Thinking about a Plug-in Hybrid? How about a Chevy Volt? Why not go all the way to the future and get a Nissan Leaf? When we were shopping for new cars recently, we test drove the Volt, as a Prius loving family, I was excited to try a new generation, a battery powered car with an electric backup, the reverse of the gas powered battery backup design I was used to in the Prius. The test drive went well, except the dealer had us test drive a volt that had not been charged. It drove well, but we were actually test driving a 41 MPG gas car. This really got me thinking about the future of electrification of cars. We then test drove the Nissan Leaf. Wow a real electric car, not a somewhat electric car!
Because of our individual circumstances, I couldn’t use the $7,500 federal tax credit, I talked to my accountant, and he suggested leasing a car. In looking at the Volt versus the Leaf for a 3 year lease, it’s a no brainer: I got a Leaf! Having leased a leaf, I now realize what REALLY owning an electric car means: You become a 21st century driver. My leaf has about a 100 mile range. Range depends on how fast you drive the car and how many climate systems you use. Want to get to the end of your 100 miles; then you need to drive differently! In the Prius, or the Volt this is not an issue because your gas engine comes into play, but if the future is electric, shouldn’t we start re-learning how to drive?
If you’re a plug-in prius owner, or a volt owner, do you really care whether a fast electrical vehicle charging infrastructure will be built in California? If you’re a Leaf owner then YES! Because your car’s range increases! How about a faster move to time of day charging? In California, the electrical mix in the middle of the night includes abundant hydro power that is very green, should we advocate for charging customers for the true cost of electricity? YES! If I can recharge in the middle of the night!
If you already have a conventional car, and your looking at adding new car, why buy a Volt or a Plug-in prius? Lease (or buy) a Leaf and use it as your primary car for everything but long trips. If you only have one car then by all means buy a plug-in hybrid or a Volt. One awesome part of leasing a leaf, is the technology is rapidly changing, so you get to become an EV enthusiast and turn the car in the three years when new and better technology exists.