With three months and less than 2,000 kilometres on the clock of my i MiEV, I don't have anything new to report this week, so I'll share a conversation I had with Brian Town, who drives a Nissan Leaf.
Town recently passed the 5,000-kilometre mark on his Nissan Leaf. He routinely drives his car from Sidney to his cabin in Shawnigan Lake and back - a distance of more than 110 kilometres - on a single charge.
Town, who used to drive a Volkswagen TDI diesel, has seen his monthly fuel bill drop from $140 to between $9 and $12. In March, he drove 1,300 kilometres for a cost of $12.40 and expects his annual repair bill to drop from $1,000 to about $200.
He bought his all-electric Leaf because he wanted to make a statement.
"I am a history buff and I am a believer in the axiom that people who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it," says Town, 61, who retired from the construction industry. "I am concerned about the environment and wanted to be an agent for change. I asked myself the question: 'At what point do you decide to make a change? What are you waiting for?' For me, that was when I decided to buy my electric car."
He says driving an electric car hasn't required any change to his lifestyle, as the battery's range fits his requirements. In fact, the Leaf is now the family's principal vehicle.
He hopes his experience serves as an example for others, including his own family. One son, who is in the construction industry, spends $1,600 a month for fuel for his two company trucks. "I sometimes lend him my car to use," says Town. "Then I tell him; 'That drive you just took from East Sooke to Sidney only cost 40 cents.' "
So far, he says, the only downside of the electric car is that using the heater reduces the car's range.
Someone travelling on a cold and rainy day up a long hill will probably have to sacrifice some warmth to ensure they have enough power to make it home.
While drivers still have to pay a premium for electric cars, Town is an enthusiastic advocate for the new technology.
"I believe that it will pay for itself - even if you have to borrow the entire amount and amortize it over a few years," he says.
"I get the feeling that we are at a critical juncture in our relationship with this planet. If we don't change our ways very soon, the outcome will not be good for us."
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