Driving a Nissan LEAF is much like driving any other car. I can listen to the radio or my iPhone while I drive. I tend to prefer the iPhone as it has all my music on it. Sometimes I like to drive without music, so I can listen to the electric motor. It sounds very much like a jet plane taking off when I accelerate! My car’s nickname is Jet Blue. I love my electric car!
LEAF stands for: Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Available, Family Car. It’s the first mass marketed 100% electric car. GM has the Volt, which I call a plug-in hybrid, because it uses both electricity and gasoline to power the car. Unlike most hybrids, the plug-in hybrid allows you to use only electricity for a short period of time before the gas kicks in. I do support these kind of cars, but the pure EV is what I prefer. That’s why I chose the LEAF over the Volt.
It is clear that the advantages of electric cars are quite attractive:
- No more gas, ever. Switching from gasoline to electricity is not only better for the environment, but better for the pocket book. I spent about $20 driving my LEAF last month. That’s a little more than half the amount of money I spent on gas when I had a Prius! As gas becomes more expensive, people are going to look for cars that are more fuel efficient. EVs can’t be beat when it comes to energy efficiency.
- Lower cost maintenance. Evs don’t need oil changes, oil filter replacement, spark plugs, and other parts that are involved with the internal combustion engine. There are still things such as brake checks, but electric motors have less moving parts and that means less things that can go wrong. Maintenance costs generally go up for gasoline cars as they age, but this is not the case with EVs.
- 100% Torque From the Start. The Nissan LEAF accelerates from 0 to 40 MPG in about 3 seconds. That’s pretty good for a small sedan. EVs don’t need to warm up like an engine does.
Right now, EVs have a few disadvantages. The two main ones are range and charging time. Both of these disadvantages can be mitigated. For example, most EV owners charge their cars at night. All of my charging occurs while I sleep at night and I never use public charging simply because I don’t need to. The second point is that EVs have a limited range. Most people drive less than 50 miles a day. 100 miles is fine for most drivers. In the near future, charging times will get better and range will improve.
Finally, the cost of EVs right now are higher than small gasoline powered sedans. However, costs will go down as more and more cars enter the market. This year, Nissan will began to build the LEAF in Tennessee along with the batteries for the car. The plant will be able to build 100,000s of cars a year when it reaches full capacity. Nissan is really making an effort to help the electric car industry. I hope this effort proves fruitful.
It’s also important to point out that there are tax incentives, both federal and some offered by states, that reduce the cost of the car. Leasing a Nissan Leaf will save you $7,500, since Nissan can claim the tax incentive from the government since they will own the car for the duration of the lease. With these incentives, the cost of the car is more inline with a Prius, for example. The LEAF costs around $30,000 without the incentives.