Living with My Leaf

A VEVA Blog by Robert Shaw

Jan 11, 2013

On Tuesday December 18th, 2012 a brand new Nissan Leaf, a blue one came home with me. On the Saturday December 15th that I put down $1,000 to reserve a car. I had been planning to get a 2013 iMev up until Friday, so on Saturday it was a real quick decision. I won't re-tell the story here, it was told in a previous email.

This is the very first time I have bought a new car. And I was really quite giddy about it for at least two weeks. Anyway, the following day it snowed. Luckily, being a new electric car owner, I was extremely cautious about anything that might offend my new car. I took the precaution to rearranging things stored under the carport and put my Leaf there the night before the snow came, and there it sat fully charged for two days. I put two magnetic signs on the Leaf that say “BATTERY POWERED”, one on each side, I want people to know this car is special. On Friday I drove it briefly to look at the arrival of some Tesla s. Didn't do much driving, brought the car back, charged it up under the carport.

Wait a minute. People won't see the Leaf or the signs if it's parked under the carport. I decided to park the car on the front street, so the neighbours will know there's an electric car in the neighbour hood, and where it might get harmed, -ooh-. The first night I did not sleep well. I talked to neighbours. They knew quickly I had an electric car. That's may be two dozen people, may be three dozen people, it's a quiet residential street.

Wait a minute. If I park my Leaf on a busy street more people will see it. I can park it on Dunbar Street or King Edward Boulevard. Those are big streets, lots of people go down those streets even buses. I'll have to walk a couple of blocks to get to my Leaf. A small price to pay, the physical exercise is probably good for me, but I still worry a little about something bad happening, no doubt it's just a mild form of separation anxiety. My car behaviours have started to change. Normally people with cars park them as close as possible to where they live, where they work, and where they shop. I'm not doing that, I'm parking my car where it will be seen by a large number of people and I'm willing to walk several blocks to make that happen.

I have started reconsidering other driving feelings and habits. Firstly, I've noticed electric driving doesn't have the same amount of gilt associated with it as driving a gas car. There are the obvious CO2 issues, but there is also the gas price effect, every time I went to a gas station I left a lot of money there. Now I don't go to gas stations, not even for air, I think it would be bad form.

It's actually more fun to drive.

In the past when I drove a car I was concerned about getting to where I had to go with using the least amount of gas, which also meant using least crowed or traffic congested streets. For me that meant using King Edward Boulevard to go across Vancouver. King Edward doesn't have many stores along it so the traffic moves quickly. Now, I want lots of people to see my Leaf and the signs. I'm driving along busy streets like Broadway, at rush hour, during a traffic jams. It felt a little unusual at first, but I'm starting to do that. If I'm not in a rush, why not? It's not like I'm burning gas, Yes, I am making Vancouver a little more congested, but I'm not burning gas.

Another thing I've started to do is pay for street parking. I'm rather old and I deep down inside believe paying for parking is almost immoral. When I drove a gas car I would park far away from a busy street with it's hungry meters. Today, I want a busy street, it's worth it for me to pay if my Leaf is seen by many people.

And another thing, I've washed my Leaf! I haven't washed a car for a least 20 years. I would let the rain deal with that. But now, I want to make a good impression with the public so I'm going to keep it clean. I may even have it detailed one day! My world is changing.

On other matters;

At the next VEVA meeting I will bring magnetic car signs that say “BATTERY POWERED” and give them away to VEVA members who have register electric cars on the road, first come first serve basis. I will probably run out, there will be more in February.

I will miss this Saturday morning coffee at Calhoun's (Jan 12th). Other people may show up but I won't be there.

All the Best

Rob Shaw, 604.738.2641

Feb 9, 2013

Photos from the Charging Station in Pacific Spirit Park

Feb 16, 2013

Hi All

Recently I bought a lovely Blue Nissan Leaf and I got it for a really good price, $5000 provincial rebate plus $5000 Nissan rebate. (Nissan's rebate has since gone up, but it won't last). I'm happy with the deal I got.

Initially to charge my Leaf I used the 120V trickle charger - opportunity charger - it's only 1 KW and it's slow. For the first month that's all I had. The Leaf's battery pack is 24 KWhr. On a few occasions I drove almost down to zero. And charging at 1 KW that's 24 hours - yes the numbers do work that way. This was a definitely inconvenient. So, I got a level II charging station, I chose Sun Country Highway's LSC-25 as the best value for me. Attachments are all the paperwork I needed to mail in to LiveSmart BC to get the $500.00 rebate check for the Charging Station. It took about a month from me mailing in to me getting the check. Deadline for this rebate is MARCH 31, 2013. So, if your going to act, act soon.

My installation has been a little dodgy. I live in a very old building, built in 1925, not much has been done to keep the building current or up to code. The fuse panel, yes I said fuse panel, is 240 V AC with two screw in 30 Amp fuses. There are eight 15 Amp screw in fuses for the entire house. If a real electrician or inspector saw the panel they would probably stop any electrical additions until the electrical system as a whole were up graded. I know the risks I'm taking, and I'm OK with them. I have blown two 30 Amp fuses. If the Leaf is charging and the electric dryer is on that will blow a fuse. There are a couple of oil filled electric heaters around the house they are on timers, they all can't be on at the same time, that will blow a fuse.

One concern about this $500 rebate was did I need a real electrician to do the work for me? The answer is no. And because I know how to do things electrical I installed the charger station myself. It was simple, three wires, it works fine.

Best Regards Robert Shaw

See rebate form and cheque
The form itself and all the info you need are here at LiveSmart BC