About Vin...

Who am I? Hmm...

For starters, I am NOT a tree-hugger trying to make a statement, though that's the impression folks might get when they see what's in the driveway: a 2013 Focus Electric 2015 Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, a 2014 Chevy Volt, and a 2014 RAV4 EV.

The Family Fleet, circa 2014
The Family Fleet, 2016

Fortunately, also parked in front of the house is a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab Big Horn Hemi, so hopefully that somewhat balances things out enough to prevent any anti-green extremists from vandalizing my EVs and/or snipping their charge cords.

It's not that I don't care about the environment and our future... I really do. I'm just not the type to force my rituals and beliefs on others. To me, a tree-hugger does this to an extreme and has a holier-than-thou attitude toward others that don't align with them. That's not me... I hope.

So why three EVs?

Well, first and foremost, I am a cheapskate. These EVs are saving me a decent amount of cash - about 400 bucks every month. It's cool how in this day and age that being green actually costs less over time, for some things. For example, all of our lights in the house are CFL, LED, or energy-saving fluorescent tubes. And at this point, all the appliances, the HVAC system, and pool pump are now high-efficiency units that replaced the vintage-1990s equipment that we started with. All that seems to be missing from an energy cost reduction standpoint are solar panels... I hear that the ROI on solar has gone down in the past few years,  so I'll probably seriously consider it sooner than later. But I digress.

Secondly, I am an avid automotive enthusiast. I like speed, agility, efficiency, aesthetics, ground-breaking technology, and bang-for-the-buck, not always in that order. My first car was a used 1978 Scirocco (agility and efficiency). Second one was a new 1985 Corolla GT-S (agility/efficiency/technology). I've also owned three different Corvettes (speed/aesthetics), the original Quattro (a 1983 Turbo Coupe, pioneer of AWD technology), a 1992 Honda Civic VX (a great 50mpg car that was incredibly fun on mountain roads - kept up with Mustang GTs on Angeles Crest when shod with Michelins), and about 20 other cars of various marques that had some combination of those desirable characteristics. But it was not until my 2013 Focus Electric that I have had the pleasure of driving a car that embodied all six characteristics. I initially considered it for its efficiency, bang-for-the-buck, and aesthetics; the rest of the characteristics that came with it were an unexpected bonus, and that blew the door wide open for me becoming a rabid EV enthusiast. So now we have three of them in the family fleet.

Next step? I would love to run an EV on the local race tracks.  Just for fun, not competitively. The go-fast hormone has been in my veins since I was about five years old when I saw my first NASCAR race on TV. Richard Petty fan all the way. My first electric racer was an A/FX Camaro RS/SS, a slot car, that I ran in a musty garage on a figure-eight track. In high school I raced Porsches - a 924 Carrera GT and a 908. Both were 1/10 scale lexan bodies on an Associated RC10 chassis, and competed on the parking lots of community colleges and shopping centers with the local radio-controlled car club. After college I finally graduated to racing full-scale ICE vehicles, mostly time trials at Willow Springs, Carlsbad, and Riverside raceways. Also did some autocrossing, but was never really good at it unless it was a fast course. In the late-1990s I went off-road and competed in pro-rally and rallycross events, where I met this really cute navigator on an all-girl team and eventually convinced her to marry me.

Haven't raced since. My current obsession, second only to raising my twin boys, is getting more butts in seats of electric vehicles. Hence, this blog. Enjoy!


12 comments:

Christopher Alan said...

Great website Vin, very informative. Let me know if you would be interested in writing (or repurposing) an article for my Electric Car Insider magazine (print and web). chris(at)electric-car-insider.com

sparkev said...

I'm surprised to find my blog linked in yours after I bashed FocusEV and Rav4EV for not having DCFC, and my distaste for hybrids (aka, REx including Volt). Your lease page is great though. I put a link to it from my blog.

My first car was gold colored 1977 Scirocco (popularly called sh*t rocket) that I bought for $450. It could never pass the SMOG check, so the mechanic would "work" on it for every time tweaking the mechanical fuel injection stuff; I think smog was every year back then. We had a blast in that thing, driving over 100 MPH while the speedometer was dangling back and forth at 6 o'clock position. Two years of teenager abuse was all that poor car could take, and head gasket blew. It was probably the best $450 I ever spent.

Fortunately, there's no head gasket in SparkEV, though the top speed is limited to 90 MPH. In that regard, EV is also saving me from the massive government conspiracy to take my license away; they always accuse me of going faster than the "speed limit" and take it away from time to time when we all know that I was nowhere near 186,000 miles per second.

vin said...

Thanks for the link, sparkev! Guess I didn't see where you bashed the FFE an RAV4 EV yet, but no matter because I absolutely love you blog. Lots of info and insight, I'm not even halfway through it!


Armen Hareyan said...

Hi Vin, would you like to become a TorqueNews.com contributor? Email us if interested.

Sven Thesen said...

Vin! thank you for your site! You are an EV Hero! My only request is that you clearly state that the prices listed on your leasing page do not (at lease i assume they do not) include the CA CVRP rebate - you probably do but i did not see it...
And, any time you find yourself Palo Alto way needing a charge feel free to stop by ProjectGreenHome.org.
Keep Charging & posting the prices!
Sven
ProjectGreenHome.org

vin said...

Thanks for the kind words, Sven. Good idea about the CVRP, I'll incorporate something this weekend. There are other disclaimer-type words that I should probably put out there too.

It's been a few years since I've taken the family up north to the Bay Area, long overdue for a road trip. I'll definitely stop by Palo Alto to check out the house!

Unknown said...

This Website is a wealth of great, relevant information. Refer to it often, recommend it to many. Really looking forward to seeing the first lease deals for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Thanks so much for all you're doing!

vin said...

Thanks!!! Yeah, I'm chomping at the bit for a decent lease deal on the Pacifica Hybrid too. Local dealer called me to tell me that he's got a white Platinum on the lot, which is exactly what I want, but I haven't called him back since I don't have any leverage to negotiate with... No factory lease deal that factors in the Fed rebate, and no other dealers in the area that show anything in stock (online they all say their hybrids are "in transit"). You'll be the first to know if I find any info we can use that gets us close to a decent lease deal (I'm thinking low- to mid-$400/mo average cost over 3 years for a Platinum).

Uma said...

Hi Vin ,

Thanks for creating such an awesome resource on EV's. Wanted to alert you and your readers about a scam lease deal at the Dailey Chevy in San Leandro. We went in there to lease a Bolt and they quoted a different price which was higher than advertised. It was 5k down plus the monthly payment. They made us wait for 5 hours And when we went to pay, the papers said 16k whereas the sales guy had quoted us 9k. Then the finance guy and sales guy started pointing fingers at each other and we ultimately left without a car.

Thanks,
Uma

vin said...

Thanks Uma! Sorry to hear about all of that wasted time at Dailey. What a pain. Yeah, I've had deals changed by the finance office. Once it was for the better (that happened with my Gen 1 Volt, just a few bucks a month), but the other times they were trying to tack on thousands. What an insult!

At $5K to start, their deal was no better than Fremont and Dublin. Perhaps try them out?

I noticed that Dailey pulled their lease ads... Kinda makes me wonder...

If I were in your shoes, I'd try to seal the deal from home next time, either email or texting. Then make an appointment in the next hour to pick up the car after a short test drive.

Let me know how it goes...


John Carothers said...

Hi-
How can I use filters to search for what I want? All I can see is that you have posted not tables but images of sorted tables. I'd like to "Sort by make/model/trim, then sort by avg $/mo." as you state on one of your pages, but don't see any access to the data. Help is appreciated!

vin said...

Sorry for the confusion, John. I changed "sort" to "sorted" and "filter" to "filtered" so that I don't imply that custom sorts and/or filters can be performed. I currently don't have plans to implement that capability. I might if I find time to migrate off of blogger onto some other, more sophisticated provider.