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USA: City’s first Nissan Leaf owner talks pros, cons of car

NASHUA – Some people think of their cars as a big toy, others as a tool for living, others as a status symbol.

Bob Grassetti has a different comparison.

“It’s just like a cell phone,” he said. “You have to keep on top of it, keep it charged.”

Such is life as owner of one of New Hampshire’s first production electric cars, a Nissan Leaf that Grassetti has been driving since Feb. 3. Grassetti, who took a three-year lease on the car from a combination of environmental concern and early-adopter technology lust, has become an advocate for the Leaf.

“It’s awesome to drive. I love driving it,” he said, during a recent spin around the Hudson industrial park where his company, cleaning products distributor Industrial Solutions, is headquartered. “If I want to go, it goes, it really goes. The top speed is 90 – well, that’s what they told me. I haven’t tried it.”

He calculates that his operating costs are the equivalent of buying gasoline at 50 cents a gallon – not bad during these $4-a-gallon days. There’s also no oil to change, no tailpipe and muffler to rust out, no maintenance aside from refilling the windshield washing solution.

Of course, these savings doesn’t take into account big upfront costs, including a home charger that costs almost $1,000 including installation. For the time being, that cost, as well as $7,500 of the Leaf’s roughly $30,000 price tag, are covered by tax credits as part of a federal push to get more electric vehicles on the road.


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