My Electric Car – 4. Getting to Know my EV

The first week with our new car was great, with lots of learning!

We still don’t have the charging station installed in our garage, so we are using a regular 120V outlet. On the Leaf, we plug in at the front. It varies from model to model. There are two kinds of plugs, one for regular charging, and the other for turbo charging.

Charging my EV

It’s pretty cool to be able to charge the Leaf at any outlet, just like any other device! It feels like charging a phone – a very big phone! It even came with display lights, which shows when it is fully charged! The downside is that because it’s a regular outlet, it takes a long time to fully charge it. For instance, if the car is at 40%, it takes about 24.5 hours! Therefore, it requires a lot of planning for a long trip! I haven’t started charging it anywhere else but my home, but I’m planning on starting soon!

On the right side of the front panel, there is a display showing the distance range. On Leaf, the maximum is about 200 Km. What is interesting to notice is that it doesn’t represent the actual distance, because the topography plays a very important role in determining how much energy is being used.

For example, when I go to the groceries, it’s uphill all the way. So, even if it is only 5 Km away, I often “use” about 10Km. On the way back, I hardly use any electricity, and sometimes the range even increases!

Charging Time

The other factor that influences the range is the way you drive. There is an indicator of how much energy is being used. If the indicator is in the green range, you are not using much! There’s also a drawing of a tree that gets built as you drive. I think it indicates how many trees you are saving by driving a zero emission car!

There is an Eco button on the steering wheel. If pressed, the range is longer. If it’s not pressed, the car goes faster, but it consumes more energy. I normally use the Eco mode, but I switch it to the non-Eco mode when I want to accelerate faster. For example, when I’m turning a corner or when I have to pass another car. You can feel that the car is vey powerful when not in Eco mode!

Another item that uses a lot of energy is air conditioning. It can reduce the range by 15-20 Km, But sometimes in the summer, we have to use it! Opening the windows hasn’t affected performance in the city. I haven’t tested it on the highway yet.

I’m planning on exploring some public charging stations and will post about them in my next blog.