First Time Car Owner Spreads the EV Love


Nathan Pinsley shows off his new Chevy Volt.

Nathan Pinsley is 26-years-old and just got his first car -- one that he said was worth the wait. The New York City native is now the proud owner of a Chevy Volt, a plug-in electric vehicle (EV) with a back-up gasoline engine. Pinsley works in the clean energy field and said his choice of an EV came because "there's an element of walking the talk."

"My motivation to go electric is to inspire others. This car works great for me and gives those around me the confidence that it could work for them," said Pinsley.

We at the Sierra Club know that passion, and the importance of supporting sustainable transportation choices in the U.S. That's why this week we launched our new "Go Electric" campaign aimed at promoting electric vehicles.Pinsley said everywhere he goes, people flag him down to ask him questions.

"It's a definitively social act to drive your electric car down the street," he said. "I've been stopped in parking lots and asked about it. People roll down their windows and ask, 'Is that the Volt?' I'm glad people notice it and are excited to ask questions."

Americans clearly want cleaner transportation choices, especially ones that free them from the volatility of gas and oil prices. The Go Electric campaign is part of a larger effort focused on moving America beyond oil by increasing new vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards and investing in a 21st century transportation system that provides all Americans transportation choices including rail, transit, safe walking and biking.

Given that Pinsley's electricity costs will be significantly lower than his gasoline costs, and the fact that EV maintenance costs are expected to be lower than those for traditional vehicles, there are many long-term financial benefits of EVs.

And Pinsley has some encouragement for those who think an EV is out of their price range.

"In an era of rapidly shifting gasoline costs, the price of electricity remains stable," he explained. "Yes my car was expensive, but I know my monthly costs will be predictable. And if you still can't afford one now, don't get discouraged. There are dozens of electric models on the way and they will come down in price."

While the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf (and the luxury sportscar Tesla Roadster) are the EVs on the market right now, Ford, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and several other car makers are launching new EV models in the next couple of years. Even Rolls Royce is unveiling a luxury EV. The variety of choices is only increasing.

While Pinsley relies on electricity for all of his day-to-day driving, he relied on the Volt's gasoline backup for a recent trip to Washington, DC. "I look forward to seeing more public charging stations because that directly translates to me using less gasoline."

At home, he doesn't have a garage, so Pinsley had to do a little footwork around his neighborhood to find a parking garage willing to let him park and charge overnight - but even that didn't take long.

Pinsley said just like the price of EVs, as they become more commonplace over time, businesses will have figured out how to provide more charging stations.

"Institutions like workplaces or parking garages don't know how to think about EVs yet. There are not huge cons to providing charging stations but right now it's a decision-making process where the information isn't there yet."

He's also looking forward to the day when his EV is zero emissions through being recharged using solar and wind power. Yet even relying on today's power grid, EVs produce less pollution than almost all other vehicles on the road.

"Electric vehicles are the only type of car that actually get cleaner over time as we shift to powering them with cleaner sources," said Sierra Club Electric Vehicles Campaign director Gina Coplon-Newfield.

"By making electric vehicles affordable and accessible now, we won't just cut pollution and hasten the end of our dangerous oil addiction. We will also breathe new life into America's manufacturing, infrastructure, and smart grid technology industries."

Read more about the Chevy Volt:
The Chevy Volt Will Get 50 MPG When the Battery is Drained, According to GM
Chevy Volt Battery to Have 8 Years/100,000 Miles Warranty
Chevy Volt: The TreeHugger Test Drive (Photos + Video)
Read more about other EVs:
CODA Preps for 2011 Launch of Electric Sedan in U.S.
Toyota Introduces the Yaris HSD Hybrid Concept
Saab Unveils the Sexy 47 MPG PhoeniX AWD Hybrid

Tags: Electric Vehicles

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