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Taxpayers' Leaf: Four Recharging Stops Needed to Go 180 Miles
National Legal & Policy Center ^ | January 3, 2012 | Paul Chesser

Posted on 01/03/2012 11:21:53 AM PST by jazusamo

Nissan Leaf photo

Consumer Reports has painted an ugly picture of the Nissan Leaf, as did an early enthusiast based in Los Angeles, who described his frustrations with the heavily subsidized, all-electric car in a recent column.

Now comes what must be the definitive example of the Leaf’s impracticality – this time from a (still) hard-core advocate, whose 180-mile Tennessee trek to visit family over the holidays required four lengthy stops to keep the vehicle moving.

Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, set out from Knoxville on Monday with his wife and son, headed for the Nashville area. His plan (appropriately) was to follow Interstate 40 West, where a series of Cracker Barrel restaurants – equipped with so-called “fast” vehicle chargers (if you want to call 30 minutes or more “fast”) along the route – would provide an electricity security blanket as the Leaf’s charge diminished.

Only problem was, the Leaf’s charge dropped more rapidly than promised. In what has to be a public relations disaster for Nissan, Smith’s EV was unable to travel no farther than 55 miles on any leg of the trip – and for the most part, much less. The company, and its government backers, proclaimed the Leaf was “built to go 100 miles on a charge” (large print), with a footnoted disclaimer (small print) that it travels shorter distances (like, 70 miles) if the air conditioning or the heater is used. Turns out even that was an exaggeration.

It was about 35 degrees in the Volunteer State when Smith departed Knoxville on Monday, and Mrs. Smith and his five-year-old son apparently were not willing to forgo heat in order to make the EV cause look good. A trip that should take – according to map Web sites – less than three hours, ended up lasting six hours for the Smiths because of all the stops they had to make. The approximate intervals where they paused for recharging were as follows:

Hence the Smiths required four recharges in order to travel approximately 180 miles. According to the account in The Tennessean, they experienced their first “hair-raiser” range anxiety before they even reached Harriman.

“The display on the dashboard of their Nissan LEAF showed a drop in available range from 100 miles to about 50, when they had only traveled about 40 miles,” reported the Gannett-owned newspaper, which also owns USA Today, a cheerleader of all “clean” energy projects regardless of viability.

If the specs promised by Nissan and Leaf advocates were to be believed, the Smiths should have been able to travel about 25-30 miles past Harriman (where it took 20 minutes to boost the battery to 80 percent) before they’d need a recharge, even when using the car heater. But because of the limited availability of so-called “fast chargers” (440 volts, 30 minutes), the intermediate stop was necessary in order to climb the upcoming Cumberland Plateau and reach the next Cracker Barrel “fast charger” in Crossville. The chargers (which, by the way, don’t work for the Chevy Volt and won’t for many future EVs planned for release) are sparse because they cost $40,000 each, and companies like Ecotality apparently can only do so much with the $115 million Department of Energy grant it received to deploy the equipment.

At Crossville, according to The Tennessean , the Smiths’ battery gauge failed them again. The reading at Harriman said they could go another 70 miles, but after 31 miles, the gauge indicated they only had 20 miles of range remaining. Obviously that wasn’t to be trusted.

“It was a little nerve wracking,” Stephen Smith told the Nashville-based newspaper. “I’m finding the range is not 100 percent accurate.”

But heading west from Crossville, according to Smith, would not be as taxing on the Leaf: “Cookeville will be about the same distance but it will be flat or downhill.” It turned out his battery gauge maintained accuracy on that leg of the trip, but when he reached Lebanon (50 miles), he found that the Ecotality “Blink” fast-charger at the Cracker Barrel was, uh, on the blink (he should have known that was possible, if not likely). So instead he had to plug in to another slower charger at the restaurant, which took an hour to boost the battery enough (they hoped) to travel the remaining 22 miles to their destination.

The Smiths arrived at their destination in Antioch with what the Leaf told them was six miles of range remaining. All that after an anxiety-filled six-hour trip that was more than twice as long as it would take in a gasoline vehicle, which could probably have been accomplished with a single stop for a bathroom break.

The Smiths’ experience echoed that of a Consumer Reportsreviewer and Los Angeles columnist Rob Eshman, who called his Leaf his “2011 Nissan Solyndra.” Eshman, editor-in-chief of The Jewish Journal, experienced the same gauge inaccuracies and range anxiety that came from traversing hills and mountains and the use of his air conditioning in hot, smoggy L.A.

