Rick talks with GardenFork Scientist Tony about the benefits of an electric car. Tony owns a Nissan Leaf electric car. How do you charge your electric car? Tony tells about charging the Leaf in his garage and remote charging stations at stores he has used.
The question many have is when you use an electric car, are you just transferring the emissions from your tailpipe to the power plant smokestack? Tony makes several good points about how much cleaner it is to use an electric car.
The power plant is much more efficient than a gasoline engine
Power plants have tight emission controls on their smokestacks.
Benefits of an Electric Car - Cost Savings
Tony talks about the fuel savings, and they are amazing, his fuel ( electricity ) costs are so much lower with the electric car versus the gas powered car he also owns.
Range anxiety, does it happen? Tony does have another car that is gas powered and when he goes on vacation, he shops for deals on rental cars.
Rick points out the electric car sales are rising each year, and Tony says he has now seen other Leafs, electric cars, and charging stations around, not just in California. The infrastructure costs
Tony says the battery pack life has to get better for the electric car to gain popularity, cold weather limits his range to about 70 miles, really cold weather lessens the mileage. If a battery lasted 250 miles, it would be a great breakthrough.
Rick thinks electric car batteries have been holding up well, the notion of the multi-thousand dollar battery replacement has not played out, as many people go to a auto salvage yard and get a battery from an electric car chassis for a few hundred dollars.
Consumer Reports now has podcasts, the Rick likes, its much better than the dry tone of the magazine, it adds life Consumer Reports, Talking Cars.
Tony urges folks to look into buying an electric car for themselves, you can't be scared off by second hand information. It has been a great experience for him, and Rick and Tony say GardenFork Mike is just full of it.
Great interview! I would still like to know what kind of maintenance electric and hybrid vehicles need over the long term. A two year lease is not an accurate representation of cost of ownership in the long run. I too live in Central New York and have been looking at the Prius V. It has about the same size engine as my '96 Saturn which needs to be retired due to salt rot. In the cold weather the engine cycles on and off every minute or so while parked at the dealership. Do the starters wear out sooner? Mine lasted 16 years and 140,000 miles. Does the regenerative stuff last in our salt? These are the kind of questions I'm looking to be answered before I buy a hybrid.
Kevin from Central New York
GardenFork Scientist Tony
Thanks Kevin - I appreciate the positive feedback.
I absolutely agree that my costs to date are not necessarily an accurate representation of the cost of ownership. Having said that, a couple of comments:
1) I leased specifically because I am unwilling to purchase an electric car until the range approaches that of a gasoline or diesel powered car.
2) The LEAF is not a hybrid - it's a pure electric vehicle, which means that there is no starter.
3) The maintenance schedule is pretty straight forward:
- Rotate the tires every 7,500 miles
- Replace in-cabin air filter annually
- Inspect the following annually:
- Brake lines & cables
- Brake pads & rotors
- Charging port
- Drive shaft boots
- EV Battery Usage Report
- Reduction gear oil
After two years I have had no issue with any of the items to be inspected.
Hope this helps!
Kevin, thanks for the kind words. To answer your questions, as Tony pointed out, his only scheduled maintenance is a tire rotation every 7,500 miles. Of course, as Mike was pointing out in earlier shows, there are consumables: wiper blades, tires, etc.
As for the Prius, I wouldn't worry about the starter. According to Consumer Report surveys, the Prius is one of the most reliable cars around and there are not many reported problems with the starter system. That cycling on and off is mostly because air conditioning is all electric or the heater is on. Of course, I drive with my headlamps lit, so that draws too. The lighter the electrical load (and the better charged the battery--probably a car lot vehicle doesn't get a really good charge on the battery) the less cycling it does.
Consumer Reports ranks the standard Prius (not the V or the C variants) as best value.
Toyota Prius: best new-car value, Consumer Reports says - CSMonitor.com http://ow.ly/spZkt
They aren't as pleased with the V series.
Maintenance schedule for the Prius is about the same as any other car with both an gasoline fuel system and an engine. Oil changes, filters, etc. There is nothing special to maintain on the Prius related to the hybrid drive system a single air filter for the battery cooling system.
I am not a "hyper-miler" but I do employ some of the easier driving techniques to increase the mpg (around 52, but dropped to 48 with new tires recently...it's slowly coming back up as they wear in a bit). I do bump up the tire pressure a bit (42 front, 40 rear), which gives a slightly stiffer ride but helps with range and is within the pressure range of the tires.
I "play" the lights, coasting when the light is red instead of running up to it and stopping and waiting. That kind of thing.
Thanks for listening. If you have other questions about the Prius, let me know.