P/cloudy
49°
P/cloudy
Hi 63° | Lo 42°

Dublin family goes green with electric car

  • Sarah Franklin shows off her electric car's unique features outside her home in Dublin on Thursday morning. Franklin and her husband, Mick Induni, purchased the Nissan Leaf about six months ago.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Sarah Franklin shows off her electric car's unique features outside her home in Dublin on Thursday morning. Franklin and her husband, Mick Induni, purchased the Nissan Leaf about six months ago.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The small solar panel on the roof of the Nissan Leaf powers some of the car's internal features, including the heated seats.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    The small solar panel on the roof of the Nissan Leaf powers some of the car's internal features, including the heated seats.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • This electric plug at the front of the Nissan Leaf is used to charge the car when it is not in use.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    This electric plug at the front of the Nissan Leaf is used to charge the car when it is not in use.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Sarah Franklin shows off her electric car's unique features outside her home in Dublin on Thursday morning. Franklin and her husband, Mick Induni, purchased the Nissan Leaf about six months ago.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • The small solar panel on the roof of the Nissan Leaf powers some of the car's internal features, including the heated seats.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • This electric plug at the front of the Nissan Leaf is used to charge the car when it is not in use.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

DUBLIN — With the simple push of a button, Sarah Franklin of Dublin turns on her family’s new electric car on Thursday morning and is ready to go. She won’t have to make a side trip for gas either. Her Nissan Leaf has been charging overnight by way of an electric outlet in the family’s garage and will take her up to 100 miles on a fully charged battery.

“My husband and I were pioneers. We were among the first to take the plunge,” Franklin said of the family’s recent car purchase. “It’s a small step in the right direction.”

Franklin’s husband, Mick Induni, wrote in an email to the Ledger-Transcript last week that his family tries to be conscious of their environmental footprint, although he acknowledged that there are arguments that can deflate the green credentials of an electric car. The electricity to charge the battery is likely not coming from a renewable source, he wrote, adding that the batteries also contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.

“But the bottom line is, even if you add all of them up, you’re still coming out way ahead in the pollution stakes,” Induni wrote. “Our car makes no emissions.”

For about two years now, the couple has been talking about replacing their former gas-powered Saab for an electric car. Spending approximately $400 per month in gas, Franklin said, was no longer a financially feasible option.

The Nissan Leaf is powered by an electric motor rather than by an internal combustion engine like most cars. And, unlike a hybrid, Induni noted, it has no gas engine at all. The car does have a small solar panel on its roof, which powers some of the car’s added features like the heated seats.

“We have had it for six months now and have driven about 2,000 miles a month in it, just charging it overnight on a regular 110-volt outlet,” Induni wrote. “The electric bill has gone up around $70 a month.”

While the cost savings is great, the couple said that electric car buyers must be mindful of is its travel limitations. The Nissan Leaf does not have a gas engine backup, Franklin said Thursday, so advanced planning for long-distance travel is a must. But it’s not impossible, she added.

With the help of an application on her iPod, Franklin said that she and her husband are able to find public charging stations along their route to Maine, Cape Cod, Mass., or wherever it is that they want to go. In addition to electric outlet access at Nissan dealers across the country, Franklin said a number of restaurants, Big Y grocery stores and some residences offer places to charge up the car’s battery.

Franklin recalled that the couple went to a Margaritas restaurant in New England recently where they ate dinner in the outside seating area next to their Nissan Leaf, which was plugged into a nearby electric outlet.

“People were coming up to us and asking about it,” Franklin smiled. “The car’s definitely a conversation piece.”

Because 99 percent of the family’s travel is from Dublin to either Keene or Peterborough, the couple said that the car doesn’t limit them and more than adequately meets their daily needs.

“We love [the car],” Induni wrote. “It saves us money, it’s a great car to drive and we’re creating less pollution.”

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.