Though the number is surely growing , not many people in the United States — or the world — can say they’ve driven an all-electric Nissan LEAF 10,000 miles 100 percent powered by home-solar generated electricity.
I’m one of those fortunate people.
And I figure 10,000 Sun Miles® in a 100-percent home-solar charged electric vehicle (EV) is a good time to take stock of 10 things I love about driving an all-electric Nissan LEAF — and, in a later installment, 10 things I don’t like, or, at least like less, about driving an all-electric Nissan LEAF.
So, here goes, 10 Things I Love About Driving An All-Electric Nissan LEAF, with the Number 1 reason — meaning the best reason — listed last.
No. 10. Ease of fueling. I can’t remember the last time I pumped gas. Oh, no, actually, I can remember exactly the last time I did — because I’ve pumped gas so few times since leasing my 2014 Nissan LEAF in March 2014. It was on Aug. 8, 2014 — when I had to refill a rental car I rented while visiting my sister in California. I’ve always disliked pumping gas — especially in cold, windy, blustery winter weather. Don’t. Need. To. Do. That. Anymore ;-). Just. Plug In — In My Garage.
No. 9. The LEAF’s interior. I’m still not a big fan of the LEAF’s exterior — too buggy, eggy, bulbuous for me. But I definitely like the interior — especially the heated seats and heated steering wheel in the LEAF SV. Also like the navigation system and Sirius XM traffic reports. My kids also love the heated seats, BTW 😉
No. 8. The LEAF drives well. After having driven the LEAF for nine months, I can say I hate driving gas cars now. The LEAF is quick, zippy, smooth, quiet — and it represents the future of driving!
No. 7. The LEAF is peppy. It’s hard to believe the LEAF officially posts a pretty lame 0-60 m.p.h. time of somewhere between nine and 10 seconds. I, mean, this car has pep. Lots of it. I love taking off at a traffic light and leaving everyone in the dust, or just punching the gas and feeling the immediate torque. The key for the LEAF to achieve it’s true quickness potential is this: The LEAF doesn’t really start to rocket until you hit about 10 m.p.h., then, it springs quickly to about 50 m.p.h. Too bad there’s no official 10 to 50 m.p.h. competition ;-). No, the LEAF is no Tesla (my brother’s got one of those). But it feels light years faster than a gas car that used to be the second car in our garage: A 2014 Subaru Forester.
No. 6. The LEAF generates looks — and talk. People talk to me about my LEAF, and ask me questions about it, and sometimes about home solar as well — my Colorado license plate = ‘SOLPWRD’. I like that. I like being able to spread the good word about electric cars — and solar power. No one talked to me about my previous car.
No. 5. My kids love the LEAF. I probably would have leased a Chevy Volt — if it wasn’t for my two daughters. For sure, the Volt would have been a lot more practical, especially considering the fact that the LEAF has unexpectedly become my only car (I’ll write about the LEAF as an only car in a future entry). The Volt was tiny in the back (good to hear the 2016 will be bigger!), too tiny for my daughters, who loved the comparative backseat space of the LEAF. And they, as do I, definitely like being all-electric, even when, as has happened four times in the past two months, we’re running the LEAF on zero bars — and wondering if we’ll make it home or not.
No. 4. No money to Big Oil — or to ISIS. I’m no fan of big oil companies. It feels great to know that none of the 10,000 miles I’ve driven in the LEAF have helped Big Oil. In fact, Big Oil has lost about $1,000 because of me and my LEAF — and my home solar fueling station. That makes me feel good, very good! And, of course, with a considerable amount of oil coming from the Middle East, I can also say that none of the money I’ve spent on fueling my LEAF — in June 2010, I invested $8,000 in buying a home solar system — has found its way into the hands terrorists in that part of the world. That also makes me feel good, very good!
No. 3. The LEAF is environmentally friendly. An all-electric car such as the LEAF is more environmentally friendly than a gasoline car, even if 100 percent of the electricity you use to power it is generated from coal. Luckily, that’s hardly the case for me — I dislike Big Coal as much as I dislike Big Oil — thanks to my 5.5 kW home solar system. Denver is infamous for its “Brown Cloud”, especially in the winter, and it’s been pretty bad here lately. Every time I see the Brown Cloud, I know I’m not contributing to it — and I daydream about a day when 100 percent of transportation in Denver is electric, and that electricity is 100 percent generated by renewables. This might sound a bit “kumbaya,” but I’m certain this will happen one day, almost for sure sometime before 2100. I won’t be around then — but my great-grandkids will be, and they, and their kids, and their kids, and their kids, matter to me.
No. 2. The LEAF saves you money. I haven’t paid a penny for gas in nine months. And, because I have a 5.5 kW home solar system on my house, I haven’t paid a penny for electricity to power my LEAF 10,000 miles. To be fair, I had to pay $8,000, out of pocket, for my home solar system, which I’ve had 4 ½ years. But that system is essentially paid off already if you calculate electricity savings — it’s powered 100 percent of our home electric, and gasoline savings — it’s also powered 100 percent of the 10,000 miles I’ve driven in my LEAF. Depending on what price per gallon you use and what m.p.g. you use as the comparison point, I’ve saved anywhere from $1,000 (30 m.p.g./$3 per gallon) to $2,000 (20 m.p.g./$4 per gallon)!
No. 1. The LEAF + home solar = fueling independence. I absolutely love the fact that the all-electric LEAF allows me, and thousands of others like me, to fuel with 100-percent clean, green, money-saving, locally generated electricity. Nothing beats that feeling, except maybe my own kids’ excitement about EV + PV — and the fact that they get pumped up every time they see another LEAF 😉