Slight foray from food to auto-blogging, but I just ran across this story in the Herald and had to run a few numbers:
Nissan has knocked back some customers interested in purchasing its first electric car, the Leaf, because they have been deemed “unsuitable” for ownership.
The plug-in electric vehicle officially hits the market on June 1, but interested customers need to pass a two-stage approval test before being issued with a certificate that will allow them to purchase the $51,500 car from one of Nissan’s special EV dealerships…
For customers who pass the two “toll gates” of the selection process, the car will retail for $51,500 (plus on-road and dealer costs). That includes a recharging cable, but not a wall-mounted recharging station.
A package including the telephone book-sized station adds a minimum of $2700 to the price, or more depending on the logistics involved in its installation.
So let’s get this straight: to buy one of the new all-electric Nissan Leaf automobiles in Australia, not only do you have to stump up over $50,000 (much more than what the same car costs in, say, the US), but you have to fill out a questionnaire about your driving habits (necessary or simply further breaking us to the harness?) and have your home’s electric supply vetted by Origin Energy before you get a certificate to allow you to purchase one of the new low-range tax-guzzlers.
The question is, why would anyone do such a thing (so far, only 100 have elected to go through the process) when you could spare yourself the questionnaire and save about $30,000 in the process: a petrol-powered Nissan Tiida, which is basically the same car but with a proper engine, can be yours for under $20,000.
Assuming unleaded settles around $1.50 a litre, you can burn through 20,000 litres worth of fuel and still be ahead of the game economically against the Leaf.
At an advertised fuel efficiency of 7.6 liters per 100 km travel, that means for the price of a Leaf you can get a new car and 263,000 km – or 163,000 miles – free driving without a single recharge.
Or you could take the warm glow that comes from filling out a questionnaire.