“I haven’t seen a gas station since last April.”
- The Ride
- The Driver: Angelo
- Vehicle in Question: 2011 Nissan Leaf
- Spotted at: Topaz Way, San Francisco, CA 94131
- Odometer: 5,000
- Car’s Nickname: Polar Bear
Q: Hi Angelo, thank you for taking the time today to talk to us about your Nissan Leaf. So how long have you had this car?
A: April 21 will make one year since I’ve owned this Nissan Leaf, which is an all-electric car. I had to wait a whole year to get it, but I understand now their production is up and the wait is not nearly as long.
Q: What has the experience been like owning this car?
A: I love the car. It is a fantastic vehicle. I’ve owned a lot of vehicles in my life. I’ve owned Mercedes, Volvos, high-end cars. They don’t even come close to comparing with how this car handles on the road and of course, the big feature is I haven’t seen a gas station since last April.
Q: That’s wonderful! Could you tell us a little about the procedure of charging your car and such?
A: Oh sure! It’s very simple. Usually at night, I plug in my electric razor. Now I have one more thing to remember: Plug in the car! That’s it! That is it!
Q: Do you feel it has truly saved you money?
A: Oh, it most definitely has saved me money. In addition, I have solar panels on the roof, which feed my inter-electric line, so I’m buying electricity from PG&E at a cut-rate price at night after 6pm. In the meantime, I’m selling them electricity from my solar panels at the high rate during peak times. So you come out very well on a system like that.
Q: How interesting! So what made you choose this car?
A: It was the only all-electric car I could afford. They are all pretty high priced. The Tesla is $109,000. The Fiscar is $95,000.
Q: Do you mind me asking about the financials on this car?
A: My bottom line price, after I got a $7,500 discount from the federal government and a $5,000 rebate form the state of California, plus a five percent dealer discount off the manufacture’s list price because I’m such a nice guy, the bottom line price was about $21,000.
Q: What’s it like driving the Nissan Leaf?
A: It’s a great car to drive. It’s got a lot pick up, moveably. It’s quiet and there is no noise. The other thing is there is zero maintenance. I don’t have to worry about tune-ups, checking the transmission. There is no transmission. All the things that would normally go in a gasoline car like spark plugs, it doesn’t exist! I think the only thing I need to keep an eye on is tire pressure and if there is a little dust on the windshield.
Q: What’s the farthest you’ve driven the car?
A: Probably to Sacramento. I fill up in Vacaville. Pick up a cup of coffee for an hour. There are various charging stations all over and they’re free!
Q: Free you say? I love that word!
A: It’s a magic word. There are three ways to charge the car. Ordinary current is 1/10 the same thing that runs your iron. That takes the longest because it is slow. Then there is 2/20, which electricity you use to run your dryer. Then there is 4/40 and that system is commercial grade and it is not in people’s homes. There is an incentive program to install a variety of 4/40 stations all throughout 2012.
Q: Have you had any problems running out of electricity?
A: I haven’t had any problems running out of juice anywhere the whole year I’ve had this car. It’s very user friendly and comfortable. It has air conditioning, blue tooth, GPS. It all comes with the car. It even has a small solar panel that gives you enough juice to run any accessory.
Photos and interview by Abigail Kira
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