The Truth is Out There

Yes, when it comes to the internet the truth is out there, somewhere…but to uncover it you often find yourself digging through stacks and heaps of total lies, outright fabrications and willful small-minded ignorance.

And now for a lesson in the realities of the internet.

Recently a friend of mine found a meme* online that disturbed her, knowing that I had some experience in the matter she asked me if the meme was accurate.  As I was already familiar with the meme I responded that it was a pure fabrication trumped up by an organization with an agenda and something to loose.

I could have left it at that but no, I cannot.  I must dig deeper, citing the sources and the science behind the matter in order to reveal and support the truth and lay the lies it to rest for anyone that may read these words. Sadly, in this day and time of crooks, villains, charlatans, snake oil salesmen and outright lairs, I and others like me must stay vigilant and work to expose the real truths behind this terribly inaccurate meme and other lies that the “merchants of doubt” spin on an almost daily basis. (The term Merchants of doubt is from the book and must see documentary by the same name – Merchants of Doubt.)

In the world of the internet and TV, and to some extent the movies, there are many people today who sadly believe what they see without doing any further research at all.  This trend is dangerous and as the great Carl Sagan once said;

The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counter-intuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.

And as Mr. Spock once said: “Humans are illogical beings, they believe what they want to even when they know it to not be true.”

To find the truth we cannot stop there because in the world of scientifically accurate journalism (which we desperately need more of) we need to dig much deeper in order to find the concrete truth and cite the sources as we go…so let’s do this thing.

PLEASE NOTE: It is most important to not just view and accept the following photograph at face value because it is horribly inaccurate and an outright lie.  Therefore, the author of this blog (and others) are exposing the below meme as 100% erroneous, unsupported, and fabricated, illogical nonsense and supporting this exposure with scientifically supported resources to validate it.

The meme in question is below.

lithium_tar_sands_meme

This meme was obviously designed to;

1. Attack people and organizations who either drive and/or support Electric Vehicles (EV’s) and/or renewable energy and attempt to tarnish the science and fast growing good reputations behind these transportation and energy sources with a poorly researched graphic.

2. Spread manufactured outright lies and disinformation propaganda designed by individuals and/or organizations with ties to the fossil fuel industry, in the attempt to spread doubt with the goal of negatively and falsely influencing uneducated or uninformed people into continuing to support fossil fuel companies by driving petroleum powered vehicles, using electricity produced from coal and other fossil fuel sources, and voting for candidates that support these outdated, dirty, polluting, finite, technologies.

3. Or all of the above.

As you will see by my research in the following paragraphs, images and videos, this meme is 100% inaccurate and garishly untruthful and while I have done the research, anyone reading this, with a half a neuron’s worth of research ability, is capable of finding the same information that I found online by initiating a simple Google search.

My revealing findings and facts of oil sands and/or lithium mining can be found in the following photographs from various sources and the associated links to detailed information on the subject matter.

To begin with the images below show the realities of tar sands mining.

oilsands

Alberta Oil Sands mining from Mining.com

oilsands2

Canada’s Mordor.  From Hubpages.com

And a few from this Greenpeace article

alberta oil sands greenpeace

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Alex McLean Oilsands 9 Checkerboard clearing of the overburden for seismic testing, Syncrude Aurora North Mine Site, Alberta, CA Blocks140406-0193

To get at the oil sands the mining company must first remove the “overburden.”  This “overburden” as they call it was once a thriving boreal forest ecosystem.  Please tell me how that is a good thing in any way.

So what are oil sands?  Here is a good overview of the Oil sands from Wikipedia

Another one from Scientific Amerian

And this one also from Scientific American.

I believe the photographs and articles effectively show that Alberta oil sands extraction is one of the most environmentally destructive and toxic mining operations on earth.

The erroneous meme in question seems to have originated from a Facebook group called Saskatchewan Proud (SP).  From what I can deduce after visiting the SP Facebook page they seem to be an organization that is against anything related to renewable energy. They seem to be working to sow doubt, disinformation, and falsehoods in the feeble attempt to protect their poisonous and destructive way of life.  I also believe they are fearful of the growing support and adoption of electric vehicles (EV’s) and renewable energy sources by individuals, businesses, municipalities, and governments all around the world and they see these trends as a threat to their toxic and destructive livelihood.  They are right in that the growing renewable energy sector will end our dependence on fossil fuels but I fail to see how that is a bad thing that requires the creation of lies and propaganda. If they know what is good for them (and from the visible evidence on their Facebook page it appears that they do not or that they are living is denial or both) they would leave the fossil fuels in the ground and embrace the renewable energy resources found all around them in the beautiful land called Saskatchewan.

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If they are not careful they will one day find themselves fat, rich, and sick living in their own self-created version of hell on earth.

mordor

But you still may ask “Where does Lithium come from?”

I have dug up the truth.

Yes, Lithium must be mined from the earth just like any other natural resource however, it has a much lower environmental impact than almost any other type of mining.

Below are a few very good short videos on the subject of Lithium mining and its use.

 

When Lithium is applied and used in batteries for computers, phones, tablets, cameras, and other mobile devices, and electric vehicles – it does not give off any toxic pollution, in other words it’s end use is 100% emissions free.  That fact can never be applied to fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuels in any way.

Nissan produced a great video a few years ago eluding to this fact.

Also, once a lithium battery reaches the end of its usable life,  it’s components and chemicals can then be recycled into another battery or application–try that with fossil fuels, it is just not possible–the end results of burning fossil fuels is only a ride down the road, trail, rail, waterway or airway in return for the undeniable toxic and deadly byproducts listed below –

  1. Wars and lives lost in the dirty deals and twisted politics relating to the expensive acquisition of the raw materials (oil and coal).  If you need an example think Gulf War.

2. Environmental degradation, destruction, human suffering, and death (think  Exxon              Deepwater Horizon) from the mining and extraction.

3. Expensive and dangerous shipping and transportation by ship, pipeline, train and/or            truck with the inevitable life killing oil and fuel spills that happen regularly and                      without fail (Think Exxon Valdez).

4. The billions of BTU’s of waste heat from the inefficient combustion of fossil fuels.

5.  The atmospheric poisoning and warming, and the resulting anthropogenic climate                change from the billions of tons of CO2 and other toxic gasses released by the end                  use burning of fossil fuels.

6. Let us not forget the health and the future of our children and grandchildren and                     beyond who will be forced to live in the world we have created, and polluted for                       them.

Using fossil fuels is like using tobacco – it is a very bad experiment.

We should be very ashamed of ourselves for continuing this very bad experiment to the detriment of the prosperity of future generations.

Let’s get back to the lithium.

Mining lithium takes place in environments that are mostly uninhabitable by man or wildlife such as  the Atacama Desert in South America.

mina-de-sal-en-uyuni_1

The fact remains that while lithium extraction and processing does have an environmental impact (as does almost everything we do), that impact takes place in some of the most physically and biologically remote places on earth.  When compared to fossil fuel extraction, the processing and end use lithium requires very little energy to extract and process it into a usable final product.  Therefore, lithium extraction is far less damaging to the environment than fossil fuel extraction ever has been or ever will be.  Furthermore, the end use of lithium based products are clean and zero emission – try to say that about any fossil fuels, it is impossible.  However, lithium battery reclamation and recycling programs – which currently are few and far between – do in fact need to be strengthened in order to make sure spent lithium batteries (and batteries from all sources) are properly recycled instead of being tossed into the garbage only to end up in landfills.

Here are a few more links to other good lithium mining resources.

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2015/10/the-lithium-mine-fields-of-atacama.html

http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/2013/04/05/the-lithium-triangle/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2051639-follow-the-lithium-dreams-expedition-to-chile-and-bolivia/

I believe we have sufficiently busted the myth that lithium mining is worse that tar sands extraction and have therefore destroyed the meme in question.

But that is not all we must address from the ignorant meme generators at Saskatchewan Proud. They have also created two other anti-renewable energy propaganda memes designed to spread lies and sow doubt in the truth of clean, renewable energy technologies.

Some of their other irrational, poorly researched and poorly worded memes follow.

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Really?  Are they really that ignorant?

To begin with – steel and iron are not mined.  Iron ore is mined and then refined into iron and steel.  (See this link for the facts) Secondly, while wind turbine support structures, generators and other support structures do contain structural steel they also contain  aluminum, copper and other metals most of which is first mined from the earth in a manner similar to iron ore.  Yes, these mining operations do have impact as does everything we do however, the meme in question is simply an unwarranted and poorly researched over-dramatization of the fear that the people behind SP have toward renewable energy.

Much of the metals that are used in modern wind turbine manufacturing can also be sourced from recycled sources.  The blades of modern turbines are not even made from steel or iron, instead they are “Made from composite materials these blades are usually made of a polyester resin, a vinyl resin, and epoxy thermosetting matrix resin and E-glass fibers, S- glass fibers and carbon fiber reinforced materials.” Source: Wikipedia.

SP also tried to take another stab at a the growing wind energy…and they failed miserably.

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(I do not see any dead birds in the lower photo…do you?)

The truth is that your pet housecat, cellular telephone towers that let your mobile device make calls, connect to the internet and text your friends and check your Facebook, your own house’s glass windows reflecting the forest and sky outside,  and the toxic emissions/spills/mishaps directly or indirectly related to the entire fossil fuel industry – kill many millions upon millions more birds and bats annually than wind turbines have ever done and ever will do.

If you do not believe me then please, take a look at my sources following this paragraph…or just do your own research.  My sources come from the mainstream media, independent science organizations and the wind energy sector and they all agree that yes, wind turbines do kill some animals – but far less than the dramatized numbers purported by Saskatchewan Proud and other supporters of the fossil fuel industry. If SP really wants to attack the industry responsible for killing the most animals then maybe they should attack themselves and the other fossil fuel companies that are quickly destroying our shared planet in the name of massive profit. I am sure that is what this pelican would like to do.

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Photo Source – and a very good read:   http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/20/opinion/brazile-earth-day-bp/ 

Treehugger: http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/north-america-wind-turbines-kill-around-300000-birds-annually-house-cats-around-3000000000.html

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/15/wind-turbines-kill-fewer-birds-than-cell-towers-cats/15683843/

Science News: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/windows-may-kill-988-million-birds-year-united-states

Science News: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/cats-kill-more-one-billion-birds-each-year

Think Progress: https://thinkprogress.org/chart-how-many-birds-are-killed-by-wind-solar-oil-and-coal-230d2a939bbb#.fx2aooqfm

ABC Birds: https://abcbirds.org/program/wind-energy/

Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-save-bats-and-birds-from-wind-turbine-slaughter-130262849/

The Environmental Defence Fund: https://www.edf.org/ecosystems/six-years-later-whats-ahead-gulf?utm_source=ggad&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=gr-BPOil&gclid=CJSfutD0zc4CFcwlgQodKpQFBw

The fact is that the oil spill resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident killed or injured an estimated 82,000 birds alone (far more than the purported few dozen as described by SP in the previous meme).  Recent estimates indicate that over 1 million birds and over 1,400 dolphins have died as a result of the disaster.  The deaths of wildlife and the resulting environmental damage and economic damage to the livelihoods of so many fishermen and tourism providers along the gulf coast is in the billions of dollars.  The damage to the ecosystem of the gulf is so great that scientists have yet to fully estimate the true damage and cost of what was the USA’s greatest environmental disaster.

Obviously, the individuals behind Saskatchewan Proud have knowingly and purposefully created this erroneous and totally false propaganda in the attempt to somehow build support for their fossil fuel supporting organization.  They have succeeded greatly, not in propping up their destructive, toxic, earth and life killing industry, but in showing their infantile ignorance, denial of the truth, and complete willful disregard for the future of their own beautiful country and its people.

Good job SP you must be really proud.

I could outline in even more exhaustive detail how blatantly ignorant their memes are but I really do not believe I need to go into such detail when their ignorance in the matter is so unbelievably obvious and when the editor of Cleantechnica has also written an article debunking this very same meme.  To that end I have included many good references from many different sources and studies (see below) that I have found online that will sufficiently and accurately debunk and disprove all of SP’s ignorant postings.  It is obvious to me that Saskatchewan Proud did not do any research at all on any of their memes before they posted them.  It looks like they whipped together their propaganda on Photoshop and dropped them online in the hopes that someone out there would believe their inane childish ignorant drool as fact and then share and spout their nonsense far and wide in the hopes of bolstering their position.

The truly sad thing is that there will be good people out there that will believe them because they are either inexperienced at research or sadly just willingly gullible and will believe many things they find online without question or without doing any further research on their own to confirm or deny their questions.

To further debunk and bust these mythical memes I offer these sources:

SNOPES: http://www.snopes.com/lithium-mine-oil-sands/

Cleantechnica: http://cleantechnica.com/2016/05/12/lithium-mining-vs-oil-sands-meme-thorough-response/

Yet another way many people come to misunderstand and misinterpret the truth of renewable energy and science in general is the use of satire, like seen in the following meme.  It was designed to parody the typically outrageous followers of lunatic fringe right-wing ideologies yet their posts are sometimes mistaken as genuine by those who do not investigate the source, fail to read all the way to the end of the article, do not read the credits, or just look at the pictures and fail to read the text associated with the article at all.

The meme below was developed by a popular satire site known as Christians for Michelle Bachmann  aka C4MB.  When C4MB posted it on their Facebook page many uneducated or uninformed people took it at face value, believed it, and shared it all over the internet.

solar-meme

Photo source C4MB

C4MB created the meme in response to the lunacy that ensued when the people of the small town of Woodland, NC decided to stop the construction of a solar farm in part due to their own ignorance.  After the town decided not to install the solar farm many “news” outlets generated over dramatized stories around the situation.  A good one can be found here: http://reverbpress.com/discovery/science/solar-energy-farm-rejected-nc/

The truth of the matter in Woodland is more complex as this article shows very well: http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/did-woodland-north-carolina-really-ban-solar-farms-because-they-suck-sun.html

…and furthermore this article outlines how many big fossil fuel corporations are working to slow the growth of solar energy in North Carolina and all over the country.

It is sad that the renewable energy sector has so many opponents – like SP and others listed here and many more.  From the big fossil fuel corporations and their think tanks spinning out all kinds of disinformation, to the spoon-fed politicians on both sides with oil, coal, and blood soaked money in their bank accounts propping up the fossil fuel industry and getting wealthy in the process, to the common citizen that may not have all the facts about all the amazing renewable energy options and incentives offered to help us make the switch to renewable energy.

The great thing is that although there are many naysayers and deniers out there working hard in the attempt to keep renewable energy from becoming “a thing” the reality is – it is already a thing, it is a really big thing and a really good thing.  The renewable energy industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade and now it is building an unstoppable momentum that will allow it to one day completely burst the fossil fuel fired and funded carbon bubble and quickly replace toxic and life killing fossil fuels with clean, sustainable, renewable energy.

So let us all work together and do this thing!

