Rouen: Le TEOR (Bus Rapid Transit)

Way back in the early 1980's, I spent a year living with a family in Rouen, France. They taught me French, and how to drink wine mixed with water, and a thousand other things for which I will always remain deeply grateful. On this trip we made a point to visit my host family, and I got to introduce them to Elliot.

Since the last time I was in Rouen, a few things have changed. For one - they cleaned the cathedral. (It use to be black.)

 Rouen Cathedral - so spanky clean I hardly recognized it!

Rouen Cathedral - so spanky clean I hardly recognized it!

They also installed a metro, and a Bus Rapid Transit system called Le TEOR. We didn't get to ride the metro (Elliot was very disappointed), but we did get to ride the TEOR. 

 Waiting for le TEOR in Rouen with my host family

Waiting for le TEOR in Rouen with my host family

 Raised platforms means fast level boarding, even for my host mom (in her 70s, with a bad knee).

Raised platforms means fast level boarding, even for my host mom (in her 70s, with a bad knee).

 On board Le TEOR in Rouen

On board Le TEOR in Rouen

Le TEOR was awesome. Elliot totally approved.

 Elliot gives Rouen's TEOR Bus Rapid Transit the thumbs-up.

Elliot gives Rouen's TEOR Bus Rapid Transit the thumbs-up.

One thing I found interesting: the Rouen metropolitan area has a population density (940 people per square km) which is slightly lower than Palo Alto's. 

 Le TEOR in downtown Rouen

Le TEOR in downtown Rouen

Considering an EV? Now there's a spreadsheet for that...

Last year, our family made the switch to driving electric - partly due to Elliot's constant nagging, partly due to the environmental benefits of driving electric, but also partly due to the cost savings. Driving an EV, it turns out, can often save you money. We figured this out by developing a spreadsheet. People keep asking me to share it, so here it is! 

 Click on the spreadsheet or the link below to download this spreadsheet in CSV, Numbers, and XLSX formats. Enter your information in the BLUE cells. GREEN cells will automatically populate.

Click on the spreadsheet or the link below to download this spreadsheet in CSV, Numbers, and XLSX formats. Enter your information in the BLUE cells. GREEN cells will automatically populate.

 Elliot with FrankE, our all-electric Fiat 500e.

Elliot with FrankE, our all-electric Fiat 500e.

One of the biggest savings, we realized, was on maintenance. We've had our Fiat 500e for a little over a year, and our total maintenance cost has been... zero. We had to take it into the dealership once, for a software upgrade, and they rotated the tires while we were there (all at no cost). We would normally have had to change the wiper blades, but (unfortunately) there hasn't been any rain here in California. We'll eventually have to change the tires - but probably not before the end of our 3-year lease.

The biggest reason, IMHO, that the car companies and dealerships aren't keen on having us all switch to EVs is that their business model is built on the profit they make from parts and service. Remember, with EVs there are no spark plugs to replace, no oil filters or air filters or fuel injectors or radiators or fan belts or the zillion other things you just have to replace on a regular basis in a gas car.

And did I mention that EVs are WAY more fun to drive?

People also ask us how much it costs to charge the car. We mostly plug in at home, using just a 110v plug, so we incurred no EVSE (aka charging station) installation charges. The additional electricity cost is roughly equivalent to the cost of plugging in an additional fridge.

A few things you need to know to complete the spreadsheet:

* State rebates vary - a lot - by state. California's current rebate is $2500. Our dealer did the paperwork for us, and we received our rebate within a couple of months. (I've heard that there have been backlogs in CA, but we didn't experience one.) Check out this awesome map to find out what rebates your state has available.

* The Federal government offers a $7500 rebate for most EVs, but this is only available for car sales. (For leasing, the dealer gets the federal rebate and usually rolls that into the cost of the lease.) State rebates are only available for 3-year leases (at least in California). But again - the monthly cost of a two-year lease is often lower because it includes the state rebate.

* I entered $20/month into the spreadsheet as the cost of public charging - which is approximately what we pay, using public chargers for maybe 20% of our charging needs. Your costs may vary. You can find more information on charging rates at Chargepoint and NRG-eVgo and BLiNK. You can find a map of the many charging stations now available at PlugShare.

* I included a section for car-sharing. We share an old Prius with two other families, in order to have access to a long-range gas car - or a second car - on the rare occasions when we need one. (Our lease with Fiat also includes 12 free days of car rentals per year.) We regularly drive our EV from Palo Alto to San Francisco and Berkeley. (I've also driven it as far as Monterey and Sonoma.) We have only needed a gas car about a dozen times over the past year - usually because we just needed two cars on the same day (a problem that would be solved with better public transit).

Questions? Comments? Please let me know what you think!