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USA: After 15 months, driver loves life with his electric Nissan Leaf

15 months after buying the very first affordable, mass produced, fully electric car sold in the United States, Olivier Chalouhi of Mountain View, California, still loves his Nissan Leaf.

We’ve been tracking this French-born entrepreneur since December of 2010, and since then he’s logged 15,000 miles cruising around Silicon Valley without a single mechanical problem. Initially, he said he wanted the car to help the environment and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Now, thanks to new rules that allow electric cars to use California’s carpool lanes, he says he’d buy a Leaf just for that perk.

“The carpool stickers are saving me a half hour to an hour of commute time every day,” he says.

During our most recent visit, it was pouring rain, but the Leaf handled just fine. “It has good traction, it brakes really well.”

And as he passes gas stations posting ever-rising prices, Chalouhi knows he’s saving money, too.

He charges his car nightly in his garage, a process that takes about 8 hours. That extra juice has raised his electric bill about $60.00 a month, but he pays monthly what many drivers pay weekly for gas.



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