Thursday, October 17, 2013

TESLA Model S @ 11:00 AM Tomorrow

OMG! Too long. Time Passes too quickly.  Not enough time in the day for everything, including blogging.  But good news on the LEAF!  8000+ miles and 11+ months since buying gasoline and quite frankly I don't have anything bad to say about owning and driving an all-electric automobile.  Nissan, you scored 100% with the LEAF and I can't wait until I get my next one.

I only have 13 months left on my LEAF lease.....  I love my LEAF!!!!  I hope my LEAF doesn't find out that I have an appointment to test drive a Tesla Model S tomorrow morning........  Maybe I should be more concerned about letting the Tesla dealer know I have common sense and I drive a LEAF?

What's worst....................

I'll let you know after tomorrow.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Another round trip into Manhattan today!

Go LEAF!!!!

I averaged 5 miles/kWh on a round trip from the 'burbs to Manhattan, this is the best efficiency I have ever experienced with my LEAF. Now keep in mind this is a 50 mile trip (including the diversion to drop my daughter off at a friends house), I started with the dashboard showing 93 miles in Drive, but 104 miles in ECO Drive.  I stayed in ECO Drive 90% of the trip [just some times, you have to drop in to "D" to get around those New York City Taxi Cabs!

Side note: I had just entered onto the FDR from the Harlem River River Drive and some yo-yo in an Audi riding my rear bumper did the high beam flash thing because I wasn't going fast enough for them.  So, with no one in front of me for a 1/4 mile, I shifted into "D" and mushed the go pedal.  It was so nice to see those headlamps get really small really fast in my rear view mirror.  Of course, within a mile we got jammed up in traffic, but when the Audi crept by me, the driver took a very long look at the LEAF.  "Go LEAF" +1

I got home with 39 miles of range showing on the dashboard [104-50 = 54?].  What happened; I drove into Manhattan alone with the rear windows opened a 1/4 inch each to get some circulation.  On the way home there were four (4) of us in the LEAF and everyone was talking.  So......  Oh boy!  The windows started to fog up and I had to turn on the climate control so I could see where I was going.

In the end, the climate control consumed 15 miles of range, I drove 50 miles, got home with enough range to go out to dinner and back, and (for the first time!!!), and I grew four (4) trees!!!!

No "Range Fear" here!


Post Script:  I have not added to the blog in a few weeks because of time, family. work, and there only being 24 hours in a day.  Yet, a lot of "LEAF" things have happened that I will start sharing as my time frees up.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

LEAF A La Mode

While not exactly vanilla ice cream on pie, here is my LEAF A La Mode thanks to 12 inches of snow last night in New Rochelle, NY from the Nor'Easter that just battered New England..

Actually, doesn't it look like my LEAF is smiling under a down blanket knowing it doesn't have to go anywhere today?  [Yeah..... my street hasn't been plowed yet, nor will it any time soon; so much for getting any city services from the (really high amount of) property tax I pay!]

Jim S.

Monday, February 4, 2013

No Reuters, EVs are not dead!!!!!

Come on Reuters, stop bashing EVs.  EVs are growing not dieing.  This negative press on EVs reminds me of the bad press the Prius got when they were first rolled out more than a decade ago.

Dear Reuters and the rest of the Press, please stop the negative spin.  Where is the positive spin (or does that not sell news)?

Jim S.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Digital Wipe Out!

NISSAN we have a problem!  Do you see what I see?  That's right..... Nothing!  

Bellow is a photo of my Nissan LEAF dashboard while I was stopped at an intersection earlier this week.  I was travelling in a north westerly direction and the sun was directly behind me (the picture was taken in the morning).  Sun glare completely blinded all of my dashboard displays.  I felt a little disconnected, exposed, naked, unsafe..... you choose the right word to fit your mood.

While digital is cool and touch screens are even cooler, they are worthless if you can't see them. Analog is cool too, perhaps a little retro but a dial or two could be a good solution to prevent glare wipe-out of critical instrumentation.  

