Move over Hybrids! Electric cars are on the way
Can't wait until electric cars hit the road? The much-anticipated Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf will be available for sale in the U.S. this fall and Canada next summer. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you rush to buy one.
Electric cars' limited driving range is a key consideration.
The Chevy Volt can go 60 clicks on an electric charge, but it does have a small gas engine that can go another 500 kilometers on a tank of gas.
The Nissan Leaf, powered solely by an electric battery, has a 160 kilometer range before it has to be plugged in.
Jake Fisher of Consumer Reports warns that driving isn't the only thing that's going to drain your battery.
"Headlights, wipers, the heat, the air conditioning, it all uses electricity, even just playing the radio. So how far you can actually go on a charge, it's going to vary."
Recharge time is another important consideration. The Volt takes about 10 hours to recharge on a regular household 110-volt outlet. With the Leaf's larger battery, you need about 16 hours.
The Chevy Volt retails for $41,000 U.S., and the Nissan Leaf sells for $33,600.
Canadian prices still aren't available.
"Electric cars hold a lot of promise," Fisher said. "Clearly two big pluses are the ability to reduce gasoline consumption and run cleaner cars. But there's a lot to consider before you know they're right for you."
Consumer Reports says you can cut down the recharge time on electric vehicles by installing a 220-volt circuit in your home, but that could cost a couple of thousand dollars.
And if you're still not sure the electric car is right for you, there's no rush to buy right away. Four other manufacturers plan to introduce electric vehicles in the next year-and-a-half.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen