John Moore: All-in on electric cars and feeling like a pioneer

John Moore, Guest Columnist

John Moore, Guest Columnist

We bought an electric car.

First, let me say that I do not consider myself a hippie, tree hugger, environmental wacko or anything of the sort. But I do believe that being a good steward of my little piece of Mother Nature is the responsible thing to do.

And being a cheapskate helps. Buying less fuel is always nice.

In 2003, my wife and I bought our first hybrid car. Cars that were both gasoline and electric were not common then. I considered it akin to those who bought the first gasoline automobiles and left their horse and buggy in the barn.

Buying a hybrid car was considered risky by most of our friends.

Since then, we’ve owned four hybrids — a Honda Civic and three Toyota Priuses.

“How long do you have to leave it plugged in every day?” they would ask in the early days.

“You don’t plug in a hybrid car,” I would answer. “They charge themselves through the gasoline engine and the regenerative system that works when you brake and go downhill.”

Blank stares.

People do not like change. I get that. But getting 50 miles to the gallon can change just about anyone’s mind when it comes to accepting new technology. Trust me.

Recently, we traded one of our Prius (yes, we each had a Prius) for an all-electric Nissan Leaf. It’s the No. 1 selling electric car in the world. Ford, Chevrolet and Tesla are among the other manufacturers who offer an electric vehicle, or, EV product.

The Leaf has no gasoline engine. It has a bank of batteries and an electric motor. That’s it.

Think of it as a really nice golf cart with satellite radio, air conditioning and power steering.

That’s simplifying it, but you get the idea.

The limitation of an all-electric car is the range. You can go about 80 miles on a charge before you have to plug it in to recharge. It costs about $20 to $40 a month to charge the car.

If you translate the money it takes to drive a gasoline car the same distance, the Nissan Leaf gets about 126 miles to a gallon.

An electric car doesn’t make sense as a primary car for most families. However, it does make sense as a secondary car. In our case, we have a 50-mpg car for distance driving, and a 126-mpg car for local driving.

The car is very quiet, enjoyable and insanely powerful. Electric motors have a lot of torque, so the car will go from 0 to 60 in short order. It will also go 90 mph, but I have no desire to have to explain to my friends how I got a ticket in a Leaf.

I’m not writing this to try and sell anyone on electric cars. But I will say that being an early adopter of new technology feels really good. In a way, like pioneers. Much like those who left their horse and buggy in the barn.

And one other thing. If I’m honest, I am kind of a hippie.

ᄅ2015 John Moore

For more of John’s musings, visit johnmoore.net/blog

 
 

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