My Leaf – day 2

I got a dent. The second fucking day I owned the car and some moron in the King Soopers parking lot opened her door and did not hang on to it when we had the high winds yesterday. So it slammed into the side of my Leaf. I hope she made the same mistake later in the day when there was no car to protect it and her door got wrecked. It’s a nasty dent where it was basically fully open as it scratched about a foot of paint on the rear door and slightly pushed it in. I can get the paint fixed but the door will now always have a slight indentation. That sucks.

On the good news side, I was able to charge it using 110 in about half the time estimated. I fortunately have a 100′ extension cord that is rated for 50 Amps. I ran that from the kitchen (kitchen plugs are generally 20 Amp while the rest of a house is generally 15 Amp) out to the garage. And then used the 110 charging cable that’s in the trunk. I tried first to use a garage outlet but they’re all on GFI and that tripped the second the charging started. So anyways, I can charge while I wait to get the 220 volt charging station installed.

I’ve gotten the electronics all hooked up and then iPhone app working. Nissan is no Apple when it comes to the design and look of their touch screen, but it is serviceable. The voice recognition is great although I wish they had an option for a different voice speaking – my hearing is poor at higher frequencies and so I have to really concentrate to understand the system when it is speaking. Have Samuel Jackson as an option :)

It’s also a royal PITA that every time you start the car you have to click OK that it is pushing data up to Nissan. I’m probably going to turn off the car’s talking to Nissan just to eliminate that annoyance. And the iPhone app suffers from over-prompting and over-reporting. But that’s common for software apps written by large IT departments – they tend to not have any usability experts on staff. Oh, and Nissan’s website is dog slow – they’re a car company not a software company.

Driving a Leaf is a lot like reading on a Kindle. You need to make sure you’re charged up in advance. In both cases you have replaced the previous technology that took little (filling up on gas) or no (just open a book) advance planning and now have a system where you need to charge in advance. But that one disadvantage is outweighed by some major advantages. Major, major advantages…

Like what?

First there’s no more stopping at a gas station, including when it’s freezing out, to pump gas. 30 seconds at night to plug in and 30 seconds in the morning to unplug beats the snot out of stopping for gas. Second, monthly checking of oil level and tire pressure – I just deleted that reminder from my calendar (my wife just informed me that I still have to check her car once a month). (The tires use Nitrogen and have pressure sensors so I get a dashboard light if the pressure is off.) Third, regular maintenance is virtually nil – an electric motor is basically a sealed unit, including the bearings.

Well, next on the list is my wife and daughters are going to try driving it this afternoon. Hopefully no more dents. (That dent in the Leaf is worse than anything that happened to my M3 over the 22 years I drove it.)