Friday, 2 October 2015

EV Blog No1

'Leafy Tweets'

Electric Vehicle Blog by @dansoapbox

Chapter one:

On a mid-week afternoon sometime in November 2014 
I experienced some cryptic tweeting activity!

“@dansoapbox - View of Loch Lomond from leaf”


This was soon followed by

“Nice people talking about leaf in car park!”

An hour passed!  Then

“Even more people excited by leaf in service station!”

This mini-succession of ‘Leaf related’ social media was followed up 
by a phone call from my brother

“Hi Dan.  Guess where I am?”

No, don’t tell me, let me guess, let me guess! 

“I am thinking Scotland perhaps!”

“That’s right! 
And guess what?
I got here in an electric car”

Ah! Now it was beginning to make some sense
That would be the Nissan Leaf EV!

Indeed it was!
  My brother continued to fill me in on how he had taken 
the opportunity to use a 100% Electric vehicle (EV) 
and drive anywhere in the country for a 
whole week with 
no charge!

(Chuckles to self!)

Platinum - Nissan  - Trowbrige

Now! You know what it’s like when someone is excited 
about a product or some new tech-kit right? 

Well, apparently, I should do the same!  
I would definitely be impressed!  I would want to tell everyone about it 
and, I might even want to buy one!

Well, I might, I suppose. Stranger things have happened!

In the weeks following this conversation
neurons in the rattling recesses of my decision making centres 
were reaching an actionable conclusion! 

FYI: I have always had a healthy interest in green energy 
and have designed several small scale renewable energy projects in my time.  
I had indeed, been getting quite excited about the emerging 
‘Genuine EV’ market with the likes of Tesla cars and Zero motorcycles!
This is #VeryCoolKit after all!

The one (rather important) thing I hadn’t done yet 
was to actually ride or drive one!

I knew I would not be signing on the dotted line any time soon, 
but thought it rude to refuse Nissan UK’s unconditional 
offer of a FREE ‘Seven day’ test drive. 

In the time it takes to say 
“Not only a free lunch but a car to drive there too” 
I had signed up via their online form.

Let me just point out here that I have 
purposefully distinguished between the EV market (i.e. 100% Electric) 
and the more familiar Hybrid (Part Electric) market so, 
sorry if you have your eye on a shiny new Toyota Prius
Because this blog is not about those OK!

After a few agreement related formalities, 
like the requirement for off road parking and a 
six metre access to a household ‘ring main’ socket! 
Nissan arranged for me to collect my vehicle from a local dealer 
at a time of my choosing, which was nice! :-)   

I sneakily booked my usual ‘Day vehicle’ in for a 
service for the same day to avoid unnecessary travel by 
public transport or the inconvenience of 
three vehicles on my drive at once! 
Smart Huh? :-) 

Coincidentally, the awaiting chariot was much smarter than 
I could ever have imagined! 

(Btw. Not Smart by name! ‘Smart EV’ is also now 
available for followers of the #SmartSet)

I completed some insurance paperwork and was given a 
short introduction to the 2014 Leaf whereupon I asked the dealer 
to accompany me for a short spin to show me the controls in action 
while giving me an idea of ‘REALISTIC’ range! 

This they did and were very honest from the 
start about what is published and what is sensible

(2015 Leaf models have a far greater range but read on, 
you may be able to pick up an old model for a steal!) 

I am purposefully not going to be statistic heavy in this blog, 
so if we were to say that the figure I was informed of 
was 25% less than the published stats, then you get an idea. 

Nissan are very upfront about this when I took the test drive 
and  I would like to think that they would be just as up front 
if you were buying a new one too! :-) 

One thing I can guarantee is that Nissan do not lie 
about the emissions of their EV Range!  

Mention no names!  

All genuine EVs on the market will always be rated 
as ‘Zero Emissions’ (in traditional terms at least) 
as they are not ‘ICE’ 
(Internal combustion Engines)

Familiar with all the (Beautifully simple) controls and having 
gleaned a few ‘EV’ driving tips too, I now drove the Leaf home via an extended scenic route.  With a ‘Sporty foot’ :-D

My first opportunity to gauge available charge! 
When driving an ‘EV’ It is most important to ascertain 
a safe ratio between the charge required to ‘reach your destination’ 
compared to how much ‘driving fun’ (of a heavy footed nature) 
you intend have on the way! You can drive efficient or drive hard.  
It really does require a new way of thinking! 
An entirely new frontier in fact! 
Which is rather exciting!

(Much more on that subject later!)

I stopped to pick up some shopping which gave me an Idea for a 
‘UK wide’ network of charging station stations AldiUK :-) 

Do Aldi UK Charge? (Westbury Store)

Aldi (Germany) have just started doing this!  Well done them! 

(Check out the cute charging boot)

So, I hear you ask! 
What was my first impression of the Nissan Leaf EV?


The word ‘awesome’ immediately came to mind! Honestly! 
You can drive for fun or ease as you see fit 
(The Leaf did both admirably!) 
and by way of comparison to it’s many ‘ICE’ competitors 
performs as well or better than most middle of the range hatch-backs 
with the added bonus (other than road noise) of complete silence!  

Rather odd this!  

I was instantly and equally hooked to the engineering and the silence :-D
 You do have the option to turn on an audible tone while at low speed 
but I really loved not doing that! 

(Especially when pulling away slowly in carparks) 
Rather childish really! 

I excitedly drove, quite silently out of Aldi’s carpark 
and then the short journey home to my driveway, 
safe in the knowledge that there was much electric fun 
to be had after an overnight charge.

Next Time:  

Chapter 2:   An unexpected Journey (The EV tale Continues)

Planning a journey (at Waitrose)

@dansoapbox 2015 ‘Honesty with love’ <3 xo