The Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf are slowly putting cars on the road, mostly in California, as the companies ramp up production and start delivering to their patient customers. GM handed out 281 Volts in February (928 total), and Nissan got 67 Leafs (173 so far) out the door. It’s fair to say, especially given those tiny numbers, that only one family has both a Volt and Leaf.
To recap, the Leaf is the world's first modern all-electric car from a major automaker, and it offers 100 miles of range in an attractive $32,790 package that bristles with connectivity. The Volt is a plug-in hybrid with 25 to 50 miles of electric range, and another 300 from its gas engine. It goes for $41,000, but like the Leaf it's eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
Felix Kramer is the founder of CalCars.org, and there is no more dedicated electric vehicle booster. Without Kramer’s tireless crusading and gentle lobbying, it’s unlikely that the plug-in hybrid car would even exist. Here's Kramer talking on the day the first Leaf was delivered near San Francisco:
Kramer and his wife, Rochelle Lefkowitz (president of bicoastal Pro-Media Communications), live near San Francisco, which is one of the world’s epicenter for green cars. California is likely to have more plug-in cars by 2015 than the next five states combined.
The couple is used to running around in the plug-in Prius conversion CalCars.org used as advance guard for the technology, so they’re no stranger to green. And they’re finding what it’s like to live with both of the flagship electric vehicles.
“Having both cars is a double dream come true after a decade’s advocacy for plug-in vehicles.” Lefkowitz says. “They’re a great pair, both regular cars with great handling and pep. We use the slightly more efficient five-seater Leaf for most local driving. When we head out of town or expect to exceed the Leaf’s 80-mile range -- or when we both need to drive -- we use the Volt.” Kramer says, “If we were a one-car family, we’d just have the Volt.”
They say that people ask them often which one is better, but they’re far too diplomatic for that: “We like different features in each,” Lefkowitz said. Kramer adds, “The real competition is between the electric mile and the gasoline mile. Automakers are just showing what they can do with plug-in cars, and the Volt and Leaf, plus new models from Ford, Toyota and Honda will lead many more drivers to switch.”