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Culture shock: Driving an electric car

4/5/2011 07:49 PM EDT
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lifewingmate
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
lifewingmate   4/6/2011 4:56:32 AM
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Wow - Thank you for this interesting account. It seems that a consumer driving this car has to do a fair amount of planning and be able to measure temperature and distance without the car (such as with apps on a mobile device - be careful about reliabilit there). I also appreciated the other home charging options. I was rather concerned about you having to put the short cord on a (flammable) "cardboard box on a garbage can" to support the electronics box. Glad you were safe. I know that this article speaks to a technical audience, but I'm curious to know about the car interior, the ergonomics of the dashboard, and steering/gears, and the ride itself.

dbg
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
dbg   4/6/2011 3:07:00 PM
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We took delivery on our Leaf about 10 days ago. My wife and I both love it. It is a very quiet, comfortable, friendly and capable car, perfect for daily in-town use. We don't really think about range very much, since even an 80% daily charge has been generous for a roundtrip to work plus errands. Think of it as a cellphone with a full battery every morning.

Brad Pierce
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
Brad Pierce   4/6/2011 4:36:12 PM
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I was surprised to read in Time that back in 1900, NYC already had a fleet of electric taxis! http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2063521,00.html

Rick DeMeis
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
Rick DeMeis   4/6/2011 4:39:25 PM
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Which charging system are you using, the 110V trickle charger or the 220V dock for faster charging? Also where you live, what climate extremes may influence your Leaf's performance? Perhaps you can update us on your experience with the car in the future.

Rick DeMeis
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
Rick DeMeis   4/6/2011 4:52:23 PM
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Aside from the electric drive system, the Leaf is a very capable subcompact-class car in terms of driving and handling. Thus in this class, cloth and plastic are the norm on the interior, but very well done as to look and "feel." The controls and the cluster and center-stack display screens were easy to use and interpret, with a minimum of going to the owners manual (mostly to learn more about system functions from an engineer's point of view).

dbg
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
dbg   4/6/2011 6:44:14 PM
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I'm using a 240v dock which can charge at the Leaf's full rate (3.3kW or so). We've also used it during the day a couple of times to add a little charge as a buffer before going out again. 120v charging can work OK, but is a little too slow to be really helpful for those occasions where you want to add some range with a spare hour charge mid-day. I'm in the San Francisco bay area, so climate is not particularly an issue - although heating the car does use noticeably more range than cooling. The car seems to drive and handle much nicer than a Prius (at least the previous generation, haven't driven a new one yet).

Bert22306
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
Bert22306   4/6/2011 8:01:16 PM
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Honestly, the accounts are what anyone would have expected, for an all-electric car. Perhaps the range is a little bit better than what previous attempts achieved, although even that is not certain. At freeway speeds, range seemed to suffer. What would it have been ultimately? The bottom line continues to be the same. These all electric cars are only really effective as a second car. We own only one car. While most of our driving is around town, sometimes we do go on trips. Even a fairly regular trip we take to Baltimore, for dinner in Little Italy, maybe one hour each way, would not be possible with this car. I'd like to see a practical car, with a hydrogen separator, to extract H2 from fuel, running a fuel cell and an all electric drive train. That would remove the battery dependency. These battery electrics, as long as they have been around, just don't sound very different at all.

Brad Pierce
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
Brad Pierce   4/6/2011 8:31:34 PM
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According to Ryan Chin, "Tomorrow’s automobiles will be increasingly utilized in cooperative or shared-use models. The emergence of car-sharing and bike-sharing schemes in urban areas in both the United States and Europe have established alternative models and markets for fractional or on-demand mobility. Zipcar, the world’s largest car-share program, has grown from just a handful of cars to a fleet of 6,000 cars and 275,000 drivers in 49 cities in just under 10 years." http://www.wfs.org/Jul-Aug2010/Chin.htm

_hm
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
_hm   4/6/2011 11:31:04 PM
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Thanks for detail information on new Leaf. I had one query. Do Leaf has interlock system for power cord? i.e. when power cord is connected to car, car will not start or at least move? This is for safety reason that, in hurry, you do not drive with cable attached to mains.

Rick DeMeis
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re: Culture shock: Driving an electric car
Rick DeMeis   4/7/2011 1:06:32 AM
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If the charger is connected, when you push the starter button the car doesn't start and a message that the charger is connected appears on the cluster display screen.

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