Now that I am thinking about sun glare digital wipe-out, I have never had this problem with the digital dashboard on my 2009 CNG Honda Civic.  Perhaps it is time to take a lesson from Honda?

Jim S.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The world would be a better place if.......

The world would be a better place if we could all embrace and practice energy management rather than  our current practice to hoard energy we "think" we may need (i.e. need vs. want; or more specifically EV battery range "limit" vs how far do we really need to drive).  It would also be really cool if we all knew truth.  What is the source of the information (negative background noise) bashing the range of EVs ?  Who is try to convince all of us on daily basis that we need more than what we really need (need to go farther than we actually go)?

Where am I going with this?  Now that a major portion of the Northern Hemisphere  is dealing with winter weather (i.e., New Rochelle, NY where I live) and we have to bundle up in layers to conserve our energy (stay warm), I think now is a good time to introduce my thesis: Our society (as a whole, and I know there are many exceptions, like me) does not understand or chooses to not understand where the energy that keeps us comfortable (alive) comes from, or the affect our "programmed" over consumption has on society and our global environment.

What does this have to do with my Nissan Leaf?  A lot!

As I read recent negative news about EVs, their poor sales, limited range, etc.  especially due to seasonal (temperature) extremes, and battery limitations; I have come to the realization that an EV Allie, the "Popular Press", has failed all of us.  They are looking at the wrong side of the "coin".  Come on!  Change your ethos.  Promote the real and positive side, maybe even the truth of how EVs have been the foundation of the automobile industry and possibly the salvation of society as we now know it. You shouldn't be afraid of change.

My observation; the Popular Press is more interested in selling their business (perhaps, ADVERTISING??) by tickling the negative emotions of an uniformed public with preconceived notions that EV's don't have the range to get you where you "want to go", rather than inform and share with their readership the experience of pioneer EV owners and how EVs will get you where you need to go (and back - BTW for at least 1/3 the cost of the equivalent gasoline powered vehicle)..

"Honey, its cold outside.."   Yes it is. Now is winter.  Honey, it should be cold outside (don't ask me why it was 60 F yesterday or global climate change, or carbon emissions....).   Yet being cold outside, our Nissan LEAF has not stranded us by the side of the road.  So we get  home with a little less range in reserve.  So what.  We got home.

I love our LEAF.

BTW - To the driver of the electric BMW that passed me while I was driving my CNG powered Honda  Company Car on the Hutchinson River Parkway this morning in Harrison/White Plains, NY at around 8:05 AM:  Hi! I saw your car out of the corner of my eye and knew immediately what you were driving - cool!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Field Trip!!!! The LEAF to Manhattan!

I am fortunate to be off from work today to celebrate Martin Luther King. To help recognize the day we took a field trip to the New York Historical Society In addition to their MLK exhibit, we spent quite some time in the Rogers Groups exhibit [Our family owns about 20 Rogers Groups - a story for another day].

Originally I was going to park in a parking garage with a Chargepoint or Beam charging station.  The Customer Service person at Beam was really helpful in finding a parking garage near where we were going, but we didn't need to.  We made the 40 mile round trip with plenty of charge to spare when we got home so we parked in the closes garage to our destination.

We left the house with a 73 mile range, drove into Manhattan mostly via highway using ECO Mode averaging 50 MPH, except for the last 7 city blocks off the Westside Highway.  We used heated seats and the heated steering wheel because we had preheated the cabin using shore power and we really didn't need to use the heater.  We arrived at the parking garage beneath the American Museum of Natural History with 57 miles of range remaining (we only used 17 miles of our original range to drive 20 miles!!!!).

The garage scene was a blast.  The attendants asked me to leave the key in the ignition... Here's where it got fun.  It took showing them how to start and turning off the LEAF before they realize this was no ordinary car.  Once they found out the LEAF was 100% battery electric, all the attendants agreed it was the coolest car they have seen in awhile.

