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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Regarding the interrupted Chris Hall thread, I presume it is safe to at least ask the forum members if your decision to buy or lease your ED was based on concern for global warming? I'm troubled by my trepidation about starting this thread this becasue the idea that the scientific reality of AGW is somehow "political" (mostly just in the USA - not other countries) always seemed crazy to me.

A desire to do something personal about GHG emissions constituted pretty much 100 percent of my decision to lease an ED. My wife took a full-time job with a long (by Pittsburgh standards) inefficient commute on 15 miles of mostly city streets to her new job. I already use a 350 mpge electric motor scooter for my own commute for 8-9 months out of the year, public transit was not really practical and I was not about to take on that big addition to our household carbon footprint from that daily commute. Nothing else was a justification since she already has a reasonably economical paid-off car available - a '08 Hyundai Elantra. The lease, BAP, and electricity (more expensive local wind supplier under the Pennsylvania electric choice program) costs at least as much as the gasoline would be at current prices.

Frankly, electric cars (and the government financial incentives) do not make sense except with regard to CO2 emissions. Gasoline will always be a far more compact source of kilojoules than any kind of (non-nuclear) battery, and modern regulation-motivated technology has made IC engines remarkably clean with respect to all other pollutants.
 

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Many different factors here. My wife had been interested in the environmental benefits of a hybrid car for many years, but outside of the Prius, I didn't think they were engineered well and none of them, Prius included, offered any kind of driving satisfaction. Electric cars just didn't have enough range for us when we were both working. As primary care providers for both of our Moms, we had no idea when we might have to pick up and run to their place from work. That and the subsequent running around that might be needed exceeded the range of anything but the Tesla, and we didn't want to spend that much money on a car which we felt was the wrong form factor as our road trip car, which also needs to be able to go off-road to take us to trailheads and other sights.

Fast forward to this year. My wife retired at the beginning of the year, and now most of her driving consists of short trips all within a 20 mile radius. All of a sudden, having triple digit mile range wasn't as important. Then one day the battery in her CUV failed, and of the two other cars, she is unable to drive one (manual transmission in a Miata) and unwilling to drive the other (a Corvette configured for running on track). The Miata was approaching 180k miles and was also coming due for the second round of extensive maintenance to the tune of about $4k. It was my daily commuting car but I'm retiring before the end of this year, so that need would be disappearing soon. We started looking at trading the Miata in for something better suited for our driving, and if it could be environmentally friendly, all the better.

Then I read of Steven Villatoro's excellent deal for his ED on a Miata forum, and that got us looking at Smart cars. The ED appealed to us as we're both strong believers that we are damaging our climate. I also get a lot of side-eye from our neighbors, who also own EVs, every time I rumble out of our cul-de-sac in the Corvette. So some redemption was also a factor.

In the end, we got a fantastic deal on a new, leftover ED and have not looked back. We're 2k miles into it in about 10 weeks, and it looks like we've spent an extra $50 in electricity but saved several hundred dollars in fuel costs. My wife absolutely loves it for urban running around. It can park in the smallest space with room to spare. It has more than enough room for the stuff we need to buy. It doesn't heat up the garage, and by the time the warranty runs out, it will have more than paid for itself. It is environmentally friendly since much of the power in our part of the country is hydroelectric. And it's turned out to be more versatile than we thought. We take it now to all of the local hiking trailheads, including some that require a small amount of soft-roading.

So definitely not one factor that drove us in this direction, but a whole bunch of little things that made the ED the perfect vehicle for our time in life.


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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I also get a lot of side-eye from our neighbors, who also own EVs...
Interesting. In my area, seeing an electric car has declined over the past 2-3 years from rare to never. Except for a Tesla from New Jersey at a little used charging spot put up as a apprentice training program at the IBEW hall, I've seen no electric cars in Pittsburgh except my Smart with just 9 months left on the lease.
 

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I wanted to stop contributing to the problems of CO2 and all the other pollutants from burning gasoline. I know it's not possible for everyone, but for me it was easy to switch to EV without making any sacrifices.
The important part is: to significantly reduce CO2 emissions compared to gas (my gas car was a 2000 Honda Insight that got 70mpg), I had to make sure the electricity is not generated from the traditional mix of mostly coal, oil and gas. So I also switched to an alternative electricity supplier that buys only wind power.
 

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Interesting. In my area, seeing an electric car has declined over the past 2-3 years from extremely rare to never. Except for a Tesla from New Jersey at a little used charging spot put up as a apprentice training program at the IBEW hall, I've seen no electric cars in Pittsburgh except my Smart with just 9 months left on the lease.


Here in the Seattle area, full electric cars are everywhere, though they tend to be Teslas and Leafs primarily. I will usually see a Bolt at least once per day, and often notice other models like the Ionic. The charging infrastructure is built into almost all new commercial construction and is being retrofitted as well.


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Discussion Starter #7
What I saw in my area was a little flurry of electric cars starting in 2013-14 or so - mostly Leafs, some iMiev, that BMW i3 and the occasional Tesla. I saw one other Smart ED a year ago. I suspect that they were almost all leases and as the leases are ending, nobody is replacing it with another EV.

