Next month, I will have my current car for 12 years. And my beloved little car is sure showing it's age. It's become very obvious that her days are numbered. We just bought a car last year, so we're not looking forward to do it again any time soon. Sadly, the choice may not be up to us. I've been very, very happy with my '98 Nissan Sentra. It's been reliable, low cost, a true pleasure to drive, so much so in fact, that we bought another one last year. We did look at other cars, however our experience with the sentra was the eventual clincher. Perhaps we've been infected with the brand loyalty bug, because I got really excited when I found out a while ago that Nissan is bringing an all-electric car on the market at the end of the year (in my area more like Spring next year). Meet the Leaf.
It'll go about 100 miles per charge, which is plenty for me, even allowing for lower efficiency because I'm hauling kids and cargo around. I've been drooling for weeks now.
There are some obvious drawbacks:
1. Although you can charge it on a regular 120V outlet, it'll take so long for a full charge (20 hours), that at least initially, Nissan will only sell the car to those who have installed a dedicated 240V charging station at their home. This will cost about $2000.
2. Even though it was designed for the general consumer market, it's still expensive for me, at a starting price of about $32k. Add tax, title and insurance, and.... ouch! There are supposed to be federal incentives, but for now those only extend to the end of 2010, no longer valid by the time I can get one.
3. I guess I'm still a little squeemish about the idea of not having a gas-backup. I'm totally aware of that fear being irrational. I'm never worried when I leave the house in my current car, that it'll run out. And I wouldn't have to make a detour to go to a gas station, my "gas station" would be at home.
4. My town isn't large enough I suspect, to invest on a large scale in charging infrastructure. Since I'd charging at home, this isn't too much of a problem, but still.
5. This doesn't have anything to do with the Leaf, but a major drawback is that my car might not last until next Spring. That's 9 months away! I'll consider myself lucky if my car goes for another 9 weeks. Wait, make that 9 days!
Check it out! I reserved my Leaf:
However, instead of the blue one pictured, I want the snazzy red one: