Monday, September 17, 2012


to the Wide Wide World of Electric Vehicles.

More specifically welcome to my world. As time allows, as my brain allows, as the opportunity allows, I will be posting my ideas and experiences surrounding Electric Vehicle ownership. I thought through several ways to start this and decided to go with a little explanation and history.

Around 2005 I decided that I liked the concept of an all electric vehicle. A car that in and of itself has no emissions. That has to be good for the environment right? A car that doesn't run on imported petroleum. That has to be good for national security right? Less dependence on foreign oil? And they are less expensive right? Ok, so I got that one wrong...sort of, we'll talk total cost of ownership in a  later entry.

So it's 2005 and I've made the decision. This shouldn't be hard. Go out and find an all electric car.

<insert crickets chirping>
<insert crickets chirping>
<insert crickets chirping>

The silence in the search for an all electric car was deafening. It's not like I completely failed but at that time you had two choices. You could pay to have your existing car converted into an electric car. This was tempting since two of the most expensive repair jobs on a car are replacing transmissions and replacing engines and you get both with a conversion so it's like getting a new car right? Well, no not really and then try to finance that? Well, good luck.

Option two is what is called a neighborhood electric vehicle. These are all electric but are governed so they can't exceed 25 mph although some were made that could go 35 mph. Getting close to functional at this point but safety features were limited and the entertainment features were non existent.

I decided that while I was right for the vehicle, the right vehicle wasn't available. At that point I promised myself that the first company that made an all electric production level vehicle would get my money. By production level I meant that it was an assembly line vehicle not a concept car or limited run vehicle. In other words, a real car.

I began to fall in love with the Aptera 2 series ( The idea of a 200-300 mile all electric vehicle that looked like a spaceship was just really a cool car. Unfortunately that was not to be as Aptera eventually failed to produce.

Around the same time GM was making noise about a car called Volt.

I was intrigued. An American manufactured all electric vehicle? This is promising. Oh, that's the same company that tried the EV-1 in the 90's then recalled them and crushed them? Oh, the Volt is now not all electric? Oh, it's a hybrid on steroids. Well, thanks for playing. The rule of the game was an ALL electric not partially electric with a build it "range extender" that is a gasoline generator for the electric motor. Don't get me wrong, the Volt is a great car but it isn't truly a game changer like it was touted.

Hmm...what's this? Nissan Leaf all electric. Advertised 100 mile range? This sounds promising. Oh, it's been on sale and working in Japan already? Available for sale in California in 2010? This continues to sound promising. First year sales in CA are good. People are happy. This continues to sound promising. Oh, now we're in 2011 and over half of the states in the Union have Nissan dealers who can sell the Leaf.

Since it's now 2012 you can guess which state was one of the last to have local Nissan dealers able to sell the Leaf.

Then in March I realized that "THE DAY" had arrived. I could place an order for my very own Nissan Leaf. I was now a member of one of the larger Leaf forums at . I was able to make an informed decision but was there a car to test drive?

I was anxious to actually drive the car. Was it comfortable? Did it have acceptable acceleration? I saw a Volt and it was smaller than I expected so how small was the Leaf?

Fortunately the Nissan site had a list of local dealers who were qualified to sell the Leaf and I visited one. The rest, as they say, is history.

The test drive was awesome.  All the things I learned online about the car were true. Roomy, yup. Acceleration, oh you bet. 100% torque available instantly the 0-30 mph is probably unbeatable. Comfortable, well maybe not a Cadillac but you know it wasn't going to be driven that far for that long so yes, it's comfortable. Oh, the seats are made of 100% recycled plastics? That's got to be good.

So yes Mr. Car Dealer please take my order. And thus began on of the most obsessive website checks of my life as I waited, and waited, and waited, and watched for updates to the delivery. First it was an estimated month for arrival, and then an estimated week, and finally purchase and take home.

Since that time I've driven over 3700 gas free miles. No smelly gas fumes, no exhaust, no oil changes, no muffler, no problems.

The next several updates will likely be close together and then updates as experience occurs. For the next update, a dictionary. What does all the alphabet soup that surrounds EV's (electric vehicle) actually mean.

Signing off for today,

Try reading a book, it's a novel experience

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