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Published on December 9th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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Electric Cars Kick Your Car’s Boot — 8 Ways How



Originally published on Planetsave.

“Boot” = “trunk” in British English. It also sounds a bit like butt. Hence, the headline.

It’s no secret at all to people who own or have driven electric cars — electric cars totally kick the ass (or boot) of their gasmobile cousins. It’s not simply a matter of how nicely they drive, but there are probably a dozen reasons why we see them as being much more awesome. I’ll quickly run down 7.

1: It’s all about the pickup, baby!

From 0–60 MPH, they may not always take the top spot, but one of the most wonderful things about electric cars is their awesome pickup (aka, torque or acceleration). They offer “instant torque,” which lets you jet off the line, and often reminds me of that Star Trek spaceship jetting into hyperspeed or whatever that was called. The feeling is great, and it’s even more awesome than if a gasmobile could do it because it’s smooth and quiet at the same time. Smooth power is hard to beat!

Furthermore, it’s not just about the feeling. This excellent acceleration is super useful when doing normal driving. It makes accelerating into traffic so much easier. This offers a major improvement on what I find to be one of the least pleasant things about driving — the stressful times when you need to make a quick dart into ongoing traffic or across lanes in which traffic is going in the opposite direction.

For more on the enjoyable pickup that comes with torque-lucky electric cars, check out:

  1. Electric Cars Are Totally Bloody Awesome (Missed Messaging)
  2. Chevy Spark EV Commercial Boasts Of More Torque Than A Ferrari
  3. 2014 Chevy Spark EV Test Drive (CT Exclusive)
  4. Chevy Spark EV Kicks Chevy Spark Gas Ass, Consumer Reports Finds
  5. BMW i3 Review (+ VIDEO)
  6. Volkswagen e-Up! Review (Full Review + Test Drive Videos)
  7. Nissan Leaf vs Volkswagen e-Up! vs BMW i3 (Exclusive EV Reviews)
Nissan Leafs Barcelona Spain

Nissan Leafs spotted in the wild in Barcelona, Spain.
(This image is available for republishing and even modification under a CC BY-SA license, with the key requirement being that credit be given to Zachary Shahan / EV Obsession / CleanTechnica, and that those links not be removed.)

2: Goodbye to gas stations!

Stopping at the gas station and pumping gas = fun(!!), right? Of course not. Smelly, dirty, noisy — these are not places you want to spend weeks and weeks of your life. But they are, if you drive gasmobiles a lot. With an electric car, you can bypass that forever (more or less). In the huge majority of cases, electric car owners just plug their cars in at home in the evening (or, more common is actually to do it every other day) and then unplug the next day when they leave. The convenience of not having to go to gas stations is hard to quantify, but if you feel comfortable coming up with an hourly value for your free time, and figuring out how much time you spend at gas stations, I encourage you to give the quick math a shot!

Oil-Kills-2

3: Hello, clean air.

Some people claim to actually enjoy the smell of gasoline. But even if they do, that shit is tearing up their insides. And diesel exhaust do the same, with a number of studies proving that it causes cancer.

Electric cars? They emit nothing. :D

VW eUps Barcelona Spain

VW e-Up! electric cars at Arc de Triompf in Barcelona, Spain.
(This image is available for republishing and even modification under a CC BY-SA license, with the key requirement being that credit be given to Zachary Shahan / EV Obsession / CleanTechnica, and that those links not be removed.)

4: Global warming Jedi, they are.

Yes, bikes trump EVs in the global warming Jedi world. But if you’ve decided that you want an automobile in your household, nothing beats an electric car. Of course, if you are charging up on solar or wind power, your car has no emissions. But even if you charge on the grid, your emissions are much lower than that of a gasmobile. Also, those emissions aren’t in your house, neighborhood, etc.

Ford and SunPower inaugurate program pairing EV Focus with rooftop solar system to keep it charged


5: You can plug your can into the sun!

