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The Electric Vehicle: "The Greatest Thing Since the Invention of the Tire”


Passionate words from an FPL customer and owner of a Nissan LEAF

At Florida Power & Light, we are passionate about plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), and so are our customers. With PEVs’ ability to lower fuel costs by 80 percent, while emitting 70 percent fewer emissions compared to gas-powered cars in FPL’s service territory, we certainly believe these vehicles live up to their hype and excitement.

I recently spoke with an FPL customer who is so hooked on his all-electric Nissan Leaf that he plans to own one for the rest of his life. After transitioning to a Leaf from a Lincoln Navigator, which he says got about 12 miles to the gallon, David Douglas shared his enthusiasm with us in this brief interview:*

Q: What motivated you to purchase an electric vehicle?
I used to drive a Navigator that got about 12 miles a gallon. I got so tired of driving a tank with me being the only passenger.

Q: How did you learn about the Leaf?
A: The first time I saw a commercial about the Leaf, I went online to investigate. In ten minutes, I was hooked. I went to Naples Nissan and test-drove one, then went home and placed an order for a Leaf. Once getting my new car, I fell in love with it. The Leaf replaced the Navigator, and I have never looked back.

Q: What’s your favorite part about the car?
A: No more gas stations. No more oil changes. The Leaf is also fun to drive, quiet, and very fast. I was shocked how fast the Leaf is.

Q: Approximately how much have you seen your electric bill increase each month?
A: I have only seen an increase of about $35 a month. That’s with recharging every day. I was spending $80 a week on filling the beast Navigator.

Q: How do you charge your Leaf?
A: I plug my Leaf in at the end of the day into a 110 volt outlet, and by morning, the Leaf is fully charged. One thing I do not understand is why Nissan is pushing a charging station.

Q: So, you don’t think it’s necessary for EV owners to install a charging station at home?
Don’t waste your money on the charging station.

Q: Have you ever used a public charging station, then?
A: I have never used a public charging station, never needed to.

Q: What is your typical day of driving like in the Leaf?
My day with my Leaf: drive to the grocery store, drive to the health club, go out for dinner, and then back home.

Q: How far do you get on a single charge of your battery?
A:  On a full charge, I am getting about 100 miles per charge. I also find the gauge for miles left is very accurate. I have been down to two miles left, and the performance was great.

Q: You seem pretty happy with your Leaf. Would you buy another electric vehicle (EV)?
I am very hooked on my EV. I will always own an EV for the rest of my life.

Q: What would you tell people who are curious about owning a Leaf or another electric vehicle?
A: I must have 10 people a day ask me about the Leaf. What I can’t figure out is why people can’t figure it out. It’s the greatest thing since the invention of the tire.

To learn more about electric vehicles, you can visit www.FPL.com/ElectricVehicles.

We’d love to hear from you! If you own a PEV, or are considering buying one, we want to hear what you think. Contact us at electricvehicles@fpl.com.

*Please note that not all opinions of our customers reflect those of FPL.

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Comments [36]

  1. david douglas

    As I promised I would keep everyone up to date on my experience on owning a Leaf
    I had my first problem with my Leaf
    After charging all night and the leaf stating that it was fully charged, I had only 82 miles till empty.
    Normally its about 103 till empty
    So I kept an eye on it and the problem persisted
    I called Nissan and made a appointment to correct.
    Service said they had to reset the computer as if it were a new car
    Reason? My driving habits were shown that I acierate fast. Really?
    Well, it worked. I am back to a 103 reading when fully charged.
    After owning for about two years, service said the batteries are in great shape.
    Back to loving my Leaf
    Please all e-vehicles, lets stay in touch

  2. CaptTurbo

    Hi folks. I’m way into solar and have a 10.12 KW system on my home that more then covers the power that I use. I pump power back into the grid that FPL cheats me on paying nearly nothing for. But that’s Beside the point.

    I don’t know why anyone would buy an electric vehicle when they could go out and buy any one of the various TDI modes that VW sells here in the US. I have a 2009 VW TDI Sportwagen which has 67 cubic feet of cargo capacity and gives me 38.7 mpg city and well over 50 mpg highway. This thing has a turbo diesel engine that pays out 236 ft lbs of torque. These electric contrivances have nothing like that. My clean diesel runs circles around them and can out distance them on a tank of fuel. Don’t get caught up in the hype. FPL is power company trying to sell you electricity. Duh!

    1. david douglas

      Captain turbo
      But you are still paying for gas.
      And I do too when we take longer trips
      But for everyday driving, the monthly cost is around 30 a month.
      I need to clearly state, I do not work for FPL
      I really appreciate your comments
      David Douglas

  3. Elizabeth

    Excellent comment. Thank you. I’m shopping for an EV now and even though I would love to buy a Tesla, there’s a long waiting list for it.
    In your opinion, what’s the best brand for that Level2 Charge Station?
    Thank you Fernando.

