Green is good!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Green.  I’m not talking about money, I really don’t care for the stuff enough to waste my time thinking about it.  Unless of course I don’t have enough to pay the bills, in which case I think about it constantly.  Luckily for me I don’t need to spend my time worrying about it right now.  Let’s hope that holds true for a while.  What I’m talking about is Eco-friendly.  I’m seriously considering getting an electric car when they finally come out in 2012.  Now, electric cars have been out before, but never have they been given the chance to succeed the way they will be this time……hopefully.  If you’ve never seen “Who killed the electric car”, I highly recommend watching it.  It’s without a doubt my favourite documentary, and one of the main ideas that have pushed me towards wanting to own an electric car.  It’s funny and sad all at the same time that the electric car used to be more popular than the gas-powered car, but somewhere along the way we got sidetracked.  Or more likely, some people with lots of money and a rooting interest in gas/oil figured out a way to sidetrack us.  Watch the movie and decide for yourself.

I’ve also been looking at a number of other green initiatives and alternate energy products, but that’s not what this is about.  This is about a test drive I went on the other day.  The test drive was for an electric car.  As far as I know, the only electric car currently available in North America that is street legal (I could be wrong but, who can keep track).  The car that I went for the ride in costs about *cough, cough* a gazillion dollars $175,000.  Now keep in mind that’s Canadian dollars, so it’s probably about $75.99 American!

Yep, that’s right, $175,000!  I’ll point out now that I went along for the test drive, I did not in fact drive the car myself.  That would be stupid IMO.  I have no interest in driving a car owned by somebody I don’t know that costs more than I make in…….well, let’s just say more than a couple of years and leave it at that.  I don’t need more problems, so I was more than happy to sit in the passenger seat and just enjoy the ride.  Even if by some chance I did have the kind of cash that this car costs, I can safely say that I’d be more likely to lend it to one of my readers than to spend it on a car, no matter how nice it is.  That’s not to say that I plan on giving a large chunk of cash to the first person to comment (or the 5th), but more so that I have better things to do with my money than spend 10 times as much as I need to in order to get from point A to point B.  Don’t let that stop you from commenting though, you can never be to sure when I’ll mail off a cheque to you for being a loyal reader!

Can you picture me driving this? I can't.

As I think I mentioned, this is an electric car, so the differences to any other vehicle that I’ve ever been in are staggering.  Add to that the fact that it costs about twice as much as any other car I’ve had the pleasure of cruising in and it was pretty cool.  The first thing you notice is, or rather don’t notice, is the sound the car makes.  The guy who was dropping off the car made it about halfway down the driveway, of which we were standing on, before anybody even noticed he was there.  Now that’s quiet!  I had to ask if he had turned the car off when he got out of it because, as far as I could tell, there was no difference in noise level between running and not running.  Awesome!

I won’t go into the looks of the car, because, as you can see from the picture its pretty nice.  If you like that sort of thing.  The second thing you notice once you get on the road with it is that the power is unbelievable, perhaps unmatched in this particular cars case.  With the electric motor you get all the power of the engine all the time.  No getting the RPMs up before you really feel the power take hold.  One second you’re sitting still and the next second you’re thinking that the guy who makes the headrests just doesn’t get paid enough as your head is pushed back against it.  It’s kind of like when you go down that big hill on a roller coaster.  It just forces you to sit your ass down and hold on for dear life.  It flew past a Porsche Turbo getting on the highway, and left its driver looking very confused.  It can keep up with a Ferrari and it may turn just as many heads.  When we stopped at stop signs you had to tell the other cars that it was okay for them to go.  They had stopped paying attention to their driving and were too busy staring off at this beautiful car.  When we pulled out of the driveway the garbage truck that was passing nearly blocked us in as they just had to stop and stare.  Which leads me to believe if you are going to drive this car, you may want to leave a little earlier than you normally would just to deal with all the questions and gawking.

