Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why I reserved a Nissan Leaf

I reserved a Nissan Leaf for many of the same reasons that I purchased a CNG-fueled Honda Civic GX in November, 2009

  1. Fuel costs (4 cents/mi for the Civic; forecasted to be 3 cents/mi for the Leaf)
  2. Abundance of domestic fuel to produce electricity, just as there is plenty of domestic natural gas to fuel my Honda Civic GX
  3. Federal and Oklahoma income tax credits that reduce the price of the Leaf by 50%
  4. Sufficient fueling locations - starting with my garage for the Leaf.  The CNG fueling option for the Civic is still unavailable.
  5. Battery viability? Not sure - but I'll be finding out!  More on that in a minute.
  6. Safer than driving around with a tub of gasoline
So, almost all of the reasons (except for #5) that I purchased a CNG vehicle apply to a electric vehicle.  It's cheaper, easier to fuel, & doesn't use foreign supplied fuel.  

Now, battery viability - Nissan states that the Leaf should travel 100 miles on one charge and that the batteries should last 5 to 10 years.  That's a bit of variability in the life expectancy... I would tend to favor a CNG tank over a battery except for one thing - our society will adopt batteries much quicker than a CNG tank.  Recharging a car battery gives the owner the illusion that their daily commute is emission-free. 

My primary conviction is that the US is going broke due to the massive quantities of energy source imports.  Any viable technology that enables use of domestic energy for transportation purposes should be pursued.  

So, I am hedging - I will have an electric powered vehicle and a natural gas powered one as well.  But neither will require crude oil derivatives.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reserved a Nissan Leaf

Got the email from Nissan tonight that I could pay $99 and reserve a Nissan Leaf.  Talking to Bob Howard Nissan in OKC this afternoon, I learned that Oklahoma would be in the second wave of cars which means that I could get the car around February 2011.   Ordered a black exterior SL version.

Battery powered cars may be available soon.... the Nissan Leaf

$99 deposits can be placed on the Nissan Leaf later today if you have pre-registered on Nissan's Leaf website. Just talked to Bob Howard in OKC - they are certified to sell the car.

Why is this so exciting?
  • 100 miles per charge
  • Less then $20,000 to purchase after federal and Oklahoma income tax credits (while Oklahoma previously allowed a tax credit equal 50% of the electric car purchase price, that credit will now be limited to the amount of the federal tax credit.  However, the amount of OK tax credit is very much in question - see this blog article from April 8.)
  • No gasoline, therefore no crude oil required
  • The fuel source can now be anything that produces electricity - wind, solar, natural gas, coal, nuclear.
I'm planning to use the car to offset the Honda Pilot use around town.  Will keep the Honda pilot for use on trips.

The first cars are to ship in December this year.