    1. david douglas

      Sorry so late in responding to your question.
      As I have stated you do not need to buy the 210 charge
      110 works great
      Just plug in when you get home and in the morning it is all charged
      Also an update to all
      Still not one problem with leaf yet, runs like the day I got it
      I love my leaf
      no concerns about the price of gas…….

  4. David Douglas

    I agree with you but the leaf I think is about 31,000 loaded
    The gas savings has been about 400 a month
    I really want to keep all informed as the years pass.
    I have not had one problem with my leaf!
    How long term is that going to hold up
    Is the million dollar question.
    How will the trade in be in 3 years
    Time will tell, but as gas keeps going up the more I enjoy my leaf
    David Douglas

  5. Dave B

    Hasn’t anyone noticed yet that the EV’s and hybrids are all more expensive than a gaser? In fact even gaser’s that get over 35 mpg are almost twice the cost of a car at around 22 mpg. Some might be a lot different but those that are the same models where the engine is the only difference are also more expensive. It’s as though if we want to save money with EV’s or high mileage gas cars we have to pay more for them as punishment for trying to spend less on gas. When I got my first 4 cylinder 10 years ago gas was still under $2.00. I gave up my 14 mpg van with 2 tanks to save with this little 31mpg car. Did well for a while but now gas cost over $40.00 to fill up again. FULL CIRCLE??

  6. david douglas

    Good for you
    You sound like you have reached your goals

  7. david douglas

    I did not see that article but can tell you that I drive 50-60 miles an hour without that problem.
    It is the fastest car I have ever driven.
    I do not drive at 75 miles an hour because it will decrease the battery life faster.
    But if you do city driving its great
    I have a Cadillac SRX for the long and fast driving.
    Yes I agree I am tired of the oil companies. that’s why I bought the leaf.
    I sure don’t miss spending over 300 in fuel a month.
    Thanks again for your thoughts
    David Douglas

  8. david douglas

    Congrats on reaching your goals.
    Its nice to talk to someone that owns a leaf.
    I think people are afraid of something new.
    Once you get it, its like wow. Why don’t other people get it
    Please stay in touch about long term satisfaction of your leaf
    Have you had any problems with your leaf?
    I have owned the leaf for a year without a single problem.
    Happy Trails

    David Douglas

  9. david douglas

    Great thoughts you have
    I am leasing my leaf for that reason, because of what the resale may be. No one knows because its a new market.
    I will say that Nissan has a 10 year warranty on the batteries. The cost to replace the batteries I was told from Nissan is 3,000.
    Your right on trade ins its a total rip off.
    I plan on owning a ev for the rest of my life.
    I love it

  10. david douglas

    You really bring up some great questions.
    Let me start by saying I am retired. I would never use the Leaf for business. The leaf is only used for around town at about a 100 miles a day.
    I have nothing to compare to a smaller car other than we have a Cadillac srx that we were spending 80 to fill up a week. My wife and I drive the leaf 99 percent of the time.
    I fill up the srx once a month at best.
    Nissan leaf has a 110 charge and a 640 charge which would take 15 minutes to fully recharge.
    The federal government is working on a program that will have as many charging stations as gas stations.
    The leaf is just in the beginning stages.
    Soon we will see 400 miles per charge,800 per charge. It will take time.
    The leaf has to fit your style. I
    don’t miss 80 a week in gas.

    David Douglas

  11. david douglasdd

    If the Prius is working for you great
    The leaf works for us.
    99 percent of our driving is around town with a average of 80 miles a day
    When we go to ORLANDO we use the gas car.
    The leaf is not meant for long driving.
    But, I am being told that charging stations in 5 years will be everywhere.
    Nissan is working with the federal government to create incentives to such places like Lowes, Walgreens, Sam’s, Costco. Where when you shop you can charge.
    They have a 15 min charge to fully recharge the leaf.
    Thanks for your questions
    David Douglas

  12. david douglas

    Thank you for your great questions.
    I have been on 75 going 90 miles an hour.
    The big but is at 90 miles an hour, the battery life can go fast.
    I can have 4-5 people in the car. 4 very comfortable.
    The leaf inside has as much room inside as our Cadillac SRX.
    after the tax savings between state and federal the car loaded was 31,000
    I drive the leaf about 80 miles a day. Around town.
    I hope this answers all your questions

    Happy Trails

  13. David Douglas

    I agree with you 100 percent.
    The leaf is not good for someone that drives more than a 100 miles at a giving time.
    The leaf is for around town
    Shopping,dinner, or what ever
    We have a gas car for those times
    Again, 99 percent of our driving is around town.
    No oil changes, no filling up at the pump
    I have had the leaf for a year now and know the how and whys
    I don’t miss the 85 fill ups a week
    The leaf is not for everyone. It has to fit your life style
    Our life style is the short trips to and from.
    Thanks for your comments
    As I have said I will keep all informed as to my experience with my leaf as time passes.

