I bought a Nissan Leaf few months ago. The primary reason for me, as an engineer, was efficiency. It is just stupid to use something which wastes most of energy you put in it in a ludicrously complex engine. The other important arguments are consequences of this.
- Ecology: More kilometers per unit of energy means less pollution. Consequence of efficiency.
- Lower cost of driving: More kilometers per unit of energy costs less money. Simpler servicing due to fewer parts. Both consequences of efficiency and simplicity. My Lexus GS cost me about 8000 euro per year on average (gas in Europe is pretty expensive). The leaf costs less than 2000 euro per year. I only use the Leaf for city driving, but that is more than 2/3rds of my use. Both numbers include insurance, energy to run it, servicing, and taxes. In addition, Leaf saves me additional money, as I get free parking and charge in Helsinki city center, where parking costs easily 6-8 euros per hour.
- My health improves and I save additional time as I no more need to spend 15 minutes cursing and cooling down after paying 120 euros for filling the gas gar.
- Quietness: Generating noise costs energy, electrics do less of that. Consequence of efficiency. Very important for me. The only problem is that now I get irritated by other cars making noise which was previously hidden by my own vehicle. Leaf makes some electrical whine, but it is way less disturbing.
- Good acceleration: Plenty of instant torque at slower speeds. Consequence of efficiency. Leaf is definitely not a sports car, but acceleration in city driving is on par with GS. It will loose to GS at higher speeds, but I bought the Leaf for city driving.
There are other lesser arguments which are not efficiency based.
- No smelly gas to handle. They will need to invent less smelly washer fluid though.
- Car is always filled up. I am saving time because of not having to go to gas station every now and then. Plugging and unplugging the car takes max 20-40 seconds per day extra during summertime. In wintertime it takes extra 0 seconds as I would also plug in my gas car to run the block heater. I sometimes quick charge on longer travel days, but the quick chargers are mostly right next to a place I can pick up a cup of coffee or groceries, so amount of time waste is around 20-30 seconds. I have visited a gas station once to get distilled water for my humidor. They had run out.
- Remote control of heating/cooling. Today was -17 degrees Celsius. The car was +20 when I left for work, and +20 when I started back to home. You can get this for gas cars, so not quite a difference, but having it standard was one less problem.
- Good feel of not using totally idiotic and obsolete technology.
- Egoistic feel of being ahead of other people.
- I also saved money when I bought the car, as I found a used demonstration car of a Nissan dealership in Spain. For the money I paid I could have gotten smaller or same size gas car with same age and km driven, with less gadgets and features in it. So, the payback time of buying electric become negative for me. Took a bit of effort to shop around, though. Driving the car back to Finland was fun, so I did not count it a cost, nor the about 100 bottles of wine picked on the way from shops and wine yards. I highly recommend looking at used Leafs or other electrics if you wish to get in to electric driving on budget.
Problems I have noticed:
- I kept the Lexus for longer trips I assumed would be likely every two weeks or so. I haven't driven it once for two months I have had the Leaf. When I borrowed the Lexus to a friend, it would no more start, as the battery was dead. Apparently I would be better off renting or car sharing whatever cars I need for longer trips. I can do plenty of that with the 6000 euros of annual savings.
- We do not yet have plenty of electrics here yet, so every week or two I have some curious guy asking questions about the car. I does not bother me too much, and I can always so sorry if I'm too busy. Leaf looks like a any normal car, so most people do not pay attention.
- I waste some time writing this article in Slashdot.
I am privileged to live in a city which is compact enough that Leaf's range is adequate to reach most places, as well as having several quick chargers around in case I would need one. I normally charge to 80%, as that seems to work for most days. I assume the range might be more of an issue in larger cities. For me, it has been better than I thought, even with my high early expectations.