Electric Vehicles

I am passionate about electric vehicles. I was at the Seattle Car Show and came around the corner and bumped into the Nissan Leaf the first year it was available. I wanted it immediately, but was in the middle of my Volvo lease.

Two years later, I traded in my Volvo and got a Leaf. Ugly, but excellent. I installed a 40 amp charger at my home, in case I ever upgrade to a Tesla šŸ˜‰

It is remarkable driving pastĀ every gas stationĀ on my way to work or school, and never buying gas. Initially concerned that I would struggle finding places to recharge my electric car, I was delighted to discover theĀ PlugshareĀ app. And to find that there are 50 charging stations in the greater-Seattle area. Although my client does not have a charger, there is one less than a mile away. And I get free charging for life at the dealer where I bought the car, which is conveniently located on my route home from my client. Recharging isĀ currently freeĀ at the site I use on the University of Washington campus; I plug in the car on the way to class and it is fully recharged when class is over.

I have over 6,000 miles on the Leaf, and enjoy driving it. The weight of the battery helps the car stay flat in curves, and helps the stability and ride. The car rides much better than my wife’s Toyota Rav4 – the Leaf does not pitch over bumps and has a much more comfortable ride.

In order to maximize mileage, I keep the car stripped. I don’t carry anything extra, as I have a 35 mile commute and in cold weather I am close to empty when I get home. I live in the foothills and my entire commute is very hilly – virtually no flat sections. In a flatter environment I expect you would get better mileage.

My understanding is that Tesla is working on a low-cost competitor to the Leaf, with the goal being a range of 200 miles. This is very attractive to me, as I have to recharge every day and it would be great to go a few days between charging. I also understand the Nissan is working on a makeover for the Leaf, although I have not heard any specifics. Both are due in the 2016 timeframe.

Electric motorcycles are also making headway. There are some at the “scooter” level but KTM has an exciting offroad motorcycle. Electric motorcycles have competed at the Isle of Man TT’s, an excellent adventure with phenomenal riding. I will post more as this area expands.