Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Return to Normalcy

It's been two weeks since we took delivery of our Nissan LEAF, and it's starting to feel like a regular car. We've logged 400 miles and used 96 kilowatt-hours of electricity, for an average of 4.1 miles/kWh. Haven't received our electric bill yet, but assuming PSE's higher-use rate and 10% overhead for the charging station, expecting costs to be around $10.50 to $11.00 for the 400 miles. If we were buying gasoline (at the local price of $3.30/gallon), it would be the equivalent of getting 120 MPG.

My wife drives the car to work every day. We do our usual running around after work and on the weekends. We plug it in every night. And aside from last week's near misadventure, driving with electrons is becoming pretty normal.

I'm also getting over my fear of hills. It takes energy to go uphill. A lot of energy. We use 1/12th of the battery's capacity climbing from sea level up to our house. Which was scary at first. But as long as we have at least two blue bars showing on the battery gauge when we start the climb, I know we'll make it home just fine. And the payoff comes when we go down the hill. I'll have more to say about regenerative braking in a future post. But it's pretty cool to put energy back into the battery, instead of throwing it away as heat and brake dust.

As time goes by, I'm finding fewer excuses to drive the car. The novelty is beginning to fade. I still think the LEAF is the coolest car on the road. But in the end, it's just a car. And even the coolest car is no match for a bicycle.

1 comment:

Chad Schwitters said...

Hi Trevor,

It will be interesting to see numbers on hills, if you can get them.

What RAV4 and Tesla owners have found is that it typically takes about 6.5 miles of range to climb every 1,000 feet of elevation. Regen puts back about 4.5 of those miles when you descend, although of course it depends on speed, regen system, etc.
So the net cost of a hill is about 2 miles per 1,000 feet. Which works out to about 6 miles to go over Snoqualmie Pass. Not bad.