Monday, January 24, 2011

My New LEAF Arrives!




















The chemo made me do it!


After first buying a wonderful EV from Toyota eight years and 34 days ago, today I took possession of a new LEAF from Nissan. Thus begins, for me, a physical manifestation of history in the making. For decades to come, the percentage of people who burn filthy oil will grow smaller, while the percentage of people who use clean kWh generated from sunlight and wind will grow larger.

The well-publicized delay in the roll out of the LEAF these past few weeks elicited a lot of comments. I riffed off of the term "range anxiety" to coin "delivery anxiety" as stories proliferated about how upset people were due to the delay in delivering their beloved LEAFs. I could understand their concern, but still counseled patience, while taking the long view of one who has been fighting for EVs for 8 years. Surely, we can wait a few more weeks for our cars. However, last week I was told my car would come every day. It was off the boat at the harbor, they said. The realization at the end of each day that my LEAF wasn't there gave me a robust taste of delivery anxiety, with the tart taste of irony on the side.

All that faded quickly from mind when I came to work this morning to see this sweet red ride beautifully detailed by Santa Monica Nissan's hardest working employee, Juanito.

It wasn't long before a customer was sniffing around, asking questions and clearly interested in going for a drive. I hadn't even sat in the car yet, and needed to take my inaugural drive, so I invited him along. Within a mile, I pulled over and gave him the controls to my brand new car. We had a great time. He loved the acceleration, the nimble handling, and of course, the quiet. We drove a few miles looking for safe opportunities to try out the LEAF's full power. He had a big EV grin the whole time.

Less than 100 LEAFs have fallen on U.S. soil, and a few hundred Volts have been delivered. I don't think we considered how quickly or slowly the cars would actually be delivered. The reality of building bullet-proof EVs is that prudent companies will, by necessity, take their time in the initial roll out phase to be sure the quality is high. One glance at the LEAF and Volt forums confirms very happy customers, so it appears they were successful.

I've got a lot to learn before I can cover everything about this LEAF , but one feature really got my attention, and it's one that a lot of you who have driven new cars the past few years know all about. When I use bluetooth in my RAV, I have this little uncomfortable bud in my ear, and it's not that easy to hear conversations over the ambient noise. But when a call comes into the LEAF's bluetooth, the stereo cuts out and the phone call comes over the stereo system. Whoa, that's really cool! If you're hard of hearing like me, you're going to love this.

Felix Kramer of Cal Cars initiated the movement to popularize the plug-in hybrid over 9 years ago. Along with his partner, Ron Gremban, and mentor, Andy Frank, they all got their Volts a couple weeks ago. Felix called just as I was writing this to tell me he, too, got his LEAF today. We think that makes him the first person on Earth to own both a production EV and production PHEV. I can think of no one more deserving.

Given the long range capability of the Volt and the simplicity of the LEAF, these two technologies will cover virtually all of our driving. The range extended hybrids will have lots of customers who need to drive long distance often, and many commercial heavy duty vehicles will need both power sources, yet operate with efficiencies far beyond today's meager options. Those who rarely, or never drive long distances, will be fine with the nominal 100 mile range of most EVs. What's important is that only those who really need liquid fuels will use them, and by then, most of the liquid fuels will be from non-petroleum sources.

Selling the LEAF and selling solar PV to go with it is definitely the best job I've ever had. Now that I have the car at work, I'll be able to give test drives to anyone anytime.

Someone called me as I was leaving work tonight, said they represented "a royal family" and offered me a huge number for my LEAF. I haven't even owned it for a full work day and this guy wants it for "his client". It was weird, because I didn't even hesitate to say no. Not after waiting all this time would I let this car go to anyone.

Now, the RAV is another story. Zan's going to use it till I find it a good home. If you know anyone who would appreciate one of the few remaining historic Toyota RAV4 EVs that propelled a few dozen otherwise normal people into becoming zealots for a cause, please have them contact me.

51 comments:

  1. Awesome Paul -- what a happy day for us all! EVs are once again being delivered to customers -- and and they don't have to be leased!

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  2. Congratulations Paul- Sara and I are very happy for you. Sara and I just bought a used 2000 Honda Insight with 300,000 miles on it and it still runs like new. Its only a Hybrid but our dream is to one day buy a full 100% Electric Powered Car :) meanwhile, we are looking into the possibility of upgrading the battery in our insight and adding a plug which could improve gas mileage beyond the 50+ miles per gallon we achieve now :) I never thought having a basic understanding and appreciation of electric vehicles and plug in Hybrids could enrich our lives so deeply and all the wonderful people we continue to meet is also a great feeling :) we will have to come by and see the Nissan Leaf Electric Car at the dealership sometime soon. Take care Paul :)

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  3. Wonderful read Paul, very exciting times we are in and you are such a great ambassador for this technology, and you are right, I like the colour and the Leaf is indeed a sweet ride. Look forward to reading how you get on with it.

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  4. Tell me about the RAV and what the sale price would be..

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  5. Sweet, sweet, sweet! You so deserve your rockin' red ride, Paul.

