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Electric Car Hunting

Didi Emmons

Some presidential candidates are describing climate change as a national emergency.  On that note, I’d like to raise awareness of electric cars.  Right now, $10,000 instate and fed tax credits is in the offing when buying most electric vehicles (EV’s), depending on production levels. I’m thinking of getting one, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned. First, do electric cars create carbon?  Actually, they take more carbon to manufacture than gas cars.  However, as the Union of Concerned Scientists states, “These differences change as soon as the cars are driven. EVs are powered by electricity, which is generally a cleaner energy source than gasoline and getting cleaner all the time (in my household, we have solar and pay for green/renewable utilities).  But EV’s make up for their manufacturing emissions within one year of driving — and continue to outperform gasoline cars until the end of their lives.”  I read its about the same as owning a car that gets 80-90 MPG. The hunt was on!  I sat in a friend's Chevy Bolt. This is one zippy car.  It hugs the curves and has powerful torque (like all EV’s) and I found its regenerative braking fun.  I just loved it.  At 39K (29K after tax credits) it has an impressive range - 253 miles. Next, the Nissan Leaf. Its range is much lower than a Bolt, 140 miles.  But it drives smooth and the interior is more luxurious than the Bolt.  And it starts at 30K before tax credits. I blew into VW and jumped into the E-Golf.  The seat was supportive and the drive dreamy.  Its also a very safe car. Its range is 126 miles so its best for tootling around town.  About 32K to start. One thing to know about EV’s is that the range varies by season. In the summer it can supersede estimates.  But in the winter it can decrease by 33% or more. That is why so many EV's have heated seats.  Also how you drive further effects the range,just like a gas car. I was excited to visit Hyundai.  Their electric Kona has flawless reviews.  Starting at 39K it fashions itself as an SUV. The range is high - 258 miles, second only to a Tesla.  A smooth drive.  But I wanted to spend less, so I tried the irIoniq.  The Ioniq is 5a sedan/hatch, and it starts at 30K,but the range is 124 miles. I hear in 2020 they are upping the range.  But bigger batteries cost more. Another friend owns a Smart EV and loves it.  Mercedes makes it and its extremely safe.  Range is 124.  Starts at 23.8K (13.8 with tax credit!).  Obviously not much cargo. A note on charging - it pays to set up charging at home. Level 3 charging (fastest) is at this point not pervasive.  It will cost you about $500 - $2000 to set this up, depending on different factors. Also, leasing an EV may be the best way to go.  You buy “half”the car over three years and then either trade it in, keep it or sell it.  With technology changing rapidly, this may be smartest.  Any dealers will often give you discount that equal tax credits. Except for Tesla.  They don’t lease, but their resale values are extremely high. Then there’s Tesla.  For them, Ev’s are not a side interest, it is all they do and they’ve been doing it longer than anyone. A friend/owner says its “a computer on wheels’. He said his car picked up another 20 miles on range because of an update he got that morning.  The extended moon roof (on all models) is a treat. It gets top ratings on safety.  You can buy a Model 3 for $35,000 and the mile range is 249, though you can increase it to 310 for more money.  Chargers installed in your home cost$2500.  But there are lots of charge stations and you can charge 170 miles in 40 minutes. It takes about 8-12 weeks to get one. There you have it.  As for me, I am still undecided, there are too many good choices!



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