Thank you for your positive article on Reducing our Footprint. Despite all the whining about every level of government that seems to go on, I do appreciate the efforts to encourage us drivers to move away from fossil fuels, and embrace electric vehicles. When our Volkswagen Golf TDI (yes, one of THOSE diesels) was destroyed by a red light runner, we decided to replace it with a Nissan Leaf. With the purchase rebate, it cost no more than any other car, comparable to our old one. It is by far the best car purchase decision I have ever made. While I firmly believe in the environmental benefit of going electric, I think it's important to point out that there are plenty of other reasons why electric cars make sense.
A common concern we hear from other people is around the cost of electricity. Yes, we pay fairly high electricity rates in Ontario, but instead of $150 per month for diesel fuel, I now pay an additional $30 in electricity. That's $120 per month saved. The time of use rate benefits us, as I can set my car to charge overnight. The operating cost savings can be quite significant, especially if you drive a lot.
In addition to saving on fuel, there is very little maintenance to an electric car. There are no oil changes or timing belts, no spark plugs or glow plugs. Twice a year I take it in for a check-up, but there is little else to do to it.
I don't believe that mass adoption of electric vehicles will strain our electrical grid, in fact, many local utilities have worked out the math, and agree that the existing grid can support charging, especially when done off peak. My car uses about the same amount of electricity when charging as my stove does when preparing a meal. Our grid seems capable of handling everyone cooking dinner at about the same time, so why could it not handle a similar load in the middle of the night when our generation capacity is otherwise wasted?
Despite other's concerns over our car's limited range, we took several road trips this summer. Some were to visit family, others for vacation. We went from Port Perry to destinations on Georgian Bay, as well as to the Hamilton area without any trouble and without a drop of fossil fuel. A little pre-planning is all it takes to ensure we will make it to our destination. I travel to the GTA several times a month on all electric power.
Now that we have a quiet, reliable, and inexpensive to drive electric car, I can't imagine ever going back. Feel free to stop and ask questions if you see our red Leaf around town. You may find that it could work for you too!
-Tim St. Pierre, Port Perry, Ontario