The next thing I noticed was the braking.  Or rather, the fact that you didn’t really need to brake.  Just taking your foot off the gas was enough to fairly quickly bring the car to a near stop.  See a stop sign ahead?  Take your foot off the gas about the same time you would with a normal gas car, skip the braking part, and when you get to the stop sign just rest your foot on the brake pedal to bring you from 5 km/h down to 0 km/h.  Interesting.  Different.  Good for prolonging the life of your brakes ten fold, without question.

It was cool.  I was impressed.  What more can I say?  I’m pretty sure it’s the most expensive car I will ever find myself in.  Now, the person who was actually doing the test drive IS buying one as far as I know, not quite the fully loaded model that we drove in but still.  I wouldn’t be quite as against driving a car that costs way more than I make if it was owned by someone I know, still a little against it, but not as much so.  So perhaps you guys could help me out here, because quite frankly I’m drawing a blank when it comes to an excuse for needing to borrow this two-seater sports car?  Anyone got anything for me?  The best I can do is that my gas tank is empty and I can’t afford gas right now.  Of course that would probably just get me his other car, with gas already in the tank.   Hmmmmmm.

The electric car that I’m interested in purchasing is a little more modest than this one.  The Nissan Leaf, which other than being electric is very similar to the car I drive now, is what I’m really interested in.  Going on this test drive for me was all about getting the feel for an electric vehicle.  Not seeing what a sports car is all about.  Although that was kind of cool too, don’t get me wrong.  Since the Leaf doesn’t come out for a while yet, sometime in 2012, this was my chance to see what I’m in for albeit on a slightly higher scale.  Overall I’m more interested than ever now.  I love the idea of electric cars, alternate energy sources, and numerous other technological solutions to some of our energy/environmental issues.  Ideas, especially weird and wild ideas, can be an amazing thing, and more importantly can lead to amazing things.

The future is almost here……again.  Hopefully this time it hangs around a little longer.

PS

According to my “This post is super-awesome” video, I am in fact the next contestant on The Price Is Right!  Will wonders never cease?  Awesome, haha.

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13 thoughts on “Green is good!

  1. Yeah. Make “green” affordable and I’ll jump on it. Until then, I’ll have to make do with renting cars that use this planet’s non self-sustaining energy source.

    Guess there’s just not enough demand out there yet. And why should buying a car cost as much as buying a house in, say, Cornwall? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    At least with a house, you’re not likely to skid out on a wet road and total the damned thing.

    1. It’s starting to get there I think, affordable that is. I paid about $25,000 for the car I have now, which is very similar to the Nissan Leaf……minus the whole electric thingy. The Leaf goes for about $32,500 in the states from what I hear. The bonus is you get to take off about $7,500 for the government rebate. So essentially it will cost about the same as a comparable gas car. It’s certainly not going to be the price of buying a house. The car I test drove is comparable to a Ferrari, so you can expect to pay about the same as you would for a Ferrari. Which is about the price of a house.

  2. Aaaahhhh….at first all I read was “blah, blah, blah…car…” and then I saw ELECTRIC….I settled in to read (most times articles about cars are just a boy thing but…my apologies for assumptions!).

    I’ve been driving a hybrid for 6 years now. Yup, I was one of the first to buy a Honda Hybrid back when only celebrities were starting to purchase them. I live in a part of town where it’s “IN” to be GREEN and has been for many many years so… we’ve already seen some converted electric cars/golf carts, weird little crazy electric types all over town for awhile. And don’t get me started on high priced cars: other than the HYBRID and ELECTRIC “FAD” this town it’s pretty much the NORM for folk who drive $300K cars daily. I live in Bently-ville, JagStreet, Porsche Galore — so trust me, I know what you mean!

    I’m not sure how I feel about the Nissan Leaf. We’ll see. Forgive me for saying this: But along with being GREEN I’m also thinking I need to start buying more American based products so my next car will most likely be American (I gulp hard when I say that cuz, we’re not great with cars, but maybe we’re getting better?). Anyway, that’s just about supporting American workers…

    Since I’m not buying anything anytime soon since I have no money, it’s a mute point.. but…you get my gist..

