Steven McAlpine, Assistant Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, drives his Nissan Leaf to campus almost every day. He is an avid environmentalist and is devoted toward living the green lifestyle. McAlpine is one of several regular users of UMBC’s EV Charging Stations and has been a long time “green commuter.” I came up with a set of questions that might be useful to individuals or families who are interested in learning more about this exciting and growing transportation technology.
How long have you been driving your EV?
Since the end of July 2013.
Do you charge level-1 or level-2 at home?
No home charging yet, though we are thinking of installing a charger. We charge at UMBC and will open a ChargePoint account soon.
How many miles does your family typically drive in a week?
About 100 miles.
What motivated you to lease the Nissan Leaf over a conventional, gas-powered vehicle?
First and foremost, the zero emissions aspect and not having to depend on fossil fuels. Secondly, it is cost effective in terms of saving about 120 per month in fuel costs. The energy equivalent is over 100 miles per gallon. Third, UMBC’s free charging stations were a plus. It is our second car – we also have a Honda element but would like to switch to biodiesel.
How has driving an EV altered your commute?
I don’t ride my bicycle to work as much! Martha and I agree that the EV has changed the way we drive, going for efficiency rather than speed (which means no more “lead foot”).
What advice would you recommend to other EV enthusiasts who are on the fence of getting one?
Think about your driving and usage patterns. With a 100-mile range, this car is probably not a great long road trip choice (although it does have a 30 minute fast charger that we haven’t tried yet). In terms of finding charging stations, there are plenty, and the onboard computer screen can search available stations at any time and report how far away they are. The info systems design is brilliant.
A special thanks goes to Steven McAlpine for sharing his personal experience and his insights on how he uses EV technology. Integrating an EV into your lifestyle might be easier than you think! More information about UMBC’s Sustainable Transportation efforts can be found here.