“My life now revolves around a near-constant calculation of how far I can drive before I’ll have to walk,” Eshman wrote. “The Nissan Leaf, I can report, is perfect if you don’t have enough anxiety in your life.”

Of course, you won’t hear words like that from the lips of passionate “Green” energy advocate Smith, who chalked up the experience to being an “early adopter” and a pioneer.

“It’s good knowing we didn’t use a drop of oil getting down here,” he said. He must have had a similar fuzzy feeling on his return trip , which "only" took five hours, since the Lebanon charger was working later in the week.

As for the heavily coal-generated electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority that powered his trip, well, let’s not go there. Let’s just pretend that windmills and solar panels could have just as easily done the trick, if the EPA and Department of Energy would just do their jobs and eliminate all coal power plants and “invest” billions more taxpayer dollars in “renewables” deployment.

As for “why Tennessee” as part of this EV system rollout, you might ask? Thanks be to taxpayers there, also, as Nissan has in its back pocket a $1.4 billion federal loan to retrofit a plant in Smyrna – just outside Nashville – to mass-produce the Leaf. As company CEO Carlos Ghosn has said publicly, Nissan will produce EVs wherever government will produce the financial incentives.

And that’s what it takes in order for the “Green” energy industry swindle to survive.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government
KEYWORDS: charging; efv; electricvehicles; energy; greenenergy; leaf; nissanleaf; nlpc; subsidies; taxcredit
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What a can of worms. We have become used to heating and air conditioning and driving any kind of terrain in internal combustion engine vehicles, not so now with electric vehicles.
1 posted on 01/03/2012 11:21:58 AM PST by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo
Great article from last year.

Nissan Leaf a comfortable, fun car to drive (For 50 Miles - Then it Dies!)

Monday, February 14, 2011 10:28:45 AM · by Responsibility2nd · 126 replies
San Antonio Express News ^ | 02/13/2011 | G. Chambers Williams III
 
 
Williams is a toadie and cannot say anything negative about a car, otherwise automakers will not allow him to test their vehicles. But his experience is driving this fail-bucket is hilarious.
 
 

 


2 posted on 01/03/2012 11:26:14 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS! This means liberals AND libertarians (same thing) NO LIBS!)
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To: jazusamo

Word to the wise, don’t buy government subsidized products. It will not live up to industry standards simply because they were spending the money of someone else to build it. You will get the minimum in both technology and workmanship.


3 posted on 01/03/2012 11:30:01 AM PST by formosa (Formosa)
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To: jazusamo
It was about 35 degrees in the Volunteer State when Smith departed Knoxville on Monday

Available charge in batteries is drastically affected by cold (or hot) temperatures.

4 posted on 01/03/2012 11:30:03 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: jazusamo

I think at the current technology, folks are trying to apply electric vehicles in ways they are not designed.


5 posted on 01/03/2012 11:31:32 AM PST by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: jazusamo

The problem comes from people like this Smith guy( the tenn writer) who think the Gov’t ( us ) SHOULD sibsidize these failures instead of letting the marketplace work.
let private compnaies work the bugs/ clinks out and then offer these vehicles.
but WE should NOT sibsidize the making of these pos and the buying of these POS and the buildong of charging stations.
It is not worth it now.


6 posted on 01/03/2012 11:32:38 AM PST by RWGinger (Simpl)
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To: DonaldC

Yeah, like driving them...


7 posted on 01/03/2012 11:36:23 AM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: jazusamo
Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

The cars will go away first. The made up "green jobs" that accompanied them like Mr. Smith's will follow shortly thereafter.

8 posted on 01/03/2012 11:36:23 AM PST by throwback ( The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid)
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To: jazusamo

They must have had a headwind. I’ve heard those electric cars are great.

/s


9 posted on 01/03/2012 11:37:51 AM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<0> - - -)
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To: DonaldC
I think at the current technology, folks are trying to apply electric vehicles in ways they are not designed.

You mean like expecting a vehicle advertised as having a 100 mile range might actually be expected to travel 100 miles without requiring recharging first?

10 posted on 01/03/2012 11:38:13 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: jazusamo

I rode in a Leaf and the owner likes it quite a bit but he spends every trip longer than 30 miles worrying if he can make it home.


