I have been a petrol head since the time I started taking a keen interest in cars about a decade ago. Having represented India and my alma mater The University of Cincinnati, in International Automotive Design competitions during my engineering days it felt as if there is nothing more special than the sound of an engine and the smell of gasoline. Fast Forward to 2018 and I have been an Electric Vehicle owner and proudly drive my - No-Noise; No-Fossil-Fuel; No-Maintenance Car
The Leaf is the best-selling electric car in the world1. It’s a battery-operated, all electric five door hatchback. Although it has a footprint of a compact car, the interiors feel like a mid-size car: roomy with a decent sized boot space. I was skeptical looking at the odd-shaped car before buying, but as soon as you start driving it, all those fears are put to rest.
The high speed is limited to 90 mph (144 kms/hr). It has a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack mounted on the underbody of the car below the rear seat. The range is about 100 miles. (Approximately 160 kms; +/- 25 kms weather dependent). This sends electricity to an 80 kilowatt (107 horsepower) electric motor that drives the front wheel. It produces about 187 lb-ft of torque (253 Nm of torque).
Equipped with a 100 mile range, the car can easily cover my daily work commute, run all my errands and the occasional weekend outing to a nearby place of choice. The charging infrastructure is not sufficient yet, so there is some range anxiety at times but a well planned trip always helps overcome that fear. When you own an all-electric vehicle, you will often stumble upon questions like, ‘What do I do if I am out of charge?’, ‘Who will help me’? All these are valid questions. But once you start planning your trip well, after a few months the fear and the concerns slowly but surely starts to subside. The current lack of functionality is temporary but could be easily overcome by the economics of running and maintaining the all-electric car which are mentioned below.
It costs me 8 cents per kWh to charge the car at home and free of charge at work/available charging stations. It would cost me $1.92 to charge the complete battery. So I pay about $2 for 100 miles or about 130 INR for 160 Kms , which is 80 paise per km or 52 cents a mile ; beat that with a petrol or a diesel or even a compressed natural gas car!
Happy Driving with Electrons !