Counting Up The Cost - 2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf: Counting Up The Cost

April 05, 2011

Kitchen Counter.JPG

One of the things that can be most frustrating about electric cars like the Leaf is the lack of transparency when it comes to the cost of power consumption.

It's easy to tell exactly how much it costs to fuel your Accord each week -- and to make reasonably accurate predictions regarding the weeks ahead -- but for electric vehicles, the picture becomes more nebulous.

Complicating things further is the tiered rate system that we have here in California. Under this system, your electricity rate is dependent on the amount you consume; the more you consume, the higher your rate.

During our recent trip to Southern California Edison's Energy Education Center for the"Smart Energy Experience" exhibit, I got the chance to learn about SCE's plans to make power consumption more transparent.

The utility is rolling out Smart Grid technologies that enable you to monitor your power usage as it happens. For example, if you plug in your Leaf for charging, you'll be able to see via a display like the one shown above exactly what kind of impact it's having on your electricity bill.

Seems like these kinds of technologies can serve to make cars like the Leaf a more practical proposition for the average consumer. What's your take?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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