Reality check: It takes a village to get EVs to prime time
We bought our Nissan Leaf almost a year ago, and we love it. It’s now our primary mode of transport around Portland, and it’s been great to see the growing number of Leafs and Chevy Volts on the road. The EV infrastructure within Portland is pretty robust, with more and more stores offering onsite chargers.
We hope that we’re seeing the same pattern with EVs that we saw after getting one of the early Priuses. First we would see one or two or three a day; if we actively counted Priuses now, it would be hundreds.
Up until this week we’ve used the Leaf locally. For the last six months, though, we’ve been hearing about the completion of the West Coast Electric Highway. The EV Highway advertises the availability of electric vehicle quick chargers, which enable one to get close to a full charge within 30 minutes, all along I-5. EV Highway promoters tell us we should be able to drive our EV all the way from Canada to Mexico, with quick chargers located at frequent intervals.
So last week I decided to use the Leaf for a trip to the University of Oregon in Eugene, about 100 miles from Portland. I checked ahead of time to determine where the EV Highway quick chargers were located along my route, and found several along the way that would be convenient to stop at and recharge.
Unfortunately, the EV aspect of the trip was a disaster.
The first problem was the Leaf itself. It was chilly outside, just about freezing, and as I drove I realized that my maximum range was only going to be about 60 miles, even in Eco-mode and even with no heat, well below the 90+ mile range in warmer weather.
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