 

funny-science-news-experiments-memes-totally-turbine

 To recap: yes, mining lithium does have an environmental impact as does almost everything we do on a daily basis.  However, that impact is so much smaller than the impact of all aspects of the fossil fuel culture.   The oppression, dirty deals, wars fought and fabricated to access, protect, and transport carbon based resources, the mining of these resources, and the resulting toxic environmental damage and human cultural  damage.  The toxic emissions and byproducts released into the environment (land, waters, and atmosphere) during extraction, transportation, refinement, shipping and transportation.  Then finally, the end use of the product with all of its toxic byproducts that all cause environmental destruction, degradation and alteration, pain, sickness and death.

Some of these I have included below.

Major oil spills: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_spill

Great article on oil and war: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/08/oil-fuels-war-terrorists-isis-climate-movement-peace-cop-21

Recently a gas pipeline ruptured in Alabama, USA spilling over a quarter of a million gallons of gasoline into the environment and raising gas prices across the south and causing a state of emergency for the economy and more importantly, for the environment.  Read more about this event in my previous blog posting:”Now I Know why Max was Mad.

And even more recently a Sunoco pipeline in Pennsylvania ruptured dumping around 55,000 gallons of oil and gasoline into the Susquehanna river!

The time for change has never been more clear.

Many people feel the same way and are fighting back to stop the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels including:

Go Fossil Free

Break Free

Morgan Freeman’s vision of the future must become a reality.

The Guradian’s Keep it in the ground

Greenpeace’s Keep it in the Ground

350.org’s Keep it in the Ground

Center for Biological Diversity’s Keep it in the Ground

The Sierra Club’s Keep it in the Ground

 

People are protesting and petitioning the White House and demanding that President Obama end our dangerous addition to fossil fuels.

 

While President Obama acknowledges the realities of anthropogenic climate change…will he be able to do anything about it? He must, we must or we will all suffer.

As I write this thousands of Native Americans, their supporters, friends and ranchers are massing in the American west in opposition to yet another pipeline that is designed to carry dangerous and dirty fracked oil to access points for the big oil companies with deep pockets and not a care in the world for the rights of indigenous peoples, landowners and the very environment that supports them.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Rezpect Our Water has been peacefully working to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from destroying their land, waters and atmosphere and recently, actress and environmentalist Shailene Woodley, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, and Deia Schlosberg were arrested for peacefully trespassing, supporting, and documenting activities in DAPL pipeline construction zones.  The truth of the matter is that they were arrested because they were documenting the truth of the situation and the pipeline organization and their supporters felt threatened by their actions that reveal the truth.  In Woodley’s case she was broadcasting live to over 40,000 viewers on Facebook and was arrested by militarized police toting assault weapons and wearing body armor.  Obviously, their serious overkill of dress and arms was an attempt to intimidate and exert power and instill fear in the protesters in the hopes they would leave the scene.  The real reason they arrested these well known activists and journalists was to silence them from speaking out and showing the truth of the situation.  See the below TYT video for an overview of Shailene’s story and arrest as she filmed it.

Shailene was arrested, strip searched and eventually released and later had this to say about her ordeal.

The always eloquent and thought provoking  PrinceEa (Richard Williams) has some great and powerful words to say about our relationship with our home planet.

The Earth Guardians is a growing movement of passionate young people who care about their future and are working in so many ways to protect it from the toxic damage of the past.  Watch this compilation of their passionate and powerful youth director Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez in his quest to raise support for change from world leaders and people of all ages from all walks of life.

Leo has become a great spokesman for the Earth.  We must all be concerned citizens and work together to solve the crisis that is before us.  Most recently DiCaprio produced and stared in the groundbreaking documentary Before the Flood that is a must see for all humans on Planet Earth.

The Pope recently issued his encyclical in support of nature.

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls for the end of the fossil fuel era.

The Dalai Lama said – “This is not a question of one nation or two nations. This is a question of humanity affecting the whole world,” the Dalai Lama said in a statement, adding that people are responsible for global warming. “We have to take serious concern about the protection of the environment.”

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Even some of our most famous Hollywood and other stars and personalities are speaking out against our destruction of the environment.

PrinceEa with more to say

 

350.org fought the phase 4 of the Keystone Pipeline  and together with millions of other supporters, including the author of this blog, the KxL Pipeline was shut down.

The Break Free movement

 

In Germany and all over the world people are standing up and taking action against fossil fuels and the pollution, pain and suffering their use brings upon us all.

 

In 2014 over 400,000 gathered to peacefully march through the streets in NYC to let world leaders know they want change that works toward the reduction of anthropogenic climate change.

NASCAR driver Lelani Munter is working to change the nature of auto racing via her activism and role in the recent must see documentary Racing Extinction.

Bill Nye the Science Guy is always speaking out against climate change denial and backing up all his claims with science!

 

Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s explanation of Climate Change is spot on.

 

And those are just a few of the organizations, famous people, and countless everyday citizens standing up for the future by working to keep fossil fuels deep in the ground  where they belong and make the switch to 100% renewable energy.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.

DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.

FIND YOUR OWN ANSWERS.

BE THE CHANGE.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT.

GO GREEN.

*Definition of meme:

MEME

  • : an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from one person to another in a culture

  • : an amusing or interesting picture, video, etc., that is spread widely through the Internet

NOTE: In his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, British scientist Richard Dawkins defended his newly coined word meme, which he defined as “a unit of cultural transmission.” Having first considered, then rejected, “mimeme,” he wrote: “‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene.’ I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate ‘mimeme’ to ‘meme.’” (The suitable Greek root was mim-, meaning “mime” or “mimic.” The English suffix -eme indicates a distinctive unit of language structure, as in “grapheme,” “lexeme,” and “phoneme.”) “Meme” itself, like any good meme, caught on fairly quickly, spreading from person to person as it established itself in the language.  Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme

NOTE: I am not perfect.  If you find an error in my content, spelling, or grammar please do let me know and I will correct it.  This way we can work together to help each other discover the truth and answer their questions with accurate data.

Now I know why Max was mad…

Just before the start of this year’s international celebration of electric vehicles known as National Drive Electric Week a  leak was discovered in a major gasoline pipeline in Alabama.  This pipeline, that supplies gasoline to millions of people along the east coast of the USA, leaked over 330,000 gallons of gasoline into the environment.  This is an aerial view of the lake in Alabama that was contaminated by the fuel spill.

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Photo source

This unfortunate and ironically timed disaster is yet another oily thorn in the side of the petroleum industry and it comes amid the recent and past news of multiple oil/gas pipeline leaks, explosionsoil train disasters and other mishaps all over the world,  and let us not forget the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and all the petroleum related cover ups and lies by the likes ExxonMobil and Volkswagen.  It is as if nature/God/the universe or whatever deity you pray to (or not) is telling all of us – “look you naked apes, you need to end all this madness and leave the fossil fuels in the ground where I put them in the first place! They are highly toxic and dangerous to all life forms!”

pipelineleak

After the leak was discovered repair crews from the pipeline owner Colonial Pipeline began work on cleaning up the spill and repairing the leak in the pipe as seen in the above photo from this source. Notice how close to a body of water the pipeline is at this point.  The gasoline leaked into this nearby pond and trace amounts have been found an a nearby pond as well.  Luckily however, due to the location and timing of the leak it seems that a major environmental catastrophe was avoided – at least for now.  We were very lucky this time but reality shows that it is only a matter of time before another pipeline breaks and causes irreparable harm to the environment and the creatures that call it home–including us.  This spill could just as easily have been another Mayflower/Pegasus pipeline spill or much worse.

pegasusoilspillsbetweenhouses

Unfortunately for everyone in my area the media grabbed the story and reported on it in the way they do so well…resulting in fears of an empty tank causing long lines at the gasoline stations where people wait for access to the pumps to squeeze out every last drop of the precious, toxic, and highly addictive elixir that gives them mobility and the illusion of freedom.  

