Yesterday I posted about how I came to consider buying my first new car at age 56.
We were still on the fence when we went into the Nissan dealership to test drive the Nissan Leaf yesterday afternoon.
- One, we live on the highest mountain in Sonoma County (wine country) a steep mountain road at 1800 elevation and we were not at all sure this car was going to work for us (i.e, have enough power to get us home after a day of running around).
- And two, I still wasn’t sure we could justify the expense.
But a couple of fortuitous things happened.
One of these lucky events was a chance encounter at a charging station, where we met a man happily charging his Nissan Leaf. A funny fellow with bright blue eyes, he was delighted to talk about the car, “This car is staked to the ceiling with dollar bills…they should have a commercial with a guy hitting himself in the head for not buying this car. Every day I drive it I can see the green backs piling up in the backseat, and I didn’t buy it to be green, I bought it because of the real cash it was giving back to me.”
He went on to explain that the car costs him an average of 1 cent per mile. AND on top of this money-saving celebrating, you get “not just the Federal $7500 rebate but another $2500 rebate…” WOW! And the dealership is covering the first 2 years of maintenance, as well as giving the customer the home charging system and the installation for free. But the big elephant in the EV living room is that it doesn’t have much maintenance, if any, because it doesn’t have an engine.
Think about that. STOP right now. Go have some green tea and ponder that. Think of all the complexities of the modern gas engine and all the things that can and do go wrong with them. In my humble opinion that has to be the biggest reason to buy the car.
Our dealer told us that Francis Ford Coppola just bought 6 of these cars. And you can charge your car for free at his winery. Sweet! Drink wine and charge your car while you are waiting (and remember to have a designated driver).
There is something you need to know: I spent $13k on repairs for my fancy 1999 Mercedes turbo diesel and I was still hurting from that the past 2+ years of seemingly endless repairs. Mercedes are famous for being expensive cars to fix. And here was a car that basically doesn’t need maintenance, because there is very little to maintain. So this was for me the magic fairy dust that fell on to my somewhat hesitant brain.
So we took this sweet Leaf out for a spin but mainly to see if she could climb our mountain. The ultimate test we were so worried about. And lo and behold, she made it all the way up our windy mountain road, even to the great relief of our dealer, who sat cautiously in the back seat thinking whoo this is one mother of a mountain road. Going down the hill the car began to gain back all the charge it lost on the climb, because of the braking system (the car gets back energy every time you brake – an encouraging thing for safe driving). So what was lost on the ascent, was given back in equal measure on the descent.
PASSING THE REAL TEST
But the real kicker for me personally is the political statement this car makes.