Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Summer Leaf!

Yeah! My all-electric Nissan Leaf finally arrived!Eleven months after I made my reservation, I finally have my 100% electric car! I've been driving it for 2 days and here's what I've learned so far:

  • The gadgets are insanely cool, according to my children. 90 day free trial of XM satellite. GPS. Bluetooth. Rear-view backup camera.

  • Guys love it. My sons' swim coach wanted to sit in it, the parking attendant at the Mariners game was excited to see his first one, and my dad wanted to check under the hood.

  • It is virtually silent. I freaked someone out when I backed out next to someone in a parking lot and she didn't know it was on.

  • It seriously encourages good driving habits. Driving over 60 seems to be bad for battery life. There is this little "build a tree" video game-like console that shows you how efficiently you are driving. Very motivating since you know you only have 100 miles maximum that you can drive until you have to charge.

  • It's very fun to drive! After driving an SUV all these years, I'm happy to be back in something closer in size to my first Volkswagen.

    • I'm excited to be one of the early adopters of this technology and thrilled to have avoided the gas station all week (although I'll still go occasionally since I need a bigger car for longer trips and anything that involves more than 3 children).

      Everyone keeps asking about the car so here are the basics. I can drive up to 100 miles on a single charge, but so far it seems more like 80. It depends on conditions including the outside temperature, elevation, air-conditioning, speed, etc. I have a charging station in my garage which will do a full charge in 8 hours. The Leaf can also be charged in a regular 110 outlet for 16 hours, and one day soon there will be Level III chargers on the I-5 and Highway 2 corridors that will allow for 26 minute complete charges.

      I was initially excited to hear that Stevens Pass had a charging station, but now that I have driven the car, I don't think the car can actually make it that far (~70 miles) with that much elevation (~4000 feet). We'll hold out for some interim charging stations before we venture over the mountains.

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