Monday, November 15, 2010


I've never done a blatant ask of this kind in my blog before, but I'm making an exception.

As many of you know, Nissan has been taking a dozen LEAFs on tour through the west coast, and eventually across the country. At each stop, they are putting about 1500 people behind the wheel for a test drive. After the test drive, you are encouraged to stand in front of a camera for 30 seconds saying anything you want about the experience. The video that gets the most votes is the winner of a brand new LEAF.

As you can imagine, people are pulling out all the stops with clever and interesting spiels. I've even voted for a video or two for friends who did a very admirable job and who deserve a free LEAF (you know who you are:~).

However, my friend Stephen Johnsen, long time member of Seattle's large and vibrant electric vehicle association, has produced what I think is the winning spot. I apologize to my friends (you know who you are:~), but I'm sending Stephen's video out to 2,500 people and putting it on my blog.

Stephen is a great guy, he's done a lot for the movement. AND he'll be charging the LEAF on that squeaky clean grid mix in Seattle! Coal and natural gas combined are only two percent of the mix, all the rest is zero CO2. That's clean!

So go here to see Stephen's great 30 second LEAF spot. And spread it around to your friends.

Oh, and you might get a kick out of Stephen's description of his test drive. It's typical of how the LEAF makes you feel.

As for my LEAF test drive experience... My friend Chad and fellow SEVA member Ron Easley went down and test drove the LEAF Sunday. I was very pleased with the quality and all the thought put into the driver display and neat options like using your I-Phone to pre-select the cabin temperature and also having the car email you about charging conditions or if you forgot to plug it in! These are things that you don't even get with an infernal combustion vehicle! I'm a big fan of EV things that not only meet but exceed people's expectations.

Another thing I thought was cool was seeing the 6 Aerovironment Level 2 charging stations on their make-shift fence and the big Level 3 Fast Charger on the back of the Semi truck!
I also learned that you can negotiate with Nissan and Aerovironment to simply purchase a home Level 2 charging station for only $721 if you want to have your own electrician install it (It's really a simple 30A device)

As far as handling... the car has some spunk! It is quite fast and would do well for showing your friends that EVs can get up and go! I was able to really floor it and get some wheel slippage with the traction control ON and my friend Ron could burnout with the traction control off. I got to thinking, if I had gone so fast that I rolled the LEAF in the parking lot would I be "TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF" This vehicle is a real game changer and I believe Nissan deserves major Kudos for making a pure battery electric vehicle that people would actually want to drive.

Sincerely, Stephen Johnsen
P.S., If you Supercharge a LEAF do you use a "LEAF BLOWER" acha, cha, cha, cha I got a million of 'em...


  1. And don't forget to check out and vote for this LEAF video of a veteran talking about the connection between getting off foreign oil and homeland security! :)

    Also accessible at

  2. Hey Paul,
    I understand that the waiting list to get a Leaf has been shut down till next year. Can you bump me up to the front if I agree to talk about it on the radio?
    Just kidding :)

    Bob Madden

  3. @Bob Madden - no you're not! You can't kid a kidder...

  4. Bob, I wish I had some power here at Nissan! I can't even get confirmation of when I'm getting my own LEAF.


  5. Paul,
    How's the visibility out the back of the LEAF?

    I've read some reports which say it isn't good (and, if true, that would be a BIG adjustment for us, as my 1992 Acura Integra hatchback has the best overall driver visibility I've ever experienced).

    Also, how tight/loose is the steering feel? It seems like a lot of reviews I've read are saying it's kind of "loosey-goosey". If true, that's not a big plus in my book either (I like tight steering).

    Of course, we're still most likely going to get a LEAF -- unless the Focus Electric somehow makes it to Colorado within two or three months of the LEAF getting here. Denver is on the Focus Electric launch cities list. Then, we'll actually have a choice -- which would be nice.

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