Electric cars save on upkeep, but what of peace of mind?

My last oil change was in October. I think.

I'm terrible about remembering it and sheer paranoia compels me to change my car's oil before it's probably needed. Quickie lube joints love me.

But if I had an electric vehicle, I wouldn't have to worry about it.

Neither the Nissan Leaf nor the Ford Focus Electric needs an oil change. The Chevrolet Volt can go about two years before requiring one.

And because there are fewer moving mechanical parts on the Focus Electric and Leaf than on gasoline vehicles, less overall routine service is required.

Ford boasts: “Checking the tire pressure and filling the windshield washer fluid is about all most Focus Electric drivers will need to do.”

What peace of mind.

And I did the math. Not having to perform maintenance recommended by Ford -- change the oil, replace air filters, flush the cooling system, service the transmission, replace the drive belt and buy and install spark plugs -- is a savings of about $1,171.75 over a 10-year, 150,000-mile expected lifespan of the car, a regular Focus.

But the Focus Electric's charging station and installation costs $1,499. The Leaf's 220-volt charging station and installation runs about $2,200.

There is also a lack of infrastructure to recharge these vehicles. That would make me nervous driving long distances. I'd worry about how it would handle in treacherous weather. Would it have the power to push through heavy snow and would doing so drain electricity and restrict my driving distance?

Each consumer will have to decide if the savings in time and money for routine maintenance outweighs the other issues.

Sometimes peace of mind has a price too.

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