Throw in a natural disaster and it gets even more interesting…  

Hurricane Katrina…remember the mess that caused?

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Photo source MIT

Then more recently Hurricane Sandy.

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Above photo from Universe Today

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Above image from this 2012 article after Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern US causing gas shortages and similar stress that we are facing in the southeast today.

Inevitably the gas station owners were forced to raise their prices to pay for the increased emergency shipping to get fuel to the out of gas communities in a timely manner.  Many companies then took advantage of the situation and price gouging ran rampant with prices being reported as high as $5 per gallon in some areas forcing the Governors of several states to freeze gas prices until things get back to “normal.”     

Below are a few links to the media explosion resulting from this fuel leak

From my local news networks

http://wlos.com/news/local/breaking-state-of-emergency-in-nc-over-gas-shortage

http://wlos.com/news/local/several-stations-in-asheville-area-out-of-gas

http://wlos.com/news/local/2016-gas-shortage-what-are-you-seeing

http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2016/09/19/asheville-gas-shortage-leads-panic-people-freaking-out/90688134/

From the other sources

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/09/alabama_pipeline_leak_georgia.html

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/09/how_alabama_pipeline_leak_led.html

http://abcnews.go.com/US/states-facing-gas-shortages-colonial-pipeline-spill/story?id=42153670

http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/16/investing/gasoline-prices-shortage-pipeline-leak/

On Saturday, 9/17/16 I witnessed the fossil fired madness first hand as I drove my Nissan Leaf EV from Brevard to Hendersonville.

12:15pm The first station I passed had long lines stretching out into the road.  Unfortunately I was unable to get a photograph.

12:25pm. The second station I passed is pictured below.  Cars were pouring in as I snapped the photo!

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12:40pm. I passed another station and witnessed more insanely long lines.  At this one I overheard a woman yelling like a child to another driver “That’s my spot, I was here first!”

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I then saw this madness at an Ingles station in north Hendersonville.

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1:30pm. By far the most disturbing scene was at this Ingles in Flat Rock.

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I had to pull over at a safe distance and take some more photos of the media driven panic buying insanity.

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There was a fuel truck on site attempting to keep up with the demand…

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Like a person hooked on a prescription drug these people were desperate and will do almost anything for a fix of the deadly juice that powers their lives.

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At one point scenes from Mad Max The Road Warrior started flashing through my head…

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…but could that really happen?  This guy may have part of the answer…

While many believe and trust the mass media reports that a pipeline did leak causing a measurable fuel shortage, there are others that believe this is simply a manufactured demand issue designed to drive up prices and oil company profits across the board.

It is the authors opinion that it may be a mix of both and wherever the truth lies the cold hard fact that remains is that people who choose to drive vehicles powered only by gasoline are terrified that their lives and business will be disrupted by this reduction in the flow of fuel.  The other cold hard fact is that this incident has revealed is that our addiction to petroleum products is dangerous and very precariously balanced on a thin razors edge.  The uninterrupted flow of gasoline and oil is all dependent on a very complex, decades old in some areas, infrastructure supported by a complex international petroleum supply chain overseen and controlled by out of date warmongering old fossil fuel pushers and their very well compensated puppets in national, state and local governments that are all hell bent on filling up their bank accounts with our hard earned money at any cost.  AddictedUncleSam

It is time we accept the cold hard fact that our nation is locked in a manufactured addiction to the dangerous, toxic drug that we call petroleum and all of its byproducts.

Yet, there exists another way to get around, a better way to get around.

The electric vehicle.

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Sadly, many individuals and special interest groups refuse to accept it, many even deny its validity at every turn.  A minority of severely addicted close minded petroleum pushers and users even call this not so new idea “un-American.” Some even go as far as mocking it by modifying their petroleum burning diesel-dino-juice guzzlers to illegally to emit clouds of noxious black smoke that they call “rolling coal” in the feeble attempt to make some sort of sad, anti-environmental statement in support of their addiction…

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…it is as if they are proud of themselves and their ability to harm themselves, the people around them, and the planet that supports their very lives just to satisfy some childish belief that may or may not be based in one or all of the following observations personally made by the author of this article;

1. “This is a free country so I can do whatever the **** I want to and you can’t stop me.”

2. Everybody else is doing it and it is somehow accepted and “cool” among their circle of misguided friends.

3. I’m “sticking it to the greenies” and to “the man.” The “greenies” being anyone concerned for the future, the environment, and their children and “the man” being the US government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and any other governing agencies and NGO’s that work to protect us from ourselves.

4. “The “greenies” are wrong about everything.  There is no problem with the atmosphere or with pollution or overpopulation etc…and in fact “climate change is a hoax invented by  the Chinese.”  (Yes, even though this statement is garishly incorrect on so many levels, there are many people that actually believe the nonsense spouted by Donald J. Trump.)

5. “I can do it because my beliefs say I can.”

First off – it is the authors opinion that people are free to believe whatever they choose to believe unless that belief system in some way harms or oppresses other people, animals or nature.  Please, always remember this – just because you believe a thing does not make it true unless it is supported by measurable, observable, testable facts.

Secondly – in the authors opinion these ancient beliefs are simply metaphors presented to the reader as ways to help them make sense of life, the universe, and everything.  Sadly, the meaning of these centuries old lessons are often totally missed by the reader who then often take them literally, totally out of context and out of time, and then severely misinterprets them and attempts to apply them to the situations of their modern lives that never even existed or could have even been imagined in the simple agrarian world that existed when the words were first written down. These ancient, metaphorical guidelines for life are often so distorted and misconstrued by their followers into the erroneous understanding that they are somehow special and superior to nature – that they have dominion over the earth and all of its inhabitants and resources so they can  do whatever they wish to with it.  Sadly, some of those on the lunatic fringe of these belief systems are even more disturbing when they announce that they believe that the world will be ending soon so their daily choices and actions do not matter anyway because it will all be destroyed by a vengeful supreme being and then, as they often say –

“you will all be sorry.”

That kind of apathetic attitude is so scary and so unbelievably selfish.

(Note: I have personally heard all of the above statements from real people and I am just appalled that there are people who still think an believe these things.  I am so embarrassed and saddened at the actions of my own countrymen when they say and act like they do not care about anything but themselves.  Where have we gone wrong…?)

Luckily, I believe that these deniers, haters and sadly misdirected individuals are a dying breed and that a new wave of reason is sweeping the globe.

Sunrise over Earth, artwork

Sunrise over Earth, artwork.

Due to the connectivity provided by the internet coupled with the findings of science, better education opportunities, the many whistle-blowers exposing the truths that uncaring corporations such as Big TobaccoExxonMobil and Volkswagen have hidden from us for so long…there is great reason to have hope. There is hope from the passionate educators and scientists teaching the scientific truth to their classes in all grade levels.  There are the bold producers, stars and authors of must watch/read independent documentaries and literature shining a bright light on these most important subjects such as these I highly recommend; Who Killed the Electric Car, Revenge of the Electric CarThe Cove, Sharkwater, Blackfish, Gasland, Gasland 2,  The 11th Hour, An Inconvenient TruthRacing Extinction, Before the Flood, Chasing Ice, Oil + Water, Oil and WaterFood Inc.Merchants of Doubt, Unstoppable,  The Road Not Taken, The War on Science, The Madhouse Effect Censoring Science and many more. There is even more hope coming from the majority of US Christians and high profile religious leaders and individuals such as the Dalai Lama,  and many other religious leaders, including Muslim leaders, climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe and Pope Francis, through his recent Encyclical, Summit on Climate Change and other works in support of sustainability, coexistence and peace.  There are forward thinking faith based groups such as Interfaith Power and Light, the Good Steward Campaign, that are urging people of all faiths to denounce the ancient and problematic biblical (King James and others) interpretation of dominion that the Christian God gave humanity the right to do whatever it wants to with and to the environment. Luckily today, these enlightened individuals and groups believe that (insert your deity here) calls on all people to be good stewards and protectors of the earth, not the careless ruling dictators that we have been for so long.

