Electric cars are so 21st century – Ben Z.

Ben Z.

Electric cars are so 21st century. When I pulled my 2011 Nissan Leaf EV and now my 2017 Bolt EV up alongside a hot gas-guzzling (fill any famous name brand in here) sports car, what comes to my mind is, “oh how 20th century”. I loved my Leaf and now I love my Bolt even more – let me count the ways:

The Bolt is really comfortable and the range is outstanding, indeed almost unbelievable for the price. The impressive EPA-estimated 238 miles range on a full charge raised some eyebrows when first announced. Indeed that is about what the range “guessometer” on my Bolt dashboard read when I first purchased the car. But now I have been driving for 10 months and the car’s computer has figured out my driving style and profile — which is to drive with a light foot on the accelerator, coast when I see a red light ahead and drive in the low 60s mph when on freeways. Now when the batteries are fully charged, the guessometer announces an anticipated driving range of typically 320 miles!

Thanks to the Bolt’s strong regen (regenerative braking), one can take advantage of so-called “one-pedal driving” in which one only occasionally moves one’s foot to the brake pedal. Not only is the driving range increased but so also is the lifetime of the brakes.

I discovered from driving my Leaf that one of the most impressive aspects of an electric car is how simple they are and how little maintenance they need. In the nearly six years I had my Leaf the *only* expenses I had were to change the brake fluid and rotate the tires – my electric “fuel” was completely free because I have solar PV panels on the roof of my home. I anticipate comparable major cost savings with my Bolt. And no more visits to messy gas stations.

A large percentage of my tech-savvy astronomical colleagues in the UCLA Physics and Astronomy department drive EVs. I’m confident that a major reason for this is our desire to be in the vanguard of the 21st century.

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