11 posted on 01/03/2012 11:39:01 AM PST by Zathras
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To: jazusamo

Filled up my wife’s car the other day, and just out of curiosity, flipped around the computer gage - “540 miles to empty.”

Only, I have noted that that guage lies - you have 12 gallons of fuel left at “empty.”


12 posted on 01/03/2012 11:40:03 AM PST by patton ("Je pense donc je suis," - My Horse.)
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To: Sherman Logan
Available charge in batteries is drastically affected by cold (or hot) temperatures.

Cold temps shouldn't affect lithium batteries. At least in appliances such as flashlights. They will shine just as brightly but there's no degrading of performance....they then just go out.

13 posted on 01/03/2012 11:40:33 AM PST by Focault's Pendulum (Moose Alert!!!! Get some sleeves!)
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To: jazusamo

I dont’ know why this was a shock to these people. Anyone who’s ever played around with battery operated toys(or cell phones for that matter) knows all claims about batteries are lies. And on top of the lies regarding how long the batteries last, every little thing you do differently will alter the battery life. Put more than one person it the car...battery gets sucked down faster. drive up hills...battery sucks down faster. run air conditioner or heater...battery sucks down faster. Headwind...battery sucks down faster.

Also, time to charge up a battery is a lie. It always takes longer than what they claim.

That said, I know they can make electric cars better than the LEAF...but at what price, is the question. It would be nice if 440/480 volt 3 phase service was readily available but it isn’t . That’s just the way it is right now. Maybe someday 480 volt service will be standard in every neighborhood, every garage, and every commercial building. But at the moment, 480 volts is extremely rare. you are lucky to have 240 volt service. Lots of locations don’t even have that.


14 posted on 01/03/2012 11:43:35 AM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: RWGinger

Exactly...No way we should be subsidizing production and sales of these green cars. The market should determine both and if it was the market these companies wouldn’t be manufacturing them.


15 posted on 01/03/2012 11:44:14 AM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
If the specs promised by Nissan and Leaf advocates were to be believed ...

16 posted on 01/03/2012 11:44:31 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: jazusamo
“It’s good knowing we didn’t use a drop of oil getting down here,” he said.

Isn't that nice.

By the way, how much coal did you use?

17 posted on 01/03/2012 11:46:19 AM PST by WayneS (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: jazusamo
“It’s good knowing we didn’t use a drop of oil getting down here,” he said.

In case anyone was wondering whether he is as stupid as we all think he is.

18 posted on 01/03/2012 11:47:28 AM PST by IamConservative ("The ability to speak eloquently is not to be confused with having something to say." - MP Hart)
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To: jazusamo
Damn thing sounds like an oversize golf cart.

Imagine a nice humid summer day when you have to run the A/C constantly.

19 posted on 01/03/2012 11:51:39 AM PST by doorgunner69
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To: Focault's Pendulum; Sherman Logan

Cold temps shouldn’t affect lithium batteries
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

boy are you thinking inside the box!

How about running an electric heater to keep an uninsulated metal box(a car) heated to comfortable temps when zipping down a highway at 60MPH(windchill effect)? Ya think that might suck down a battery?

Figure on AT LEAST a 3000 watt heater plus a circulating fan. Now look up how many watts it takes to push a LEAF down the road at 60MPH and I think you will be amazed what a joke this idea is.


20 posted on 01/03/2012 11:51:55 AM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: jazusamo

They should have used their brains and either installed a rooftop mounted generator or one in a small trailer, turn the car into a diesel/electric. Generator charges while it drives.


21 posted on 01/03/2012 11:52:07 AM PST by Eye of Unk (Castigo Cay by Matt Bracken, check it out. And his other works.)
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To: thackney
You mean like expecting a vehicle advertised as having a 100 mile range might actually be expected to travel 100 miles without requiring recharging first?

You nailed it. I haven't followed the Leaf, I've been following GM and the Volt and they've misrepresented many things. Looks light Nissan is doing the same with the Leaf.

22 posted on 01/03/2012 11:52:51 AM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Aw come on, a little convenience to too much to sacrifice in order to “save the earth?”

LOL!


23 posted on 01/03/2012 11:53:38 AM PST by Grunthor (Do you worship the State or do you worship the Lord? There is no middle ground.)
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To: jazusamo

180 miles, six hours.

W
O
W

Shoulda brought the soap box derby car along as a back up.


24 posted on 01/03/2012 11:56:13 AM PST by Adder (Say NO to the O in 2 oh 12)
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To: jazusamo

Doing some quick energy calcs, they used a total of 101 KWh for the trip assuming a full 24 KWh charge at the start and 80% charges en route. Gasoline has a combustion energy of about 33.4 KWh per gallon. This results in an equivalent of 59 MPG for this trip. Anybody know how much energy it takes to turn X tons of coal into 1 KWh stored in a battery? Bet it’s a good bit more than it takes to turn oil into gasoline at the pump.

Thinking back, I had a ‘89 Jetta diesel back in the 90’s that I bought for less than 3 grand. It got 50 MPG with my foot on the floor all the time. I could drive it 750 miles without refilling.


25 posted on 01/03/2012 11:56:40 AM PST by Jack of all Trades (Hold your face to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.)
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To: jazusamo

Now if only there was a way to charge the batteries while driving. Hmmm.


26 posted on 01/03/2012 11:56:40 AM PST by SkyDancer ("If You Want To Learn To Love Better, You Should Start With A Friend Who You Hate")
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To: IamConservative

Give the guy a break! He’s from Knoxville and more than likely a Tenn. grad.


27 posted on 01/03/2012 11:57:54 AM PST by Coldwater Creek (He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty Psalm 91:)
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To: mamelukesabre

Yep, all the items you listed suck the battery down faster, some of them much faster.

I doubt we’ll ever see 480 volt service in residential areas but in the Western states I’ve always found that 240 volt is standard, don’t know about the rest of the country.


28 posted on 01/03/2012 12:00:00 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: Focault's Pendulum

Not an expert in all battery types.

Most batteries at 35F will put out only about 65% of the power they will at 80F.

Which in an electric car means ~65 mile range instead of 100.

Assuming you don’t run the heater, which isn’t likely at 35F.


29 posted on 01/03/2012 12:01:23 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: mamelukesabre

Hey, I have an idea... Put another battery pack on a trailer, and tow it behind the Leaf! :D


30 posted on 01/03/2012 12:01:36 PM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: patton

12 gallons?


31 posted on 01/03/2012 12:04:29 PM PST by Grunthor (Do you worship the State or do you worship the Lord? There is no middle ground.)
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To: Eye of Unk

That’s basically what the Chevy Volt does. It has a 1.4? liter gas engine that runs a generator to recharge the battery after the first 35 or so miles.

The initial cost of the vehicle is out of sight and it has to use premium fuel so you’re not saving a bunch of money.


32 posted on 01/03/2012 12:05:40 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: mamelukesabre
I think I might not have made myself clear. Of course all batteries discharge their energy. Lithium included. Alkaline batteries will show a degrading performance with usage. Lithium's traditionally don't.

Example: An alkaline powered flashlight will gradually dim as it powers down.
A lithium will continue to operate then simply power out.

Ergo lithium flashlights operate better in cold weather...just bring extra batteries.

And yes...I'm in the box with this. I just don't know the technology behind long lasting rechargeable lithium batteries.

33 posted on 01/03/2012 12:05:40 PM PST by Focault's Pendulum (Moose Alert!!!! Get some sleeves!)
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To: jazusamo

in the midwest, 220 single phase is fairly common in OLD houses, and is easy to upgrade to in newer houses that lack it. But 240 3 phase is very rare for residential. Even in commercial buildings it is not standard. In fact, most areas don’t even have 240 3 phase on the pole. It would cost 20,000 dollars to get your electric company to run the wires to the utility poles and to your meter. Then figure on another 10 grand minimum to have an electrician wire up your circuit breaker and run the conduit and wire to outlets.

And 480 3 phase? forget it.


34 posted on 01/03/2012 12:08:04 PM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: mamelukesabre

All of the factors you list of course affect the drain on the battery. My point was that cool/cold temperatures also affect the capacity of the battery.

The equivalent of a smaller fuel tank in a gas-powered car, so that when the temp is 35 your tank only holds 8 gallons instead of 12.

BTW, you forgot by far the larger energy drain. Hills. Pushing a car up a steep hill takes a LOT of juice. East TN, as I recall, is fairly hilly.


35 posted on 01/03/2012 12:09:11 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Grunthor

The wife’s car is not an electric - it is a 454 chevy with a 38-gallon tank.

The darn thing lies to me - it tells me we are on “E” when it gets down to twelve gallons.


36 posted on 01/03/2012 12:09:58 PM PST by patton ("Je pense donc je suis," - My Horse.)
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To: patton

Wow. My ‘95 Dodge Ram would only be about half empty at 12 gallons.


37 posted on 01/03/2012 12:13:42 PM PST by Grunthor (Do you worship the State or do you worship the Lord? There is no middle ground.)
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To: Jack of all Trades

coal is cheap.

there are 14,000 BTUs per lob of coal. figure about 15 to 20 cents per million BTUs. A coal power plant is about 85% efficient. That’s about as far as I can get. I don’t know the conversion from BTUs to KWh off hand. Figure about 50% line losses in the power lines.

Doing the math, you will find that an electric vehicle is amazingly efficient. But what you are not accounting for is the waste heat off a gasoline engine that is used to heat the car in winter. That 35% efficient gasoline car goes up in efficiency in the winter if you count the free heat, and the efficiency of electric cars goes down even if you don’t heat the car interior.


38 posted on 01/03/2012 12:17:25 PM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: Grunthor

My 2001 F250 beer-can snow-plow also holds 38 gallons.

I don’t really care, when it snows. Other than that, it sits in the driveway.

It reliably gets 12 MPG, unless you tow something. Then it gets bad.


39 posted on 01/03/2012 12:19:24 PM PST by patton ("Je pense donc je suis," - My Horse.)
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To: jazusamo

The Chevy Volt does much better as you never have to turn on the heater, you just keep replacing the burned-up back seats.


40 posted on 01/03/2012 12:20:30 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: mamelukesabre

that was supposed to read

per lb of coal, not per lob of coal


41 posted on 01/03/2012 12:21:10 PM PST by mamelukesabre
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To: blueunicorn6

LOL! The problem though is that it cuts it down to a two passenger vehicle.


42 posted on 01/03/2012 12:24:03 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

The plug-in parking spots at the Cracker Barrel here in Hendersonville, TN are often occupied by large, gas-guzzling trucks. I giggle every time I see that. What do you do if you’re out of charge and there are vehicles blocking your access to these charge points? Out of luck I guess.


43 posted on 01/03/2012 12:26:36 PM PST by KingOfVagabonds
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To: jazusamo

“LOL! The problem though is that it cuts it down to a two passenger vehicle.”

Yeah but it disposes of the extra passengers while it performs the four seat to two seat conversion.


44 posted on 01/03/2012 12:27:08 PM PST by Nik Naym (It's not my fault... I have compulsive smartass disorder.)
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To: jazusamo

Please bump the Freepathon or click above and donate or become a monthly donor!

45 posted on 01/03/2012 12:29:34 PM PST by jazusamo (If you don't like growing older, don't worry. You may not be growing older much longer: T. Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

On the record - I just don’t see all-electric vehicles being a practical technology, even after all these decades since the idea got going. It seems to be a financial pit.

But in all fairness - the Leaf really isn’t designed as a long-range travel vehicle (and who would want to be cramped up in that little thing for all that long anyway??? One would need frequent breaks to unfold your legs).

Another note - if the batteries in these things are anything like most other devices that use rechargeables - a partial charge can actually speed up discharge. So the driver’s charge “to 80%” - that 80% would not last as long as a battery that had been fully charged and was discharged through use to 80%.

As a commuter vehicle - that short 2-20 mile jaunt to the office cubicle, or to the corner grocery store - this thing would be just fine (if one is drawn to such things and taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill to subsidize your ride!).

But taking this thing on a road trip is somewhat akin to using a glorified electric golf cart...


46 posted on 01/03/2012 12:30:14 PM PST by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: jazusamo

“It’s good knowing we didn’t use a drop of oil getting down here,” he said.”

####

Only for sanctimonious, energy-illiterate, dumb ssses whose religion is “The Environment”, or more accurately, sneering condescension.


47 posted on 01/03/2012 12:30:36 PM PST by EyeGuy (2012: When the Levee Breaks)
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To: jazusamo

If one were to look for a way to limit the mobility of a population, the pathetic performance of these eco-fartmobiles makes perfect sense.

Just sayin’...


48 posted on 01/03/2012 12:31:50 PM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: smokingfrog
They must have had a headwind...

Thanks for the chuckle...

49 posted on 01/03/2012 12:36:10 PM PST by jonno (Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer...)
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To: steelyourfaith; Red Badger

Ping.


50 posted on 01/03/2012 12:36:59 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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