Really want to get an EV - good idea? Too much work?

Hi all!

My old car is on it’s very last legs, and I’m considering getting an EV next. I’m trying to figure out whether it’s a terrible idea.

(I know that you don’t end up saving that much money (if any) because the higher buying and repair costs don’t offset the gas savings) but it’s more that I do live in a congested area (in greater Boston) so it would be nice to feel like I wasn’t adding to the overall air pollution. Plus I like that Nissan Leaf!

There are free chargers in the parking garage at work (about 5 miles away). At home it’s street parking, but I can almost always get a spot outside the apartment that I can reach with a 50’ extension cord. (I’m on the first floor, and pay all my own utilities so wouldn’t get any trouble from anyone about that.)

As far as car use goes, I drive to work about half the time, and take day trips out of the city on the weekend typically not more than 50 miles round trip, just beach or hiking with the dog. Also the occasional grocery store run or other errand. Since my last car was so old and a bit unreliable, I’ve already gotten into the habit of taking the train for longer trips.

Any thoughts? Do you think I could make this work?

I don’t see why not, you would have the opportunity to charge up at work and if/when needed charge at night parked at home. Friend of mine loves his Nissan Leaf just make sure you keep an eye on the charge level (just like making sure you don’t run out of gas). The extension cord will work fine just take a long time. Cold weather probably will affect how much range but with a 10 or so mile round trip you should be just fine.

My leaf owning friend is very happy with his

If you don’t take long trips or have very long commutes, why not? However, keep in mind that the range is affected by having either the heater or the A/C on. Our city has a number of them since these vehicles seldom leave town and are charged up every night.

Agree, the economics make no sense for a lot of people, but if a Leaf makes you feel good, go for it.

Remember, though, that while an EV produces no emissions at the tailpipe, pollution can be created wherever the electricity is generated. In a worst-case scenario, an EV is a “coal-powered car with a 50 mile long exhaust pipe.”

Seeing as how a SULEV car can output cleaner air than it takes in, I’d look for justification of an EV elsewhere besides pollution concerns.

Electrics seem tailor-made for people in situations like yours. The only issue I can see is your overnight parking. Be very careful of on-street parking and your extension cord. Rolling it out across your sidewalk to reach your car leaves you open to legal action if someone trips over the cord.

The cord will have to be a BIG one (thick, not long) to carry the large amount of electrical current without losses. These cars need about a 16 hour charge to fully recharge the car. If you want to recharge faster, it will require a 220 volt plug (like your stove or dryer use) and a bigger extension cord.

Depends on your budget. I’d get a Tesla Model S in a hot minute if I could afford one. I can afford a Leaf, but wouldn’t get it. 30 grand for a subcompact rattlebox that won’t even get me 100 miles? No thanks.

“There are free chargers in the parking garage at work (about 5 miles away).”

If this is important to you, make sure a charger is available when you would be using it. With EV’s becoming more prevalent, I can see a public charger shortage in the near future.

Maybe buy a couple spare 50’ extension cords if you’re going to leave that copper out at night in Boston.

You beat me to it, @Bing.

An extension cord of sufficient gauge to handle all that current is HEAVY, and most of that weight is copper, which is worth around $2.70/# to anybody willing to pick it up and take it. People break into houses to steal the plumbing; this is a walk in the park, comparatively.

You might as well leave a $50 bill out on the sidewalk!

I may be wrong but I believe Nissan does not reccomend extension cords and the charger may not operate ptoperly if one is used.

For me, with cars, it’s a cost per mile thing…All cars do is provide transportation…So why pay double? I choose a vehicle that provides the lowest cost per mile to own…If you want to make a STATEMENT with your car choice go for it, but it’s going to cost you and in the end, nobody but you cares what kind of car you drive…

What happens in winter when the apartment maintenance folks are plowing your sidewalks or other common areas and they snag your extension cord?

You also might look into a Zipcar membership, for trips outside the ev range or when it isn’t charged enough. In the suburbs they are less common, but right in Boston Zipcars are plentiful. There is also an electric Honda Fit coming out (may be out) that looks even mors more attractive. It loses some of the cargo space, but it is still a very roomy, practical car.

Check the chargers in the garage at work and see if they charge at 220V. If so, you never need to charge the battery at home. Just use the chargers in the parking garage twice each week.

I would be suprised if the charger’s at work weren’t the higher voltage, with the mileage you would likely rack up per day you might not need to charge every day and I’d check around and see if there are other stations for charging along your regular route (At the grocery store for example) The EV owners i know have dedicated charging stations in their garage/carport and plug in when needed on the go. But in an apartment you’ll probably be better off charging at an official station if there’s one in the neighborhood.

Go for it,you are to commended-dont worry about the " long tailpipe" you can control the emissions on a powerplant,easier then you can on 10K out of tune cars at least the EV wont gas you in the garage-Kevin

I don’t get the higher repair costs ? I would think that a Leaf would be an excellent investment. But, you have to actually use it daily . I see no reason, given your transportation plans, that a Leaf would not work…in the summer months. I have a problem with their ultra low clearance and poor traction tires in snow. But, if you stay out of snow and koan your trips carefully around storms, I say, " go for it". For you, it seems practical…
Personally, I would want a garage or car port and private parking with a 240 volt charger access ability. Peripherals like these either make or break owning one practical. That would be my biggest problem and might drive me to buy a Corolla or Prius C instead.

someone has to be first…

@wesw, “Being First” is OK, IF the situation doesn’t completely destroy the experience. The lack of reasonable charging at home might be a the difference between a good or bad experience. For electrics to thrive, as many good experiences as possible are needed. Pointing out the pitfalls will help the OP to decide if it will likely be a good or bad experience, that’s all

For some people, a pure EV like the Leaf work great…But the shortcomings are real and potential buyers need to be made aware of them…Nobody gets the claimed range before a charging station must be found…Heat or A/C operation result in greatly reduced range…

Electricity is not free…Plugging into a 220V charger every night will have a noticeable impact on your electric bill…