  14. Ken

    How fast are you able to go can you keep up with high way driving?How many people are you able to Carrie and drive on 100 miles??What is the price range?? Thanks, Ken

  15. Bernie Waltzer

    I’m very happy with my non plug-in Prius. The Leaf seems fine for around town use, but what happens if you want to travel a long distance?

  16. Dave

    As far as the Volt being too expensive:
    With a little shopping on the internet you can find them for $6K below sticker plus the $7.5K tax credit. Then add the no-gas savings and you are well ahead.
    Had my Volt for 4 months and love it. Have not seen any change in my electric bill, averaging $116.00 monthly before and after the Volt.
    Previous car was an E-500 Wagon, 4-Matic. $180.00 gas bill per month. With the Volt I drive free in the Express and HOV, another $25.00 per month savings.
    Anybody saying a Volt is too expensive is just un-informed or ignorant as it pays for itself.

  17. Donald Phillips

    Some months I only spend $15/mo. on gas for my pick-up truck, I just don’t go anywhere! Just like “Electric Car Man!”

  18. Darian Taylor

    I read this with interest, but some questions arose. A Lincoln Navigator is one of the biggest, heaviest SUV’s around; what if the customer had switched from a small compact gasoline-driven car comparable in size to the LEAF? What would be the comparison in monetary savings? Would the savings be as dramatic? How much does the LEAF cost? Also, what would the customer do IF he ran out of charge…say… during busy workday (which I noticed was missing from his daily activities) with some unanticipated client appointments. Where would the customer recharge? How long would it take to recharge? Answers to these questions would help the FLP readership to make a better evaluation of this new technology.

  19. KuzmaEagle

    Great article! Concerned about re-sale value of an EV? Worried something might happen to the EV battery? Do a Lease instead of buying an EV. Also, don’t forget about the tax breaks on new EV’s. I am leasing a Volt for 3 years and after trading in my hybrid and figuring in the $7,500 federal tax break, I’m paying less than $200/month. I used to own a Chevy Avalanche and put almost $100 a fill-up each week…Ridiculous! I was ready for something a little more economical. Oh, you want to talk about poor re-sale value? I lost so much money on that SUV when I traded it in–nobody wanted it!

  20. robyn & lewis

    I think we are doing great. We are 100% solar and we also own a nissan leaf and it does not cost of any thing to charge the leaf.

  21. Scotty Turner

    I am still waiting on comparing EV with conventional gasoline engined vechicle on a cost/mile and emmissions basis using apples-to-apples size cars, and including the EV battery replacement cost, and including the electricity cost (which was done here; thanks!), and including the emmissions for the electricity generator. A Lincoln Navigator is way ourside apples-to-apples.

  22. david douglas

    I could not agree more with your thoughts.
    I hated filling up my Navigator at the cost of around 85 dollars every week.
    The leaf gets about 100 miles per charge. The leaf is great for around town. Which 99 percent of my driving consist of.
    When we go to Orlando we take our Cadillac SRX
    which I just hate to see what I spend in fuel.
    The electric cars are the future, like it or not. I love it
    David Douglas

  23. david douglas

    yes I did have a pricy navigator that I paid over 51,000 for.
    The leaf was about 30,000 fully loaded. The leaf has as much room as my Cadillac SRX.
    The leaf is the fasted car I have ever driven.
    The batteries have a 10 year warranty, 3,000 to replace.
    I have had the leaf for about a year, and still so amazed.
    No oil changes, no gas. Nissan is pushing the 3,000 dollar charging station. Why? You don’t need it. I plug into a 110 plug when I get home and by the morning it is fully charged.
    After all incentives from the state and federal tax credits the leaf cost 30,000
    Hope this helps
    David Douglas

  24. david douglas

    I did not look at the volt because of the batteries.
    I had heard you need to replace the batteries every three years at a cost of 7,000.
    That is what I like about the leaf, 10 year warranty and 3 thousand to replace them. They are lithium batteries. You can never over charge them.
    As far as the comfort the leaf has as much room as my Cadillac SRX.
    I paid about 30,000 fully loaded for the leaf. That was after the state and federal incentives.
    Thanks for your comment

    David Douglas

  25. Richard Strahs

    Saw your article on the Leaf…I’ve owned a Volt since Oct. 2012 and have not put any gas in it yet…I have not noticed ANY noticeable increase in my electric bill…I went from $350 a month for fuel down to virtually nothing…and with my gas engine back-up, I don’t have to worry about having only 2 miles to go…ELECTRIC is the only way to truly conserve gas!!! Rich

    1. Wayne

      These electrics have three big “downers” as far as I can see, and this is why most people haven’t jumped on the bandwagon…

      1. Limited range. 100 miles may be OK for taking the kids to school and buying groceries, but I commute 84 miles one way to work. There’s no charging station here.

