NIssan Leaf

Almost two months ago I embarked on a new venture. I began driving an electric vehicle (EV). The Nissan Leaf that I leased was not intended to replace my gasoline powered internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile. The plan was that it would be my “commuter car” and I would keep my old vehicle for long trips.

The decision to acquire an EV was reached after several weeks of research and conversations with numerous people who had already made the plunge. I considered the environmental value of a car with zero emissions and the financial implications of not having to purchase gasoline. Key to my final decision was the tax incentives that both the state and federal governments offered to encourage the use of zero and low emission vehicles.

I also considered the age and condition of the vehicle I was currently driving. My 2005 Kia Amanti has served me well but it has 156,000 miles on it. My goal is to get 200,000 miles out of it but normal wear and tear will certainly require expenses for maintenance and repair. Reducing the miles driven would most likely reduce those costs. And there are the fuel costs.

Currently there are almost 20 models of plug in cars on the market today. Several of them are hybrids that run on both gasoline and electricity. About a dozen of them are all electric. All of them offer the sweet speedy-but-silent driving experience only available from battery-to-motor power. A couple of Tesla models will get about 230-260 miles on a charge and cost approximately $80,000. The Leaf that I am driving is among the other cars from various manufacturers that get roughly 80-85 miles per charge and are priced $40-50,000 less than the Teslas.

Forbes reports that last year 55 percent of electric vehicle buyers were between 36 and 55 years old. Nearly 21 percent have an average household income of $175,000 or more. About 44 percent of EV buyers have at least one child living at home.

I do not fit the demographic described above whether you consider age, income, or family. I am not often on the cutting edge of things. I am not a serious environmentalist and live a “green” lifestyle. Nevertheless acquiring a Nissan Leaf seemed to be a good decision on all fronts.

After hearing and reading a lot of the good and the bad about EVs I concluded that the technology has progressed significantly. Considering these advances, the government tax incentives, and the cost of gasoline that I would not have to buy, a lease on an EV costs little or nothing. I know that it sounds to good to be true but it is.

I have put 1500 miles on my EV since mid-September and enjoy the quiet, comfortable, smooth ride. The Leaf is roomy and has enough power to navigate the surface streets as well as the expressways. It is very well equipped and the only reason I have to stop at the gas station is to purchase a hot dog or get a drink. I simply plug it in when I get home every day and it is ready the next morning.

Someone said, “The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” Every time I start my new car I am reminded that things once thought impossible are being accomplished every day all around us. That might be the best thing about my EV automobile.

A wise man of long ago said, “Whatever has happened—that’s what will happen again; whatever has occurred—that’s what will occur again. There’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, CEB). That is true but often it takes a different shape and form.

Jamie Jenkins