I'd love to have an electric for my around the town driving. But your description of short trips and always topping off reminds me of using a laptop with an old battery. Whenever using it on battery power, I probably spent more mental energy worrying about finishing or finding an outlet before the involuntary shut-down than I di about the project. Perhaps with more use, that nervousness would diminish.
Bigger problems that I see are that it's too expensive for an around-town second car. (of course, "too expensive" is relative) Further, if you're a street parker in a big city, where the car would otherwise be in its prime, charging may simply not be available at all.
The power conditioning electronics are in the box on the charging cord, which is quite substantial to handle the current flow. Many home extension cords could be of a smaller gauge, or have cuts or defects so as to pose a hazard.
The battery capacity is 24 kWh, so you can figure out how much it would cost based on your electricity rates. (Nissan says the nationwide average is $0.11/kWh.)
It would do me just perfect.
But I'm in Europe, so we have 240 volts generally available, or if we're lucky the 440 volts.
BUT, when it comes overhere, the price will twice that of the US, if the past is anything to go by,
Yes pure electrics like the Leaf are perhaps currently best suited for use as a "second" car for multi vehicle families, but there are many of those in the US today. So that is still quite a large market segment for Nissan and other car makers to exploit. If, in the future, the price comes down by about 30% I predict they would become very popular.
The cable wasn't short, just the distance from the power electronics box on the cable to three-prong plug. And Nissan says users should never use an extension cord with the charger, just the power cable they provide.
As for the shortness of the 110 charging cable. Why not use an extension cord to bring power closer to the vehicle?
I'd think an extension cord would be mandatory to be carried with the vehicle in case you run out of power. An extension cable could be used in an emergency to bring power from a nearby building (with he owners permission of course) charging long enough to get you to the next commercial charging station.
I would like to see at least some variant of DMFC which works with hydrocarbons like petrol/diesel, fitted to serve as a continuous, always on charger to the Li-ion batry pack. plus it will be great if it can accomodate a secondry batry-pack (like our laptops). not to mentions a stylish(but detachable) solar panel on rooftop will only enforce its green credentials, apart from stretching the range.
It seems that US Government is providing very good subsidy for promoting electric vehicle. But the amount itself is very high, it will be trouble to continue it for long time. Although it is US Government anything is possible for them.