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Comments made by Stewball

New Initiative Aims To Put More Electric Vehicles On Local Roads

For the soccer mom who called in to ask how much an EV is going to cost, I can relate my experience, as we are purchasing a Nissan Leaf. The cost of the car is $37,500, with tax, dealer prep, and licensing included. There is a federal tax credit of $7500 and a state rebate of $5000 that can reduce this initial outlay to about $25,000 total, or the car can be leased for about $400/month.

We are receiving a free home charging unit because we are part of the EV Project, but if you have to install one without subsidy, they are averaging about $2,000 per unit, depending on your current electrical system capacity and the distance from the panel to where the charger is installed. Some can be done for less, and some will cost more.

The cost of electricity to charge your car depends on when you do it. At night, in "super off-peak" periods, it will cost you about $.07/kWh (kilowatthour) to charge the EV's battery. During the middle of the day, at peak usage time, it can cost as much as $.28/kWh, so obviously, you want to charge the car at night, if possible. The Leaf will take 26kWh to charge completely from empty, and go about 70-100 miles on that charge, depending on how you drive. So a "fill up" can cost as little as $1.82 or as much as $7.28 to drive 100 miles. Comparing this to your 50mpg cars, if gas costs $3.64/gal, even the most expensive charge will be equal in cost, and charging at night will give you the equivalent of $.91/gal.

The maintenance cost of the EV will be less than your current gas-fueled cars. There are no oil changes or tune-ups involved. The battery pack should last 8-10 years, and it's replacement will likely cost about the same as rebuilding or replacing your gas engine, perhaps less, if battery technology and costs continue to come down like they have in the last few years. Right now, the cost of the battery pack is about $8,000, but in 8 years, when the warranty runs out, this may be cut in half, or more. Only time will tell.

You will have to alter your driving habits to conform to the range limitations of an electric vehicle. Until the infrastructure is in place to allow you to get a "quick charge" at a public charging station, you will not be able to use the car for long trips, thus keeping one of your gas cars around for trips over 100 miles may be advantageous for awhile.

Hope this helps,

February 26, 2011 at 7:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )