Electric Car Notes by Ben Zuckerman: A Nissan LEAF EV, one year on

By Ben Zuckerman


Our LEAF EV is now one year old. The standard one-year service visit cost us zero dollars; no oil change, no anything. Nissan suggests changing out a passenger cabin air filter after a year, but since we never use the air conditioner this was not done.

One sometimes hears complaints about limited range of cars that run solely on electricity (such as the LEAF). Part of a perceived range problem is that most people have never learned (or don’t care) to drive in a manner that will conserve fuel, whether the fuel is oil or electricity. As one example, countless times while I’m coasting up to a red traffic light in anticipation that it might change to green before my car comes to a complete stop, I’m passed by SUVs and other cars rushing up to the red light so that they can jam on their brakes and then start up again from zero velocity when the light changes–thus causing unnecessary brake wear and fuel consumption.

In Los Angeles on a single charge I can achieve 85-mile range with our LEAF while driving up and down 3 substantial hills. I suspect that driving carefully on flat ground, as in many places in the USA, one could probably regularly achieve around 100 miles per charge.

Another comment one sometimes hears is: the cost of EVs is subsidized by the national and some state governments. Much more expensive items, such as mortgage interest on home purchases, have been subsidized for a very long time–renters subsidize those who buy houses and condos. Subsidies are nothing new.

In any event, it’s a great feeling to drive a futuristic car that runs on electricity generated by solar PV panels on the roof of our house.