Larry Greene is serious about living more sustainably. He recently decided to take another step in the journey: he bought an electric vehicle (EV). Larry, who’s a current member of the Cool Davis Board and a past executive director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, says his decision was informed and inspired by his attendance at a Cool Davis event last fall, EVs@theMarket, held September 15th, 2018, to celebrate National Drive Electric Week.

This event, staffed by EV owners and local dealers, allowed him and others who attended to kick the tires, talk to owners and dealers about the vehicles, and test-drive over a dozen EVs. Even someone as tuned-in and knowledgeable as Larry benefited from the opportunity to examine, ask questions about, and compare the locally available EV options in one place.

The car: 2018 Nissan Leaf

After doing his due diligence, Larry settled on a 2018 Nissan Leaf as the best option for him. The newly designed Leaf has an advertised range of 150 miles. Larry bought the SV option package, which has a suggested retail price of $32,490 and comes with smart cruise control, lane assist, crash-avoidance technology, and DC fast-charge capability.

The Leaf also comes with some money back. It still qualifies for the federal tax credit of $7500 and a California rebate of $2500 (or $4500 for qualifying low-income purchasers). You can read more on EV purchase incentives here.

Rebates and Incentives

The tipping point for Larry was the availability of a reasonably priced, reliable EV with a range greater than 100 miles. He was glad to find many options in the “sweet spot” of price and capability. Once he determined that his golf clubs would fit in the back — the Leaf’s back — he was sold. He was especially impressed with the car’s lack of required maintenance. The service schedule calls for rotating the tires every six months and inspecting the drive components. At a year, the air filter and brake fluid are changed. This is much less maintenance than a typical gas-engine vehicle.

Positive surprises in the charging department

Larry was happy to discover that Nissan’s offers two years of free charging at public charging stations. With the DC fast charging capacity his car has, he can charge from below 20% to 80% capacity in less than an hour. Larry has been happily surprised that public charging is convenient. Charging while shopping, checking e-mail, or reading has become second nature and does not feel like a waste of time.

If you prefer to charge at home, the car comes with charging cables for both 110-volt and 220-volt receptacles. It will charge overnight on 220 while sitting in the garage. “Fueling up” at home costs only about 25% of what it would to pull into a gas pump for an equivalent range.

Larry has also had many positive conversations about EVs with people who come up to him in parking lots, including people driving pickup trucks. He is confident that the tide is turning to EV acceptance as more come on the market at affordable prices.

Negatives

Larry has found that his Leaf typically gets only about 130 miles on a single charge rather than the advertised 150 miles. The advertised range for any EV is an average based on many factors, including the expected ratio of in-town driving to freeway driving. Unlike cars with gas engines, EVs get better mileage in town than on the freeway, so range will be somewhat less if the car is used for lots of road trips. AC use, colder temperature, and average speed can also all take a toll on range.

For Larry, however, the slightly reduced range has not been a problem. His single instance of “range anxiety” occurred when he got home from a trip up the Capay Valley with only eight miles to spare. Cutting it that close is not something he wants to do regularly. But because more and more charging stations are being installed, he expects few opportunities to tempt fate in the future.

The bottom line

Early EV adoption was often framed as doing the right thing for the environment, but Larry Greene’s experience demonstrates that owning an EV is also a practical option for many of us. Vehicle prices are coming down and range and quality are going up. Adding in the low maintenance costs makes EVs an even sweeter deal.

For those not interested in buying a new car, the used EV market is becoming a practical place to look. With low-mileage EVs being brought in at the end of their lease periods and happy EV owners simply wanting to trade up, used EVs represent a financially and environmentally positive route to take. One great site for used EVs is www.myev.com.

Look for EVs@theMarket again next fall during Drive Electric Week. In the meantime, enjoy Cool Davis photos and video interviews from the event, including one with Larry Greene from last year.

Learn more about Larry and his role on the Cool Davis board of directors.

Peruse Facebook photos from EVs@theMarket event.

Read more: Buying or Leasing and Electric Vehicle? Get Money Back!

Visit our Cool Solutions Drive Electric web page