I posted here not long ago about taking a ride in a friend's electric vehicle, and how attractive it was. Well, after some dithering, we took the plunge and ordered one for ourselves. It arrived late Tuesday and we have just finished Day 2 of owning/driving. It's great!
The perfect car for someone like me who likes to dig into the numbers. So, here are a few early insights:
- This is a Mitsubishi i MiEV (we call it the mee-EHV) and it is rated by EPA to have a 62-mile range and fuel economy of 112 mpge (miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent). What does that mean? Well, EPA figures 33.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity for the gallon of gasoline equivalent, so for that many kWh, the MiEV is supposed to travel 112 miles (as the saying goes, your mileage may vary).
- This means that the MiEV's battery "tank" only holds a bit over half a gallon of gasoline equivalent (62 divided by 112). And it also means that the MiEV gets about 3.3 miles per kWh. A kWh, in our neck of the woods, costs about 15 cents, so the cost per mile for fuel is 15/3.3 = 4.5 cents. This compares with the cost of gas for the Honda Insight we traded in--$3.60 per gallon for 40 mpg, or 9 cents/mile. And that's for a 40-mpg hybrid.
- The MiEV will also cost less to maintain, as it has a much less complicated motor (no oil changes). And I'm guessing that, as we focus on making it our main car for local driving, the wear and tear on our other auto, a Toyota Prius with just under 137,000 miles, will be drastically reduced.
As of Day 2, we've had five trips to town for meetings, work, etc. We were able to take four of them with the EV, which has so far traveled 66 miles, leaving one for the Prius (18 miles). I'm hopeful that over the long term, that ratio (close to 80% of local travel with the EV), can be maintained.
- 66 miles on the EV amounts to about 20 kWh, which is substantial--it's pretty clear that our total electricity bill is going to go up, perhaps nearly double, but that's because our previous usage was quite low. At the same time, obviously, our gasoline spending is going to plummet. Take that, Exxon!
OK, so enough geeky stuff.
How does it look? See above--you can be the judge. I drove a VW Beetle for about 25 years, so a car's looks are not high on my list of required attributes.
How does it handle? Fine, drives like a normal car.
What happens when you're merging onto a freeway and you need extra speed? I think this is an interesting question, because I've been asked it a couple of times, in almost exactly the same words--evidently it is something that really preys on some drivers' minds. Hasn't happened yet, but the pickup is quite good and ... I drove a Beetle for 25 years.
This post is already fairly long, so I'll leave it at that for now--I can provide more specifics about the transmission settings and gauges later. We have a bare-bones version of the MiEV--to find out more about the deluxe version, see the excellent series of blog posts that begins here.
Other questions? Ask away.