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 Earthrise 2015 source NASA

 Yet even greater hope comes from the many churches, monasteries, and convents are installing and blessing solar arrays.  Scout groupsschools and universities are  divesting from all fossil fuel investments and going renewable in order to be better stewards of this earth and to educate the children on a better way to use our natural resources. Now is the time we all must wake up and listen to the science and accept the fact that science and religion can work together in protection and stewardship of our shared earth, its natural resources and all its creatures.

Indigenous peoples such as the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes are speaking out and protesting  against the injustices being heaped upon their peoples and cultures by the actions of the past and sadly, the actions of today.  Personally, I fully support the Sioux and other indigenous tribes and their supporters that are fighting fossil fuel projects all over the world in order to protect their lands, waters and future generations from harm due to our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.

As I write this thousands of people from all walks of life, members of other tribes, and even President Obama have assisted the Sioux in their fight against the pipeline they call the Black Snake but at the time of this writing the future of the pipeline and the Sioux is uncertain.  The overwhelming sentiment among indigenous people everywhere, with many even signing treaties among themselves against oil  and even meeting with the United Nations, is to stop the bulldozers and the pipelines and keep fossil fuels in the ground where they belong!

standing-rock-confrontationPhoto source and another good read on the Standing Rock Dakota Access situation.

Yet even more hope comes from youth from all over the planet.  The younger generation is waking up to the truth that has been hidden from us all for so long.  They are working to raise awareness of the environmental and human problems our addiction to fossil fuels are causing.  Youth groups all around the planet and other youth led organizations such as the Earth Guardians and Our Children’s Trust are working hard and even bringing lawsuits against governments to create positive change working toward a  clean, renewable powered future for us all.

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The students and children shall lead the clean energy revolution.

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I took the above photo recently after presenting a wildlife education show to a local school.  After my presentation I introduced the students to my car.  After I explained to them how it works, how much money I save, and how by driving electric you can help preserve nature, wildlife and our future environment, they were unanimously in favor of going EV.  Yes, after meeting wonderful young adults such as these I have great hope for the future and I have no doubt that we will be able to end our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.  But it will take hard work and dedication from all of us to break the bonds of this addiction and to make it happen for us all, for the earth and for the future.

The power of the younger generation to insight change is supported by celebrities such as Lelani MunterBill Nye the Science Guy,  Leonardo DiCaprioMorgan Freeman, Harrison Ford, Matt Damon,  James Cameron, Julia Roberts, Joan ChenLiam Neeson and Robert Redford to name a few.

Musicians are making a difference as well with artists such as Xavier Rudd, Nahko and Medicine for the People, The Earth Guardians and many more speaking out in their songs in the fight to end our reliance on the toxic grip that fossil fuels and certain big corporations have on us all.

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Photo credit Jambase

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Photo credit Nahko and Medicine for the People

You can be part of the clean energy revolution!

You can end, or at least lower, your reliance on fossil fuels.

 You do not have to be wealthy or a celebrity to truly make a difference and lower your carbon footprint.

You too can drive electric.

As an example let’s take the case of my Nissan Leaf.

This is what I found this morning when I walked out of my door about to make the 13 mile journey to work.

20160918_075557  My little 2012 Nissan Leaf EV was fully charged and ready to roll.

I unplugged the charger, got inside, turned the car on to find…

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A wonderful 82 miles of all electric range!   I pulled out of the driveway and headed through the unusually sparse traffic for 8:30 am.  As I made my way to work I noticed a local gas station that was empty…quite a change from a few days before…so I pulled in to investigate. This is what I found.

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I was so happy to have my little EV at that moment!   Even with it’s limited range I can always fill it up with electrons anywhere there is an electrical outlet.

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As I prepared to pull out of the station I suddenly became aware of three gas powered vehicles quickly converging on my location!  I quickly realized that they must have seen my car in front of the pumps and assumed the station had product so they all dove in hoping to get some gas.  I quickly and silently eased out of the station, between the converging cars, and on down the road.  I had a small bit of anxiety at the thought of what some folks would do if they ran out of gas and could not do the things they need and want to do…and saw my EV silently driving down the road…now I know at least one of the reasons Max was mad.

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Those few of us early adopters who made the switch to electric vehicles over the last few years look on as we pass by the conflagrations with amazement, wonder, and a bit of fear and much more than range anxiety…and then we pull up to our EV fueling stations with little to no competition…and grin that EV grin 🙂

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We then calmly (and often freely or for a nominal fee) plug in and let the electrons flow into our sweet, silent, futuristic electric vehicles and we can’t help but grin that EV grin…again…because we know that driving electric is just a better way to drive.

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We all know that longer range EV’s are coming very soon including the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf 2.0, Nissan eNV200 and more…here’s a great test of a Bolt from a few days ago!

I am fully aware that fueling these all electric vehicles requires some fossil fuels such as coal but with gas out of the picture we are on our way to a much cleaner, safer, healthier, quieter society. I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger said it well here  when he came up with an excellent reason why we need to all go green.

There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.

I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.

I’m guessing you chose the Door Number Two, with the electric car, right? Door number one is a fatal choice — who would ever want to breathe those fumes?

Clean, reliable, solar, wind and EV technologies are available NOW off the shelf and off the lot. In fact, you can now even find a good used EV for the same price as a good used gas guzzler in fact, many collage students are snatching up used Leafs as their daily drivers because they just make so much sense.

On top of that the cost of solar has dropped exponentially in the last few years. Just stop and think for a moment…is your roof soaked in sunshine all or most of the day? Why not cover it in solar panels and put it to work for you?

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Photo credit A.J. Rowell

Just think about it. If you had an electric vehicle right now how happy would you be that you did not have to go to the gas station? Maybe you could be like this guy who swapped his dirty, toxic VW “clean” diesel for an EV.  Just stop and think for a moment how nice it would feel to be able to be truly free from the subscription to dependency and resulting high costs (to your bank account and the environment) and headaches of paying for gas and electricity. Imagine if your electric bill was only a few dollars a month? Most of us who are able to read these words honestly have no real excuse to not make the switch to cleaner technologies. If these options sound good to you, if they sound possible, then make it a goal to at least do some more research into the topic. Imagine.

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Photo credit A.J. Rowell

This gasoline madness is just that, madness.

Six years ago my wife and I started making the switch from gas to electric with the purchase of a rechargeable string trimmer (weed eater). Then in 2013 we ditched our ageing Honda CRV for our 2012 Nissan Leaf 100% electric vehicle. Since then we have fallen in love with both of them because they save us loads of money, they are quiet and fun to use/drive and they are so much better for the earth and for our health. While they still require some fossil fuels to charge (until we can one day go solar), the gas and oil have been taken out of the equation and that is a huge thing in so many ways.

A few days ago the little string trimmer finally died so I replaced it with an upgraded 80 volt heavy duty model and an electric leaf blower (they have interchangeable batteries)! Now we are even closer to one day becoming an all electric family and kissing gas goodbye forever!

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Going electric is not only for the well to do, I should know because I am anything but rich. Anyone can go electric and end your addiction to dirty, polluting, harmful, dangerous and outdated fossil fuels. All it takes is a little research, a test drive, a small amount of adaptation and compromise and soon, like me, you can be passing gas every day and loving every minute of it 🙂

On September 20 the gasoline tanker trucks started arriving in my area and select stations were able to dispense their product to the public.

