Should you buy a Honda gas burner, or a pure electric Nissan if you need a family hatchback motor vehicle?
“2019 Civic hatchback and coupe models are priced […] at $20,150US and $19,350US, respectively. The base trim includes features like a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 5-inch display screen, and a USB port.”
Currency exchange is about 1.34 to CAD right now, so that’s 20150*1.34 = $27000$26,265 (price updated Apr 27, 2019)
My used Nissan LEAF 2014 (bought 2 years ago), with the same technology features listed above plus rear heated seats, and heated steering wheel (handy in Winter): $15,500. At my old place, I had 8 solar panels which cost $8400 installed. Together that’s $23,900.
Now, I’m no financial genius, but a solar powered hatchback that costs $2365 less than a new gas burning hatchback, seems like a better idea.
Doubting sorts might question, can a $8400, 2kW solar array really power a Nissan LEAF. That’s a great question! The answer is complicated. The short answer is yes.
Using a Bluetooth OBDII car-computer reading gizmo to read the LEAF’s battery status with my phone and the app Leaf Spy Lite, it reveals the car’s battery has 20kWh of capacity, down from its brand new 24kWh selling point.
Using the Solar Edge website, I was able to determine that my array in March would typically produce more than 10kWh per day. That electricity is instantly used in the house, the EV if plugged in to charge, and the excess goes into the grid. The power company, SaskPower, provides a credit 1-for-1 for the electricity provided vs. taken from their grid in a set year. This is known as Net Metering.
(UPDATE Oct. 2019: The backwards Sask Party has ended Net Metering in Saskatchewan, there’s now a 0.5-for-1 credit instead. It may still be economical to get solar to offset an EV use, but rerun your calculations.)
My household tends to charge the LEAF to 100% overnight on the regular wall plug (slow Level 1 charging this is called), and use it to about 50% capacity during the following day. That means it needs ~10kWh put back into it at night. Astute readers will note that’s about how much power the panels are producing.
The LEAF doesn’t need gasoline, or oil changes. You can “fill” it at home on a regular wall plug. Why are people still buying new Civics? If they routinely travel more than 100km in the city in a day, or 70km at top highway speeds, the Civic might be more appealing, but it’s obviously more expensive and harder on your lungs and our planet’s creatures.
Now, if you want to save even more money, and more creatures, I have another tip for you: