“It’s a no-brainer,” said Nita Norris, Creative Services Designer at KCP&L. “I can charge my car while I’m at work, thanks to the KCP&L Clean Charge Network. And that’s just the beginning of why I like it.”
Norris’ previous vehicle was 11 years old, and it was time to replace it. After shopping around, she purchased a 2013 all-electric Nissan Leaf that had just come off lease. “The price was right,” she said. For under $15,000 (less than half of the original sticker price), she got a luxury model with leather interior, dual plug (for normal or fast charge), and an estimated 100-mile driving range.
“I’m saving about $1,200 a year on gas, and the free mobile app shows where the nearest charging stations are ─ and if they are in use or available.” The KCP&L Clean Charge Network will be free to all users through 2016, which means additional savings.
And because her car is an EV, she also doesn’t have to change the oil. “There are less moving parts that can break,” she explained, “and also no emissions.”
She was a bit apprehensive about the range limitations at first. “You have to figure out your needs,” she explained. “I commute less than 10 miles each way to work, so it works for me. And if I want to take a road trip, a rental car is always an option.” Or she can drive her husband’s car.
She’s still getting used to it and the mileage indicator, which she said some owners call the “guess-oleter.” That’s because range is influenced by driving style, so how you drive is important. For example, “My car has a regenerative coasting and breaking system that puts energy back into the battery. Air conditioning eats 10-15% of the battery charge; and heating, 20%. It has an ECO setting that helps save battery power. But when I enter a highway, I switch that off to easily pass any car because it doesn’t have to change gears.”
Support and kinship
“There are many user groups on the internet,” said Norris. “So you can get answers to any question you might have about your car. And there’s the Leaf wave,” she added, “which is kind of like the Harley wave. It’s the way we Leaf drivers acknowledge each other.”