Monday, September 5, 2011

Power up!

Did something cool this past week ... we were invited to test-drive an electric car. (Since this wasn't a blog-related event, I'm not going to mention the name.)

The car I got to drive was a cute little blue number. I'd seen photos of this vehicle, but in person, it looked smaller, closer to a sub-compact (but still cute).

Inside though, there seemed to be plenty of room. Instead of a traditional shifter, there was something that resembled a large button. And there wasn't an ignition key ... just a starter button.

I hit the starter button and heard ... nothing! Well, almost nothing ... the air conditioning fan came on. Otherwise, the only clue I had was the now-lit dashboard display.

Once on the road (and these folks get props for allowing us to use city streets), I have to admit this car was fun to drive. The ride was very smooth; steering was easy and responsive.

And this baby is peppy. Even in economy mode, it took little effort to break the speed limits ;)

So, great car. Drives well. Good for the environment. Sign me up.

But wait! There's a catch ... the price. $35,000 to $37,000, plus up to $2,000 to install the charger in my garage. (BTW, the range, I'm told, is about 100 miles on a full charge. And at the moment, there aren't a lot of public charging stations out there.)

Ouch! Frankly, a near $40,000 investment is way, way out of my price range. And some quick calculations show that at current gas prices, we'd likely save $8,000 over 100,000 miles. To be honest, I'm not sure how much we'd save on things like oil changes, though I'm not sure it would be enough to offset the extra costs. I'd love to see some real-life analysis on that.

Right now, the bottom line is that we won't be early adopters at the casa de chaos. Maybe once the technology becomes more popular, and the prices go down ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hadn't thought about oil changes. Interesting thought. I wonder though...probably not many smaller mechanic shops are knowledgable about the repairs/maintenance on an electric vehicle. You'd definitely want that work done at the dealership.

I heard that hybrid and electric vehicles have such heavy batteries, that the "carbon footprint" on them more than makes up for the lack of fossil fuel usage. Someone told me that you have to keep a hybrid or electric car for five years just to break even on the energy used to construct them. Doesn't seem like much of an "environment saver" in my opinion.