Day One

by Ernie Hernandez on March 25, 2011

LEAF delivery day

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.

LEAF - 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!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

stanley March 26, 2011 at 8:42 am

Congats!!! Congrats!!! It was great to read of your day 1. Keep the reports coming. What do you think Nissan will do with its sequencing snafu? Do you think they will fix it?

Reply

Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) March 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

Ah… now stanley… you know better than to ask me a question like that! ๐Ÿ™‚

There are multiple issues to be considered. Only a select few knew what the initial sequencing issue was supposed to be. We’ve heard that it was based on reservations, based on orders and/or some combination of reservations, orders, location and cycle of the moon. Now throw in the devastation in Japan which impacted every phase of the manufacture of ANY Japanese made item, and in my view – nobody will know what is truly going on for quite some time (and not just in the car business). One simply cannot make projections based on a foundation that is still moving underneath you. Certainly, some vehicles have already been built and are in the distribution system. They will make their way to their already designated owners. We really have no way of knowing how Nissan selected those owners in the first place. Once those vehicles are distributed, and new cars are being manufactured, we get back to Nissan distributing cars via Magic 8-Ball (NIssan (or Magic 8-Ball) – Will I get my LEAF in the week of July 17? “Ask again later”).

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John P March 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Ernie,
CONGRATULATIONS! Great post and please keep it up. My delivery โ€œweekโ€ keeps moving around but is still in the mid April range. Canโ€™t wait until I get it and start to show it off to friends and family. Iโ€™m sure once people see the Leaf, there will be an increase in demand for this environmentally friendly vehicle.
John

Reply

Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) March 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I believe that you are absolutely correct – as more LEAFs are seen in the wild, and discussion ensues, awareness improves and demand will increase. Hopefully, by the time the Smyrna plant comes online, the demand will exist for the entire production capability.

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John P March 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

P.S. you look good in red. John

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Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) March 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm

John – Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Neil Bettenhausen March 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Hey Ernie—-congratulations; Nice post. After you get the 2nd meter, and the Blink is all set up, I’d appreciate it if I could drop over some time and take a look at how everything works with the Blink/Carwings timer charging, etc. I’m somewhat “technically challenged”, and would like to pick your brain a bit before my car arrives (probably May-June-July). I’m “retired”, so any time is good for me.

Thanks,

derkraut

Reply

Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) March 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Absolutely! Once I get familiar with everything, I’ll have you over to check it out.

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