April 24, 2018

Living Well: ­Birthing an EV­­




Living Well: ­Birthing an EV­­

“Ten out of ten people come here to learn patience.”

The words, recorded in 2006 on cassette, were spoken by Donna Henning, an intuitive astrologer, on my first-ever Natal Birth Chart that my dear friend, Anna Katarina, had purchased for my 41st birthday.

“Patience,” I thought. Not the lesson I would have chosen. I’d much prefer something along the lines of “Receiving Great Wealth” or “How to Manage More Power and Fame Than the Pope.” But alas, the stars painted a different scene.

Last December, after ten years of what I thought was a wonderful relationship, my Toyota Matrix died. I had no clue we were having problems. Had I known I would have done something to save her. After checking out the PriusV, PriusC ­­­and Nissan Leaf, I went on a hike and put a prayer in the air, imagining my ideal solution: a new vehicle with a payment of less than $300 dollars for three years. When I went home, I went online and found the Honda Fit EV, a fully electric vehicle. Although she has an MSRP of over $37,000, she cannot be bought, only leased—for three years. And the payment? $259 with no money down. Impossible, I know, but I almost had one. The dealer at Woodland Hills Honda e-mailed me stating that one had just arrived, but to come immediately, because she’d be contacting everyone on her list. By everyone, she meant about 100 people, a common wait list for this vehicle, but I didn’t know this. I thought it was hype.

When I showed up later that day, the car now belonged to some guy in Simi Valley who’d beaten me by two or three hours. I was allowed to sit in it, but was not to drive it or even turn the key. However, to make the most of the opportunity, Roberto took photos of me behind the wheel for my vision board. I look good in it. ­When I got home, I did some research. The 20013/2014 Honda Fit EV is on a very limited run. Only 1,100 cars are being produced and released over a two-year period to 200 dealers in a handful of cities, each dealership receiving only two or three cars per year. The fact that I sat in one was a miracle.

I then did the numbers. Even with 30 mph, my Matrix cost over $2,000 on gas in 2013, plus maintenance, while the Fit uses approximately $500 in electricity/year. At $259/month with no money down and Honda offering to pay full collision coverage, the Fit EV would cost less than my old car. It was a steal—if I could find one. I contacted every approved dealership in the states, telling no one where I lived; figuring I’d have the car shipped cross-country if necessary. As I hung up with a Honda dealer in North Kingstown, RI, she told me to be careful driving in the snow. They were in the midst of a big storm. “Thanks,” I said. “You too.”

No one had a car, and they all had massive wait lists. But I am Sage Knight. Like a dog with a bone, when I want something, I hold on. I put all of the local dealers’ contact info on my VIP list, so I’d know immediately if they called or e-mailed. One night it paid off.

At 8:47 p.m. on December 18, 2013, I received a call from Sarah Lovett at Culver City Honda. Even though I had clearly stated I’d been treated fairly at Woodland Hills Honda, she felt I should have gotten that car, so she went to bat for me with Honda corporate and was calling to say she’d made headway and would know soon. Two days later, while driving up to Carmel, I got another call. Honda would begin production on January 23, on a car assigned to Sage Knight. I was ecstatic. It has now been three months of renting and borrowing. I’m on a first-name basis with everyone at Enterprise Car Rental in Woodland Hills. In order to keep the cost low, I’ve only rented when I needed to. Two neighbors have also loaned me their vehicles several times in exchange for gas and organic chocolate. All this scheduling takes time, and I’ve learned that life in LA without a constant gas-guzzling companion is possible, but not convenient. Sarah estimated a delivery date of late February to early March, so I hunkered down to wait. On February 27, I called corporate for an update. A shipment of new cars was being loaded in Japan to set sail that weekend. He would not know until March 10, whether or not my car was on board. I waited some more. On March 10, I received an e-mail with a VIN, my baby’s numerical name. She was/is on her way into my arms.

As I write, the date is March 15. The slow boat from Japan will arrive in port in the U.S. on Tuesday, March 18, exactly three months after that lovely call of hope from Sarah. I am still counting the days.

Once she arrives in port on Tuesday, there is yet another delay as the car finds her way to Culver City Honda, our rendezvous point. Most likely this will happen over the weekend while I am on another trip north, so our actual meeting is delayed once more. I never learned Lamaze, but I keep breathing. As you read this, I will have taken delivery on my cobalt blue, all-electric baby. If you’re reading at night, she is plugged in right alongside my iPhone, charging while I sleep. I no longer include gasoline in my spending plan, decreasing my energy costs by 75 percent. More important, my eco-footprint has shrunk. And it did not cost me anything—except patience. n

Sage Knight is a local ghostwriter and Literary Midwife. She lives with her teenage son and their Golden Retriever at Top O’ Topanga and welcomes your visits to www.SageKnight.com.