In case you hadn’t heard – we got some new wheels.
What prompted this desire to suddenly go car shopping? In the previous two posts, we’ve discussed sustainability and how we’re incorporating it as a fundamental part of our practice. We’ve expressed our desire, as architects and designers, to design responsibly for generations to come. But we aspire to do more, both in the work we produce and in the way we operate as a firm.
If you’ve been following our blog for the past few months, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that we’re exceptionally dedicated to our core beliefs, and the decision to lease this vehicle is no exception. Simply put, driving a hybrid car is an investment in bettering our community while demonstrating ecological stewardship. It’s a responsible approach to being good stewards of both natural and financial resources.
So back to the question of what prompted this endeavor. We had both the idealistic reasons listed above, as well as some fairly practical ones, too. Although we have a studio in Lincoln and one in Omaha, we’re one BVH. Our design professionals and those charged with the day-to-day business functions of the company work in teams comprised of individuals from both studios. Technology has certainly made communicating across the Platte River easier, but nothing beats face-to-face collaboration. As BVH’ers started clocking miles going back-and-forth among studios, as well as in-city clients, we looked into ways to make commuting more efficient, easier and more environmentally responsible.
By leasing a hybrid car, BVH is leading by example. The hybrid car market is one of the fastest growing segments of the automotive industry, according to U.S. News and World Report. The Toyota Prius is no longer the only option in the hybrid marketplace. Luxury brands such as Tesla, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes offer hybrid models, and manufacturers such as Honda, Subaru and Hyundai offer more affordable hybrid options, too. Even Chevrolet offers a hybrid version of its popular Silverado pick up.
The Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid we have is a unique, mid-size vehicle offering electric, gas and combination modes. In electric-only mode, we can drive approximately 20 miles. That’s great for short trips around downtown. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for our vehicle ranges from 88 mpg for electric/gas mode to 38 mpg for gas only mode. For the five months we have had the Fusion, we’re averaging between 45-50 mpg for mainly highway driving.
So, why drive a hybrid? You can do a Google search and find dozens of articles letting you know why. The top reasons:
The annual carbon dioxide-equivalent emitted from a hybrid vehicle is almost half of that of a conventional vehicle. Almost half. (source: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric_emissions.php)Additionally, we ask BVH’ers to carpool in the company vehicle when commuting to keep as many vehicles off the road while keeping our contribution to emissions down.
Lower Fuel Costs
The estimated annual fuel cost for our Ford Fusion is only $1,000. Seriously. Also, the act of refining oil into petroleum to make fuel releases toxins and chemicals into our environment. Less fuel isn’t just easy on our wallets, it’s better for our health, too.
BVH received approximately $9,000 tax incentives in form of a rebate, driving our lease payments lower. Also, most national insurance carriers offer a 10% discount for hybrid cars.
If you see us cruising around Lincoln or Omaha, or even on I-80, give us a thumbs up or a wave. Vroom vroom.