged 29 miles range on a fully charged battery.  Overnight charge of a fully depleted battery cost $.84.   So, my average price of a mile traveled on electric is 3 cents.  This compares with my 2008 Camry which costs 13 cents a mile.  

    Range under electric power as you point out is a function of lifestyle.  I am retired.  Here is my typical day: gym round trip 6 miles, golf course 12 miles, grocery store/errand 2 miles.  Since I am retired, I just plug the car into the charger whenever it is in the garage.  Consequently, electric power is almost always available when I am in town.   Over the summer I never burned gasoline unless I went on a trip.  The C-Max is a good compromise because I usually take a couple 500 mile trips per month.  Since the C-Max defaults to a hybrid vehicle when electric power is depleted,  my overall range with a full tank is about 590 (30 electric + 560 gas) .  So, one fill up will do it.  

    Your diary is very accurate about fluctuations in miles per battery charge.  Today, the temperature is 15 and I will get only about 20 miles per charge with lower amounts if I use the battery.  I also experienced the same affect of getting better electric miles in the city versus high speed highway driving.  One other consideration is that its range is similar to driving a hybrid...gradual acceleration and braking will expand miles.  

    I haven't had to worry about finding charging stations because the electric range is ample for my needs and I have an internal combustion engine backup.  Nevertheless, there are plenty of charging stations popping up in Upstate New York.  Most provide free charges. There is one at my grocery store.  If I am doing a big shopping, I will sometimes plug in.

    All in all, the C-Max Energi has been a pleasure to drive and the fun of beating the oil companies makes driving a neat game.

  •  Many Americans can switch to EVs... (10+ / 0-)

    without changing their daily driving habits, according to a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. 40% of American households to be exact.

    Thanks for sharing this diary! I plan on getting a pure EV or a PHEV (like the Volt) in the next couple years myself. I'm looking forward to the day when I can finally get off gasoline for good!

    Wendy Davis for TX Governor, 2014!

    by GleninCA on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 09:24:30 AM PST

  •  Next year, maybe we'll hear from folks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    with a hydrogen vehicle and can compare notes.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 09:26:22 AM PST

  •  That was enormously helpful (8+ / 0-)

    I had already planned that I would rent a gas vehicle maybe twice or three ties a year and realized that there would only be a couple of things at the edge of my range and they were usually visiting friends out in the country where we would stay for dinner, so should be able to partly top up. Otherwise my longer trips are mostly by bus or train anyway.

    This article just made me believe that it might already work.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 09:31:00 AM PST

  •  Tax credit expring: take the plunge now (9+ / 0-)

    Congress failed to renew the tax credit on EV's for next year. They might get tossed back into another bill, but I bet the big oil donors are starting to actually worry about EV's cutting into their profits and won't allow it. I'm going to see if I can sneak in under the wire and get my Leaf this week. I was offered a terrific lease deal in September that I wish I'd taken. If it's still available I'm going for it. Hopefully next year I can write a diary like this one.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 09:47:05 AM PST

  •  Wanting one! But living in the city, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, ER Doc, Lawrence

    it's not practical to throw a large cable down from our 3rd floor brownstone rental... (assuming we can get a parking spot right in front of apt, which is rare)... and then guard the car while it charges.

    But your experience would be perfect for suburbanites with private homes and a regular half-hour commute each morning and evening.


    •  you need to make an arrangement (0+ / 0-)

      someplace reasonably close to park where there is a

      the amount of power one of these pulls isn't a lot,
      maybe you could pay someone to let you park in their alley and
      runa charger line in.

      pay them enough it works out.

  •  With some knowledge of Lithium batteries (6+ / 0-)

    I would like to suggest an addition to your range equation.

    R > C + 2E + 5
    Lithium batteries very slowly loose capacity as they are cycled. It is slower than most previous chemistries, but does happen. One percent per year is not unexpected. Charging or discharging in extreme heat, or charging when they are very cold, can increase this loss of capacity.

    To insure the long term usefulness of your EV I would suggest you add 10% to that range number in moderate climates and 20% to that number for areas with very hot summers. 20% for areas with very cold winters may also be needed if the batteries are not adequately heated, or the power demands of heat where not fully considered. Li batteries like about the same temperatures we do.

    This should insure that the pack still have a fully useful capacity for your needs going past the 10 year mark.

    To be first in the soil, which erupts in the coil, of trees veins and grasses all brought to a boil. -- The Maxx

    by notrouble on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:04:05 AM PST

  •  Don't forget conversions! The fuel pump in our... (6+ / 0-)

    SUV just gave up the ghost. Rather than spend around $700-800.00 on parts and labor, I'm researching costs to convert it to a plug in. It has a couple of structural problems that come with an older vehicle but it may be a good candidate for a plug-in.

