EV Owner Spotlight - Matt Neidert

When and where did you buy your EV? What model is it?

I purchased my 2013 Nissan LEAF SV (with QC+LED, and premium package – BOSE and AroundView) in May of 2015 from I-90 Nissan near Avon, Ohio.

Tell us your story. Why were you interested in owning an electric vehicle?

I’ve always believed in the advancement of new technology and trying to find better ways of doing things. Clean energy is one of those areas of interest, and I’ve explored ways to make our household’s footprint smaller and more sustainable. I’m also an engineer by training, and I’m always looking for the most efficient way to do things. My daily commute from Akron to my job in Cleveland is nearly 70mi, and I was spending between $180-$200/mo in gas at the time. I began to do the math on what it would cost to “fuel” an EV like a LEAF or Volt, and I was surprised to see how the numbers came out:

1,800mi/mo, 3.5kWh/mi estimate = about 500kWh of electricity @ $0.135/kWh = $70/mo in electricity

Not to mention all of the maintenance I would no longer have to perform to keep my gas-powered car on the road. I estimated that I could save over $1,500 per year on fuel alone. I began looking at vehicles and was in for another pleasant surprise – the prices on used EVs was unbelievably low.

Did you have any concerns about purchasing an EV? Were there any potential barriers for you?

I did have concerns just because the technology is newer…but that is why I only looked at Certified Pre-Owned vehicles. In addition to attractive 0% financing, I was able to extend the factory warranty on the vehicle to protect my investment.

What range does your vehicle get? How does that change based on colder or warmer months?

Currently, after losing one capacity bar at around 55,000mi, I can get about 75mi in warmer weather and 55-60mi in colder weather. 2013+ Leaf SV/SL have a high efficiency heat pump (2013+ S models and all 2011-12 models only had an electrical resistance heater which is not as efficient) that does a great job of providing heat without using much energy as long as temperatures are above about 15° to 20°F. Below that and the electrical resistance heater kicks in to keep the cabin warm and uses quite a bit more energy. My economy, measured in miles per kilowatt, decreases up to 20% in the winter months.

Where do you typically charge? Does your workplace offer charging?

I charge overnight on 120V in my garage, and I charge during the day on a 120V outlet I have access to at my employer. There are times when I take advantage of DC quick charging in the area if I need to make trips outside of my normal commute.

Where do you drive your vehicle? To work? On errands? How far is your daily commute?

A: Mostly to/from work, which is about 68mi round trip. As a family, we try to use it as much as possible on weekends to maximize our EV miles and minimize how much we spend on gas.

Would you recommend driving electric to friends and family? Why or why not?

YES! I actively recommend thinking about EVs to everyone I talk to. What’s been great is that my ownership of an EV has become a topic of interest among family and co-workers, so now I have a reason to tell people about how great (and economical) it is to drive an EV…and how affordable it would be for them to purchase one. So far, I’ve convinced one other family to purchase an EV.

Have you saved money by driving electric?

Tons. These numbers are going to sound exaggerated, but I assure you I keep very close tabs on every dollar spent on maintenance and how much electricity I use. My previous vehicle was averaging about $800-$900 per year in routine maintenance and repair costs. This sounds high, but think about every oil change, air filter, cabin filter, new battery, brakes, etc – it adds up quickly. I was also spending $180/mo on the low side for fuel (1,800mi / 23.5mpg = 76 gallons per month, at $2.50/gal = about $190) which is over $2,100 annualized. So my total annual operating costs in my gas powered vehicle was approaching $3,000 per year. I’ve owned the LEAF for 20 months now, and driven over 30,000mi. As mentioned earlier, I spend about $70/mo in electricity, and my total cost of maintenance so far has been exactly $59. All the car has required in terms of maintenance is two sets of wiper blades and a cabin air filter. So my annual operating costs are less than $900 – amounting to an annual savings of over $2,100. That’s about what we spent on our week-long summer vacation last year!!

What do you think is the biggest misconception about EVs? Could you provide evidence from your own experience?

Not so much about EVs, but about owning them…people GROSSLY over-estimate how far they drive in a given day. They hear 84mi or 107mi range, and they think there is no way they could own that car. The reality is, except for a few long trips, very few people actually drive that far. I drive as much as 1,800mi each month in an EV with absolutely no issues. It’s easy for me to tell people if I can do it, they can easily do it. This gets them thinking about things a little differently.

The next misconception I get about EVs is without fail the question of, “what happens if you get stuck in traffic? Do you get worried about your range going down?” I love this question because when I’m stuck in traffic, the only energy I’m using is to power the radio and climate control – which is next to nothing. Unlike a gas car sitting “idle” and burning fuel, an EV uses no energy to sit idle. This one always stumps people, and after they think about it, then it makes perfect sense to them.

What is one thing you think that we could do to improve EV deployment in Ohio or in the United States overall?

At this point I think the cars are nearly there. We are starting to see EVs with 30kW batteries or more becoming the norm, and quick charging capability as standard. To me, the last step would be easy access to DC Quick charging infrastructure. The day we start installing DC QC stations at “gas stations” will be the day we know EVs have won the battle. I don’t think we’re that far off. I know Sheetz and others are in talks with Tesla regarding DC QC deployment at their filling stations. When consumers start noticing that their regular gas stations now have EV charging, they won’t be worried about making the jump to electric anymore.

If you live in the Central Ohio and are interested in purchasing a Nissan LEAF, Central Ohio Nissan dealers are offering a group buy discount on the 2016 Nissan LEAF.


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