For those of you still in the dark, as I was as recently as maybe a week ago, the State of Oregon has decided to become intimately involved with an electric car future. Governor Kulongoski and the state of Oregon are working alongside Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi and possibly other car companies like Think and Toyota to bring 100% percent electric cars to the State. In tandem, PGE, (Portland General Electric), has been developing a charging station network in Salem and the Portland metropolitan area to service this ‘first of it’s kind’ market. This push is part of a greater $1 billion plus investment by the state of Oregon to improve public transportation, increase renewable energy and renovate existing roads.
Above is the Nissan Leaf, 100% percent electric vehicle with an expected range of around 100 miles. Charge time with an average 220 volt line, (the same as a household dryer), is around 8 hours. The pricing is expected to be around $30,000 after a tax rebate of $7500. Nissan may offer a leasing option for the expensive lithium-ion battery packs to make the cars more affordable for consumers. Car maintenance should be substantially lower for the Leaf since there are less moving parts. This, combined with the much lower re-fueling cost will allow the Nissan Leaf to become cheaper than a similar gasoline powered car within 5 to 15 years, depending on the price of gasoline. 5 years if one assumes $4 dollars a gallon and up to 15 if one assumes $2 dollars a gallon. If gasoline goes above $4 dollars a gallon, electric vehicles like the Leaf become a no-brainer. Of course these are only rough estimates and many others factors should be considered, but it appears that the dawn of the electric vehicle is upon us. This is especially true considering battery technology is still rather underdeveloped. New ceramic-based battery designs may offer the best qualities of ultra-capacitors, namely high speed charging and discharging, with the energy density of modern batteries, allowing electric vehicles a greater comparative advantage.