About the only plug-in still seen occasionally at the charging stations is the Chevy Volt. I'm still considering buying one when my ED lease ends trading in the Hyundai and getting the "fleet" down to two cars. I would consider a Chevy Bolt - but the "standard" trip it would need to do is to my wife's mother near Hanover - about 200 miles, which would probably be marginal in colder weather.

Then again, I might just look for one of those super-cheap like-new EDs with hardly any miles found on Ebay motors - as long as the seller doesn't put that BAP albatross around my neck, and keep the 3-car arrangement - two of them little-used.
 

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I only know of one iMiev, and that belongs to a friend who wanted an EV but found the Leaf couldn't fit in the garage of his turn-of-the-century home. In our development of 37 homes, I'd guestimate ten Teslas, five Leafs, one i3 (next door neighbor), and at least 8-10 other hybrids. And I don't really know why I got singled out for the side eye. We've got one McLaren, one Ferrari, a Lambo, and a couple of //M cars as well, and they never get any grief. But my Corvette is probably a bit more raucous than theirs. . .
 

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Primary motivation for me was economics. Virtually brand new ED for under 6K all in; low maintenance cost; low fuel cost; low insurance and taxes. I also like the styling and safety. Saving the planet was probably fourth on my motivation list.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I only know of one iMiev, and that belongs to a friend who wanted an EV but found the Leaf couldn't fit in the garage of his turn-of-the-century home. In our development of 37 homes, I'd guestimate ten Teslas, five Leafs, one i3 (next door neighbor), and at least 8-10 other hybrids. And I don't really know why I got singled out for the side eye. We've got one McLaren, one Ferrari, a Lambo, and a couple of //M cars as well, and they never get any grief. But my Corvette is probably a bit more raucous than theirs. . .
Well, your neighborhood certainly isn't in the rust belt!
 

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I bought a house that came with a Level 2 EVSE charger. Rather than have a useless piece of junk attached to my house, and not wanting to disconnect and remove it, I decided to buy an EV for cash and see what it was like.

I have previously noted that I'm probably the perfect demographic for an EV: I"m single, a suburbanite, work a mere six miles from home, have multiple shopping centers within just a few miles, and rarely exceed driving 40 miles per day.

Sorry. My decision was not based on politics, altruism or economy. I just wanted to find out what it was all about.
 

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My reason for going electric was not altruistic.

I just like to buy and try out new cars, especially those with unique tech or design attributes.

My automotive addiction compels me to swap cars constantly, just for the sake of perpetually trying out something new and different.
 

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ED is a package deal

We're another of the multifactor crowd. We were thinking about trading in our Mazda 3 because we didn't think it would last as well as some other cars we've owned. Which was why we were looking.

So initially my list was roughly:

  • Lease costs plus maintenance for the ED was about the same as the depreciation on a new Mazda for the same period.
  • New tech toy.
  • $8500 provincial EV rebate made the biggest % reduction in the ED price. Which made the smaller car attractive.
  • We could keep the Mazda for longer trips and dramatically reduce the wear and tear on it. It's a sunk cost.
  • Cutting miles travelled on the Mazda to <1500/yr would allow us to drop the insurance amount as save a bunch there too.
  • Cutting our total carbon footprint by 40-50%

I originally considered selling the Mazda and getting a Leaf in a 4 seater to 4 seater swap. Although in retrospect it was wrong, my wife didn't think the Leaf would do all her driving patterns. Now we have some experience with EVs we're sure this was a mistake. On the plus side the ED is more fun to drive than the Leaf would have been. We would have rented for any longer trips.

The cost savings over gasoline has been the biggest windfall. My wife's job changed partway into leasing the ED and she was soon doing 450km per week. The savings in gas $ will pay for the ED by the time we send it for recycling.

Damn its fun to drive!

So the bottom line for us is
  1. Much cheaper than any gas car, especially with the rebate.
  2. Biggest thing we could do to reduce our CO2 & NOx emissions
  3. Fun!

What's not to like.
 

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I had a few motivations to buy my ED.

I have been fascinated with EVs for many years but never found myself in a place to buy one. I even did a lot of reading about converting a car to electric myself but it was a pretty pricy effort. I am just an electron fan and have wanted to do it for years.

When my son got old enough to drive, we were having the conversation about either buying another car for him or buying one for me and I'd hand off my Insight to him. It wasn't as much of a NEED to become a three car family as much as we knew it would work out better if we had that third set of wheels. Since the other two cars are a hybrid and an ICE, we have two other long range vehicles. That made it possible for me to think differently about our third vehicle. So I Googled "cheap EV" to see what was out on the used market at these EDs started popping up. It's not the car I really wanted but it actually makes good sense for our family. It's like we're a 2.5 car family now. I got mine cheap enough to pay cash and not have a third car payment plus it's cheaper to operate overall. It gets me back and forth to work and just running around town.

Solar Impulse 2 also flew in to Dayton, Ohio about the time I was looking. Bertrand Picard said in one of his speeches that we can all do something to move our society toward cleaner energy. I realized that I was in a place to do one of those somethings. I'm still plugging in to the grid for now but who knows what's possible down the road.

I didn't go out looking for a Smart but it has been a great solution for what we needed. I like technology but I'm a bit of a cheapskate at times. So saving money by driving electric was one of my motivations.

Also, weather or not we humans are causing or even contributing to global warming aside, just not having a tail pipe is part of my inspiration. I have a friend that has done a lot of research on global warming and our perceived impact. He came away saying that even if we aren't causing a lot of damage, even a dumb dog knows you don't poop where you eat. So if we can eliminate some tail pipes here and there, it can't hurt. Yes, we're burning coal so it's a carbon displacement but many experts agree that it's still a reduction in the overall carbon footprint.


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Discussion Starter #15
I had a few motivations to buy my ED.

Also, weather or not we humans are causing or even contributing to global warming aside, just not having a tail pipe is part of my inspiration. I have a friend that has done a lot of research on global warming and our perceived impact.
There really isn't any controversy among scientists regarding human emissions and global warming. The science is about as solid as classical physics.
 

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There really isn't any controversy among scientists regarding human emissions and global warming. The science is about as solid as classical physics.
Actually, the science is still unclear. No doubt CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which warms the planet. No doubt CO2 abundances are increasing. What is unclear is the amount of warming, with projections ranging from minimal to extreme. Climate science is a very complex field, with many components and feedbacks. I agree with the consensus that the future will be a few degrees warmer, but there definitely is a wide disparity among climate scientists.
 

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We're at risk of going off track here. I'm in agreement that science is not based on consensus. It either is or it isn't. With that out of the way, I'm fully aware that when it comes to transporation, you either pay now or you pay later. The mining, manufacturing and disposal of battery technology may be far more ecologically damaging than carbon emissions. Grade schoolers should know that carbon dioxide is food to plant life, which exchanges it for oxygen, which is what human life needs to exist. Further, it's not oxygen, but nitrogen that makes up the bulk of the Earth's atmosphere (around 78%). Oxygen is only about 21%. (See? Watching all those Star Trek episodes back then actually paid off!). Seems to me that we should be busy planting more trees and greenery, not worrying about carbon dioxide (which is about 93.5% of trace gases, which makes up less than 1% of atmospheric gases).

Source: Composition of the Atmosphere | Climate Education Modules for K-12
 

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Actually, the science is still unclear. No doubt CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which warms the planet. No doubt CO2 abundances are increasing. What is unclear is the amount of warming, with projections ranging from minimal to extreme. Climate science is a very complex field, with many components and feedbacks. I agree with the consensus that the future will be a few degrees warmer, but there definitely is a wide disparity among climate scientists.
You're quite mistaken on this hurricanes. The scientific consensus is very strong regarding the "few" degrees having a huge impact on the planet, and it will cause a major economic and humanitarian disaster in the coming decades. There is a lot of discussion about nuances in various models, but there is no doubt that without a sustained effort to reduce emissions the impacts will be huge.

The last IPCC report summary is stale (2014), and the data has only become clearer since then. But even back then the projections were clear. If the amount of CO2 and particulates going into the atmosphere isn't curtailed dramatically the world is in for a very rough ride.
 

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The reason I want to go EV is that we now have 33 solar panels on our roof that are producing most if not all our energy and it just makes money sense.

I was told I'm not allowed to add another vehicle to our stable, so would have to trade in the Smart unless I find an ED for such a great deal I can pay cash without a loan or have sub-$100 payments on a loan.

Have been eyeing the new Tesla, the Hyundai, and the Bolt. If I have to get rid of my ice Smart, I want range.


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We're at risk of going off track here. I'm in agreement that science is not based on consensus. It either is or it isn't.
Science is based on models with predictive power that can be verified by real world data. There can be differences of opinion about which model is right until a consensus is reached by verifying the model(s). But in the end if most of the scientist agree on something you can trust that it is right.


With that out of the way, I'm fully aware that when it comes to transportation, you either pay now or you pay later. The mining, manufacturing and disposal of battery technology may be far more ecologically damaging than carbon emissions.
You need to back this assertion with facts, because it is wrong. American Chemical Society


Grade schoolers should know that carbon dioxide is food to plant life, which exchanges it for oxygen, which is what human life needs to exist. Further, it's not oxygen, but nitrogen that makes up the bulk of the Earth's atmosphere (around 78%). Oxygen is only about 21%. (See? Watching all those Star Trek episodes back then actually paid off!). Seems to me that we should be busy planting more trees and greenery, not worrying about carbon dioxide (which is about 93.5% of trace gases, which makes up less than 1% of atmospheric gases).
Using this kind of logic you could also say that since we're made of a lot of hydrocarbons we should just drink oil to stay healthy. You're not addressing what CO2 levels do in the atmosphere with respect to the greenhouse effect.

I'm all for planting more trees though. :)
 
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