Want to be a true cleantech rockstar? Go solar and charge your car on energy from the sun. Gallons and gallons of light (actually, an insane number of sun rays) are waiting for you. Free to use. Clean as can be. And mighty rockstar-ish.

nissan leaf winning

6: Save massive moola!

By the way, electric cars top the list of the most fuel efficient cars on the market. They don’t just top the list — they are the list. All top 10 (and more) of the most fuel efficient cars are plug-in electric cars. With ratings like 119 MPGe, 118 MPGe, 107 MPGe, they even leave conventional hybrids in the dust.

All of that means that you are landing huge fuel savings. Furthermore, electricity is in the lowest demand at night (when most people charge their electric cars), which allows many drivers to get extremely low electricity prices at the times they charge. Of course, free public charging stations are also available in some place. And(!), if you decide to take advantage of #5 and go solar, you can save thousands or tens of thousands from your free solar fuel.

Oh yeah, you’re also helping the country to save massive amounts of money, as you’re helping to keep us out of oil wars, reducing our need to maintain a military presence in a ridiculous number of countries, and reducing oil imports from countries that don’t like us.

BMW-i3-charging-station

BMW i3 at EVS27 in Barcelona, Spain.
(This image is available for republishing and even modification under a CC BY-SA license, with the key requirement being that credit be given to Zachary Shahan / EV Obsession / CleanTechnica, and that those links not be removed.)

7: Smooth, quiet.

Well, I noted it above when talking about the smooth and quiet yet powerful acceleration that electric cars offer, but it’s worth being completely clear here: electric cars are smooth and quiet essentially all the time. If you’re addicted to the rumbling of an inefficient engine, just get over it — enjoy the peaceful, easy, enjoyable zen of a quiet and smooth electric motor.

BMW i3 Barcelona Spain

BMW i3 at Arc de Triompf in Barcelona, Spain.
(This image is available for republishing and even modification under a CC BY-SA license, with the key requirement being that credit be given to Zachary Shahan / EV Obsession / CleanTechnica, and that those links not be removed.)

8: Essentially maintenance free.

I know you love it when you have to take your car into the shop. Who doesn’t? Oil changes, broken pumps, old tubes, complicated engine problems, transmission disaster… unfortunately (if you’re masochistic), that’s all gone with electric cars. Electric motors are super simple and don’t need any of that. The only thing you’ll likely need to change are your windshield wipers, tires, and every 8 years or so, your battery (but, at that point, you’re likely to have already moved on to a new car.

Even your brakes are likely to last much, much longer thanks to the regenerative braking options that are the norm in electric vehicles.

So, I think those are 8 pretty darn good reasons to go electric. But feel free to chime in if you want to add some more (there are more out there).

Bonus for the Guys: Girls dig you more

If you’re a dude, you may also like to know that surveys have found girls are more into guys who drive clean, green, intelligent cars than guys who drive gas-guzzlers. Not a bad bonus feature.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Daryl Surat

    All of these are great reasons and advantages electric cars have, but until the following 2 reasons are no longer the case, I can never purchase an electric car:

    1. The MSRP of electric cars are roughly double that of a comparable vehicle in their class. A 2014 Honda Fit EV costs about $38,000, which is about double what the regular Fit costs. And I am not in the market to be purchasing any Infinitis or Mercedes-Benz level luxury vehicles, which is what you’re dealing with once you’re in that price bracket. I understand those prices will go down someday, but that day is not today for EVs. In fact, that day still hasn’t come for hybrids. In 2005 I wanted a Civic Hybrid, but it cost $6000 more than the standard Civic; a price difference so high I would never make up the extra cost in gas savings. In 2013 I looked again. The price difference between the current model Civic Hybrid and Civic? The same $6000.

    2. What means do I have of recharging these vehicles if I am not a homeowner or if I am on the highway? There’s no power outlets for cars in my housing complex. Even if there were, there are inevitably distances I must drive that exceed the distance of the battery. Refilling a gas tank takes only a few minutes. Recharging an electric car battery takes several hours.

    Once there comes a day when the infrastructure is in place and the prices make economical sense, then I can buy an electric car. Until then, the consumer base for these is limited to people that not only live in select urban metropolitan areas but also have enough spare income that they can let the car they drive serve as a status symbol.

    • A Real Libertarian

      “The MSRP of electric cars are roughly double that of a comparable vehicle in their class.”

      No.

      • Daryl Surat

        Would you be so kind as to provide supporting evidence to back up your claim? All of the figures I cited were MSRP taken from the Honda website.

        The conversation is academic anyway, as electric vehicles are not sold in my area of the country, where there are no state subsidies or public charging places.

        • A Real Libertarian

          Nissan LEAF MSRP is $28,800.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You live in the Yukon, Northwest Territories or Nunavut?

          http://www.plugshare.com/

          • Daryl Surat

            Even though at a distance the map may seem to display an abundance of stations in the state, once you zoom in to the county level it’s plain as day that there are no *PUBLIC* charging places anywhere remotely near where I live. The only places that have them are car dealerships.

            The Nissan Leaf doesn’t have a corresponding non-EV model to directly compare against, but the 20Ks to 30Ks is still perfectly in keeping with the statement I made about the price. I’ve never owned a car for the approximately 10-14 year window of time that you estimated, so it would never come to pass that I would make it up. If EVs get to under $20,000 in 6 or 7 years when I’m looking to get a new car again, then I’ll give it serious thought.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            just to follow up, the Chevy Spark EV is under $20,000 after the federal tax rebate (which it does qualify for), as is the smart electric drive and Mitsubishi i. the Nissan Leaf is $21,300. on the consumer end, there’s no point in using the MSRP and not the price of the EV after the rebate (imho).

            also, regarding the 10-14 year window: that’s the the time frame i used. the savings often started rolling in after 2-5 years.

            so, how long do you tend to own your cars for? seems odd that you wouldn’t own them long enough to start saving money if you indeed are also not interested in buying a car for more than $20,000.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            btw, i’m genuinely interested in your specifics/situation. not trying to be feisty or anything.

          • Daryl Surat

            I purchased a Civic new in 2005 (this was why I was considering the hybrid model then, but opted not to because the price difference was too high even after the federal subsidy) and just traded it in this year, so I had that car for about 8 years. The new car I got is a 2013 Mazda 3 which is comparably priced to the Civic.

            The loan is for 5 years, but the window for being able to sell it “certified pre-owned” is 4 years. Therefore, I’ll give EVs another look around that time, but even if they were priced around the $17K price range of my last two vehicles, the infrastructure would need to be in place to make their use feasible. Since I live in Florida where investments into infrastructure and transit are looked down upon by enough residents to in turn carry over to our elected officials, this is unlikely to occur. Many of the EVs mentioned in the links provided are simply not sold here for this reason.

            (I understand living in Florida invites general derision, but my mortgage/job/family etc are here and I will not simply move to another part of the country just so I can drive a different type of car.)

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            Thanks.

            Well, frankly, if you live in an apt complex in FL with no charging options and without good charging options elsewhere, yes, no point in bringing anything else up.

            As for the rest, it comes to personal preferences and values. If I crunched the numbers and it cost a bit more to drive an EV, I’m sure I’d do so. (Note that I don’t own a car since I have close to 0 need for one.)

            I’m actually from FL. When I moved away (after college), it was largely because I got very tired/unhappy with the horrible style of development (highways, strip malls, gas stations, etc.) But there are a lot of pluses to FL, and I have considered moving back. Probably won’t, but I value it much more now that I don’t live there. :D

    • Bob_Wallace

      Well, there are many millions of drivers who do have a place to plug in where they park.

      And if you take advantage of federal and state subsidies it’s cheaper to own and operate an EV over the lifespan of the car than to drive an ICEV.
      The Honda FiT EV has a MSRP of $38k.

      The Nissan LEAF lists for $28,800 and the Mitsubshi i-Mev for $23,000.
      There are lots of public charging places.

      • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

        it’s also worth noting that you can’t even buy the Honda Fit EV. it’s only available for leasing. It’s a clear compliance car and is overpriced compared to its competitors.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You wouldn’t make up the difference quickly at $3.50/gallon. But you would make it up.

      13,000 miles per year. $3.50/gallon.

      2013 Honda Civic 31 MPG 419 gallons/year. $1,468.

      2103 Honda Civic Hybrid 44 MPG 295 gallons/year. $1,034.

      $434 per year. 13.8 year break even.

      At $5/gallon it’s $2,095 vs. $1,475. 9.7 years.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      the first point is one i actually wrote on recently. there are 11 electric cars on the market that are cheaper than the average new car: http://evobsession.com/11-electric-cars-cost-less-average-new-car-us/

      as far as #2, i do think the barrier for those who don’t have their own garage is much higher right now. apt complexes need to start offering charging. otherwise, the work and public charging networks needs to get a bit better.

    • anderlan

      Bah. You just don’t like ‘em. Nothing we can say to change someone’s predispositional preferences. But I’ll reiterate what’s already been said before.

      1. If you drive 1200 local miles in a 30MPG (and almost no non-hybrid does better than 30MPG in the city) car, an electric will replace your $130+ gas bill with a ~$25 electric bill. (If you live somewhere that electricity costs more, then you also live somewhere gas costs more, so the savings are the same.) That’s $100 to go to your EV payment.

      In the usual EV-loving states, and many others like GA and TN, you’ll get a state tax credit that you can spread over multiple years, even if you lease.

      What state are you in?

      In GA, for example, you can lease for $2k month + $200/month for a total spend of around $255/month. GA will give you $5k state tax break that you can spread over up to 5 years. Dividing the $5k over the 3 year lease term gives you $140 per month to go to your lease. Add that to the $100 gas savings above, and you’re only paying $0/month to drive a new car for 3 years and save the planet for your children. ZERO DOLLARS A MONTH. This is why GA has such huge LEAF sales. Basically, a family can add a LEAF to their fleet for the price of insurance.

      Further, more used EVs are coming into the market with the US rebate taken out of the price. 20kmile LEAFs are available for $13k-$16k depending on the trim level. That’s pretty much just a tiny step above what you’ll find all but the cheapest 20kmile econobox priced at. Again, you just don’t like EVs. I don’t know what else we can say.

      2. “There’s no power outlets for cars in my housing complex.” Do you have a house or an apartment? Who the heck uses the word “housing complex” to describe something “not-house”? Seems like you’re going out of your way to highlight the problems.

      What do you live in, exactly?

  • Marion Meads

    9. Regardless of what they say about Tesla, electric cars do not ignite and burn as spontaneously as the regular ICE cars.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      ha, damn, that would have been a good addition!

  • Chris_in_Raleigh

    I just love that Chevy Spark commercial (even though I own a Nissan Leaf)

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      yeah, that is the best marketing for an EV that i think i’ve seen. that’s really how it should be done. interestingly, i mentioned the ad to the president of EDTA and he didn’t recall it. i think it didn’t really get far, but it’s certainly what needs to be replicated.

  • anderlan

    “reminds me of that Star Trek spaceship jetting into hyperspeed or whatever that was called.”

    I’m pretty certain it was definitely called “hyper-active.”

    • Marion Meads

      star trek: warpspeed, warpdrive, hyperspace…

      you’ve heard the other terms from Space Balls… lampooned after star wars.

      • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

        thank you, Marion — it’s hard to keep track of where they all came from! :D

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      ah, thanks for that clip! :D

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