Before making my first real trip in a full electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, I had only softly touched the gas pedal of a Tesla. Not a sound and still accelerating incredibly quickly is an experience I will never forget. The Tesla Model S P85D can accelerate to 100 km/h in three seconds, some call it turning on the insane button.
When I took the Nissan Leaf for my trip, which can accelerate to 100 km/h in ten seconds, I grinned at the red lights as I could accelerate in just seconds and the cars behind me, became tiny in my rearview mirror.
It was October, pretty cold in the Netherlands and to my standards, used to South American temperatures, close to freezing. I put the heater on up to 26 degrees to speed up the warmth and turned on the heater for the seats as well, music on, windshield wipers (it was also raining) and I was off to the city Utrecht, I had about 45km to go. With the Nissan Leaf, which has a range of 160 km I could easily make it to my appointment and back. Little did I know that I would be sweating in panic, about 15 minutes into my trip. The battery was fully charged, when I left.
Range anxiety or adrenaline junky for the insane button
Halfway my trip, I noticed the battery, or better yet, the range I had left was becoming less and less by the minute. My first thought was: “This can’t be right. The dashboard doesn’t work, it’s giving the wrong information. It’s going to show that I actually have a longer range. In a bit.” My thought. My hope, on second thought. 20 km left. Ok, the research and development department probably messed up the battery with extensive testing. That was possible, right?
My colleague called me and I immediately stated the predicament I was in. I wasn’t going to make it to my location on time if I needed to charge the battery for maybe an hour to get some kind of range. Or to keep on driving and just make it, and probably have an empty battery, or charge for half an hour somewhere?
He made it pretty clear that I was not going to make it to my location. Period. So, I needed to recharge the battery somewhere. He gave me an address close to the highway I was on where I could charge the Nissan Leaf on a fast charger (within 15 minutes I would have an 80% filled battery) and I could recharge myself with some coffee. And, last but not least, make it just in time for my appointment.
This electric driving thing is actually quite awesome I thought. Good excuse for a coffee break. I needed to charge the Nissan Leaf. I parked literally a few steps away from the entrance while the whole parking lot was full and since it was raining, this was another awesome perk of electric driving. Park right at the entrance.
Ok. A fast charger, love these things! Why was I so worried? YouTube how-to clip on, to see how this thing actually works… Now, I am not sure if it was due to my inexperience or due to the fast charger, or the electric vehicle, but my car was not being charged at all. I called the number on the charging station and after a few more tries, got sent to another charging station at a BP tank station.
Plugged in the Nissan Leaf and it started charging. Back then, a hallelujah moment, a few months later, a normality.
Intriguing and unknown
Driving electric is a lifestyle, and like any new lifestyle, intriguing and unknown. Maybe, it takes that one bad experience to learn how it works and get the hang of it. Since then, driving electric is my preferred choice. Why?
You charge the battery at any given occasion and location. Usually when you’re at an appointment (often takes one or two hours), shopping for groceries (the average person spends 41 minutes grocery shopping) going shopping, or grabbing coffee and stretching your legs alongside the highway. All of these are ‘stops’ you make with enough of a timespan to charge at least a quarter of your electric vehicle’s battery.
You get used to charging and thus never have that feeling of needing to look for a gas station because you already drove too much and were too lazy to stop at a gas station a few miles back.
The electric vehicles have a modern allure. Ever driven a Zoe? Once you even insert the key you have the feeling you are in space. I expected it to start giving me instructions or something. They’re quiet and fast, when your accelerating after a stop light you have the feeling you are traveling at the speed of light in your own cocoon.