More and more electric vehicles (EVs) are entering the national marketplace and hitting Minnesota roads. CERTs is doing a series of interviews with EV drivers to learn about their experiences.
Meet Jim: Jim Beecher of St. Louis Park drives an EV (Nissan Leaf 2013) because he decided he didn’t want to buy gasoline anymore. He previously drove a Ford Fairmont which he converted as well as a converted 1964 Volkswagen Bug.
Why did you decide to get an EV?
After the 9/11 attacks and the mounting evidence of global climate change, I decided I didn’t want to buy gasoline anymore. In 2003 I was able to get a hold of a partially-converted Ford Fairmont, which I finished and drove for three years. I wanted to do another conversion, and this time I refurbished and converted a 1964 Volkswagen Bug. I drove that car through 2009, when a charger mishap took out my battery pack. This also coincided with the birth of my daughter, so I didn’t have as much time to work on cars for a bit. I always said that once commercial EVs were available I’d buy one; so when my trusty 1996 Toyota Camry died in 2013, I went for it. At the time a local dealership offered me a good deal on a hail-damaged LEAF, I couldn’t resist.
What is the make and year of your car and how much have you driven it?
2013 Nissan LEAF, driven about 8,000 miles in about a year.
What has been your experience so far?
Driving the LEAF is a joy. Cheap to operate with ready power and acceleration (love those modern inductive AC motors!), it also handles like a sports car because the batteries on the floor give it a low center of gravity. It’s quiet and needs virtually no maintenance. Regenerative braking allows it to stop on a dime. It’s the best car I’ve ever had.
What do you like most/least about the car?
The Most: The ease of use and quality of the vehicle. The Least: The winter range hit. I lost 30 miles of range last winter in the extreme cold.
Tell us a bit about your charging routine.
I have a Schneider Class 3 charger that uses 220v to charge the car form zero to full in about three hours, which ends up being 90 miles or so. Usually, I try to keep the pack between 20% and 80%, so I drive it a few days between charges, but in the deep cold of the winter I keep it hooked up all the time I’m not driving it so the battery heaters can use AC.
What would you say to anyone thinking about getting an EV?
An EV offers a lot of pluses and very few minuses. If you take advantage of the tax credit and shop around for a good deal, it doesn’t cost much more, either.
Anything else you want to add?
The genie is out of the bottle, commercial EVs are here to stay.
Hear from other EV owners
- Brad Benn of Edina
- Sam Villella of Blaine
- Susie Kukkonen of Saint Paul
- Paul Wicklund of Brooklyn Park
- Stuart Rauvola of Stillwater
- Diana McKeown of Minneapolis
Get more on EVs
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