With all the talk of ‘Going Green’, there are not many eco-friendly vehicles on the roads. The automotive industry has tried to answer the call from the public for a more planet-friendly vehicle, and in most cases, the Green cars are a good start.
The Nissan LEAF was introduced into the United States market in 2010, and it was one of several vehicles that were trying to woo the American public from their oil-dependency. While those oil hungry vehicles are a hard habit to break, there were a few people willing to work hard at breaking old habits. Recently, Nissan announced that it had sold 100,000 LEAFs in three years.
The problem with the LEAF is not the idea or the vehicle itself; it’s in the fact that it only has a range of 75 miles at best and closer to 65 miles. When the LEAF is on a 240-volt charger, it takes six hours to charge, while a 120-volt charger takes 16 hours.
The 2017 LEAF is expected to take advantage of new technology that will allow their battery range to hit the 185-mile mark, so there is still hope that the vehicle will be a better investment for those who need to commute more than 20 or 30 miles a day. The battery life expectancy is around the 60,000-mile mark, and the battery’s efficiency is subject to the climate and driving conditions of the owner. Those who live in a climates of extremes, both hot and cold, will find that the battery will not live up to the factory’s expectations.
According to number cruncher and car enthusiast, Steven Lang, the bottom line is that the LEAF has a sticker anywhere from the upper $20,000 range to the mid-30s, and the cost to operate a LEAF, which includes battery warranties and insurance, is roughly $12 a day. This cost includes the price of electricity at approximately eleven cents a KW at charging stations. Since the range is limited, the vehicle would need to be kept for better than 10 years and have 100,000 miles on it to balance the costs to the savings.
When considering the LEAF, there are other incentives and subsidies that can help with the decision. Some states will offer subsidies for car owners. These EV bills are popular in states with high emissions. Georgia has an EV bill that offers Green car owners a check up to $5,000 for their EV cars. Atlanta has the worst pollution levels of any United States city, so Georgia is trying to get people to drive Green.
In addition to the states, the federal government provides some tax credits to those who drive zero-emissions autos. There are some electric companies that offer lower rates to those with EV cars. Some cities will hand out passes to the HOV lanes to those in EVs. While not everyone sees these incentives as good for the country as a whole, they do help to encourage people to be smart about their emissions.
The Nissan LEAF may not be the answer to saving money or eliminating the growing pollution problem, but it certainly is a start in the right direction, and those who can offset the costs by taking advantage of the subsidies and tax credits may well be the smartest car owners on the road today.