      2. Up front costs… pure electrics cost way more than even a hybrid. What you spent up front would have gone a long way toward buying gasoline and oil changes for a larger vehicle.

      3. At some point the battery pack is going to have to be replaced, at a major cost of thousands of dollars.

      Pure electrics are just not ready for prime time yet… maybe someday.

  26. Norman McGill

    I’ve given a lot of thought to Electric vehicles but have found the initial cost is way out of line with the expected savings in fuel. Also we all know how batteries don’t last long in Florida so allowing five years for the battery life, the 2-3000 dollar replacement cost completely eliminates any savings on fuel that you may realize.
    We have a ways to go yet before these vehicles actually will be worth buying.

  27. Fernando

    Guys, I have a nissan leaf 2013 SV (not the cheapest one there is),and I pay monthly 250 for a lease, I think is a bargain, drives very smooth, what was thought out as second car became the first car in my house, we even go out on weekends with the leaf.

    Now, I Bought a charging station level 2 it charges the leaf at 3am when electricity is cheapest for about 2 1/2 hours daily. I pay roughly 30dls a month. In case of need the level 2 charges the car very quick, gives peace of mind and will work for my other future electric cars, I don’t see myself buying old fashion gasoline vehicles anymore.

    My point is, electric cars are right now a better deal if you lease, technology is changing rapidly so in 3 years you will be able to get a better deal and like this you will be worry free about resaling or battery depletion issues.

    Lease a leaf or a tesla, is the best out there as BEV (battery electric vehicle) is concern.

  28. Ed Benton

    This article is somewhat misleading. Mr. Douglas’ description of his day driving the Leaf does not include going to or from work. There was a recent article in the Florida Today newspaper about another Leaf owner in Titusville who drives his leaf 30 miles each way to and from work every day. He says that he cannot drive 55 or 60 mph at all on the way to work and still have enough charge to get home. He must cruise at 40-45 mph and must pull over every so often to let other drivers pass him. This Leaf owner still seems very happy with his car, but from what I gleaned from the article, his main motivation for his love for the car seems to be “sticking it to the oil companies”, not personal convenience.

  29. Robert Mezzio

    As a SECOND car, I believe the Leaf is a viable option. It can be a very good commuter car and for short trips. I purchased a Toyota Prius in 2006 and the $29,000 minus the tax credit of $4,000 ended up costing me $25,000. This is MUCH less expensive than a Volt. i don’t get as good gas milage BUT I do get consistently 50 MPG and I have put 126,000 miles on it so far. The only things I’ve had to purchase are two sets of tires, a $200.00 battery (after six years) a set of front headlights, and the same regular maintenance (oil, tire rotation, wheel alignment, etc.). The brakes are ORIGINAL. I also drove it on a 4,500 mile trip last summer. I couldn’t see myself doing it in a Leaf. But I CAN drive from Fort Myers to Milton, FL (close to Pensacola) on one tank (11 gallons) of gas.

  30. Wayne

    Good story, butttttt, this gentleman was trading in a pricy Lcn navigator for an equally pricey Leaf. There were no purchase prices mentioned. I checked out the Volt and it was so expensive, it is not worth the initial cost of the car. Now if not only the price of the car and the batteries when they need to be replaced, were lower AND the roi on a home based solar installation, with FPL net metering was worth the installation, THEN, THAT would make the overall investment a good one for millions, rather than the few who presently can buy a Leaf or Volt.

  31. david douglas

    Thank you for your comments
    I have owned my leaf for about a year.
    As stated I am hooked.
    As far as resale I am not concerned about resale because of the money I have saved in gas, oil changes.
    I will follow how the car holds up in value because I will get a new leaf every three years.
    I was told with technology as it is that we could see the Leaf get 250 miles per charge in three years.
    I will keep everyone up to date.
    Happy Trails

  32. Adam Kutner

    This is a great observation. You really get a feel for this new technology when you can hear it from the words of an owner who gets a feel for how these cars perform day to day, week to week, and month to month. Being in the car business, I have to ask myself, in 5 to 15 years how will these cars hold up in resell value? I know that many people I have talked to are concerned about resell value and high initial costs(hidden with a large tax refund after purchase).


      well look at the chevy volt and tell me about the gas money you save when the little box of a car cost over $40,000 to start. the technology is there to get great mileage out of gas vehicles and if we used corn for food instead of gasoline the engine would perform much better and the price of food would come down a lot as well.