Home editor's blog on evs & phevs

On evs & phevs

evs-section1In this blogging section, I'll riff on EVs & PHEVs, from both a practical perspective and from a political perspective.

10 things Nissan should change about LEAF

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My 2014 Nissan LEAF has 14,000 miles on it, all of them Sun Miles :-)

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I've driven my 2014 LEAF SV 14,000 miles in Colorado, USA, all of these miles solar-charged :-) via my home's 5.6 kW solar system. Generally, I'm quite happy with my LEAF.

That noted, here are 10 things I'd change/add for the next generation LEAF -->

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Enjoy superior EV quickness while you still can

editors-blog-entry3One of the greatest things about driving electric vehicles is their quickness of acceleration. Press on the gas pedal and you get immediate and impressive torque, even in a "lame" 2014 Nissan LEAF such as mine.

I call it "lame" because its official 0-60 m.p.h. time is somewhere between 8 and 9 seconds, hardly stellar, but also TOTALLY deceiving, as it's damn quick from 10 to 50 m.p.h.

Immediate accelaration is intoxicating, believe me -- and, if you're like me, it changes your driving behavior. I'll zip in here, past that car over there, take off here, and there, way more often than I ever did in my 1992 Acura Integra, which I owned for 21 years, and which, while not the peppiest of cars, wasn't the un-peppiest of cars either.

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A Nissan LEAF runs completely out of charge

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My 2014 Nissan LEAF SV plugged in at a home about 300 meters away from my own home in Aurora., Colo. after it ran out of charge. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editors-blog-entry3I finally pushed it too far with my 2014 Nissan LEAF last night. My SV and me and my two daughters came up 300 meters short of our home, running out of charge just about 50 meters beyond a very dangerous left turn we have to make across three lanes of traffic with cars traveling 55 to 60 m.p.h.

This happened at precisely 12:15 a.m. Denver time. I had to wake up my sleeping kids, pull them out of the car, roll the car backwards down a hill I wasn't going to make it up, and park it on the street.

We then trekked 300 meters home in the chilly January air, and hopped into bed.

Well, I didn't hop into bed, I hopped online and mused over whether I should finally get an Aeroenvironment AV TurbCard 240 Volt portable plug-in EV charger, which can charge my LEAF three times faster than the trickle charge I am using exclusively now.

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Public buying into Hydrogen Fairy Myth

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[Flickr Creative Commons Photo By Cinzia A. Rizzo]

editors-blog-entry3I've been saying for awhile in this space that people seem to think hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles will be made from thin air. Now, I've got some hard evidence that I'm right. Check out some of these Facebook responses to an article posted by ClimateProgress.Org about how Toyota is going to release its patents on the fuel cell vehicle.

The responses indicate the validity of my "Hydrogen Fairy" thesis, which holds that people, lots of them, think hydrogen will be made from thin air, rather than by the burning of fossil fuels, which is the most likely scenario. Here goes, check out the ignorance for yourself -->

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5 reasons electric vehicle lovers hate hydrogen

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Hey Toyota: What's going to be burned to make the electricity to make that 'clean' hydrogen for your fuel cell Mirai vehicle?

editors-blog-entry3No, not all EV lovers hate hydrogen. But a lot of them do -- and I think I know why so many other EV lovers, including me, view hydrogen so darkly.

Reason No. 5: The hydrogen fairy. For some reason, media accounts of hydrogen frequently fail to ask an obvious question: How is that supposedly "clean" hydrogen going to be made? No, it won't -- poof, be made out of thin air by the hydrogen fairy, although I bet Toyota wishes it would be ;-). The real answer: It will be produced primarily via electricity generated by, you guessed it, the burning of fossil fuels. The hydrogen fairy frame is especially galling to EV lovers because the first thing, often seemingly the only thing, that gets focused on in terms of BEVs is --> How is the electricity going to be produced that powers those BEVs? It's an excellent question -- and the answer ought to be, renewables, renewables, renewables. But it has to be asked of hydrogen vehicles too, not just BEVs. Wake up media!

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