New Car- It's Electric!

All of a sudden, our 2001 VW Jetta needed many costly repairs to keep going. We decided it was time to replace our commuter and errand vehicle, and began looking into environmentally-conscious options.  We started researching hybrid cars, but then considered all-electric cars.  The main concern with electric cars is their limited range before needing a recharge. Our home in NE Minneapolis is centrally located in the Twin Cities and only 6 to 10 miles from work, which limited the miles we drove the VW Jetta in 14 years to 135,000 miles.  That's 9,642 miles a year on average, or 26 miles a day. We've heard that the typical average is 15,000 miles/year, so we use the car about 40% less than average, in large part due to our strategic urban home location.   After looking at our daily use needs for a small car, we decided an electric car with a full-charge range of 65-100 miles would be a good fit for us.  We ended up finding a 2014 BMW i3 with 5,000 miles on it, and took it for a test drive. The rest is history.

All we can say is, Wow!  The car silently and effortlessly zooms to the speed limit...or beyond.  It is how I imagine driving a space ship would feel.  It is a fun bonus that the color of the car we found is "solar orange" and matches the back doors of our house.  Perfect.  We've owned our electric car for 2 weeks.  We plug it into a regular outlet at night and it's ready for the next day. There's a smart phone app to monitor the charging status and estimated range, and to schedule pre-conditioning times to automatically heat the interior before departing on cold days.  We are excited to eliminate the need to visit the gas station for this vehicle, and we haven't needed to fill our other vehicle since we bought it. (It is definitely our preferred ride.)  We've calculated that it will cost about $7 per week to charge the car with our typical 30 miles per day usage. This is based on 4.1 miles/kWh (info from our app) and our electricity rate of $0.14/kWh.  We are part of the Windsource* program through Xcel Energy, which means that we pay a little extra to ensure the amount of electricity we use is wholly generated by wind power, a great source of renewable energy.  Our electric car is a dream to drive; we absolutely love it.         

Mom, how do you tell an electric car from a gasoline car, just by looking at it? ... It doesn’t have a tailpipe!
— Our 9-year-old son, Malik


   *The Windsource program is an easy way to commit to clean energy to reduce emissions.  Currently, the Windsource program has 96,000 supporters who funded the production of 345,000 megawatt-hours of emissions-free energy in 2015.