The Eagle has landed
Ok… so it might not be quite as dramatic as a lunar landing, but having our LEAF in our garage is still pretty exciting!
The day started early this morning with the installation crew from Sunwest Electric showing up to install our ECOtality Blink charging dock. Several hours later our new EVSE was stationed on the newly cleaned side of the garage awaiting the arrival of the LEAF. SDG&E won’t be out to inspect the installation until Monday though, and may not install the second meter for us to get our favorable super-off peak midnight rates until sometime next week, so for the moment we will be charging on the 120 volt EVSE supplied with the car.
We saw Leon of Mossy Nissan (from whom we ordered our car) on Wednesday and he thought the car might be in on Thursday. Having some business to do at the Mossy Poway store today, we called to arrange our business yesterday and were told that the LEAF would be ready to pick up when we got there today. When we pulled into the dealership, we saw two LEAFs parked in the service drive, ready to go. Those are the two that you see in the photo above. Ours is the red one, and the black one was to be picked up this evening by its owner – a San Diego Gas & Electric executive if we heard correctly.
As I looked the car over, I was amazed to see just 5.4 miles on the clock. I have never bought a car with that little showing. Naturally, I forgot to take a picture of it. So I talked with some of the guys in the store as paperwork was being prepared and realized that I had to get going as I had a haircut appointment in downtown San Diego. (My stylist is my sister-in-law so I didn’t want to get on her bad side by being late, or worse, cancelling!) So I (here I was going to say “roared out of the parking lot”, but in the LEAF that just doesn’t sound correct) left the dealership in great haste, and headed down Interstate 15 South, not only “keeping up with traffic”, but often setting the pace. (Trees were not growing on my dash). I paired my bluetooth phone at a stoplight before making it to the freeway (yes the good folks at the dealership will do this for you, but I know what I’m doing and was in a hurry), called my sister-in-law to tell her that I was running late, and flew down the freeway, checking on-ramps, off-ramps, and all of my mirrors much of the way. (I suppose you could say that I have some experience in “making great haste”). Once downtown I was gliding down 4th Street to my appointment. Stopping at a red light a young man crossing the intersection did a double take as he heard the LEAFs Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP). I just smiled.
Showing my sister-in-law the car after being (nicely) shorn, my wife called to tell me that our taxes were ready to be picked up and asked if I could get them on the way home. Being the graciously accommodating husband that I am, I had to agree to take a short detour on the way home to take care of this additional errand. On this portion of my first days’ drive, I could actually pay more attention to the car than to the traffic and potentially hazardous surroundings. The entire drive thus far had been made with the sound system and the climate control off. I had also experimented a bit with ECO mode on and off, and noticed a gain of 4 to 7 miles just by changing the drive mode. Keep in mind that you can always get full throttle acceleration by mashing the throttle to the floor – even in ECO mode. There is a slight delay as the computer figures out that you really are in a hurry, but then gives you everything that you are asking for. I cycled through the audio sources and the bluetooth audio picked up the Pandora that I had been listening to earlier in another vehicle on my phone.
Taxes addressed, heading north on Interstate 15 I noticed a green Jeep Cherokee to my left seemingly pacing me. I looked over and the driver smiled and gave me a thumbs up. Cool! My first day and people are noticing the car. The Jeep slowed, dropped behind me, came around on the right and passed me and exited at Miramar Road. Looking at the MyNissanLeaf forum this evening prior to making this post, I saw two photos of me driving up Interstate 15 North taken by said Cherokee driver! So I’m not even the first to post photos of my car online.
Noticing the time, I called my wife again and asked her if she’d like me to pick the kids up from the after-school care. (You know the answer to that one.) So a few minutes later the kids were ooh-ing and ah-ing over the new LEAF. Heading home a few minutes later, my wife finally got to see the new LEAF – after her sister, her kids, and a green Jeep Cherokee driving LEAF fan.
Prior to putting the LEAF away for the evening, a couple were walking their dog in the neighborhood when I heard the man mention the LEAF. I told them that I had just picked it up earlier this afternoon. The woman (certainly also aware of what the LEAF is) said “You’re on the cutting edge!”. I had to agree.
So since I didn’t get a shot of the instrument panel when I picked up the car, here it is at the end of day one.
The day started with 11 of 12 bars on the “gas gauge”. As you can see, we ended up with four, having put on 50.9 miles. As it is impossible to know how much juice was in bar 11, or how much remained in bar four, all we can do is do the math and see how it plays out. 50.9 divided by seven is 7.27 miles per bar. This is with some 80 mile per hour freeway driving, and some very conservative 65 mile per hour freeway cruising, and some ECO mode driving around town. 7.27 times four leaves us with roughly 29 miles left. Amazingly (we think), that is what also shows on the miles range on the dash. As we have already said, we probably aren’t going to place a lot of faith in the “distance to empty” numeric range on the dash and will generally rely on our own calculation as performed above. But, at least in some cases, it turns out that they may in fact be the same.
Bring on day two!