Andrew Cheeseman and Christy Wilhelmi put themselves on the waiting list for a Nissan Leaf before the car was available to the public. The day they got the call from Nissan that their car was ready, timing couldn’t be worse: the recession, job loss, and austerity measures firmly in place. But the early bird gets the worm, so they say, and with government rebates at the time that included $7500 federal tax credit, a $5000 rebate from the State of California, and the Ecotality program that gave them a free charger plus free installation, Andrew and Christy went for it. Andrew hasn’t filled a gas tank since 2011.
The couple drives as far as Simi Valley on a single charge and carries a backup charger in the trunk for extra juice. The car includes Level 2 and Level 3 (DC quickcharge) charger options so they can juice up faster where Level 3 chargers are available. Ecotality included that $700 value for free. While it lasted, they also enjoyed free parking at LAX, and of course, still use the carpool lane as a single driver every chance they get.
Both Andrew and Christy work from home, so they drive to meetings and clients all around town. Between the Leaf and their gas guzzler, a 2007 Prius, they spend less than $50 per month on gas. Andrew used to spend $40 a week filling up his pre-Leaf car, a Volvo. Their electric bill increased about $50 per month.
Andrew and Christy love their Leaf. They love how silently it drives, the lack of exhaust while driving and idling, and they love being part of the electric car community.