On the ride home we got on the highway and immediately blew past a Volt in the slow lane.  I beeped my horn in respect as we passed by.  Confident there was ample charge, I averaged 60+ mph and we had the heat on the entire trip.  We arrived home with 24 miles of range left and we averaged 3.5 miles/kwhr.

I will definitely do this trip again.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dad? Why did they do this..................?

Today, from the mouth of my 17 year old, the student driver who is learning to drive on our Nissan LEAF:  

  • 17 yr old: "Dad?"
  • Me: "Yes?"
  • 17 yr old: "Why did they do this [pointing to the parking brake lever]?"
  • Me: "What do you mean?"
  • 17 yr old: "Because everything is so cool on this car [the LEAF], why did they make the parking brake so weird?  It is like... all the other stuff on the car is cool, but this brake is like basic - not cool."
Ah, from the mouths of babe's......
Thanks Car and Driver for the photo.

Jim S.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Eco-radical interests??" What!

I was reading the following editorial from They don't sell so let's make more?, and started to think; am I an "eco-radical" because I love my Nissan LEAF and can't stop blogging about it?  Well, I hope I am not "eco-radical", but I do consider myself passionate.

After that thought stream I started to realize there are a couple of things that can be done to increase EV sales, including, but not limited to:

  • Stop the naysayers who continue to preach and brain wash the American driving public to think battery electrics have too short a range to be any good.  So instead of being always negative, speak up the positive attributes - there are so many not to know any!
  • Educate Americans!  100% coal-fired electric generating stations are several times more efficient as gasoline engines and coal plants are constantly being monitored and are becoming cleaner.
  • Stop letting people get away with saying car companies are losing money on EVs.  So EVs may be a loss-lead for some companies, but for others they are covering their costs, they just are not showing a profit - there is a big difference between no-profit and not covering costs.  I don't think the big auto companies are going to go broke making EVs.  Besides, most people I know really don't want their hard earned income becoming someone else's profit - that leaves a bad taste in our mouths. [keep the price as low as possible - profit/earnings will come as more are sold]
  • Support alternative cultures!  Learn and support the EV culture, too many forget how devastating the "automobile" culture has already been to our planet - now is the time to start cleaning it up, we can't afford to wait.
OK, I'll stop because I am just rambling, but I hope my point has been made: create a positive culture for EVs and they will sell.   How did they say it in Field of Dreams?  "Build it and they will come?", there is something to that.


Are Electric Cars Real?

The following is an interesting blog my sister-in-law sent me this morning and I found it worthy of sharing.

Are electric cars real?

My Nissan LEAF is real!

Jim S.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I met Steve

Heidi (wife) and I had just finished one of those doctor appointments where you can't eat for 48 hours before hand and we were hungery (I had sympathy hunger...).   Our goal was to break our fast (definite play on words) at the City Limits Diner in White Plains, NY.  While this blog isn't about the diner, I do have to say they had excellent food and above excellent service - I am going back there and would recommend the place to everyone - it was good, really good!

I had to mention the food and service because they were excellent, but this entry in my blog is about the parking lot, more specifically about Steve.  I was considering myself lucky that I had pulled into the first parking space to the front door of the diner that was not a "Handicap Only" space,  Heidi and I were chatting away, I can't even remember what we were talking about.  We got out of our LEAF and right away there was this "High!", O.K. hairs up on the arms, a little startled, and running through the back of my mind was; "did I screw up and park in a Handicap Space?", you know I am a New Yorker and I have learned to be "on guard".  Well, I got it all wrong.  It was Steve.

In addition to being a professional photographer, it turns out Steve is a huge Nissan LEAF fan!   Ours was one of the first Steve had seen where he was able to meet the owners, us!

We had a nice long chat, and Steve if you ever get to read this I will take you up on the offer to ride in the Saint Patrick's Day parade - you can even ride shotgun.  It was a pleasure meeting you.

Jim S.
New Ro

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What where you thinking? Ugh!!!!!

