The Electric Competition
I bought a 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV. What else is out there in the market? One segment of electric cars is NEV's (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles). NEV's are allowed to be legally driven on roads with a speed limit of 35 MPH or less. However, NEV's are not eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.
GEM E4S 2013 Model Year NEV: (Global Electric Motorcars) The price as configured on their web site to closely imitate what I bought was $18,604. The added options were ABS plastic doors, maintenance-free battery, 7HP motor, enclosed cargo carrier, headlights, heater/defogger, and front bumper.
If we look at prices...
2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV ES with quick charge option and shipping is $30,675. Subtract from that the $2,000 negotiated off from the sticker price, the $7,500 federal tax credit, and the $3,000 IL state tax credit, and the adjusted price is $18,175.
Without even having to factor the GEM's top speed (25 MPH), the i-MiEV is clearly a better choice for my needs. And I can drive up to an electronically limited 81 MPH. A quick search did not find any numbers for the range in miles for the GEM, but I doubt it would have a 62 mile range. It may be suitable for a range of other applications and users, but not me and mine.
But the limitation for any NEV for my purposes would be where I could drive. My commute to work is only 2 miles. I could drive one to work and home, but that would be about it. There are other places I could go, but with a 25 MPH top speed and lack of safety features, I wouldn't feel comfortable on main streets that were posted at 30 or 35 MPH.
So what is the other highway legal competition?If given my choice of EV's I would surely get a TESLA. Either the Roadster or the Model S would make me happy. The driving range is exceptional and offered with 3 battery packages providing 3 different ranges. But the cost is above what my current budget will allow. Would I buy one if I could readily afford it? Certainly!
The HONDA FIT EV was on my radar for a little while. Then I found out they would only be offered for lease, and only in certain states. Illinois wasn't one of them. The styling was very traditional and the shade of blue exclusively offered on the car is my favorite color. Wonder what will happen to the cars when they are turned in after the leases are done?
The NISSAN LEAF. I knew about the Leaf, but I never gave it too much thought. Not sure why. I don't have anything against the manufacturer. But I haven't even bothered to look at the styling that close until writing this piece. To be honest, if the Nissan cube was offered as an EV, I might have gone that direction. To get the quick charger added to the car meant getting the SL package, and that made the price $38,100. Even thought the current infrastructure doesn't support quick charging in my immediate area, within the next 3-5 years it might.
TH!NK CITY. In all honesty the availability of a used City was what helped steer me away from the idea of converting a car to electric on my own. The range was over 100 miles and top speed was 62 MPH. But it appears the company, that is in and out of bankruptcy, may be in again, and this time it might last. So warranty issues would weigh heavy on my mind. Also pricing was around $32,000. Once again, I'm glad I went with the i-MiEV. They were close to being a reality. As far as I can tell, they will continue to be built in Norway where they started. The Indiana production facility is being shut down.
DIY. I would have been proud if I could have converted a gasoline powered car into an electric vehicle. Who knows, in the future I may even rethink going that route. But the cost of buying the type of battery I would have liked in the quantity that would have been needed to propel the car, plus the motor and all the fixins' most likely would have put me around the same cost as what I paid adjusting for tax credits.