It’s now been 4 months since I purchased my 2011 Silver Nissan LEAF and today I tipped over 10,000km since I bought it.
I had several motivations for buying the Leaf. Firstly, maintenance, I’d spent many a Saturday (and sometimes Sunday too) during summer 2013 under my car, or my wife’s, working on them.
I like working on vehicles, or rather, I used to, but both of those cars just seemed out to get me last year, and reliability was called into question again and again. After a couple of months, we’d decided it was time to get rid of at least one of the cars and get something more reliable. It was going to mean getting a car loan since we owned both cars outright, but I figured it was worth it if I had my weekends back, it would also mean I might actually get to spend some time working on our vintage vehicle instead of keeping our daily drivers on the road!
My next motivation for buying an EV… Cost… I started looking at cars to buy, I wanted something good and reliable that wasn’t going to cost me more in maintenance again. I looked at a few options, but nothing really stood out from the crowd (well, nothing within my budget…). I then started factoring in the cost of a car loan and the cost of fuel (I was already paying approx. €300 a month in fuel alone). I wanted something comfortable, but had a little bit of power, preferably a turbo diesel because I like the torque of a diesel for overtaking and acceleration. Going from having no car loan, to one that would be at least two or three hundred a month was going to be a pain.
I don’t remember when exactly in the process I started looking at electric cars, but I remember my first experience with one was when a friend had bought a Nissan Leaf in early 2012. I was impressed by it to say the least, the build quality, the gadgets (keyless entry, backup camera, bluetooth handsfree, and so many other nice things my 2003 Octavia didn’t have). It looked great, and when he let me have a quick spin down the road, the acceleration, the quietness and smoothness, I was impressed. I wished him well with his new car and knew I wouldn’t be able to afford one for at least a few years.
Now, finding myself in the market for a new car, I started looking at EVs again, the Nissan Leaf was the obvious choice, I never really considered others, partially because of their limited popularity and availability in Ireland and partly because I like that the Leaf was a “proper hatchback”. Some other EVs are just too much like small city cars for me and I wanted something I’d be happy to drive on my daily commute, which is primarily motorway.
It was during my research that I started discovering the best part of driving an EV; the incredibly low running costs. Not only would it save me a hell of a lot of money on petrol every month, but I’d be buying a car significantly better equipped and significantly newer than what my budget allowed if I’d had to spend 200-300 a month on petrol on top of a car loan.
I spent a fair few more hours than I’d like to admit researching every aspect of EV ownership; realistic range, the effect of weather on said range, maintenance costs, running costs, etc… and came to the simple conclusion. It makes perfect sense.
My daily commute was well within the range of an EV. Our other regular driving was also within range (friends, in-laws), and even if I did need to very suddenly jump in the car and drive to Cork/Galway/<random other place more than 120km away> in a hurry, my wife’s car would be there.
Now, 4 months on and 10000km done, I decided to take a brief look at the cost savings against my old petrol-powered commute.
Quite simply, I’ve gone from spending close to €300 a month on petrol, to less than €40 a month on “fueling” an electric car, you can see the numbers for yourself below;
|Nissan LEAF||Skoda Octavia|
|*= Average petrol cost Dec ’13 through Mar ’14 from http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Motoring-advice/~/media/Files/AA%20Ireland/Reports/Fuelprices%20history.ashx
^= Bord Gais Night rate electricity tariff
This adds up to a saving of €941 in just 4 months and that’s just on fuel costs. Let’s not forget the lower motor tax rate and practically non-existent long term maintenance costs.
If the distances you drive fit with the range of an electric vehicle (for the majority of people, it does), then Why Not?
(You’ll note I didn’t even comment on the topic of the environmental benefits of driving an EV but incidentally, in that time period, I’ve saved 1172Kg of Co2 emissions by not combusting fuel)