Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, has signed lease papers for a new Nissan Leaf. Previously he had been driving another energy-efficient vehicle, a Toyota Prius. Senator Alexander said of his switch from a hybrid gas-electric car to an all-electric one, “…the single best way for our country to use less foreign oil is to use all electric cars and trucks. It will also give me the patriotic pleasure of not sending more money overseas to people who want to blow us up.” Source: (Blounttoday.com)
He will be driving the Nissan Leaf in Washington, D.C. to and from his office. Leasing costs about $400 a month, for 39 months, though there are some start-up fees as well. The price to purchase a Leaf is $32,000, though there are various tax rebates, both at the federal and state levels. With the incentives, the price can be lowered to about $25,000.
Although it is true, having more electric vehicles in this country would reduce our oil consumption, and in part our dependence on foreign oil, the Nissan Leaf is still a Japanese car. Even if each one is entirely assembled in the United States, as they will be by next year near Nashville, the parent company is foreign. Why can’t we simply build our own electric vehicles, and reduce foreign oil dependence at the same time we are investing in our companies? Currently we seem to be partly dependent on foreign oil, and foreign vehicles. The Senator also said, “Our goal should be to electrify half our cars and trucks within 20 years, which could reduce our dependence on oil by about a third, from about 20 million to about 13 million barrels a day.” Source: (Blounttoday.com)
I would hope the Senator, at some point, will look into leasing an American-made Tesla sedan, or purchasing one. Unfortunately, they do cost more, but hopefully the price will decrease as more are made. The Nissan Leaf is a very good car, I just wish we had made it first, instead of having to go through the SUV craze, and buy them from a foreign company. (Actually the GM EV-1 did come out much sooner, but it was recalled and many were crushed in an inexplicably bad case of decision-making.)
It is also possible to do home conversions of existing vehicles to electric power, but obviously it is work only for the mechanically inclined. These projects typically cost between five and ten thousand dollars. One man did his own conversion using old parts for about $1,000.
Somehow I doubt any Senators will get behind electric car conversions though.
Image Credit: Tennen-Gas