    Aside from the cost considerations are tax rebates. Several states (mine included), offer tax benefits for conversions.

    If we do it, there will be a diary!

    I would be interested in knowing how many Kossacks have EV's.

    While not all republicans are bigots, all bigots are republicans.

    by Maximilien Robespierre on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:07:12 AM PST

    •  I would love to hear... (0+ / 0-)

      what you find out about doing an EV conversion. Regardless of if it happens it might make a great diary. Not a lot of people can afford to buy a brand new car, much less invest in a slightly more expensive EV, so conversions might be the way to go for a lot of people if a few entrepreneurs can find a way to make it happen at a reasonable price.

      Good luck with your research!

      Wendy Davis for TX Governor, 2014!

      by GleninCA on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 01:50:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm looking forward (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, Lawrence

    to the Urbee:

    I got to meet Jim Kor, the leader of the Urbee 2 project, because my company works with him on the body and interior panel production (yay, 3d printed car bodies!). Really passionate guy when it comes to vehicles (we talked about my motorcycle at length) and he convinced me that now, with current technological capability, that plug-in hybrids are better than pure electric, due to energy density and range requirements. I drive a Prius right now, but if things proceed as planned with the Urbee that may well be my next car.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:10:43 AM PST

  •  Republished to Climate Change SOS. (6+ / 0-)

    Which is for me, still, the #1 reason to go EV now rather than wait for the technology to be a "perfect match" to every real and imagined need.

    Besides already having lower average lifetime CO2 footprint than even the best ICE hybrid, EVs are a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do send Big Oil down the same path of economic non-viability that Big Coal has found itself on.

  •  What, no pictures? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morgan in Austin

    I think the iMiEV is very cute.  I've only seen a couple of them in the wild.

    Better to hide your tax returns and be thought a crook than to release them and remove all doubt. [Adapted from Abraham Lincoln]

    by Caelian on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 10:45:19 AM PST

  •  Great diary! (5+ / 0-)

    I don't have an EV yet but I'm keeping my eye on the new 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid. We love Hondas at my house.

  •  How long does the battery last? Is it miles (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    driven or years/cycles of operation. I have an old 2003 Insight and I am thinking of  the battery acted up 2 years ago and I was faced with a $2500 bill but somehow it got a software fix and is still going. I only drive about 4000 miles a year so a EV with a 80000 mile battery would last 20 years.

  •  The 2014 MiEV will be cheapest new car u can get. (6+ / 0-)


    It will come in at $15.5k cash after Federal incentive - which means as low as $10.5k in Georgia.

    And this: with a quick-charge port as default, the QC port that has the largest current network in the US (CHaDeMo, the same one used by Leafs).

    Buy or lease, once gas savings are factored in you cannot beat this price.

    If a 4-seat subcompact can fit your family in, it'll be a steal!

    •  Even at 15k it is a steal, considering how much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Assaf, BYw

      one will be saving on gas.

      But 10.5 k... wow if it fits one's driving needs and a compact car is a good fit, at that price it is stupid not to buy one.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 03:11:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Morgan (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GleninCA, ER Doc, Lawrence, BYw, patbahn

    I'm happily driving a 2012 Prius Plug-In, may go to pure EV next time around (not for awhile!).

  •  By Morgan in Austin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    I'm assuming Austin as in Texas as opposed to Austin, Minnesota. Totally separate from the power to heat the vehicle, I believe really cold weather plays hell on battery efficiency and could have a dramatic effect on range. I have a 2007 Mercury Mariner hybrid and during the pleasanter months up North I can get 32+ MPG hiway(not bad for an SUV!) but when the temperatures are like they are now my mileage drops to the mid- to upper 20s as my little 1.7 liter engine carries all the load. I also don't get the satisfaction of watching my tach drop to zero at stop signs and pulling away in golf cart mode like I do in the Summer months. I am starting to see EV charging stations around the parking ramps here, though I haven't conducted research to determine if they are used as much in the Winter as other times of the year.

  •  Great and useful diary ! (7+ / 0-)

    Is a garage absolutely necessary ? I have a sheltered driveway in front of my house with an outlet right there. Would that work alright ?

    “Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate!” Julian Bond

    by Dvalkure on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 12:36:10 PM PST

  •  The only electric car I could feasibly get (0+ / 0-)

    is a Volt since I'd likely go beyond the range of the batteries on a somewhat regular basis, and after doing the math, I'd have a higher car payment so with the gas savings, I'd break even at best, plus I don't want 5 more years of car payments, so I'll stick with my current car. Plus, it's extremely difficult to justify trading in a year old car that already gets pretty good gas mileage.

    Tesla's rumored to be making a car in the $30k range in a couple years, by that time, I may be interested.

    "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

    by yg17 on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 02:10:38 PM PST

  •  We have a 2011 Leaf which I use to (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf, Lawrence, davehouck, BYw, GleninCA

    commute daily about a 30 mile round trip including errands so plenty of charge left in the tank when I get home to charge.

    The "spouse mobile" is a 2005 VW Passat Wagon TDI which runs on locally produced biodiesel (B99) most of the time. We drive the Passat to Canada about once a month around a 250 mile round trip.

    So our combo of EV and Biodiesel fueled wagon works pretty well for us.

    I can also confirm that our range for our Leaf is pretty close to what Morgan gets for his iMiEV.

    I'm glad that Nissan has improved the range of the newer LEAFs through using heat pump technology. When we had a our recent cold snap with temperatures in the 20's, it reduced our effective range down about 30%.

    Nice to see other Kossacks enjoying their EV experience. I would definitely buy again.

    It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time. - Thich Nhat Hanh.

    by Frank In WA on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 02:17:49 PM PST

  •  Note on quick-charge and EV use cases. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morgan in Austin, kurt, BYw

    The diarist writes that s/he finds little use for public chargers and quick-chargers.

    We very rarely need them too. But there are different use cases and different needs.

    In particular, a Leaf driver from another part of Texas opened my eyes w.r.t. the importance of quick-charge. He has a fairly long commute, and often has extra errands on the way back. Knowing that there's always a quick-charge within reach or his errand destinations, helps him leave home with the Leaf with peace of mind.

    QC is also great for day-trips. As a case in point, US Highway 2, a popular hiking destination from the Seattle area, has some strategically located QC stops. This enables Leaf drivers to take their car into the mountains and back, as we've done once.

    By contrast, the even more popular I-90 corridor to Snoqualmie Pass lacks such a stop, which inhibits the ability of using EVs for day trips in the pass area.

    Another perhaps more important use-case, is people without charging access at home. If they do have unrestricted access at work or at public places, they can still use their EVs

    In short: yes, the everyday use cases for people with home-charging access is ridiculously simple. Drive your EV around, plug it in at night. But additional charging infrastructure does help expand it

  •  I have had an all electric Smart Car (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, Ashaman, BYw, GleninCA, patbahn

    for about 5 weeks now.  I love it.  It zips around with great acceleration and turns on a dime.  It plugs into regular house current (110v) and charges overnight. Plugging it in is real easy.  I really don't know how long it takes to charge since I just plug it in when I get home and in the am it's done.  You actually can set it for the time you are going to leave and it starts the charging some calculated length of time before that so that it ends when you want to go and thus draws on electricity later at night when rates are allegedly cheaper.  On a full charge I can get to and from work about 8 - 10 times (I am only about 4 miles so each trip is 8).

    The heater comes on immediately because you are not waiting for the engine to warm us since it has no engine.  The heater draws a bit of current but not a big deal.  I live on a long steeeeeep hill so I use a fair % of my charge coming home, but almost none going out.  It recharges itself when going down hill or when you hit the breaks.  They say the range is 80 miles, but hills really diminish that.

    It is really cute.  Despite how small it appears to be, it seems spacious inside the cab - it's just that there is no back seat.  The hatchback area is plenty for about 6 bags of groceries.  

    I do not like it on the highway because it feels like it bounces around more than a heavier car.  Gusts of wind (natural or from a big truck) seem to affect it more.  But around town, it is a blast to drive.  It has airbags all over:  front, side, curtain, knee.  It has a frame that is like roll bars.  

    I have it on a 3 year lease.  They suggested a lease because they said in 3 years the technology will likely have advanced and I just might want a newer cooler model.

    Overall, I love it.

    I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

    by fayea on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 03:14:54 PM PST

  •  The idea of getting an EV is definitely intriguing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morgan in Austin, salmo, kurt

    Regarding the driving experience itself - I drive my own Miata - standard transmission, intentionally and pointedly no power steering - and on occasion my Mom's GM sedan, which is all automatic. Obviously there is more than one variable here, but the automatic transmssion is terribly sluggish. You want to move, say, from the lane you're in, going 15 mph, to the next lane, going 35 mph. You step on it, and the engine goes... uh.. what? gas... oooo, maybe I should downshift! With manual transmission, you shift first and have the power you need from the get-go. Which of these is your EV more similar to?

    The other issue I have with all the innovations in car "fuels" is: are we just thinking they're better b/c we are farther away from where the pollution happens? If your house has solar collectors and you're charging entirely from the sun, your car, after manufacture, is incredibly environmentally friendly - but what if that electricity comes from a coal plant? Is that actually better than a high-MPG gasoline powered car? I'm not putting my Miata in that category - only 28 mpg (it's 22 years old) - but my Chevy Sprint started off at 55mpg, and was a peppy little guy, mega fun to drive. Might actually have been better than a coal-powered EV, but I haven't seen those calcs.

