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Turning Over a New LEAF

Turning Over a New LEAF

When I first joined ENE as an intern, I knew very little about electric vehicles, although as someone who had always been very concerned about sustainability and the environment, I was definitely excited to learn more. I could never have foreseen that I would be here, almost two years later as an Outreach & Marketing Specialist, test driving a local used Nissan LEAF as a “secret shopper” of sorts (and with enough EV related factoids to share for a solid hour during a family event – yes I have become that person).

People often get confused about what exactly my job is. Most people tend to assume that my job is to sell EVs, but that’s not the case at all. My job is to help the Energy New England (ENE) EV Team run and support the numerous Drives Electric programs across the state of Massachusetts. More specifically, my job is to provide brand agnostic support and education to our Drives Electric communities, assisting those already interested in EVs and spreading awareness to those with little to no current interest. It’s my job to help dispel myths and educate our communities on how driving electric can help simplify their lives, help their local economy, environment, and help grow their personal savings.

The 2015 Nissan LEAF I test drove

For example, people often believe that switching to an EV will be an expensive or complicated process. They look at initial MSRPs without calculating in all the local, state and federal purchase and charging station rebates/incentives (which combined can often total around $10k or more off the initial price). They also often don’t know to compare the Total Cost of Ownership between an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle and an EV. From the cost of fuel – often around a dollar or less a gallon equivalent cost for electricity- to the lifelong minimized repair cost due to EV specific features like regenerative braking, to monthly off-peak charging bill credits from their local municipal electricity provider; the switch is often far better for their pocketbook than initially anticipated.

Me, examining the charger & car quality.

Beyond this educational element, it’s also my job keep up with local dealerships and make sure they’re providing a smooth and well-informed experience for potential EV drivers. Which is how I recently found myself taking a test drive of a 2015 pre-owned Nissan LEAF, asking all the commonly asked -and not so commonly asked- questions about EVs and local incentive programs.

The test drive itself was actually the first time I had personally driven an electric vehicle, despite being a passenger in a few before. Driving much like any other car, albeit a bit smoother and more responsive of a drive, I found myself pleasantly surprised by how easily I adjusted from an ICE vehicle to a fully Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). 

Close-up of the LEAF’s dashboard info panel

Pulling back into the dealership lot, I also found myself reflecting on how so many amazing EV opportunities like this one go unnoticed. This particular Nissan LEAF was in excellent condition, with a starting price of just over $11k. This of course was before the local incentive program, 2nd Drive (for residents of TMLP & MGED territories) kicked in, taking another $900 off the purchase price. It felt like such a wasted opportunity, all because not enough people are aware of the many incentive programs out there – for new and pre-owned EVs alike.

So, if you are interested on any level in EVs, in making the switch or simply learning a little bit more about them, by all means go for it, and don’t be shy to ask for our help. That’s what we do! Look through our site and learn more about the many incentive programs, about how EVs work and how to find the right one for you, reach out to us with specific questions or for help in scheduling a test drive of what may just be your next vehicle.

Feel free to Contact us or email us at ev@ene.org.

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