Sunday, February 13, 2011
50,000 Emission Free Miles
Every day I drive down the road I look around at all the cars around me and realize I'm driving the only car in sight that's not spewing pollutants out the back of my car for the people behind me to breathe. Soon I'll be joined by Chevy Volts (at lease while they are in charge depleting mode), and Nissan LEAF's, but I've yet to run into one while driving yet. It won't be long before there are then Ford Focus EV's, the Tesla Model S, Toyota RAV4 EV's, and the BMW ActiveE which I'll be driving in about seven months when I have to turn #250 back over to BMW.
No doubt the electric car renaissance is happening, and just about every major auto manufacturer has an electric car in development, and many are near production. That wasn't the case back in June 2009 when I took possession of my MINI-E. The only real electric option at the time was a $100,000 Tesla Roadster, no doubt an awesome car, but a bit out of most people's price range.
So I'll keep driving and charging my car with electricity I produce with my solar PV array on the roof of my home. I'll continue to drive by gas station after gas station, unconcerned about the current price of gasoline. (What does a gallon cost nowadays anyway?) By my account, I would have had to buy about 2,800 gallons of gas for my other car, a 2009 Toyota Tacoma if I did not get selected to be in the MINI-E program. I would have also needed about 10 oil changes, replaced my brake pads at least once and would now be due for a complete 50,000 mile tune up in addition to a litany of regular maintenance items like air filters & fuel filters. I figure I've saved at least $5,000 in fuel and maintenance, and it's probably really closer to $6,000.
Electric cars are extremely low maintenance, which is one of the main reasons the auto manufacturers haven't been really keen on building and selling them. They generally make more money maintaining and fixing your car than they do when they sell it to you. That's won't be the case with EV's. The one big maintenance cost is a replacement battery pack and that won't be necessary for 100,000 to 130,000 miles and 6 to 10 years after the purchase. Even then, they won't profit from it nearly as much as they would have from all the maintenance needed for an internal combustion engine car.
So honk and give me a wave if you see me out there driving around New Jersey. If the "EF-OPEC" plates or the "Starve a Terrorist, Drive Electric" bumper sticker aren't enough for you to tell it's me, just look for the MINI Cooper without the tailpipe sticking out of the back, there aren't that many of us around.