Glimpses of an EV future

It seems that interest around Electric Vehicles (EV's) and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations has been increasing over the last few weeks.  Here are some of the things I noticed just last week:

CNN highlights some cool features of the Nissan Leaf

We first wrote about the Nissan Leaf back in Feb. of 2010.  Some excerpts from the short article from CNN include (follow the link above for more information):

  • "In the Nissan Leaf, a computer displays not just the remaining driving range -- 34 miles in this case -- but offers tips as to what accessories could be turned off to extend that range. In this case, just turning off the air conditioner could extend the car's remaining range to as much as 44 miles."
  • "the Leaf's navigation screen shows two big concentric circles that go around wherever you are. The smaller circle shows how far you could go driving just as you have been. The larger circle shows how far you could go if you really tried by, say, shutting off the air conditioner and switching the car to "eco" mode."
  • "In "eco" mode, the Leaf's performance doesn't actually change much, but the gas pedal becomes harder to press down. That keeps you mindful of how much you're asking from the car's batteries."

I think the added tools that Nissan has combined in the Leaf to prevent "range anxiety" are going to be extremely helpful to EV early adopters.  While it's a few months old, I love the Nissan Leaf ad with Lance Armstrong that ran during the Tour de France.  I agree with Lance that riding a bike behind fossil-fuel burning cars is not that fun because of all the exhaust you get to breathe in!  The Leaf commercial is the first video at the bottom of the post.

Electric Car Charging Stations:

I knew GE has been marketing their charging station, the WattStation, but I was surprised to see it advertised on TV and as part of a joint advertisement (I assume) with Nissan Leaf on a full-page ad in the November issue of Popular Science.   The television ad was surprising to me because we are still so early in the electric car life-cycle, but I guess GE wants to get a jump on the EV charging station crowd.  You can't have a chicken without the egg!  The TV ad can be seen at the bottom of the post.

In the Pop. Sci. ad the Leaf takes up part of the page on the left side of the fold, and the GE Wattstation takes up the whole page on the right side of the fold.  Here's a picture of the ad that was in Pop. Sci.:

I was happy to see an electric car charger at Whole Foods in Austin made by Coulomb technologies earlier this summer in person.

Smart homes, electricity monitoring and EV car charging:

Let's see, we have electric cars and charging stations, but what about bringing it all together!  Toyota announced that they were going to release a software tool that will help homeowners manage their home's electricity consumption and the electricity consumption of the batteries in their electric car.  From a USA Today article on Toyota and the Smart House:

Called the Toyota Smart Center, it allows people to see on TV screens and mobile handsets how much electricity is being consumed by a household, how much a plug-in vehicle has charged, and how much electricity has been stored in the home.

This reminds me of the partnership between Microsoft Hohm and Ford, which seeks to accomplish the same thing that Toyota is going for.

And finally, I think I saw a Chevy Volt driving around Atlanta on Saturday, but it was passing me so I can't be sure.  In any case, I was surprised at how excited I was.  What do you think about all the buzz around Electric Vehicles?

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I'm on the reserve list for a LEAF. Hopefully I will be driving one in December and recharging it in my garage. I had to agree to remodel the bathroom to get my wife on board. Shes not in love with the idea of the LEAF yet. Maybe a test drive will change that.
ckmapawatt's picture
Gary, Do you know what charging station you are going to use once you get the Leaf?

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