Now a couple of thousand miles into my relationship with my LEAF I have found something annoying about the car.  Yes, I have.  It is just a little detail.  One that is encountered only ever so often, but when there is nothing else to be critical of, this is what I have found - the little leavers on the steering wheel bug me!!!!!

I don't know about you, but when I start into a turn or I am making tight maneuvers, these little buggers (leavers) are just plain in the way.  I am always brushing them with the palms of my hands and inadvertently changing radio stations, and God Forbid, I actuate the cruise control to go faster than is safe!!!!!!!

Nissan.  Get rid of the little levers.  They are useless. Stick to push buttons, they work much better.


I still love my LEAF!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

100 Year Old EV with 200 mile range

Detroit Electric Cars have always been one of my all time favorite cars.  I didn't realize when my Grandfather and I were building a Testors model of one that my Great Aunt (Pop's sister-in-law) from Buffalo, NY owned and drove one daily.

Nissan LEAF among best selling vehicle

Yes, in Norway the Nissan LEAF is among the best selling vehicles, and it makes sense (dollars and cents) especially when it comes to $10 gallon gasoline.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My First EV was not a Nissan LEAF

My First EV was not a Nissan LEAF and I had to build it myself.

Seven years ago seems like just yesterday when I last parked my first EV, an eBike I hobbled together with a kit, few instructions, and some common sense.

Then was 2005. I was working locally for my current employer [a major utility in Metropolitan New York City].  Work was close enough that I could ride my bicycle, but at the end of a 10-12 hour day, who want to ride 6 miles home (and I live on top of a hill - a real bummer of a way to end a long day is cycling up a big hill).

The summer of 2005 was a blast! Each trip to work felt like I was in the Tour de France.  With just a twist of the throttle I was a world class cyclist (at least at speed, not grace).  I got great exercise, helped clean the environment, saved some bucks, and had a blast.  Would I do it again?  Well yes!  And, I have.  I drive a Nissan LEAF.

I love my Nissan LEAF.  I am glad to hear manufacturing has commenced in the USA and there will be several models to choose from.

Thank you Carlos Ghosn!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Star of the Show! Revenge of the Electric Car

The Revenge of the Electric Car is a excellent must-see award winning 2011 film directed by Chris Paine, also the director of 2006 film Who Killed the Electric Car.

Both films are worth seeing to help you better understand how and why the Electric Car industry is where it is today.

I had the opportunity to watch The Revenge of the Electric Car yesterday and found it to be an excellent film, it also helped me better understand some of the background on my 2012  Nissan LEAF.

Both films can be purchased online as DVDs or downloaded or stream from various online media sources (i.e. Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, etc.).

Saturday, January 5, 2013

1/3 The Cost Per Mile!

During the last 1,167 miles I averaged 3.3 miles per kilowatt hour - It's winter here in the northeast, we have been doing some longer highway-speed road trips and the heater or defroster have usually been on full blast (with the heated seats and steering wheel too).

The bottom line is our LEAF has 1/3 the energy costs of our late VW New Beetle Convertible.

The OUCH! is my electric utility is Con Edison.  Last month I paid $0.17 per kilowatt hour for electricity (supply 5.2 cents and delivery 11.5 cents).  For the month of December 2012, driving our LEAF cost us $0.05 per mile (our old Bug would have cost $0.15 per mile - three times as much).

Again, thank you Nissan.  We love our LEAF!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

PRESS RELEASE: Study Reveals New Factor that could Limit the Life of Hybrid and Electric Car Batteries

Study Reveals New Factor that could Limit the Life of Hybrid and Electric Car Batteries

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study of the batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric-only cars has revealed an unexpected factor that could limit the performance of batteries currently on the road.

Researchers led by Ohio State University engineers examined used car batteries and discovered that over time lithium accumulates beyond the battery electrodes – in the "current collector," a sheet of copper which facilitates electron transfer between the electrodes and the car's electrical system.

