What’s it like to own an electric car? BERC

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Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars

What’s it like to own an electric

27 March 2012

By Marie

Unless you’ve been under a Volvo these couple of years, you’ve heard that Nissan released the Leaf. a fully vehicle, and Chevrolet came out the Volt. an electric vehicle the range extended by a combustion Ever since GM introduced the EV1 in the the electric car has gotten a lot of attention as a a business plan. a BERCshop week and even as a philosophy. been inundated with news, predictions, reports and intended to address the role of the car in the consumer market.

But we’ve a crucial (and newly piece of information: what is it to actually own, drive and for an electric car?

To find out, I sought the of two very generous and qualified employees: Jeff Beeman of a Leaf) and Rob Duarte (owner of a They both talked to me their experiences and I got to ride in carswhat a treat!

I asked drivers about their to buy electric vehicles. Both had their regular driving and determined that a large of their driving was less the allotted electric range 100 miles for the Leaf and 36 miles for the per day. Jeff’s primary for purchasing his all-electric Leaf was while Rob really needed a new car and that the Volt met his needs the added bonus of being a new Jeff recognized that the would accommodate 90% of his driving, but trips would require a family vehicle.

He does incorporate careful planning to check the distance the first time he makes a drive, which he feels is a tradeoff for not maintaining a combustion Rob, alternatively, opted for the which would allow him the to take longer excursions planning ahead while enough electric range for his commute.

Both the Leaf and the collect and provide plenty of feedback to the driver through the (range, efficiency, nearby stations etc.). The Volt track of when the combustion needs an oil changeand I noticed Rob’s car was getting 78.3 Both vehicles communicate with Chevy or Nissan and the software is regularly updated to fix in the interface or general user experience.

I asked each driver how far car actually went compared to the car predictions. Jeff said around Berkeley, with its hills, he can count on an average of 65 miles before rechargehis day of driving was from El Sobrante to and back plus a trip to and back (by the way, Nissan free flatbed towing your car purchase if you miscalculate). Volt, like other reliably exceeded the promised 36 and after he had owned it for a week, he outdrove the range of the battery to that the combustion engine (it did)! (Question for Chevy: If car exceeds expectationseven in the Berkeley are you underrating your car?)

Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars

Some may hesitate to purchase an car because they believe vehicles are “black boxes” aren’t any fun to drive. In fact, cars encourage the same of driver-car interaction that a transmission driver or a race car seeks on that note, Rob is a car driver AND is building his own car. are online forums ­­­ MyVolt.com where drivers can and improve techniques. Jeff and Rob that they were learning to drive to optimize electric rangehow to maximize braking and, what to take to stay off of the high-wind freeway. for example. Rob says he been to a gas station since he his car in January!

That being while both Jeff and Rob are about optimizing their neither has had to make any drastic adjustments since purchasing electric vehicles.

I’d like to end by commenting on the that the Volt isn’t It isn’t because it’s bad or a poor design. It isn’t because it is especially expensive incentives, the Volt was about 33K Leaf was

29K.), not totally for a brand new technology and two drive in one. I believe the poor are because GM missed their Rob told me that he had trouble a Volt that didn’t leather seats ($2000 or an expensive sound system or special paint jobs of the stripped down models already sold!

The Volts haven’t sold are luxury with a techie drive does that make If GM stopped trying to make the into a Lexus with a I believe their high Volt would be gobbled up by adopters and electric car enthusiasts.

Do you have a pressing solar or technology question? E-mail at mamayer AT berkeley.edu and your can be the subject of future columns.

Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars
Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars
Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars
Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars
Mitsuoka Like Electric Cars


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