Action 139. We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue, and then we’ll lease a car

With all due respect to Eddy Grant, this post is not actually about an awesome early 80s song (its a good ear worm though, isn’t it? 🙂 ). What it is about is my car deciding to die this month, and what we decided to do about it.

Go electric! An electric car makes sense for several reasons in our family. One reason is where we live. Western Washington is a relatively mild climate, and electric cars are at their most efficient in climates that are neither too hot nor too cold, so that ancillary energy uses including heating and air conditioning are kept to a minimum. Another is my driving habits- 90% of what I do is done within about 15 miles of my house. Therefore, a car that has  range of 80 to 90 miles on a charge is totally compatible with the vast majority of my driving needs. My hubby still drives a traditional gas vehicle, and will probably keep driving one because at this point, the range of electric cars within our price range is not going to cut it for longer trips. But for what I do on a nearly daily basis, it works well. Plus, with more charging facilities popping up both where I live and in destination locations like Seattle and with increasing regional commitments like the West Coast Electric Highway, the options for charging and taking longer trips are quickly increasing.

Finally, here in the Pacific Northwest our electric energy sources have a relatively small carbon footprint relative to many other regions of the country. Much of our electricity is hydropower derived, and increasingly wind (and our own house’s solar panels) is adding to the mix of energy sources in our utility’s portfolio, especially as we also buy green power from PSE. This is not to say there is not more work to be done- our utility still sources about 30% of its portfolio for our part of the Sound from Coalstrip, the Montana Coal Plant, although there is a lot of pressure and movement to wean them off of this power source (and a lot of controversy over that timeline and who is going to pay for its closure).

All in all, Fifi (my husband still doesn’t understand why I gave a German car a French name, but I figure its all in the EU) is our new BMW i3, and we think she is great. And amazingly enough, when we went to research electric car options, Fifi was a bit cheaper to lease than the uber-popular Nissan Leaf! Now is also a great time to think about electric vehicles in WA- they have federal credits available, a state sales tax exemption if purchased before July 1 of this year (and that may be extended, depending on where legislation goes), and our local utility is giving charging station rebates to help your household upgrade their charging capacity. Now’s a great time to take charge of an electric vehicle!

Fifi

Say bonjour to Fifi the i3!

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