Talking about my electric car – Renewable Journal for 7/11/2014

For more posts in this series, please click here.

I was eating lunch with some coworkers recently when the topic of cars came up. As someone who has recently purchased a new car, I mentioned that I had bought an all electric Nissan Leaf, and that kicked off a 10-15 minute discussion of the particulars of charging, the economics of it, pollution, how quiet it is, why I bought it over a Volt or some other electric, expectations for bad weather driving, the confusion between a 100% electric vs. a hybrid, and so on.

I’ve been thinking about the exchange off and on since, and I’ve realized that, as an owner of an electric car, I’m going to be asked about these same kinds of questions over and over and over again. And it would be nice to have a couple of sets of good answers that I can tailor to the different people who are asking. For example, how do I talk to anti-environmental libertarians about the environmental benefits of my electric (which as I showed in my last Journal, are substantial) without them tuning out entirely. How do I talk to people who worry more about running out of charge miles from the nearest quick charger? And how can I explain my reasons succinctly and accurately for a less-than-five minute conversation or in 15 words I can get out in an elevator.

Here my first draft of an “elevator” answer:

My Leaf was cheap to buy, cheaper to operate, lower maintenance, and pollutes less than the alternatives. And for my commute, the short range doesn’t matter.

It’ll need some fine tuning, of course, but I think that’s a decent starting point.

For the longer stuff, though, I think I’ll generate a FAQ of my own for all the questions I get asked on a regular basis. I think it’ll help me organize my thoughts, and I think it’ll be nice to have a convenient reference for people that I can point to. If you’ve got questions, ask away in the comments and if I can answer them fast, I’ll do so. And I’ll certainly add them to the FAQ I’m going to build.

2 replies »

  1. As a quasi-libertarian and occasional teathuglican, the only part of your journey that rankles in the slightest is the subsidy that US and Colorado citizens provide for your daily commute Brian.

    Yet in deeper review I ultimately realize that the only way we’re going to mainstream beta technologies that I firmly believe provide great hope for our future is with exactly this sort of subsidy.

    So I follow along with a quizzical smile enjoying your progress reports while secretly crossing my fingers for you as I do for my biker pals that you never have to give us a crash test report.

  2. To respond in advance to the “libertarians” who will complain about the gov./taxpayers subsidizing the purchase and development of EV’s, you might add something about how much the oil/gas industry gets in tax breaks/subsidies which means, in effect, we are paying to prolong pollution and climate change. It won’t satissfy the TRUE libertarian of course, if there is such a thing.