Michael – Chevrolet Volt

Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV

I have always been a conservative environmentalist. I do not think doing crazy stuff makes sense, but if you can do easy stuff and help the environment, then why not.

So around five years ago, I installed a lot of solar panels on my roof. Probably more than I should have, since I was generating "energy credits". But even then, I had a plan and that was to switch to EV vehicles as soon as they made sense. So, when my second youngest daughter got her driver's license and we were suddenly short one car, I decided to check out what EVs were available.

I am mostly retired, so I don't drive much. We had a VW Passat and Toyota Prius Hybrid already. So, when I saw the Mercedes Electric Convertible Smart Car, it was love at first sight. Thanks to the federal tax credit and CVRP rebate, the monthly cost to lease the car was around $100 if you spread the CVRP rebate over the 36-month lease. So, for $100 a month plus insurance, I had a really fun car to drive around town. Remember, I charged the car off my roof and I was producing a lot of excess electricity. For three years, I absolutely loved the car, except every now and then I felt the range restriction of less than 80 miles per charge and determined that next time I would go for more range.

Before the lease was up, I ordered the new Tesla Model 3. Production delays meant that when the lease expired on the Smart Car, the Tesla had not yet been built and would not be for almost one more year. So, I search around and came upon the Bolt. What a great car! Over 260 miles on one charge, I could now drive up to Malibu and back, San Diego and back, and Palm Springs and back, each one on a single charge. Range fears gone. I really enjoyed driving that car and again thanks to the Federal and CVRP rebate plus an additional rebate from SDG&E, the Bolt costs about $165 a month plus insurance. The thing is there is virtually no maintenance on an electric car and so the cost of ownership is very low. What I am trying to say is an EV is a quadruple win.

First, as mentioned it is a low-cost car to own thanks to the federal tax credit and CVRP rebate, especially if your house is equipped with solar panels. It is a "clean car" saving oil for future generations and with virtually no CO2 emissions. Third, it is a convenient car. My Tesla Model 3 was finally built a year later and with two electric cars, my wife and I love never going having to go to the service station to get car. Each night we plug in each car in and they charge up overnight. Finally, they are fun cars and have special capabilities that regular cars don't. My favorite on the Tesla is to turn on the air conditioner when the car is locked. My dog and I travel everywhere together. In the past, he had to stay home on hot days. Not anymore, when I leave the car, I set the temperature to 68 degrees and he is comfortable while I am in shopping. When your car is a huge battery on wheels, you have no fear of "running down" your battery.

Each year, more and more EVs are coming on the market. I suspect with the way things are headed, the last gas car holdout will be last gas car we own. If you are considering an EV car and you have the ability to, add solar panels to your home. The combination is a real winner. So, do it for the environment and your wallet at the same time. Sustainable environmentalism is built around solutions that work for the environment and work for the wallet and are supported through public policy. Bingo!