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by C.J.

A few months ago, we blogged about Better Place, an international company that is blazing the trail for an increased use in electric vehicles, or EVs. Though the widespread adoption of EVs is still a ways away, the electric car is slowly creeping its way into the forefront of our society as Americans, as Massachusetts residents, and even as Tufts students. Don’t believe me? Ask Bob Aronson, Facilities Manager at Tufts’ Boston campus, who recently purchased an electric-powered Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

The i-MieV, or Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle, can travel up to 60 miles on one charge and uses the equivalent of over 100 miles per gallon of electricity! Bob reports that these numbers are even higher based on his own experiences, as he average 70-80 miles per charge. Commuting every day from Medfield to the Boston campus, Aronson saves thousands of dollars every year in gasoline costs as well as barrels upon barrels of oil.

“I ride my bike to work as much as I can, but that’s only 6 months out of the year, weather permitting,” Bob explains. “My only other vehicle was my pick-up truck, which gets 14 or 15 miles to the gallon. It pushes snow, it lugs lumber, but it’s not the greatest commuting vehicle.”

After receiving an ostensible junk e-mail regarding Mitsubishi’s newest vehicle, Bob did the research and saw the utility in an electric car. Now, he owns one of, if not, the first fully electric vehicles in Massachusetts. Bob charges the car at a home charging station specially installed near his garage.

There are three levels of charging for electric cars. At Level 1, roughly the normal wattage of electricity in a house’s wall outlet, a full charge will take up to 16 hours. Level 2, the type at Bob’s house charges a car from E to F in 6-8 hours. At the final grade, Level 3, a dead car will zap up to a full charge in under an hour.

Though the home charging station installation cost roughly $1500, the savings have already begun to mount. A full charge at Bob’s charging station costs him upwards of $3 — roughly $0.15 per gallon! Bob even lists his home charging station on PlugShare, an iPhone community app for electric car users. The app projects a list of charging stations over a Google map, a convenient tool for any electric car driver on the go. So far, he hasn’t charged anyone for charging at his house.

“I wouldn’t put a meter on my charging station,” Bob says, “though I wouldn’t say no if they bought me a couple of beers.”

Five years from now, Bob likes to think, the electric car will be the new standard. Bob paid about $30,000 for the options he chose for the i-MieV (including a level 3 charging port), but with a $7,500 tax rebate from the federal government, it came out to a total of approximately $22,500. With such a great value, the i-MieV is the frontrunner for the electric car that will revolutionize the roads for the future.