Family Commuting with an Affordable Electric Vehicle

With a rapidly growing family, Michelle thought the natural transition was to “upgrade” to a minivan. Her family bought one and were immediately disappointed by the fuel mileage, particularly as most of their driving is within the city of Richmond. It turns out they were spending a ton of money on maintenance and gas.

The family tries to be as green as possible: they have a food garden in their front yard, they collect rainwater, eat local and subscribe to a CSA. Michelle’s “green” family loved the idea of going electric, but it seemed the cost of a new electric vehicles wasn’t in their budget, plus they thought there didn’t seem to be many offerings for families. Their perspective changed when they went to a local electric car show and were able to sit in many different EVs and see what was out there.

Michelle learned about the roominess of the Nissan Leaf with lots of trunk space. She also discovered that used EVs were available and were perfect for city-dwellers who desire affordable commuter vehicles. The kids were completely sold on clean energy, and pushed their parents to make the change. The family decided to trade in the mini-van and “downgrade” to a used Nissan Leaf as their commuter, or 2nd, vehicle.

It turns out that a compact, used EV was a much better “upgrade” for Michelle’s family.

Little did they know this was actually a significant upgrade in their lives. The EV requires virtually no maintenance. They only spent $50 in maintenance over 2 years! They rarely visit gas stations anymore and have seen their energy/maintenance and gas costs drop dramatically. The family feels good knowing that they are reducing their environmental footprint, plus they can drive in the carpool lanes! Although the used Leaf has limited range, they realized that 95% of their driving is short trips within their city.

They have a second vehicle that will be retired one day, but for now they can use that or rent a car for long trips. The Leaf is now a member of their family; everyone loves it and it has become the primary vehicle – fitting 2 parents, 2 teens, a child, and more often than not, a slew of plants, soil and gardening tools or sports equipment. It turns out that a compact, used EV was a much better “upgrade” for Michelle’s family.

Michell’s used Nissan Leaf on a regular weekend haul.

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