Sunday, September 23, 2012

National Plug In Day

2011 Nissan Leaf photographed at the 2011 Wash...
2011 Nissan Leaf photographed at the 2011 Washington Auto Show[D.C.] Auto Show]]. Category:Nissan Leaf Category:Red hatchbacks Category:2011 Washington Auto Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So I got up fairly early this morning because I wanted to run a few errands in the morning and wanted to have everything done so that I could take the missus to Red Robin for lunch and still be home in time for the Redskins game.  I was watching the local news while having my oatmeal and coffee.  One of the stories they were covering was that today is National Plug In Day, an event on the National Mall to promote the wonder that is electric cars.  It gives me a good reason to write this post that I have been intending to write for a couple weeks now.

I am not sure why I decided to do this, but a few weeks ago I decided to check out he Nissan Leaf all electric car.  I knew it would be something that was completely out of my price range, and I was correct with it $36k sticker price.  Hell, I don't think I can afford the $12k Nissan Versa at this point in time.  However, if price was taken completely out of the picture, I wanted to look at the practicality of owning an electric car in my day to day lifestyle.  I checked info on the Nissan website along with some car review sites.

First off, the Leaf is a completely electric vehicle, unlike the Chevy Volt which has a gas powered engine as a back up if the battery goes dead.  When fully charged, the Leaf is rated to get about 73 miles on a single charge.  The actual mileage can vary based on conditions such as cargo, passengers, and conditions.  My daily commute to and from work is about 63 miles, which depending on how much variance is in that 73 mile range would leave me with little wiggle room to do anywhere else, which would kill my part time pizza delivery gig on the weekends. I could also forget driving out to see my son at school as it is 60 miles one way.  I could visit but not expect to get back home.

English: Electric charging unit for the Nissan...
English: Electric charging unit for the Nissan Leaf exhibited at the 2010 Washington Auto Show (D.C.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Then there is the issue of actually charging the car each day.  One review that I read said that it could take up to 20 hours to fully charge the batter if you did not have a quick charging station installed, which would be an additional investment that you would have to make.  At this time, there is a scarcity of charging stations where you could stop on your drive to recharge you battery whereas there is a gas station on just about every corner.  Even if there were the infrastructure of charging stations, even the quick charge stations take an hour or so to charge the battery.  Quite a difference from the few minutes it takes to fill the gas tank.  Who has the time for that?

I am not adverse to the idea of an electric car.  They are being touted as the future.  They very well may be.  For me, however, they just do not seem to be a practical choice.  Unless one lives, works, and travels within a very small area, you would need to have a gasoline powered car to use for longer hauls or while the electric is being charged.  Maybe one day, the technology will improve to the point where they will not be limited to such a small range of travel.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. I agree- They might work to be the cars one can share in some big cities like Philly. But not practical for most people yet. I got to drive a Volt last year. It was OK.

  2. I hope we have practical and affordable electric cars in my lifetime.



Related Posts with Thumbnails