Yesterday was National Plug In Day and owners of electric vehicles all over the country are gathering this weekend to educate the rest of us about how great these rides are.
Did you know that, right now, there are ten 100% electric cars on the market? You can buy any of these right now! And there are eight combo electric and gasoline cars available for purchase if you don’t feel comfortable making the switch to electricity all at once.
My favorite electric car is the Tesla Motors’ Model S. Why do I love Tesla? They’ve made electric cars cool. Just take a peek at the Roadster! The business model makes sense. The Roadster was my first love but way out of my price range. But I wouldn’t dare look down on them for that. These owners were first adopters and invested in the company. They helped pave the way for the next model. The price has come down considerably for the Model S, and with the next model (rumors say it’s the Model E), the price will come down even more.
Electric cars are made here in America with American energy. Electricity is a much better power source than gasoline in many ways. Think of the miles the oil travels, the spills, and the processing that goes into converting it to gas. Even though electricity isn’t perfect (ie. nuclear and coal), the environmental impact is nothing to take lightly. Not only do electric cars cut out all of that oil processing and transportation, but driving an electric vehicle also gives off absolutely no CO2 emissions. Electric utilities have extra energy at night when demand is very low, as the plants have to continue to run. So, some utility companies are giving owners of electric cars cheaper rates for charging their cars at night.
Maintenance is very minimal with electric cars. No oil changes, engine flushes, or routine 3,000- or 5,000-mile trips to the auto mechanic. An electric engine has hardly any moving parts, so that eliminates the usual amount of maintenance needed. So, if you’re looking at the overall cost of operating a car – not just the initial purchase price – an electric car is vastly superior.
Range is one of the concerns people raise when talking about electric cars. That is quickly becoming alleviated. Tesla has been partnering with Solar City to place solar charging stations at owners’ homes and at Supercharging stations around the U.S. and Europe. They have a fantastic map showing the expansion of their Superchargers. Model S drivers who have selected this option can charge their cars at Supercharging stations very quickly – half a charge in 20 minutes! And with the range of the Model S being 265 miles on a full charge, that’s the quickest out there! And it’s free!
And if you like the idea of going electric but can’t quit gasoline cold turkey, the Chevy Volt is a good start. I poo-pooed them for a long while because they marketed it as an electric car. They made it sound entirely electric. We were at the Washington, DC auto show a few years ago and discovered that it’s not all electric. It has a gasoline engine. When we started asking questions of the rep, she was stumped as to what to say. We felt lied to. Now, I’ve noticed that they are advertising it as an electric with a gasoline generator, which is more honest than saying it’s all electric. We spoke with a Volt owner for a long time yesterday. He loves his car and charges it in his front yard (he doesn’t have a garage) using a regular 110V outlet on the outside of his house. It’s charged and ready to go in the morning. He’s driven his 2011 Volt for 23,214 miles and only used 67.9 gallons of gasoline. He talked about how smoothly it drives and the switch-over from electricity to gasoline is not noticeable.
That’s another thing that electric cars have – get up and go! All of the owners said that these cars move. No waiting. When you mash the pedal, it immediately goes. The Tesla Model S goes 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds!
We spent a few hours yesterday morning talking with owners of Tesla Roadsters and Model Ss, Chevy Volts, Nissan Leafs, and Fiskar Karmas. They were all very enthusiastic about their vehicles and eager to answer any questions. One owner even let us take the seat in her Tesla Model S! Heaven!
Check out the Frunk – the trunk in the front. No, there’s no engine in there, just space for groceries or whatever you’d like to tote around.
If you didn’t know about the events yesterday, you may find some in your area today. There will be EVs on the National Mall at 3rd St NW. Check out their website to see if there’s an event near you.