Let's Take a Ride in an Electric Car!

Have you heard this catchy tune from They Might Be Giants? It's an earworm! I thought for Earth Day/Week I'd share our electric car experience.

We bought a used 2015 Nissan Leaf 5 years ago, when we needed a car quickly and were searching for a hatchback. We considered a hybrid, but when I saw this Leaf at a used car lot near our house, we decided to give it a test drive. It was love at first sight! I was already working from home, and Lil and I spent a lot of time at all the places with free charging in St Louis: the Zoo, the Science Center, and the Botanical Garden.

Our Leaf is such an eye catching color that we always have people stop us to ask questions about it, even more so now that gas prices are up. Here's our FAQ: How much does it cost to charge? As I mentioned above, there are a lot of places with free charging in St Louis! You can see more of them on the PlugShare or ChargePoint apps. We also charge at home (charger is about $400 + cost of electrician if you need 220v outlet installed) and according to our Ameren bill breakdown, we spend $15 a month to charge. If we do go somewhere like Ikea where we pay to charge, it costs about $1 for 90 minutes, which adds about 20 miles to the range.

How long does it take to charge? This car does not have the supercharger port that you can find at some new gas stations (or a Tesla charging station). It takes like 16 hours to charge on 110v (we haven't had to do this in years) and 5-6 hours on 220v. That's if you have run it all the way down to where the range is blinking that you're in the danger zone. Have you ever gotten stranded? Nope, never. I have gotten down to 9 miles of range but never gotten to "turtle mode" (the car drastically slows down so you can get to a safe place). How far can you go/what is the range? This varies widely when you talk about EVs in general but for this particular 7 year old Leaf, which has lost a couple battery bars (normal for it's age), we get about 75 miles on a perfect day and 45-50 when it's cold outside. When its a city driver, though, that goes a long way! We typically drive the Leaf 2000 miles for every tank of gas we put in our gas car (a 2012 Hyndai Elantra Touring - about 300 miles per tank). Is it comfortable? It's the fanciest car we've ever owned! Heated seats, heated steering wheel, COLD AIR. :) One thing that is really surprising: Lilly has spent most of her life in the electric car and HATES the gas car. She has to take Dramamine just to go a short distance and says she can smell the gas. What are the maintenance costs like?| We take it in for service once a year at the dealer, and get the tires rotated at Costco occasionally. The annual dealer service has cost us anywhere from $25 (Napleton Nissan) to $300 (Suntrup - do not recommend).