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11/27/2014 0 Comments
Electric Cars Charge into the Future
I love my electric vehicles (Nissan Leaf & Zero S motorcycle)!... I got this great infographic guide from fix.com
8/3/2012 1 Comment
Never getting gas again!
I'm totally in love with my 2011 Zero S electric motorcycle!... so much that it had my curiousity peaked to go check out electric cars. Now I don't do anything half way so no hybrids for me, I want full electric like that cycle I love! I will admit I jumped on the electric car craze right away last year (must have watched "Who Killed the Electric Car?" too many times!) and pre-ordered a Nissan Leaf. A few months later I came to grips with reality and cancelled the order. I was sad but knew someday I'd be in an electric car!
Now with the availability of public charging stations and a year of production on the Leaf I considered it again. After test driving it I told myself I'd get one this year. We have a trusted dealership we work with (family member works there) and they ran us through all the features. If I was going to do this I was doing it all... top of the line SL. It has navigation system, XM radio, rear camera for reversing, heated seats, regenarative braking system and a solar panel on the back to charge the accessories so it doesn't drain the main battery.
I enjoyed the test drive and figured by fall I'd go for it. My current car (Nissan Altima) was getting old and needing some work but I just got new brakes and figured I would wait. A few days later I was advised of some incentives Nissan was offering through the end of July on the car. And of course they don't do that often. Ugh!... so fast track the paperwork to get the deal and I added in a sunroof and we were a go!
They had the car I wanted in stock so within a week I had my new car (took a few days for that sunroof!). I was intimidated once I got home trying to understand remember all of the features. It's a very smart car, so smart from a smart phone or computer I can program what time the car will turn on (while being plugged in and not draining battery power) to get the air conditioning or heat going. Crazy, since I am definately not a gadget person and this car is one big gadget. Luckily, I married a gadget person and he loves figuring out all the features and teaching me how to use. I can repay him by telling him which XM stations he would like since I've been a long time subscriber!
There's a carwings online service you are supposed to register with to help customize things further but we have been unsuccessful in getting that to work. It ties into the navigation as well. The highlight of the navigation (because I said "why do I need that when I can't go that far?") is that it will show you where the nearest charging stations are. The bad news is that it's updated based on drivers so none of the chargepoint stations in my home town are listed on the map yet (I'd like to have them so I know the distance from where I am while driving). That means once I plug my car into a station the car is so smart it will remember and update the navigation map for all users. We're planning to get to them in the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see if that really works since we had problems registering online with that carwings program. We're not sure if that will be affected. Stay tuned on that!
Since I drive 5 miles one way to work this car is perfect for me. It will get 130 miles on a full charge for city driving; 100 for faster freeway speeds. It comes with a 120V cord for charging which will take 24 hours to charge. We purchased an upgraded charger that has both 120V/220V and are getting the 220V upgrade in the garage. The 220V will take about 6 hours for a full charge. The car tells how many miles left based on your current driving habit, and also how long a full charge will take in hours and minutes. Charger is nice and compact, kind of looks like a bigger laptop plug, and comes in a carrying case so you can keep it in the car.
And I am happy to say the car is kinda cute! I'm keeping an eye out for some fancy accessories, I think I might want to pimp my Leaf? Maybe some green rims or something crazy!?... we'll see what we find!
7/3/2012 6 Comments
Going gas free!
A few weeks ago I traded my first motorcycle (Buell Blast) for something crazy different.... 2011 Zero S, electric motorcycle. Not only have I been referred to as a crazy hippie but I also have a motorcycle enthusiast husband that loves new technology. So it's no suprise that after a year of studying and test driving electric bikes and motorcycles that we finally went for it.
Our local Zero dealer (Schlossman Power Sports) had a beautiful year old black with metallic red rims greatly reduced. The 2012 models get much greater range but were double the price (80-100 vs my 2011 with 40-50). It was a big decision, but in the end I loved the way the 2011 looked way better. Plus, I already do not travel outside my 5 mile radius of home to work very often. I think my previous longest trip on the last motorcycle was 20-some miles (my butt gets sore and again I don't really go far anyway!).
I get lots of questions out on the road, and a few stares and even "what is that!?". The motorcycle has no clutch and makes no noise! I have scared a few birds on some suburban highways. There is no engine, just a motor and a giant battery. Under the battery is a short cord. Under my seat is a cylinder that holds a folded up longer extension cord that plugs into the battery which in turn plugs into a standard 3 prong 120 volt outlet. Also, the only liquid onboard is break fluid.
Charging time is about 2.5-3 hours, but I rarely run the battery down that low. For me I'm usually at 3/4-5/8 power and a charge to full is about an hour. They saw the cost to fully charge this bike is 95 cents. The city of Milwaukee has installed some ChargePoint stations, but they are not ideal (most are 220 not the 120 I need, one my cord doesn't reach the plug and another is in a reserved parking lot). I found better luck just asking businesses that I see an outside outlet. They are so intrigued they agree to let me plug in while I visit their establishment. Or I find friends along my way and ask to use an outlet in their garage.
I know it's not a vehicle for everyone but for me, it's perfect. Besides cheap to run, it's lots of fun to drive this stealth dirt bike-ish ride! My husband even enjoys taking this out for a spin and maybe will eventually trade his gas guzzling Harley or Yamaha in! ;)
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