    Sounds like you had a blast JM! I can totally see you driving that car! EASILY!

    1. Hey Carmen! While I admire your loyalty and your willingness to help your economy, I’m really not personally on board with doing the same. Not when it comes to the auto industry.

      I used to work for one of the Big Three auto companies – for a number of years actually – so I know enough to have formed the certain determination to *never* buy any of their products. I have also learned enough about the Japanese auto industry to know that there is great value in their products (we’ll leave Toyota out of the picture for now).

      I will never ever (likely) ever buy North American again. I’d definitely support them if they changed their tune, but…..the same old antagonistic and confrontational environment exists in the workplace there (which I know because I still have friends and family who work there), and I don’t just mean between the union and management either. Morale is therefore pretty low, and that translates to less than stellar quality.

      So I’m a little (ok a lot) reluctant to shell out such major money on an item which has a question mark beside its value.

      I think some people do buy them (and here’s hoping you’re one of them!) who actually do well. Those are the ones who’s cars are built during the week. And not, say, on a Friday night when everyone’s drinking. I could tell you some horror stories…..

      (Sorry, JM – hope I didn’t distract too much from the topic at hand)

      1. Wolfie — I’m not sure it’s loyalty actually. Our country is in crisis financially and people are out of work. There’s this new movement (that i know nothing about) called “ON-SHORING” which is basically supporting companies that keep jobs here in the US.

        Now, trust me, I know how bad the American Automobile has been or has been portrayed as throughout the years and it’s why I’ve always bought HONDAS. Great cars! But, after the Toyota fiasco and with people in our country out of work (me included by the way) it just seems like the right thing to do. Mind you, I have no money for a new car so this is not an option.

        As far as American cars being bad & certain workplace issues — well, I’ve heard stories supporting both sides. I guess I’m thinking I’m more concerned with people having jobs at the moment. I’ll risk buying a bad car if it means supporting jobs — it’s that bad here Wolfie. And I don’t want to paint every company with the same brush. Truth is, it’s the auto industry that got bail outs from our government, they put people to work and are now paying it back and keeping jobs here. That’s gotta count for something.

        It’s just a thought. But thanks for the heads up!

        XXOO.

    2. If your assuming something about my blog bothered me I’d probably say something about how you just made an ass out of you and me. Luckily for you it doesn’t bother me, so I won’t say anything of the sort. 😉 I’m glad you read far enough to get to the electric part. Good for you with the Hybrid, being in California you have a chance to get in on the ground floor for this kind of stuff.

      I did have fun but, you know what? I bet you I’ll have just as much fun driving a Leaf. I don’t go to the track and race cars or anything, so it really makes no difference to me how fast a car can go, or what the 0-60 time is. It’s just fluff. As long as it’s not ridiculously slow, I do need to merge onto the highway after all, I’m fine with it. I can’t fathom spending so much money on a car. That’s just me though. Plus the Leaf has one thing the Tesla didn’t! When you drive “eco-friendly”, the Display shows trees being planted and growing to show you that you’re doing good. When you’re not driving green it chops your trees down! Hilarious. Well, I thought so anyway.

      As for the “Support America” part, I will say that every car I’ve owned before my current one was a Dodge. Yep, all 2 of them. My dad works for Chrysler so what else would I buy? For as long as he worked there he only ever drove North American. If you were in my family and buying a car it had better be a Chrysler/Dodge! If not, then it better at least be American/Canadian. Last year he bought his very first non-North American vehicle……even though he still works there. I believe he just couldn’t justify it anymore. Here’s hoping they get back there, but after some of the stuff I’ve seen and heard I’m not planning on holding my breathe on this one Carmen. It could take a while, and some smartening up from the Big 3.

  3. JM — I know you well enough so I’m not upset by any means, but I have no idea what you meant by “make an ass out of you and me’. I’m so confused. What did I say?

