We Love Our Electric Car

By Bill Moore

Posted: 22 Apr 2012

72 MPG. That's what my wife is getting now that the weather has warmed enough here on the central Great Plains of North America so she doesn't have to run the cabin heat in our Plug In Conversions Corporation-converted Toyota Prius. PICC did the conversion back in October 2009 and while we have had one cell go bad* in the 6.1 kWh NiMH battery pack, the 2009 Prius is still delivering fuel economy most people would give their eye teeth for, especially when a gallon of gasoline hereabouts hovers in just under the $4 barrier.

Driving around with my wife yesterday, shopping for a new comforter for our bedroom, I noticed that she'd driven nearly 300 miles since last filling up and she'd not used even close to half a tank of gasoline. Of course, if you own a Chevy Volt, you're probably experiencing the same quiet satisfaction of having to make far fewer trips to the filling station (aka: gas station).

Of course, if you happen to own a Nissan LEAF, like Mark Patton of Dayton Beach, Florida, you don't need to make any more stops, period. Your 'filling station' is, most of the time, your home. In the letter below, published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Patton shares his experiences driving the all-electric LEAF after trading in his family's Dodge. Now he appreciates why all those EV1 owners begged GM not to take back their cars in 2003.

My wife and I owned a Dodge. It was costing $50 to fill it up, then $60, then $70, with no end in sight.

We traded it for an all-electric car. It uses no gas. None. We love it.

We have done the math and it takes about $5 to $7 in electricity to go the same distance as $70 took us in the Dodge.

When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta simply speculated that Israel would bomb Iran, traders drove up the price of gas. Just imagine what will happen if Israel actually does bomb the nuclear complex in Iran! It is estimated that gas will go to $10 per gallon. But I don't care. I don't care if it goes to $20 per gallon.

Electricity is regulated by the Florida Public Service Commission, and it limits the amount of power utilities are allowed to charge for electricity. No speculators.

We are getting from 80 to 100 miles on a charge. We only drive to work and back, and around town, and almost never travel more then 30 or 40 miles per day. So, we are never out of range of our charger and there are several free -- yes, free -- charging stations around town. If we do need to travel, we have a gas-guzzler, but we never drive it, and we can always rent a car, which is much cheaper then owning another gas-guzzler.

HBO did a documentary titled "Who Killed the Electric Car." That documentary showed people who leased (the only way to obtain one was to lease it) the General Motors electric vehicle in the 1990s, and how they went nuts when GM made them turn their EV-1 in at the end of the lease, so that it could be crushed. They protested and marched, holding signs begging GM not to take their vehicles. I now understand why they were so mad.
I decided to run Mark's letter to encourage other electric-drive vehicle owners to follow his example and write your local newspaper and share your experiences driving and owning these remarkable vehicles, which have been under siege by a cadre of clueless critics, most of whom have never driven a Volt or a LEAF. It's high time, the people who actually drive these wonderful vehicles tell the truth about them. I am willing to gamble that most of the stories will be positive, unlike the continual 'water torture' of negative stories coming from political hacks and their media minions.

Also, consider this an invitation to share your stories with us here at EV World. We'd be delighted to reprint them for others to see and read. And if you come across stories that we miss, be sure to alert our News Editor.

Finally, if you've owned a hybrid and sold it or trade it for something else -- not a hybrid -- we'd like to hear about those cases too. What were your reasons for not buying another hybrid: cost, disappointing fuel economy, maintenance and reliability? We're being told that a lot of former hybrid owners didn't buy a second hybrid and we'd love to know why.

Help us tell the true story of electric-drive vehicles. Like Paul Harvey, we want to know the "rest of the story."

* We're discussing with Kim Adelman whether to replace the cell, the entire pack -- which is under warranty -- or upgrade to PICC's new lithium pack.

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