This knowledge could aid in improving design and performance of batteries, explained Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and the Howard D. Winbigler Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

"Our study shows that the copper current collector plays a role in the performance of the battery," he said.

The study, which appears in a recent issue of the journal Scripta Materialia, reflects an ongoing collaboration between Bhushan and Suresh Babu, professor of materials science and engineering and director of the National Science Foundation Center for Integrative Materials Joining for Energy Applications, headquartered at the university. The team is trying to determine the factors that limit battery life.

Lithium-ion batteries are the rechargeable batteries used in most hybrid-electric cars and all-electric cars as well. Inside, lithium ions shuttle back and forth between the anode and cathode of the battery – to the anode when the battery is charging, and back to the cathode when the battery is discharging.

Previously, the researchers determined that, during aging of the battery, cyclable lithium permanently builds up on the surface of the anode, and the battery loses charge capacity.

This latest study revealed that lithium migrates through the anode to build up on the copper current collector as well.

"Our study shows that the copper current collector plays a role in the performance of the battery."

"We didn't set out to find lithium in the current collector, so you could say we accidentally discovered it, and how it got there is a bit of a mystery. As far as we know, nobody has ever expected active lithium to migrate inside the current collector," Bhushan said.

Shrikant Nagpure, now postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State, carried out this research as a part of his doctoral degree. He examined batteries that were aged in collaboration with the university's Center for Automotive Research, where colleagues Yann Guezennec and Giorgio Rizzoni have studied battery aging for several years, in collaboration with the automotive industry.

Key to the discovery of lithium in the current collector was collaboration between the Ohio State team and Gregory Downing, a research chemist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and an expert on a technique called neutron depth profiling (NDP), a tool for impurity analysis in materials.

Previously, the researchers used NDP to study the cathodes and anodes of six off-the-shelf lithium-ion car batteries – one new battery and five batteries which they aged themselves in the laboratory – and found that lithium builds up on the anode surface over time.

To understand more about how these batteries degrade, Bhushan and his colleagues have been studying the batteries further, at various scales ranging from the millimeter (thousandths of a meter) down to the nanometer (billionths of a meter) with different techniques.

In the NDP technique, researchers pass neutrons through a material and capture the charged particles that emerge from the fission reaction between neutrons and lithium in the electrodes. Since different chemical elements emit a certain signature set of particles with specific energies, NDP can reveal the presence of impurities in a material.

In this latest study, NDP detected the presence of lithium in the copper current collector from one of the aged batteries. The detection was measured as a ratio of the number of copper atoms in the collector to the number of lithium atoms that had collected there. The test yielded a ratio of up to 0.08 percent, or approximately one lithium atom per 1250 copper atoms in the collector.

That's a small number, but high enough that it could conceivably affect the electrical performance of the current collector – and, in turn, the performance of a battery, Bhushan said. He hopes that battery makers will further investigate this phenomenon and use the information to design new materials that might prevent lithium from escaping the electrode material.

Next, he and his colleagues will study the impedance, or internal electrical resistance, of lithium-ion batteries on the nanoscale.

Funding for this study came from the Institute for Materials Research at Ohio State.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nissan LEAF Battery Conundrum

The Nissan LEAF Battery Conundrum: 70%, 80%, or 100%?  What to do?  What would you do?

Many reputable news sources recently reported Nissan is retroactively extending the battery warranty on certain model year LEAFs.  I share here* Autoweek's article which reports on how Nissan with the new  extended warranty will replace batteries less than 5 years old or with less than 60K miles if they fail to charge to 70%   [I chose the Autoweek* article solely because it was the first/top article to appear during my Google search of the topic].