    Signed,

    One of the historical zealots propelled by a RAV4 EV ; ]

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  6. The future has arrived and a great day for you. I want a drive by from you in your new EV. Dee

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  7. Woooohoooooo!!! Take that petrodictatorships!

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  8. Blaze the trail Paul. It's soon to be a well worn trail!

    Congrats!

    Peder
    Mini-E #183
    25,000 sunshine powered miles

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  9. great day for you and all of us, paul, who are so anxious to turn the tide. good luck with your new car. you are really deserving of it.

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  10. Our family did our drive of the real Leaf in Jacksonville, FL on Sunday. We signed up for our Leaf during the first hour of the early sign-up. As my mom used to say, "Patience and persistence"
    Meanwhile we are trying to work out a photo-op with the governor when the tour comes back through N. FL. The more publicity we generate, the more Leafs roll out in our state!

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  11. Thanks for the shoutout, Paul. Congratulations to you. Back in 2003, Dean Taylor from Southern California Edison said I had to meet you and Zan, and I can remember so many great times since then!

    I've been promoting PHEVs for almost a decade, but I'm a huge fan of both -- because petroleum reduction is the goal, the more the better. And our family will drive the LEAF most often. I'll be posting photos and news about this great car and this complementary pair of vehicles at http://www.calcars.org/photos-plugins-arrive.html

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  12. Good for you, Paul--you've worked hard and deserve to be amongst the first to get a LEAF. I'm looking forward to getting mine!

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  13. hi my friends,
    we can supply you with solar carport for your EV ! if you have interest please contact me and I will send to you the details:
    rh@emobilitaet-gmbh.de than you really can fill up the battery with renweable energy...
    www.emobilitaet-gmbh.de
    Greetings from Germany (the ev sleeping country)

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  14. Hi Paul,

    Congrats on your new LEAF?

    Given your likely personal experience in this area, I wonder if you would give us your guess on what fraction of the public will be able to take advantage of the full $7,500 US tax credit and the full $5,000 CA tax credit for such cars.

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  15. Happy for you, my friend. Enjoy the ride... and let me know if you'll put up with a passenger one day soon for a quick spin. My Leaf is still four to five months away, due to the production delays you mention... yet my enthusiasm remains very strong.
    -- Bob Tarlau

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  16. I don't know Paul, seeing the the "royals" would possible get the word out more. Another would come to you down the way.

    You might consider selling all your cars as they come in. Extra $$ (for the first few anyway) and having the satisfaction of "giving the shirt off your back", as it were -for the cause.

    congats!

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  17. Oop. That was supposed to say,

    "selling to the "royals" would possibly..."

    sigh....

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  18. Congrats Paul! Let me know if you'll be driving it down south to OC. We'd love to see it.
    --Richard Kelly

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  19. Congrats Paul!! You so deserve it! You give me hope that one day I will have my own EV too :) ENJOY!
    --Carol Hink

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  20. Paul,
    Congratulations, great to know you have your long awaited new ride!

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  21. Paul
    Congratulations on the new Leaf.
    looking forward to getting mine soon I hope.

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  22. thanx for sharing paul, i will try to be ready to get the next wave of leafs. james nailor

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  23. Congratulations. You deserve it!

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  24. Sounds like it was a huge relief to finally get the car. I'll be curious to see what the real world range is for the car. Hope you'll be posting on that, Paul.

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  25. Congratulations, Paul! I will be patient waiting for mine, and the wait is made easier now that I have reconditioned my RAV4EV. Looking forward to seeing you and your new ride Monday night at the Santa Monica Library!

    Dency

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  26. Paul,
    After all that you have done, and continue to do to get EVs into consumer hands,I can't think of anyone more deserving of a LEAF than you. Congratulations -- and best wishes.

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  27. CONGRATS PAUL!
    YOU DESERVE IT!
    Jenean

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  28. Congratulations, Paul!
    You are a true trailblazer and pioneer.
    You most certainly have all the bragging rights in the EV field you decide to claim. Enjoy, John and Coral

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  29. Ron - the $7,500 federal credit is good for the first 200,000 EVs sold per manufacturer, so that will be around for a while. Two Dems in the Senate are proposing to up that to 500,000, and this is important, make the $7,500 a rebate like the state $5,000 is. That means it wouldn't matter what your tax situation was, you'd get $7,500 as a re4bate.

    The state's rebate is good for the first 2,000 LEAFs. After that, you might have to hope the state funds it again.

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  30. New car. Wow. Congrats. I'm happy for you. I want to buy new car also but my money is still not enough. Maybe I can buy used car for the meantime.

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  31. Paul,
    Congratulations. I'm envious as I'd love to get an electric car. Unfortunately, they aren't scheduled to be rolled out in Minnesota for awhile. I also can't afford new. Would anyone have any other leads? I live in Minneapolis.
    Thanks,
    Thomas

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  32. Congratulations! Have fun and rock with your new EV. Driving a car like that can be fun, not to mention it's more eco-friendly than conventional gas-guzzlers.

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