Public charging in Boston- a behind the wheel review

If you thought about switching to electric transportation in Boston, here’s a worthwhile read for you. Trying to calm his range anxiety,  Clifford Atiyeh spent a week  driving a Nissan Leaf through the streets of Boston. The result- one less anxious driver, and a review of public charging spots around town.

Filling up at City Hall (Photo: Eliana Monteforte for

Drive like the the wind

If you’re ever running low on battery power and want to get some more wind in your sails, head to the Dorchester IBEW and get your car filled on wind power. To promote zero emission transportation the folks at the local 103 union hooked up this 100 Kilowatt turbine to their EV charger providing free, clean electricity. The turbine, which can power about 35 US homes towers to a height of 149 feet, which means that even if you’re lost- you can’t really miss it. 

Why we love electric vehicles

What made us fall for electric cars is the moment that you push the ignition switch and nothing happens- no sound, no vibration just silence. In many ways it’s a bit like switching on your cellphone, TV, or stereo. Some lights come on and it’s good to go. But what sealed the deal for us were two critical factors price and pollution.

Price: Yes, electric cars are more expensive, but with rising fuel prices a mile driven on electricity will cost you about 2-7 cents per mile, as opposed to about 11 cents (when comparing to a 27.5 mpg car). This means that if you drive 15,000 miles a year you could save about $1,300 to $1,600, or more if you sign up for a special electric vehicle charging rate.

Finally, electricity costs are steady. Gas prices fluctuate wildly based on factors well out of our control. Since 1990 gasoline prices have quadrupled while electricity has risen by only ⅓. Electric vehicles create less pump anxiety.

Pollution: You don’t have to be a green advocate to understand that pollution is bad for our health and our planet. When compared to gasoline cars, an electric car charged on Boston, New York City, or Philadelphia power emits about 75% less pollution. That’s like driving a 57-75 MPG car.

And then there’s the driving. Since there are less moving parts and no combustion, pushing the pedal to the metal has the same effect of turning the volume up on your stereo- Instant torque. No lag, no hiccups, just pure motion.  While this requires some adjusting you’ll be wondering why regular cars don’t operate this way.