Chloé Driving Data

Cost of Driving Chloé

The new Blink charger is charging Chloé (our Nissan all-electric Leaf) drastically faster than the trickle charger we have been using in a regular 120 outlet ever since we purchased the car. But the million dollar question has been, how much does it cost to actually drive the car on electricity. Well, the Leaf’s Carwings and the Blink charger both provide that information–sort of.

The problem is figuring out how much you pay for electricity at what hour of the day! When I set out to figure this out, I became stunned at how insanely complex the power bill is. Even the power company can not tell you when your per kWh (kilowatt hour) of electricity is the cheapest. And here in Sausalito, we have to pay for the generation of the electricity as well as the delivery of the electricity. Two separate companies do each task. San Francisco already pays significantly higher than the national average per kWh of electricity, and Sausalito pays a whale of a lot more than that! The US average is $.127 per kWh hour. San Francisco pays $.203 per kWh hour (almost twice the national average),  and Sausalito pays a whopping $.301 per kWh–nearly 3 times more than the national average! I wanted to be sure we were charging Chloé when the rates were the lowest possible. Easier said than done. Just insane!

So here is a graphic summarizing the data for driving the Leaf in the LA area and here in the headlands. This data is skewed by the fact that Chloé was in storage for 6 weeks. This means that one entire charging cycle, after 6 weeks in storage, did not produce any miles driven on the road.

Basically, we saved at least $67.38 over 6 months–probably a good bit more than that. The average American, not living where electricity is 3x the national average, would have saved at least $137.71 over the same period. Additionally, we would have saved even more had we driven the car the 6 weeks it was in storage. Plus: can’t forget the $10,000 in tax rebates. So, in some sense, it will probably never cost us anything to drive the car.

Chloé Driving Data
Click to enlarge

5 thoughts on “Cost of Driving Chloé”

  1. Thanks for your research Tim, I’m considering my next car purchase this year…I hate to say this, but you’ve left out the carbon footprint of the electricity production… which is considerable in our coal-based system here in Tennessee.
    However – there will soon be little solar panel charge stations available for residential installation which would figure in to my equation – have you seen these?

    1. Michelle, you might want to contact Nissan Leaf (877-664-2738) and see if they have done the carbon footprint comparisons with coal-based electricity. They may have and are very eager to talk about the Leaf. If they haven’t, then my friend Paul Scott, would probably know. He’s WAY into the EV movement and hangs with a very bright crowd of engineers. Interestingly, purchasing a Leaf would support jobs in your state. When the Tennessee factory goes on line (and I t.h.i.n.k it’s this year) they will be producing up to 150,000 Leafs a year.

    2. I shot an email to Paul. Here’s his reply:

      “For your friend, pass this link along to her: http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/how-clean.html.

      You can enter your zip code and it will tell you how dirty/clean your local grid mix is. Also, keep in ming that many utilities offer a renewable energy program so that they can deliver to you clean, renewable energy with which to run your home. This should be done regardless of whether you buy an EV. … Once her house in on clean energy, then her EV will be, too.

      Another great source for this question is http://images.pluginamerica.org/EmissionsSummary.pdf. On the Plug In America site (www.pluginamerica.org) on their FAQ page is this compendium of studies that looked at the well-to-wheels pollution generated by both EVs and internal combustion cars. In over 40 studies, the EV came out cleaner. PLUS, all the money stays domestic and we’ve never fought a war over electricity.

      Hope that helps.

      Feel free to give her my number and email in case she has more questions.”

  2. I haven’t seen one “in the wild” yet. We’re exploring solar panels for the house because driving on sunshine just makes a lot of sense.

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