    •  There was a great diary about that recently (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pixxer, kurt, GleninCA

      The point that stood out for me was that those obnoxious coal plants apparently can't "slow down" at night, so ... after burning at full capacity to make it through the day, they are apparently generating excess power at night with nowhere to put it.

      If I understood correctly, that means recharging your EV on night time power is environmentally "free".

      I put a big heap of solar panels on my roof anyway. They generate about enough for 120 MiEV miles every day.

      The quick response on the accelerator pedal is more like your "I have already downshifted" situation... but without the rrrrroooOOOAR. Just... silent.

    •  EVs have a flat torque curve (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      so it's hit the speed control and max torque at all speeds

      as for coal, if you are in an all coal area, then it's like 35 MPG car.

      but if you are in an area with lots of wind, nuke or hydro,
      it's a very different game.

      the calculation is Grams CO2/KM, it's pretty easy to do.

      basically the midwest has a lot of coal power,
      but the res to fthe country is more mixed a tnight.

  •  I'm actually encouraged by the short range (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, BYw, GleninCA, patbahn

    As a mechanical engineer this is how I thought EVs should be designed (at least at the outset) all along. There has been way too much emphasis on range, at the expense of proper (and affordable) design.
    I personally don't own a car as I don't really need one except for the occasional business/pleasure trip (I try to go by train as much as possible, but...). When I need a car, I rent. It is really not that expensive compared to ownership.
    Good stuff. I look forward to the year two, three, and onward reports!

  •  We will need some charging infrastructure (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, BYw, GleninCA

    I live in an apartment building.  Apartment living has environmental pluses of its own -- less energy to heat the same square feet, fewer acres for the same number of people -- but it means that a pure electric vehicle is right out.

    I have no place to plug one in.

    I'd be different if, say, the parking lots at one or the other of home or work (preferably both) had some percentage of spaces set aside for electric vehicles, with a charging port at each spot and towing for the inevitable dummies who park their non-pluggable ICEs there.

    Quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

    by Sura 109 on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 03:30:47 PM PST

  •  Here in California, I used to get a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GleninCA, patbahn

    thrill whenever I saw a Prius, or other EV car.

    Now they are all around me. I usually spot at least one Prius whenever I am parking near any of  the local stores.  (Which have rather small parking lots.)  It seems like they are becoming the norm.

    •  I remember the first prius i ever saw (0+ / 0-)

      some congressmember had it.

      must have been 2003, i had never seen one before.

      But now they are pretty common.

      No big thing.

      i was in a parking lot in Arlington virginia,
      sunday,  19 cars in the lots 5 hybrids.

      That's a huge share, in a very unscientific sample
      but really there are very few places where a hybrid isn't

      I think the growth on those, will really take off if Toyota would make them the basis of their vehicle platforms.

      Make Lexus an All-Hybrid line and push a Hybrid truck option.

  •  Austin TX (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GleninCA, Morgan in Austin

    is early adopter heaven.  But you know that.

    Great post.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 07:03:00 PM PST

  •  Outstanding post - I'd add one thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morgan in Austin

    This is a wonderful real world piece, concise and informative, and punctures a lot of myths and misunderstandings.  My own experience with my i-MiEV (coming up on 16 mos. now) has led me to many of the same conclusions, especially your very insightful points on charging infrastructure and the sheer joy of driving the thing.

    One thing you left out is that the i-MiEV's planned return in Spring 2014 will be at an amazing pre-tax-credit price of $23k, and that's after dropping the "stripper" model and making all the mid-level trim and features standard.  If you make enough to be able to use the whole $7500 tax credit (and don't even get me started on the injustice of that vs. a straight cash rebate at time of purchase), that puts the price of this well-equipped car in the mid-$15k - good Lord, that's Versa money (in California, which offers additional credits, it may net out as the least expensive new car you can buy next year).  For those buyers that pass your checklist, affordability will no longer be a problem.

    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 Tue Dec 24, 2013 at 11:15:23 PM PST

  •  Maintenance Question: (0+ / 0-)

    I have never owned a new car in my life, so I'm waiting until there are some low priced EV's on the used car market, which brings up the question of battery life.

    Since my commute is only 4 miles on city streets, and most of my errands are done along the commute route, the other option I would consider is the NEV, or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle.
    Since these vehicles wouldn't have to be designed for highway speeds and long trips, the cost should be significantly lower than a conventional EV.

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    by Grey Fedora on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:38:04 PM PST

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