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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Don't you have "RANGE ANXIETY" with your electric car!?!?"

People ask me if I like my new Leaf. I usually say something like: “Do I like not buying gasoline? -Uhm,… yeah”. Do I like the idea of using less oil, reducing pollution, slowing climate change, driving the solution to domestic energy independence, eliminating wars over petroleum, and working toward world peace? -“Sure”. Do I like saving $4,000 a year on fuel, and the fact that I will rarely have repairs since there are 300 less moving parts than a gas car? -“Oh yeah.” Do I like never having to check the oil, coolant, tranny fluid, or air filter, or have the oil changed or get emission tested, or even have the brakes done very often, since due to regenerative braking the brakes last five times longer than my old car? “Yes!” So, if you wonder whether I like driving a beautifully silent, rocket of a car that has twice the torque of the average car, no shift points, and does zero to sixty in 8 seconds, while being powered by free energy from my rooftop solar panels, I’d have to say, “Well,…Yes, quite a bit”.
Then they ask if I ever have “range anxiety”. I say: “Yes, I do”. I have range anxiety every time I get in any car. In fact, gas cars run out of fuel more often than my electric car. Every few days we have to watch the gas gauge closely and plan our day carefully and determine when and where we can stop for re-fueling, where as my electric car always has a “full tank” every morning, as well as anytime it’s been parked at home a while. All I have to do is make sure my destination isn’t over 50 miles, which has only happened one time in the 3 months and 6,000 miles we have on our Leaf so far. And on that occasion we just took our gas car.
Electric cars work. They work now, and they work well. They’re cost-effective already, and will get even better in the future. For now, and the foresee-able future, they work best for two-car families. Keep one gas car and replace one with an electric. That way, if you ever have to go more than 100 miles you can just take the gas car. That’s what I call a “hybrid” car lifestyle. The beauty of a pure electric and it’s simplicity of so many fewer parts and low maintenance, combined with an older, gas powered, paid-for gas car, that we don’t drive as much. We prioritize the use of the electric since it’s so cheap to drive (free for anyone with solar, and 3 cents/mile, worst case, if you’re buying electricity at the high-retail, “on-peak” price of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. Compared to 15 cents/mile for the average gas car), and only take the gas car when we have to. For shorter trips when the electric is already busy somewhere on a longer run. Or for extra long trips, like vacations and such.
It’s all about “replacing miles driven”. Once we have some pure electrics, we need to drive the crap out of them (and will want to because they’re so fun to drive) in order to give them the opportunity to make a powerful, positive difference in our lives. If you’re considering a new car, check one out. But if you’re not, don’t test drive one,… ‘cus you’ll fall in love, and end up shelling out 25k for one, which won’t save you money in the short term, if compared to just keeping a paid-for car!

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