The 1% Solution – The 99% Reality
This past August 2017 marked the 5th Anniversary of my transition from “gas to electric” driving, logging about 70,000 miles in either all electric (Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S) or Plug-In Hybrid Electric (Chevrolet VOLT) vehicles. In thinking about my life experience as an EV driver, I wanted to share my perspective as the US EV market cracks the 1% mark and the 99% Reality of why I believe that EVs can be the ‘go to’ vehicle for the vast majority of driving circumstances. [photo: 2013 VOLT on delivery day 8-16-2012].
The 1% Solution
Looking at Electric Vehicle registration data (courtesy of InsideEV’s Monthly Scorecard), EV sales (142,514 units) are on a tear, up 30% through September 30, 2017 with +33,000 units sold vs YTD September 2016. Impressive, as gains are coming across the board as established automakers add electrified models to their vehicle line up, along with 14,300 2017 Chevrolet BOLTs with their 238 mile EPA rated all electric range now on US roads. Tesla Model 3 has not yet made an impact, contributing 220 units to 2017 EV sales. Just wait – it will! [Photo: Clean Technica].
2017 September YTD US Auto Industry sales, reported by The Wall Street Journal on October 3, 2017, (MotorIntelligence.com: source) show 12.9 million light duty vehicles were delivered to new owners with steep decline in new car sales (-10%) including very strong SUV/Cross-Over segment (+6%) and a robust light duty truck market (+4%). By this measure, EV sales account for 1.1% of deliveries. Hence the 1% Solution. Today, EV’s barely compete in the growth segments of the US Auto market: SUV/Cross-overs and Light Duty trucks. That will quickly change with global automakers launching more SUV/Cross-Overs and Light Duty (and even Semi) trucks.
The 99% Reality
The Reality of Owning an Electric Vehicle – Marvelously Easy!
My personal experience after five years, 70,000 EV miles across four electrified vehicles: ownership is marvelously easy. The simple reason: most of the time, you charge up at home, at night when electricity costs are very low. I have been on the Georgia Power Plug In Electric Vehicle TOU plan for 5 years. All of my EVs are scheduled to charge between 11PM and 7 AM. My monthly cost to charge up my EVs: about $25.00. [Photo: Vivint Solar].
The economics and convenience of long-term EV ownership are overwhelmingly positive (as reported in numerous EV related ownership cost posts here and elsewhere). My 2014 Chevrolet VOLT cost about $50.00. The 2015 Nissan LEAF was covered under warranty. The 2015 Tesla Model S Annual Maintenance is a bit more pricey ($525-725 a year) or 3.8 cents/mile. But it was more than off-set by the $4,125 I have saved in gasoline purchases. My cost/mile estimate is well under 25 cents compared to 60 cents according to AAA.
Road Trips are Easy and Inexpensive. Last December, I completed a 1,700 mile all electric trip from Atlanta to Richmond to Washington DC and Charlottesville back to Atlanta. The entire trip was completed with 10 (free!) Tesla supercharger stops and free charging at our hotels in Washington DC and Charlottesville VA. I paid for parking to DC Fast Charge only twice ($12). So I drove 1,700 miles for essentially free ($200.00 in savings vs gasoline/parking). While the cost to charge for intercity/interstate driving may not remain free, the electricity-equivalent cost per gallon of gasoline is on the order of 50-75 cents so driving electric – even when paying for charging – will still be significantly less expensive than paying for gas. [Photo: Atlanta EVDC].
Time to Join the 1% Solution!
The 99% reality about long range driving is being addressed by lower cost, longer range vehicles (335 mile Tesla Model S, 238 mile range BOLT, 220-330 mile range Tesla Model 3 and the newly launched 150 mile range 2018 Nissan LEAF). The base price of the new ‘mainstream’ looking 2018 Nissan LEAF is $29,995 BEFORE the $7,500 Federal Income Tax Credit. [Photos: Atlanta EVDC – 2018 and 2015 Nissan LEAF].
Charging infrastructure in metro Atlanta and beyond is among the best in the US. Thanks to support from the City of Atlanta, The Georgia Public Service Commission, Georgia Power and the responsiveness of commercial developers and property owners throughout the 11-country region, ChargePoint alone shows over 1,300 charging station ports in metro Atlanta [full disclosure – I work for ChargePoint].
The inter-city-interstate fast charge network will continue to expand fairly rapidly making trips like Atlanta to Birmingham (350 mile roundtrip trip I made in my Model S this past July with one Supercharger stop each way) a breeze.
Thanks for your support for the Atlanta EVDC over these past three years since we launched this blog! [Photo Atlanta EVDC – 2014 Drive Electric Week – The Weather Channel broadcast].