Saturday, December 24, 2011

Look Ma, no tailpipe!

When Our Son comes home for the holidays, it's a good time for him to catch up with old friends, and one of the biggest differences between London and where we live is that there's no public transportation here. L.A. is a town where you need a car, so this year when Our Son came home, we decided to rent a car so that all three of us could work, Christmas shop and visit friends without tying our schedules in knots.

Enterprise now includes the Nissan all-electric Leaf in its fleet. Because I work next to a parking garage with an EV charging station, I've been the lucky one to drive it, while Our Son drives my Honda Fit.

It's a beautiful blue, sleek car that glides silently down the "S" curves of the canyon like a spaceship. It can travel 100 miles on a full charge, but with my 10 mile commute, I haven't yet put its gauge in the "red" zone.

You can charge it with a regular household plug with a cord that travels with the car, but that takes about twelve hours. The one drawback about charging EV is that it makes a warm and cozy place for rats to nest - that's an issue here in Topanga. The one time we did charge it at home, we left the hood open, which is our standard rat-abatement method.

Plugged in
It seems much smarter to park it away from rat activity while at home, and let it charge up while I'm at work - the charging stations in Santa Monica are 220 volts and only take three or four hours for a full charge.

Today I went to the mall and found EV charging stations right there on the ground floor of the garage. The other cool thing about EVs are that - at least now - you can always find a parking place. The charging spaces are reserved for EVs, and the number of cars in use hasn't yet exceeded the number of charging stations in newer garages.

The charging station I use near my office is solar-powered - so in addition to driving "zero emission", I'm not powering up with carbon-based electricity, either. Pretty cool, don't you think?

The Leaf is a lot of fun to drive and surprisingly powerful, too. It has more get up and go than the Hondas. Or at least it feels like it, since you can't hear it reving. It has a GPS that also tells you where charging stations are located, if you're taking longer trips and worry about running out of a charge. For a regular commute, though, it's a great no-anxiety choice.

If you need a rental car for a short and predictable routine, next time try out a Leaf.


Max Sartin said...

I really like the solar powered charging station at your parking garage, what a fantastic idea.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

That is a pretty, pretty car!

M. Bouffant said...

You're living in the future already.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

its cute too :)

Susan B said...

Pretty blue, and so nice that there are convenient charging stations!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Next thing you know, Aunt Snow will be flying around in her jetpack!