    And I’m happy for the Nissan Leaf’s unvailing. I actually first heard it on Nathan Fillion’s Twitter page (I think you just added him). He’s in the market for a new electric car so he’s been twittering about it and I think the New York Post wrote a piece on him test driving some other electric cars.

    Say what you will about celebrities, but they get such a bad wrap and most times, they are so ahead of the curve on everything! (yeah, I’m a little biased cuz I love this town, but I still think it’s true!).

    Hugs,
    Carmen

    1. I’m sorry Carmen!

      I was just making a joke. As the old saying goes, when you assume you make an ass out of u and me, because assume spells ass-u-me. My apologies, I thought I was being clever, which I should know by now that I’m usually just making an ass out of myself, haha. Sorry for the confusion…

      Very true about celebrities. I believe they were a big part of trying to keep the EV1 going when GM was still making them. I tend to think that people in California in general are a little ahead of the curve with this kind of stuff though, not just celebrities.

  4. It’ll be interesting to see what the reaction is to the Chevrolet Volt. That is the most anticipated electric car introduction (in North America), but I’m wondering how many they are really going to sell.

    The problem, of course, with everybody jumping on the electric-car-bandwagon is that the electrical infrastructure just wouldn’t handle it. It would be OK if everyone plugged their car in at 11pm when they shut everything else off and go to bed (Wolfeshade excluded 😉 ), but we have this cultural scourge currently bedevilling us called “Entitlement”, and most people will just plug their car in when they want to, veryone else be damned.

    We do have to get off this Addicted To Oil ride, but it should be done slowly. Too fast and it could be a “shocking” experience! ={:-()~

    1. The Chevy Volt is a different beast altogether, because it has a gas powered generator as a backup. It’s not “truly” an electric car in my opinion, it’s closer to a hybrid. It shows that despite the push for electric vehicles, domestic car manufacturers STILL don’t think people want electric. Or rather, still won’t admit publicly that people want electric. Which is a shame. I wonder if it will take people buying foreign electric cars en-masse before they wise up. One of the major pluses for an electric car for me is that the maintenance will *should* be dramatically reduced without all the moving parts, oil, etc. Throwing a gas generator in there just completely ruins that for me. Car manufacturers aren’t looking forward to the lost revenue from less maintenance I’m sure, so they will drag their feet for as long as we the public will allow them too.

      As for the electricity issue. Changes will come to ease the pain of that I think in time. It’s not like it will be any worse than the situation we’re in now with oil, and the electricity will be much easier to correct. I think the transition is taking FFFFFAAAAAAARRRRRRR too long as it is. The technology has been around for an insanely long time, but it’s been kept from the public for various reasons. We (the government, car makers, big business, car buyers, etc) need to stop dragging our feet and get on with it already. There will be issues but, there will be issues no matter how slow you go with it I think.

        1. If you ask GM I’m sure they would insist that it really is an all “electric” car.

          You can go about 64km (ouch) on the battery and then the gas generator kicks in to create electricity to send to the car and also to charge the battery. Apparently, “at no time does the gas engine power the wheels”, which is semantics really because the gas engine is creating the electricity that is powering the wheels.

          They seem to be stuck on this fact that people have “range anxiety”, which is true, a lot of people do. Why they felt the best way to deal with that was to put a gas engine in their electric car……I’m not sure. I mean the Nissan Leaf will go about 160km on a charge, which I hear is actually an under-estimation. I drive about 40 minutes each way to work and back, which is a grand total of 65km. Which still leaves a lot of charge to play around with.

          Oh yes the times they are a changin!

  5. Austin is one of the most green places I’ve ever lived. It kills me to go on holiday and there is no recycle bins or anything. Anyway, our town is chock full of hybrids and smart cars. We also have a system where you can rent a smart car, drive it to where you need to go, just park it and be done. The next person will pick it up from there. It’s pretty cool to see hundreds of the little blue and white cars parked around town.

    My plan is to get a hybrid when it’s time to trake my KIA in. It just makes sense.

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