One of the perks of representing Nissan North America is that I get to check out their latest offerings. In this instance, I’ll get the chance to take the wheel of the new 2016 Nissan LEAF at the Massachusetts State House Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive on Thursday, September 17.
The Massachusetts State House Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive is one of scores of events being held all across the country during National Drive Electric Week. National Drive Electric Week, September 12-20, 2015, is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
The State House Ride and Drive is being co-hosted by Reps. Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown), Frank Smizik (D-Brookline), Brad Hill (R-Ipswich) and Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). The event is open to all legislators and State House employees from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. In addition to two Nissan LEAFs, there will be other types of EVs from multiple automakers. Both Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton and Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, among other dignitaries, are scheduled to participate.
If you haven’t driven an EV, you’d be surprised how much fun they are. I first drove a LEAF when visiting Nissan’s North America’s headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee. The first thing I noticed was how the torque was so instant. The LEAF is moving before other cars have sent fuel to the pistons, cranked the rods, and found first gear. The second thing was how the regenerative braking slowed the vehicle when I took my foot off the gas pedal (oops, I mean the accelerator). I barely used the brake and quickly began to master one-foot driving.
Electric vehicles are rapidly gaining in popularity. They are less expensive to maintain than standard vehicles because they have so few moving parts to repair, replace, lubricate, etc. They’re even more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles–just plug it at work, when you get home at night, or at the increasing number of public charging stations. Moreover, you don’t need $70,000 or more for a Tesla Model S or a Cadillac ELR to own an EV.
The 2016 Nissan LEAF has a starting price of $26,700 after the federal tax credit of $7,500. When combined with the electric vehicle rebate administered by the Division of Energy Resources, residents of Massachusetts can save an additional $2,500 off that sticker price. Since the launch of the LEAF in December 2010, Nissan has become the global leader in EV sales with an all-electric car specifically designed for the mass market.
Electric cars are the future of automobile travel, and the future is now affordable to everyone.