01.26.2012 - by Colby Trudeau
EVs and Generation Z

Me and My Parents’ Plug-Ins

As a young EV activist, I am often asked why I don’t drive a plug-in vehicle myself. While EVs are an extremely popular topic among people in my age group, few of us drive them. It may seem hypocritical of us, but there are several reasons why EVs haven’t penetrated our market…yet.

The Price

The main reason, and perhaps the most obvious, is the price. Not all EVs are expensive. After incentives, the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i are fairly affordable compared to the average price of a new car, $29,217. However, people my age tend to purchase used cars and the only EVs available right now are new. Sure, there are some used legacy EVs, but those are practically collectors items and are priced as such. Luckily, this will soon change. In a few years, we will have something that hasn’t existed in a century: a market of used electric vehicles. These used EVs will be the most affordable EVs yet and will be extremely appealing to teens and young adults who don’t want to empty their wallets paying for additional expenses like smog checks, tune ups, and fluid changes that come along with a used gasoline fueled vehicle.

Apartment Charging

The second most common issue I encounter is the fact that most people my age live in apartments or condos. Charging at homes like these can be a complicated issue. Luckily, each day more and more public charging points are popping up, making owning an EV without a charging station more of a possibility. Additionally, as EVs become more popular landlords will see more value in providing charging for their tenants. If you are would like more information on the topic of charging at garageless housing, I recommend you check out the video of this lecture, moderated by Paul Scott.

The Pocketbook


2012 Nissan LEAF Nismo Concept

The main reason I personally don’t currently drive an EV is that I am not in a position to purchase a new vehicle at this time (but trust me, I’m saving up!). Once I get out of school and have a steady job, I will finally be able to purchase my own plug-in vehicle. Everyone is always asking me what my next car will be and I honestly don’t know yet. I’m sure I can get by with a pure EV, so I won’t spend the extra money on a plug-in hybrid. Nissan and Mitsubishi have already brought the LEAF and ‘i’ to the US market, which I believe are perfectly sized and fairly priced vehicles. I would also consider the Ford Focus EV or the Honda Fit EV, depending on their official pricing. I particularly like the 2012 Nissan LEAF Nismo concept, which is a standard LEAF with a neat body kit. Nissan hasn’t yet announced if they will manufacture the LEAF Nismo, but if they do, I’ll buy one!

17 comments on “EVs and Generation Z”
  1. Anonymous says:

    We’ve been selling affordable EVs out of our store in Los Angeles for the last three years. They are good looking, freeway legal, have a range of 100+ miles to the charge and charge from a standard AC outlet. You might be thinking I’m crazy and park this EV in the garage next to my unicorn, but believe me they exist, I ride these EVs everyday, they are electric motorcycles! It’s funny to me how (especially in Southern California) everybody is so attached to their cars that they would rather be stuck in grid lock rather than enjoying the beautiful weather, saving time by splitting lanes through traffic on a motorcycle! Our customers love their bikes, so much that we’ve had more than a few trade in their old bikes for the newest model year after year. Looking for an affordable used EV? Look no further! These bikes might not fit 100% of your driving needs but nor will any EV currently on the market. Save your gas guzzler for those times you need the cargo room or the extra passenger space, but I’m guessing that most everybody spends the majority of the time in their car by themselves with no need to carry a huge amount of cargo. Don’t believe me? Stop by the store and see for yourself.

    1. Colby says:

      This is a great point and is something I have considered in the past. For some reason it did not cross my mind when writing this blog. I guess we’re just so used to driving around in our massive metal cages that most people forget that motorcycles are an option. Thanks for the reminder! I will definitely take it into consideration when I’m looking for a new vehicle.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another reason why folks might not be inspired to go all-electric is the nagging feeling that these are not, in actuality, zero-emissions vehicles. They rely on electric power. Producing electricity is the major source of air and land pollution in this country. And for the next 30 years, at a minimum, most of our electricity will come from burning fossil fuels.

    When you take into account the inefficiency of fossil-fueled power plants (they range from 50% to almost 70% of the power they consume) and the environmental costs of re-juggling our infrastructure to adapt to ‘zero emissions’ vehicles, we humans, and the environment, would be far better off if we subsidized modern, fuel efficient diesels than pursuing an expensive, theoretically ‘green’ policy based on emotion rather than science.

    The people who love wilderness and want to preserve the natural environment should understand that shifting to electric vehicles is, perhaps, the most environmentally harmful energy strategy. Deep drilling for natural gas allows pockets of brine and salts, isolated for 100’s of millions of years, to mix with and contaminate groundwater. Building industrial wind turbines on the hills and ridges of the east deprives endangered species of a refuge from global warming and kills hundreds of thousands of migrating birds and raptors and bats every year.

    All-electric vehicles are not environmentally friendly. They are pale green pablum.

    1. Colby says:

      Check out our FAQs page, it answers your concerns known as the “long tailpipe theory”. True, EVs that are powered from the grid aren’t zero emission well-to-wheels, but they do have zero tailpipe emissions. A gasoline or diesel powered vehicle has tailpipe emissions, as well as emissions down the line, from drilling for, to refining, to transporting, to pumping the fuel. It has been estimated that the amount of energy it takes to refine one gallon of gas can propel a compact EV (say, a Nissan LEAF), about 30 miles. Check out the well-to-wheels analysis, which tracks emissions from the energy source to the vehicle for several fuel types.

