While most people are unsure of electric vehicles I am on to my second EV in under three years. Yes I was an early adopter of the Nissan Leaf and I loved it for a variety of reasons. It was fun to drive, it had plenty of room for my kids in the back and it saved me money while not polluting the air or water. Put simply electric vehicles are a Sustainability Managers dream come true.
In the two years I leased my Leaf I never ran out of battery and only a hand full of times felt the inconvenience of limited range (75-95 miles per charge). It was always easy enough to find a charging station up in Seattle when I had to go North and at home I simply plugged my EV into an extension chord for trickle charging. My electricity bill only went up about $25 a month and I averaged almost 1,000 miles a month driving on clean hydro-power.
So when my lease ended I got another Leaf right?
No. For a variety of reasons mostly personal preference I decided to go with the Kia Soul EV. It was different looking had more features and most importantly it goes 10 more miles on a charge than a LEAF. I leased the first KIA Soul EV in the state from a local dealership that got the first one from one of their dealers in California. After a month and a half of driving I can say that I truly love the car and cannot imagine going back to a gas vehicle.
The Major question when considering an electric vehicle is can you plug your car in at your residence at night.
If you are able to plug in at night then the next question is which kind of electric vehicle is right for you.
Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Pure electric cars only run on a battery and have a very simple and efficient engine. These cars typically get between 70 and 100 miles per charge (Expensive Tesla's get up to 300 miles on a charge). These cars never need oil changes and rarely require much maintenance. These cars are good for shorter trips but will not get you to Spokane.
Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Ford Focus Electric, BMW i3, Kia Soul EV.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles usually start off on electric batteries for 10-40 miles and then switch over to a gas engine. These cars are good if your commute is within the electric range and then give you the opportunity to drive to Spokane if you need to.
Chevy Volt, Ford C-MAX Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, Toyota Prius Plug-in.
Tax Breaks for Buying an Electric Vehicle
If you buy an electric vehicle you get a $7,500 federal tax credit. The State of Washington does not charge sales tax for EV's either another benefit of EV ownership. If you lease an EV the dealership takes the tax credit and you get to lease it at $7,500 below cost. My strong suggestion is that people consider leasing electric vehicles because the used car market for EV's is unproven and improved battery life could make your EV obsolete in 3-5 years.
Exciting Changes coming to EV's Soon
In the next 12 months a number of new and improved electric vehicles are supposed to hit the market promising better battery life and improved looks. In the next 3 years we expect affordable EV's to get up to 200 miles on a charge making gas vehicles all but obsolete. Check out these articles for more information about new EV's coming to market in 2016.
2016 Chevy Volt: 2016 Chevy Volt gets 53 miles EV range, 40% increase
2016 Nissan Leaf: 2016 Nissan LEAF With 110-Mile Option?