On September 21st, as I again traveled that familiar road to work, I stopped at the local gasoline filling station…to squeegee my windshield 🙂 

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And I noticed that the pumps were all still out of service…all except for diesel.

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On September 22nd drivers of gas powered vehicles breathed a sigh of relief when the pipeline began operations again after a bypass was put in place around the damaged pipe. Hopefully soon the fuel supply will be back to some form of “normal” and those that drive only gas powered vehicles* will be able to get around as in the past.  I only hope that this little incident has left many of them questioning fossil fuels and thinking seriously about making the switch to EV’s.

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How long will it be until the next pipeline ruptures?  Will it be in your neighborhood? Only time will tell.

UPDATE: November 01, 2016 – the very same Colonial Pipeline that caused this fuel shortage just over a month ago exploded yesterday killing one person and severely burning several more.  

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It seems that we did not have to wait very long for the next major pipeline incident.  More on this development to follow. Now do you now see why it is of utmost importance that we break our dangerous addiction to almighty oil and focus on renewable energy!  

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If the actions of the gasoline addicted public are any indications, I now know that one of the reasons Max was mad was because he was addicted to gasoline.

We have choices. Be the change.

*Yes, I have another vehicle and sadly is is powered by gasoline.  I only use it for hauling and towing a trailer and drive it very sparingly.  During this gas outage I left it parked and was so very glad I had an EV.  One day, when a car company produces an EV truck, I will rid myself of the old dinosaur and go 100% EV.

NISSAN LEAF REPORT for July 2014

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We have been driving our Nissan Leaf now for almost 11 months now and you are probably asking: Do we still like it after almost one year of EV ownership? What do we like about it? What don’t we like about it? Has it saved us any money?

Here are the answers.

Leaves7.5.14Do we still like it and why?

Absolutely, wholeheartedly and positively: YES!

What do we like about the Nissan Leaf:

For the last 10+ months it has been a wonderful vehicle that gets us around quickly, quietly and cleanly. It continues to be a joy to drive and we always look forward to driving it because it is fast, fun and easy to drive. When we are forced to drive Godzilla, our 1999 Toyota 4Runner, it continues to seem like an archaic, sluggish, noisy, smelly old fossil compared to the smooth, fast, responsive, clean, green Nissan LEAF.

fogleafI love the fact that the Leaf needs virtually no maintenance. Since I have had it I have only had to check the air in the tires and rotate them twice and wash it a few of times. As far as the old Toyota–I have had to change the oil/filter twice (I use fully synthetic, bio-based, American sourced and produced GOil) and those oil changes cost me almost as much as it has cost to power the Leaf for four months! Recently I had to replace the water pump and timing belt on the Toyota for a grand total of $650! That would power the Leaf for almost TWO YEARS at our current cost of electricity!!!

Issues

The Leaf has experienced no problems related to the mechanics and systems of the car. The only mishaps being two road hazard incidents that were out of my or Nissan’s control.

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 Tire trouble in Cherokee, NC.

Seat comfort.  The one major complaint I have about the Leaf is the design of the drivers seat–I still do not find it to be very comfortable although I have adapted to it a bit more. The non adjustable head rest is too far forward so I had to turn it around so that I did not feel like my head was forced forward all the time. It would also be very nice if the seat had a lumbar adjustment as well. This is more than likely my problem because no one else that has driven it has had any issue with the seat.

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Has owning the Leaf saved us any money? Let’s look at the totals for a clearer picture.

Mileage driven from August 26 2013-July 13, 2014.

Total all electric miles: 11,951 miles

Average miles/month: 1138.2

Average miles/week: 284.6

Average miles/day: 40.7

Electricity Usage from August 26 2013-July 13, 2014

Total KWh electricity used: 2,727.6 (sources: 80% mains trickle charge at home, 20% on the road from level 2 commercial charging stations and 120 volt outlets at work and friends’ houses)

Average KWh used/month: 259.8

Average KWh used/mile: 4.0

Cost/KWh: $.09

The below electricity usage histogram is from the Carwings telemetric monitoring system.  Units on Y axis are KWh.

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Electricity Cost to Operate the Leaf August 26 2013-July 13, 2014

Total 10.5 month electricity cost to operate Leaf: $245.48 (2727.6KWh x .09/Kwh)

Note: The average ONE MONTH cost to operate the Toyota 4Runner is: $253.42!

In other words it costs us less to operate the LEAF for 10.5 months ($245.48) that it does to operate the Toyota 4Runner for ONE MONTH ($253.42)!

Average cost/month to charge Leaf:$23.37

Average cost/day to charge/operate the Leaf: $0.77

Average cost/mile/day to drive Leaf: $0.03/mile

The next histogram shows distance traveled and energy economy tracking as recorded by the Carwings EV monitoring system over the last 10.5 months

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Comparisons Before Leaf/After Leaf 

Before Leaf estimated cost to operate/maintain/repair our previous cars,  a 1999 Toyota 4Runner and 1998 Honda CRV, for the same 10.5 month time period: $4200 ($400/month x 10.5. (Toyota 250/month and Honda $150/month (fuel + maintenance + repairs)

Before Leaf Toyota/Honda average cost/day to operate: $ 13.33 ($400/30)

From this point on I will focus on the before and after Leaf cost to operate only the Toyota 4runner.  This is due to the fact that we purchased the Leaf to replace many of the miles driven in the Honda CRV and the Toyota 4runner.

Before Leaf average Toyota miles driven/month: 1357.14 (1357.14/19mpg = 71.42 gallons x $3.50 per gal. = $250)

Before Leaf average Toyota miles driven/week: 339.28

Before Leaf average Toyota miles driven/day: 48.46

Before Leaf Toyota average cost/month: $250

Before Leaf Toyota average cost/day: $ 8.33

Before Leaf Toyota average cost/mile: $ 0.17

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Enter August 2013.  

Traded in 1998 Honda CRV for 2012 Nissan Leaf SL

After Leaf total Toyota 4Runner miles driven (10.5 months): 9210

After Leaf average Toyota miles driven/month: 877.14

After Leaf average Toyota miles driven/week: 219.26

After Leaf average Toyota miles driven/day: 31.32

After Leaf Toyota fuel cost from August 26 2013-July 13, 2014

$1911.00

After Leaf Toyota maintenance costs: $750 (new water pump, new hoses, antifreeze, timing belt, oil and filter x2.)

After Leaf 10.5 month Toyota total operational costs: $2661.00

After Leaf Toyota average cost/month: $253.42

After Leaf Toyota average cost/day: $ 8.45

After Leaf Toyota average cost/mile: $ 0.26

Fuel savings

Total fuel saved during 10.5 month period: 546 gallons/$1911.00

After subtracting power cost for Leaf: $1434.52

(Fuel $1911.00 – $245.48 Electric Cost ) =

$1665.52 saved!

Car payment offset: $350.67 x 10 months = $3682.35 payments – $1665.52 savings = $2016.51 out of pocket!

NOTE: If you find that any of my calculations are off please do email me because I am only human and I will be the first to admit that I do, can, and will make mistakes.

fastchargingDRIVING ELECTRIC IS A “NO BRAINER!”

The numbers show that the cost of operating our Toyota 4Runner has gone up a bit.  This is due to an expensive repair and several long distance trips out of state on family issues that were out of the range of the Leaf.  However, even with those factors considered and because we are only driving one gasoline powered vehicle, and the fact that we use the Leaf for almost all of the local trips within its range (unless the trip involves hauling a load or pulling a trailer), we have already saved almost $2000 in fuel costs in 10.5 months of EV ownership and applied that extra $$ to our Leaf car payment!

After the Leaf is paid off we will be saving even more!

leafteslaSharing a level 2 charging station with a Tesla Model S

Had we continued driving the ageing Honda CRV and Toyota 4Runner together we would have burned around 725 gallons of gasoline, spent over $2530 more in gas, possibly incurred several hundred dollars in repairs and belched out ~13,700 lbs of CO2* and other toxic greenhouse gasses into our shared atmosphere!

*1 gallon of gasoline burned emits 19 lbs of CO2. Source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/contentIncludes/co2_inc.htm

By going fully EV we have saved money, reduced our carbon footprint by eliminating over 7000 lbs** of CO2 from being eliminated into the atmosphere and gained a maintenance free car that is fun to drive and seems to be very well thought out and well constructed…and we have more time to “stop and smell the roses***” while our EV charges.

 **Based on the Carwings telemetric data collected by the Leaf’s on-board efficiency monitoring system that compares the size of the Leaf to a comparable sized ICE cars tailpipe emissions.

***Go to the movies, out to dinner, shopping, have a pint a the pub…and/or have a pint while dressed like a pirate…

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Wow! All great reasons to love the Nissan Leaf EV be ye a scurvy EV driving pirate or a regular person!

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EV Note: How did we calculate our Leaf’s energy costs?

We use a Kill-a-Watt Meter!

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More good points about the Leaf!

Acceleration.  While it may not have the speed of a Tesla, the Leaf does take off from a standstill with amazing quickness.  As a friend once said “wow, it really sets you back in your seat!”

Handling: We continue to love the way the Leaf drives! It is quiet, smooth and very responsive on and off the pavement–and it is really surprising how well it continues to drive on gravel roads and ford shallow creeks.  Speaking of creek fording check out this video form an Leaf driver in England–all I can say is WOW!

And another one from Nissan

Cruse Control: I love the cruise! I consistently use the cruise to squeeze as much range and efficiency out of the Leaf.  Using the cruise lets the computer decide how much power to apply from the battery to the motor or, to the battery from the motor/generator when while coasting downhill so the car operates more efficiently.  The cruise also allows a set speed with more regen on downhill runs–this is not possible without using the cruise due to the increased drag from the generator unless the grade is very steep.  I have noticed that when the computer “drives” I always come out with more range at the end of the day.

Appearance: The quirky, cool, futuristic look of the leaf really lets me get my geek on and I love the Blue Ocean paint!

Sound: Or lack thereof…the Leaf is so quiet!  Other than the sound of the Leaf piercing the wind and the tires on the road the only sound it makes is a distant high pitched whine similar to a jet taking off in the distance.  This sound is not obtrusive in any way with the windows up or down.  In fact it is a unique and pleasant sound that I enjoy hearing because I know that the sound of the Leaf is the sound of the future.

Check out this video of what the Leaf really sounds like under the hood–very cool!

Ease of use: The Leaf is as easy to use as your smartphone…actually it is easier to use than most smartphones.  It is as simple as unplug, drive, plug in, sleep, repeat.

Winter: Heated seats and steering wheel. I love these features about the Leaf–I hardly ever turn on the heater!

Summer: I usually drive with the windows down but when I do use the air conditioning it works quietly and perfectly. Even on the hottest/coldest days I keep the temperature set at 70F and the AC draws very little power yet cools the interior nicely.

Climate control timer: a truly wonderful feature that pre-heats/cools the car while plugged in to mains power before leaving for work in the morning. I use this primarily in the winter to warm up the car before heading to work.

Stereo system: Great stereo sound that you can truly hear because the car is soooo quiet! The system perfectly syncs via Bluetooth, to my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 where I am able to access over 2000 songs that play in a truly random order.

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Well done Nissan and Carlos Ghosn–the visionary behind the Leaf!

More on Ghosn and the Leaf here.

Backup camera: what an amazing feature–I use it every time I put the car in reverse. The 2014-15 Leaf LE has a 360 degree camera that shows everything around the vehicle–a great safety feature for sure!

Regenerative braking: This system allows the car’s electric motor to act as a generator when the car is braking or coasting with the power generated feeding back into the battery for extended range–amazing!

Over the last 10.5 months I have regenerated a total of 23,437 Watt Hours! (according to the Carwings monitoring system)

At first that sounds like a stupendous amount of free power however, Watt Hours are not Kilowatt hours. Once we see that 1Wh = 1000 KWh we discover that although the Leaf did generate 23437 WH that then converts to 23.4 KWh of electricity for a whopping savings of $2.11. When we then divide that by the Leaf’s cost/mile to operate of we find that the Leaf gave back just over 70 miles of gravity assisted free Leaf produced power. Although at first that does not seem like much, it is $2.11 and 70 miles more than the Toyota (or any ICE vehicle) has ever or will ever give back in its entire lifespan. If this trend continues then I estimate that at the end of one year the Leaf will generate over 80 miles free range and close to $3.00 in electricity savings and that is good news for sure! EV’s give something back–internal combustion vehicles engine (ICE) vehicles only take giving nothing back but a very expensive ride, loads of waste heat, leaking fluids and toxic, life poisoning emissions.

On one particular excursion I made a documentary of my travels through the Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina. On this journey I travel through remote areas of the mountains where not an EV charger, or gas station for that matter, can be found. Watch the journey below !

Leaf Improvements?

I can think of a few for Nissan to contemplate:

Audio system: While the stock stereo system is excellent, the new Bose sound system is truly incredible! I have also changed my opinion on the Leaf’s Bluetooth audio sync system that I reported on in the three month Leaf Report. At first I believed it was an issue of the car but now that my Samsung phone syncs perfectly, I believe it was an error in the Droid Razr, not the sync capabilities of the car.

Carwings: an interesting and informative system but it could be more accurate and user friendly.  If you have or are planning on acquiring a Leaf and you are a techie who loves data and knowing all there is to know about your Leaf’s health then you should consider picking up the Mycarma myEV datalogger that I blogged about a few weeks ago.  I will have one on my Leaf as soon as it is produced! The myEV was recently funded on Indiegogo and will be available this fall!    

Navigation system: overall well done but it does need some updating as well.

Charging system: I believe that the Leaf would benefit from an optional rooftop solar array covering the entire roof of the vehicle and possibly even the hood as in my badly Photo-shopped concept idea below.

solarleaf

With the current advances in lightweight, flexible, high output solar technology and even solar paints, this would be a great addition especially on vehicles used in sunny areas. Imagine the loads of free power you could generate with this feature while your Leaf just sat in the sun drenched parking space all day while you were at work. Obviously it would not charge the Leaf’s battery to full capacity but it could only help just as the regenerative braking system does and both systems working together would be able to supply the vehicle with even more clean, renewable, free energy! In cars equipped with the rooftop solar option Nissan could also add USB charging/AC power ports inside the vehicle so that a person could charge their USB powered phones, tablets, cameras and other devices while the car was charging on solar power. I believe this should be an optional feature because some people would not be interested in it aesthetically–but other “geeky tree huggin’ dirt worshipers” like myself would jump on it in a heartbeat. Also, for Leaf owners who park in garages or under trees or live in areas where it rains a lot or is often overcast this feature would not be of much use.

More adjustable driver’s seat: as mentioned before it would be nice if the driver’s seat had a lumbar adjustment and the head rest could be adjusted fore and aft for more comfort.

Battery pack: obviously the battery of the Leaf needs improvement–the day the range of EVs pass the 300 mile mark they will be in all thinking people’s garages. This is the single most limiting factor of this otherwise wonderful vehicle. I have recently seen reports of a possible 150 mile range battery pack option for 2016 LEAF–now that would be a great improvement!