    2. Anonymous says:

      To make the statement that electric vehicles are not enviromentely(sic) friendly one would have to compare the effect of producing one gallon of gas from ground to vehicle gas tank against that of producing enough electrical energy to go about 25-30 miles. Also don’t forget that once the energy is in the EV the pollution stops!–not so with petrol powered vehicles!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The future automobile will be a plug-in hybrid not a pure electric. There’s always going to be that emergency where mom calls and says dad is in the hospital (or whatever) and so you have to jump in your car and drive across country. This can’t be done with an all EV….even utilizing fast charging. You can only fast charge once per day…and even doing this will kill your battery quickly. If everyone owned a PHEV then 95% of transportation energy would come for electric and only 5% from gas. This is the best and most practical way to achieve energy independence.

    1. Anonymous says:

      We’ve got to think outside the box of what if… Almost everyone has two cars now anyway-so why not one gas-one electric. Sonny Bono was mayor of Palm Springs,Cal. once. He allowed Golf Carts to use the lower speed roads around town(There are hundreds of golf carts in Palm Springs). Also the technology of other countries should not be hidden. Just yesterday I came upon the Croatian vehicle that measures out to 1,088h.p.,goes 0 to 60 in 2 sec., tops out around 190mph and goes about 345 miles per charge!! And since most people end up driving their cars all by themselves, how about single passenger vehicles?

      1. Colby says:

        What Croatian vehicle are you taking about? Sounds interesting. Almost too good to be true.

        1. Anonymous says:

          probably Rimac Concept One -try uncle Google 🙂

    2. Anonymous says:

      The future car will be 100% electric. And it will have a range long enough to get to the hospital easily.

      It’s just not worth spending money on a giant complicated ICE to use it once every five years, so nobody will do so.

      If your mom and dad are in the hospital in another CITY, you’ll catch a plane or a train or a bus. Which will also be electric (though it will take a while for the plane).

      Also, to clear up a misconception: you can fast charge as many times as needed, though it does hurt battery life. In an emergency you’ll just do it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a baby boomer, born in the back yard hot rod age, I,m surprised kids today aren’t converting old small cars into electric. There is already a guy with the hottest electric dragster converted from his compact car! Use the experience and parts that are already available, or mix and match your own dream car idea. This is not a game!

    1. Anonymous says:

      That “living in an apartment” thing kind of makes it hard to do an EV conversion “in your garage”, which you probably don’t have. Think about it.

      Kids who DO have garages ARE doing home conversions. Lots and lots and lots of them, Google to find some of them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here lies the irony of this article; when you finally have saved up enough cash to buy a 5 year old EV, it will likely need a new battery bank which can cost additional thousands, so it may not be quite as attractive as buying a new one with a warranty on the batteries, and get rid of it before the batteries go south. When battery banks are standardized one day, the cost will be greatly reduced and you will be able to swap them out quickly and less expensively. My question is: How come NASA and DOE aren’t putting engineers and scientists to work on better battery technology instead of laying them off? This should be a matter of our National Security, wouldn’t you think?

    1. Colby says:

      I agree that battery condition should be taken into account when buying a used plug-in, but it’s not a reason to never buy a used plug-in. EVs sold in the US have a minimum battery warranty of 8 years, so buying a 3-5 year old plug in isn’t a horrible idea. Any used car, gas or electric, is going to have a higher risk of component failure than a new. When batteries die, they generally wear out over time, they don’t just fail one day like a transmission might. Nissan estimates that after 10 years of normal driving, a Leaf will have 70-80% of its battery capacity, depending on how often it’s fast charged. Once the battery is not able to give a driver the range they need, the battery isn’t just thrown in a landfill or recycling plant, as it can still be used for other purposes. Nissan and GM already have plans for battery buyback programs, where they will buy back your EV battery and sell you a new one (making the net cost significantly less). They will then take the old battery and either sell it to be used as grid storage or battery backup, or recondition it to be used in a vehicle again.

      I would love to see the DOE and/or NASA doing extensive battery research. A breakthrough in battery technology would be great for this country in many ways. I also agree that at least each OEM needs to have a somewhat standard battery configuration, which will further reduce both the initial and battery replacement costs for EVs.

      1. Anonymous says:


        I’m always happy to see young people who are knowledgeable about alternative energy-I think it’s very important for your generation to literally drive change. There was a 3rd grade class in my small town that went to the City council and asked them to lower or eliminate the solar power permit fee for homes. It worked, the $300 fee is now waived.

        I see about six Leafs and a couple of Volts commuting to work in Silicon Valley, which is great, but most of the drivers are around my age, 50. I want to see young people get in the driver’s seat!

        We have solar power and almost 10,000 miles on our Leaf and I just wonder why more people don’t do the same, instead of installing expensive paver driveways and luxury cars that run on premium fuel.

    2. Anonymous says:

      By the time you have saved for a used EV, the world will have changed. Shai Agassi has entered into deals with Renault, and Israel: the U.S. will be, as usual in last place but we will get the overflow benefits: http://www.ted.com/talks/shai_agassi_on_electric_cars.html Better Place company…. Their first 100 cars have been built and employees are driving and testing.

    3. Anonymous says:

      Lets Squash another AntiEV Urban Legend Right NOW. The Estimated useful life of the current generation EV, PHEV or EREV High Energy Battery is pushing 20 years!


      So lets welcome a robust used EV car market growing over the next 5, 7 and 9 years. Be no different then going after a used Ford Focus, Chevy Cavalier or old Honda Accord now!

      The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV- Facts Guy




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