All electric vehicles are the latest being offered by the big automakers around the world. The current market leading plug-in cars are the zero emission Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt hybrid. It will only cost $2.75 according to Nissan to fully charge the Leaf, and that will power the vehicle for 100 miles. The only problem being that the lack of available charging stations makes long distance travel problematic. This should be less of a problem as these new electric vehicles become widespread. Last year the Department of Energy released $115 million in grants to build charging stations across the country.
The Chevrolet Volt uses a hybrid electric/gas engine. This allows it to escape the limitations of an electric charging infrastructure but comes with an additional cost. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the first 40 miles in the Volt will cost a nickel, but if you need to go farther a gas-powered engine will kick in that will extend its range to almost 275 miles. Even then it will only cost a dime.
The Chevy Volt
All levels of government are putting forward incentives
for consumers to get these new vehicles. With the most recent tax bill being passed, consumers can claim a $7,500 tax credit for purchasing an electric vehicle. Businesses can claim up to $30,000. Many states have their own incentives of their own. California offers rebates of up to $5,000 and states like New Jersey and Washington exempt electric vehicles from sales taxes.
Give plenty of room in bad conditions.
The American Insurance Association reports that there are more then 1.5 million car accidents every year that can be blamed on weather based poor driving conditions. That adds up to over 7,000 deaths and 750,000 injuries. According to major auto insurers in the US there are also far more insurance claims during the winter then any other time of year. Many experts agree that a driver’s performance doesn’t necessarily degrade in bad weather, but questionable driving practices are far riskier when bad weather is involved. Following other vehicles too closely and taking turns too quickly can quickly ’spin’ out of control on icy roads or in limited visibility due to blowing snow.
To stay safe during when driving, consider the following winter driving tips:
- Remember when breaking on icy road conditions is to pump your breaks rather then slamming on them if you begin to skid out of control if you do not have anti-lock breaks. If you DO have anti-lock breaks slam on the breaks otherwise the anti-lock system will not be able to take over.
- Get your vehicle checked. Get a qualified mechanic check your anti-freeze, battery, brakes, and headlights.
- Instead of driving straight into your driveway, back your car in so you have better vision when pulling out..
- Getting winter tires can improve your cars grip on the road. Otherwise make sure that your tires are properly inflated and in good condition.
- Avoid travel in hazardous weather. If you are forced to drive go slow and give yourself lots of time to reach your destination.
- In any weather be cautions of other drivers on the road. Bad weather can spring up at any time and other drivers may not be as prepared for the weather as you are.