Drive Green – Choose An Electric Car

When I was a kid, electric cars were something only seen on the Jetsons! Never did I feel that I would see them in my lifetime, but now every single major automaker has a plan for an electric or plug-in model. Although we’ve talked about the best way to make your vehicle maintenance greener, let’s look at how your choice of a car can make an impact too.

Personally, we drive a Prius (and yes I do love obtaining 54 miles to the gallon!). Nonetheless, with Chevy about to ship its Volt, Nissan its leaf and Ford working on an electric version of the Focus, it seemed only fitting to talk about electric cars plus the impact they’ll have.

So, why electric cars now?

Up until now, it didn’t make sense. Battery technology had to catch up. Without that, electric cars were too high priced. But now, with the improved battery technology coupled with pollution concerns and soaring gas prices, it is the time for alternative fuel vehicles.

The new green cars available on the market have made the buying method much more challenging. You will discover new questions to ask yourselves: What’s less costly per mile: gas or electricity? How far can I go on a charge? How much more will it cost me to purchase a green vehicle? Is it worth having to figure out where charging stations are? Do the government credits offset the increased price enough for you?

To answer some of your questions:

Electrical contractors are partnering up with the local utilities to install home charging systems for these cars. Some consumers may even get subsidies from utilities to cover part of the costs if they agree to share their data or cheaper electricity rates if they charge at night (when demand is much less). These home charging systems are going to cost a few thousand dollars too depending on the provider. (There’s a federal tax credit for 50% of the charger and the installation price up to $2,000). On the other hand, in the event you have an older home, you may well have to upgrade your electrical system too. The majority of older homes have a 60-amp or 80-amp service and to run a house charging system, you will will need a minimum of 80 amps (if not extra). A trusted electrician ought to have the ability to let you know what you require.

If you want an electric automobile at the end of this year, your only choices might be the Nissan Leaf or the Chevrolet Volt. The Leaf’s range is limited to about 100 miles and will cost (beginning) $32,780. The Volt can go a lot farther because technically it is a hybrid. It goes about 40 miles on a charge and when that runs out, the engine kicks on and extends the car’s range by another 300 miles. The Volt’s beginning price is $41,000.

Besides the tax credit I mentioned above for the home charging station, the federal government is offering a $7,500 tax credit. Owners will also have some relief with lower maintenance and operating fees. According to Nissan, the very first three years will only cost $440 to maintain your vehicle (which is about a third of what you’d pay for a similar sized gas vehicle). The Volt savings are just a couple of hundred dollars.

According to Nissan, individuals who charge at home will pay an average of $2.75 each time they plugin. That amounts to around three cents a mile (depending on driving conditions and your driving habits). Volt drivers will pay about 8 cents a mile.

We are coming to the end of gasoline combustion engines. If you are in the market for a new automobile, be sure to check out these electric cars plus the other hybrids available on the market to get the vehicle that best fits your needs. It doesn’t hurt that you’ll be helping save the Earth with this purchase.