Green Technology  

How-To: Buying an Electric Car

Copper Development Association blogger John Hipchen takes readers on a ride with the Nissan LEAF
 Questions to ask before you buy electric
 
 

 

Provided by Copper Development Association Inc.

 

John Hipchen doesn’t necessarily think of himself as a pioneer. But when it comes to buying an electric vehicle, he’s a consumer in a new world.

A former chemist, and now a technical marketing consultant for the Exel Consulting Group based in Palatine, Ill., Hipchen, 55, became an official l Nissan LEAF owner last month. He began the purchase process last year and blogged about his EV adventure in coppertalk, the CDA blog.

“Rising fuel costs are not only impacting our economy, but also the way we live,” Hipchen says in a blog entry. “As a big believer in human ingenuity, I am willing and even anxious to change my lifestyle in exchange for efficiency, a better environment and lower costs.”

In a series of blog entries, Hipchen covers questions all consumers should consider when purchasing an EV:

  • What are my driving habits & how much do I pay for gasoline?
  • Will my home accommodate an EV charging station?
  • What are the features of the EV and how much will it cost?
  • Is there infrastructure for charging stations in my geographic area?

“I learned about electric and insurance rates and all the variables -- it’s important for consumers to analyze the economics in detail before they make a purchase,” Hipchen says. “If the economics work, we’ll likely see the purchase of EVs exceed expectations.”

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Copper is a Key Component in EVs

Copper is a key resource for both the electric car and the infrastructure that makes them run. The average car produced in North America has 50-55 pounds of copper in it. In an electric car, that amount can triple.

Although EVs and hybrid vehicles don’t yet have wide consumer appeal, the emerging technology is good for the environment and the economy, says Bob Weed, CDA vice president OEM.

“Even if EVs are only a small percentage of the market so far, there now are fewer cars burning gasoline and releasing tailpipe emissions,” Weed says. “The copper industry is pleased to be an important part of this energy technology.”

Automotive Copper Facts to Consider

  • The average car produced in North America has 50-55 pounds of copper in it. In a hybrid vehicle, the amount will double. In a pure electric car, the amount of copper will triple.

  • More than two-thirds of the copper will be found in car’s wiring harness and electrical components.

  • Copper has the highest conductivity of any metal that can be practically used for conveying electricity.

  • Each year in the U.S., nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore.

 

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