Originally published on CleanTechnica.
“So, how do you like it?” I always respond, I love it. I have never driven a car that I appreciate so much — near as much. The drive, the ambiance, the adept maneuvering, and the entire 1-minute experience of plugging in to refuel at clean charge points. Never smelling gas from my car — or touching gas — or weirdly and subliminally knowing that I am sitting near and over a gas tank. Relief. Immeasurable relief.
Now, about that 5-hour Nissan LEAF trip that I just drove that might have been a 2-hour jaunt. Did I still enjoy the LEAF as I became later and later for a planned meeting time? Did I still prefer the LEAF as I became late for scheduled appointments? Using the 10 tips for road trips I previously wrote about, I took the slower road to my destination, going between small towns — with plenty of regeneration with the Eco mode. I did not foresee how long I would take due to Saturday traffic and road construction. Neither did I expect a charger to get stuck in the Nissan. (Notably, this was also the first time I paid more than cents to charge at a CHAdeMO fast-charging station — being in a time crunch. The CHAdeMO stations I use are cheaper, or free. This one was a whopping $5. A normal month’s fuel cost for me ranges from $0 to $1 — note that I don’t charge at home, and the charging stations I typically use offer free charging.)
I am an hour late — so far. Five attempts from 4 Nissan employees and me to release the charger from the LEAF and someone said, “Call Mike, he always gets it.” The magic touch and the CHAdeMO DC fast charger finally releases. That wonderfully fast charge was quick — still, it is one port that needs some work.
No time saved at the fast charger due to my first experience with a stuck charger.
The truth is, I could have driven the Interstate part of the way — and burnt up range faster. Then, I’d have to get on and off in the chaotic Saturday traffic to charge, though. I am not sure how much it would have changed my late arrival. I might have been even later. In that slower traffic, my battery got me further.
My recent travel log (sadly) is a clear case in point for a plug-in hybrid or extended-range electric vehicle. Would I change vehicles? No. I guess these are the morals of the story:
Inconvenience for longer-distance travel is an issue with the 2015 Leaf. I sometimes dream about those battery pack upgrades for the LEAF to extend range. Yes. I do.
Adapt to the change of lifestyle. Be agreeable and grateful for one’s liberation from gas. Daydream. Listen to bossa nova. I still prefer the longer, more difficult road trip to buying gas. Play music. I lost the pressure of hurried time issues due to music.
Next time, leave a day early. Once immersed in the guilt-free changes, adapt to a different way of life. My shoulders are still dropped due to my improved conscience about mitigating air pollution.
Perhaps if you bicycle and ride mass transit, this 5-hour trip that could be a 2-hour trip in a gas guzzler is the same or less than what would have been your time. More power to the pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit. I love EVs, but pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users remain the ecological heroes in modern-day travel.
Trains are still my first choice for long-distance travel. Where are the trains? I would have taken a train instead of being part of a ridiculous stream of cars holding so few people while taking so much space and using so much concrete. But Southwest Florida is lacking in that option….