Here is where I start to get a little confused and the conundrum deepens:

  1. Nissan now says they will replace batteries that fail to meet the aforementioned criteria.
  2. My 2012 LEAF lease is 24 months.
  3. Nissan recommends in their 2012 Nissan LEAF Owner's Manual [I have the Manual because I own a LEAF (Yeah!!!!)] no more than 80% charge for maximum battery life, and they make the distinction between Long Distance Mode vs. Long Life Mode (Manual page CH-20**).
  4. 80% charge gives me an 84 mile range, and a 100% charge gives me a 102 mile range.
  5. My furthest single trip in my LEAF has been 60 miles.
Should I charge my batteries to 100% for the next 23 months and enjoy extended range (or more climate control and/or aggressive driving)?  Or, should I only charge to 80%, always drive in ECO Mode, and preserve the life of the batteries that can otherwise be replaced under the new extended warranty? [and likely well after my lease expires and I am driving a 2014 LEAF??]

An ethical questions?  Perhaps.  Maybe not?  What to do?  What to do?

What would you do?


*[Autoweek: Nissan Leaf gets battery warranty boost,.
**2012 Nissan LEAF Owner's Manual

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

First LEAF trip to Manhattan!

What a great way to end 2012, a family outing into Manhattan for lunch at Serendipity 3 and a visit to the Park Avenue Armory to swing on a swing (BTW - a great exhibit).

My day started having already driven in and out of Manhattan for a half-day of work with a "Smog-mobile".    With work over, I returned home to pick up the family for our outing.  Now for the decision; smog-mobile or LEAF - hands down LEAF was the choice ride for the afternoon (my idea).

With my past experience of driving a 1998 Toyota eRav into Manhattan on a cold winter day I knew the 50 mile round trip would consume most of the battery charge leaving very little leftover if we wanted to take a detour while in the city or on our way home.  Thinking we might want to get a quick charge while we were wandering around the city, I Googled Manhattan charging stations and found an Icon Parking Systems garage on East 63rd Street near where we were going and it had a Beam charger.

Alright!  We have a plan.  Wait............................ how much? Ouch!  $33.00 just to park and have the privilege of plugging into a 220 volt $2.50 an hour car charger?  That's more than $40 for three hours and not in my budget.

So much for Plan A.  But Plan B did work out.  I parked at a facility the company I work for owns and plugged my LEAF in with the Nissan OEM 110 volt plug.  Three hours later we were full, happy, and tired, and the LEAF had just about (a little less) range we had when we left the house earlier in the day.

We enjoyed a worry free, fast, heated seat (all 4), heated steering wheel, and 75 degree warm car ride home!

[LEAF Summary: Left the house with ~75 mile range.  Drove highway speeds  25 miles into Manhattan and arrived with a 48 mile range remaining.  Three hours on the 110 volt plug resulted in a 64 mile range for the trip home.  We arrived 25 miles later with an ~37 mile range remaining.  We could have made the trip on a single charge, but being able to plug in helped (literally) give us a warm feeling on our adventure.]

My LEAF Helped Save My Marriage (not really, but...)

While driving our LEAF into Manhattan yesterday for our annual end-of-year Family lunch at Serendipity 3, my wife turned to me and we had the following exchange:

MY WIFE:     "Sweetie?"
ME:                "Yes Dear?"
MY WIFE:      "Do you know our Nissan LEAF helped save our marriage?"
ME:                "What?  What are you talking about?  There is anything wrong with our marriage.  We are both happy.  Actually, by today's standards our marriage could be a model of great marriages.  What are you saying?"

[short pause]

MY WIFE:      "Well, you know...."
ME:                 "What do I know?" [Note: I potential set myself up here for a big fall.]
MY WIFE:      "I don't have to nag you anymore to put gasoline in the car."
ME:                  "Oh..............  Good point.  Thank you Dear. I love you too."

The LEAF once again comes to the rescue!

Thank you Nissan! 

Improved Battery Warranty for the Nissan LEAF!

The big LEAF news during the past few days has been on Nissan's improved battery warranty.  Thank's Nissan for further making ownership of an EV appealing.

Check out this YouTube video on the topic from Autoweek (Thank's Autoweek):

Links to other sources of news about the improved warranty: