LEAF owners trek over 100 miles home from dealer
Two cautiously adventurous new LEAF owners chose to drive over 100 miles home in their inaugural drive of their new electric vehicle (EV). Guess what? They made it.
We say cautiously adventurous because an asterisk needs to be placed next to the entry in the book (for those who keep track of such things). More on the asterisk in a moment. Three employees of San Diego Gas & Electric decided to purchase the LEAF for their personal vehicle, for various reasons. They made their purchase from Fontana Nissan, east of Los Angeles. Fontana sent a driver down to pick up all three, and one chose to have his LEAF delivered to his home just to play it safe. But after taking delivery, the other two strapped in and hit the start button to (in the words of Steppenwolf) – “Get your motor running, Head out on the highway, Looking for adventure, In whatever comes our way”.
Choosing the conservative approach, they tiptoed the first few miles at just over 50 miles per hour. After getting honked at by one driver, and scowled at by another, they decided to pick up the pace to a steady 55 miles per hour. Keep in mind, the two intrepid adventurers were in contact with each other via bluetooth cell phone conversation pretty much the entire way. Once they settled in at 55 mph, it was pretty smooth sailing.
Just a quick side note; we drive all over Southern California freeways weekly. We drive from San Diego, to Yuma, Arizona. We spend time in Orange County and in the Inland Empire. We drive on these freeways in the morning, in the middle of the day, and in the evening. Yes… we drive a lot. While some would say driving 55 miles per hour in SoCal is hazardous, we would beg to differ. Many drivers drive sub-60 miles per hour (for whatever reason) routinely. Most freeways have enough lanes to accommodate a variety of speeds without any significant safety issues. That said, let’s continue on with our daring duo.
The “cautiously” in the “cautiously adventurous” above comes in here. The pair chose to stop at the Nissan dealership in Temecula to top off with juice. Many Nissan stores in the Southern California market are LEAF certified dealerships. What this means, is that the dealership had to provide certain upgrades to their facilities. These upgrades included installing two publicly available 220/240 volt charging stations for Nissan customers. Temecula is a LEAF certified store. But just to stay on the good side of the dealership (after all, one never knows when he might need a little more juice), the pair called the store ahead of time and asked for permission. And while they were waiting for their cars to charge, they enjoyed some popcorn and bought out the inventory of four LEAF license plate frames that the dealership had just received. In their 90 minute stay they picked up about 18 miles of range.
This is a typical public charging station arrangement at a Nissan store
The drive from the Fontana dealership to their homes was about 110 miles. They live in different areas of San Diego, but about the same distance from Fontana. The side trip to the dealership in Temecula added a couple miles. When they got home, they each had about 18 miles left. So could they have made it all the way? It sounds like they might have just coasted into their respective driveways. But with a LEAF, since there is no engine noise, a curious neighbor might ask about the lack of noise from under the hood. Our response might be – “Yeah… it always sounds like that”. While there may not have been an American flag theme painted on the gas tank (Oh… wait… there is no gas tank)… these two were “Born to be Wild“.