Wind noise:  Due to the aerodynamics and associated pressure differentials created when driving with the windows down, the Leaf can generate some rather unpleasant buffeting sounds that only seem to go away when the windows are up or at lower speeds.  This is not that big of an issue if you have just the front windows down or the front down and back down halfway or all the way…but sometimes, for whatever reason, it gets really annoying.

Tires: The seem rather thin and weak.  Some improvements would be nice.

Conclusions: even with the limited range and other little issues we still love our Nissan Leaf–it is a truly amazing car that has saved us thousands of dollars in fuel and repair costs and we do not regret our EV decision in any way. We are loving our pioneering decision and look forward to many years of EV adventure and savings!

Real world driving in the Nissan Leaf

Below are some graphic representations of some of my usual driving routes.

Home to work and back.  This is the route I drive most frequently.  Note that the last 3rd of the route is all uphill.  One way of this daily commute uses close to 1/2 of my Leaf’s range.  However, on the return trip I regenerate an average of 15 miles of range for most of that decent so that when I arrive back home I have the same or more driving range than I did when I departed work for home 🙂  This is a round trip of 27.46 miles.  No additional charge needed.

workandback

On one of my other frequently driven routes I will drive to work, a nearby town on family business, then return home for a round trip of 49.47 miles.

No additional charge needed.

work.hville.home

This next route takes me to work, then on to one of my wildlife conservation study areas, and back home again.  It is a round trip of 60.75 miles and I usually do charge up to at least 80% while at work for that extra margin of safety.  However, I have driven the entire route without charging because the last third of the route is almost all downhill so I made it home with about 10 miles of range to spare…but that’s a bit too close for comfort.

work.shine.home

Another one of my wildlife conservation projects takes me to the top of a mountain and back down the other side on a twisty, gravel road complete with a small creek ford! I do not need to charge on this route due to the insane amount of regen I garner from the loads of downhill on the second half of the route.

richlandridge

I often visit Asheville on business and pleasure after work.  This is a round trip of 98.81 miles.   It requires me to charge to 100% the night before and then to at least 80% in Asheville before returning home but this is not a problem because there are many level 2 charging stations (and soon a few DC fast chargers!) all around the city so I have never had an issue getting a charge.

home.work.asheville.home

Long day.  One day in June 2014 my travels took me to work, then my wife and I took a trip to a brewpub in south Asheville for a pint and brats while the car charged at a level 2 station nearby, we then drove a 50 mile bat conservation route after dark in remote, mountainous–and very foggy terrain (video will be posted on this blog soon.)  The total mileage for the route was: 117.04 and I had to charge the car three times that day due to the mileage and terrain.  Note: at the top of the route the car was down to 11 miles of range but from that point on the route was almost all downhill so I regenerated over 25 miles of range and pulled into the driveway at midnight with about 25 miles remaining on the “guess-o-meter.”

anabatroute114

Longest distance driven in one day: 126.5 miles one way (not on one charge). This was an epic journey over two 4500 foot mountain ranges with two charging station visits, an overnight trickle charging episode while staying with a friend, a flat tire, a visit to a casino (for the food), a movie, and a total round trip mileage of over 300 miles!  Read all about it in a previous post and watch the video documentary of this epic EV adventure.

MurphyExcursion14

(all route maps from mapmyride.com)

Public charging stations we have used.

BrightfieldTS (1.50/hr and free) Asheville, NC – Solar charging stations

Chargepoint (1.50/hr) Asheville, NC

Blink (DC fast chargers $5.00/charge) Tennessee

Eaton (free) Asheville, Hendersonville and Clyde, NC

Schenider (free) Cherokee, NC

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Interesting and unusual places I have charged my Leaf!

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Beside a Tesla Model S

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In the Anderson Nissan service department.

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At the beer and ice shack at the LEAF festival. *Note-the Leaf festival has nothing to do with the Nissan Leaf and in fact my Leaf may have been the only one there.

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Another view from the Leaf festival

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At the barn at Earthshine Discovery Center.  If you are looking for a great place to spend a mountain vacation, visit with your school, have your wedding or corporate retreat then look no further–Earthshine Discovery Center is your place!

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Again at Earthshine Discovery Center.  I plug into an outlet located in an Eastern Box Turtle rehabilitation enclosure operated by my company

Earthshine Nature Programs!

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Again at the Anderson Nissan dealership in Asheville, NC.

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Alongside a Chevy Volt while at the movies.

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Trickle charging at a LOVE’S somewhere in Tennessee on my first day of EV ownership. We drained the battery down to 6 miles of range due to highway speeds, high atmospheric and battery temperatures…I had to stop and charge here because I was only about 9 miles from a DC fast charger.

It was truly an epic adventure 🙂

chargingatloves1

Trickle charging while watching people scurry about pumping their petrol powered vehicles full of expensive, toxic, dirty gasoline.  My cost: a hour of my time and a $5 donation to a local charity for access to the wall outlet.

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A local equestrian center.

The outlet is free standing beside the pasture…

chargingatillahee

At a Hampton Inn in Cashiers, NC–yes, I am plugged into the outdoor lighting pole’s 110 volt outlet.  The Manager of the Inn did not have any issue with my use of the outlet.

hamptoninn714At another location at Hampton Inn.

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The future?

Maybe a solar powered house and car…

solarhomeEV

Leaf Notes of note…

Once I was speaking to an individual about my Leaf and he said “You know, that thing burns coal and is dirtier than a gasoline powered vehicle.”  He said it in a snarky way as if to downgrade my EV and my choice–I believe he was just secretly envious and wanted a Leaf for himself.  I take his comment as a challenge to defend my decision to drive EV.  While it is true that the majority of the electricity I use to charge my EV is generated primarily by the burning of coal and natural gas and the splitting of atoms at centralized power stations, (and a small percentage of hydroelectricity, solar and wind generated electrons) that coal, unlike petroleum products, is locally sourced in the USA–not in Canada, in the arctic, or overseas, as with close to half of all petroleum products used in the USA.  Therefore much less energy is required in the extraction, shipping and refining to make it into a usable product.  So just where does our electricity come from…

2010 grid mix

 Furthermore, the electricity grid continues to get cleaner as new wind, solar farms and solar EV charging stations are going online daily…

solarcharging714UNCA

…so the longer I drive the Leaf, the cleaner it becomes!  In the future I hope to install a grid-tied solar array on my roof which will make my car and home solar powered thereby allowing me to run my car on energy generated on my property–you can not get closer to the source than that (well, maybe if you are in orbit you could). This just cannot be done with a gasoline powered vehicle.

This same person went on to say that the production and operation of electric vehicles is far more energy consumptive and therefore less sustainable that driving a gasoline powered vehicle.  Well, I would say that he may have gotten his information from the linked article below (the author of said article may or may not have been funded by either: the big petroleum powered automakers, the coal and oil industries, and anyone who stands to loose big money when millions of drivers switch to EV’s) :

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/unclean-at-any-speed/

I do understand that many of the components that go into electric vehicles may be initially more expensive to mine, process and fabricate for use in an BEV or PHEV however, when those same components reach the end of their usefulness they can then be recycled many times over in succeeding generations of vehicles and other electronic components which will lower their cost and carbon footprint.  Couple that fact with the continued greening of the energy grid and the gloomy anti-EV picture painted by the previous author starts to look much brighter.  EV production also means JOBS!

Nissan Leaf production in Smyrna Tennessee!

Let’s face it, our society is a technological one, addicted to state of the art technology that is based on plug in electronic devices.  The  resources for these devices will need to be sourced somewhere so lets focus our energy on recycling existing resources, rebuilding the energy grid into a smart, clean grid and then lets plug in our phones, pads and our cars and charge onward into the future…

…it is the smart thing to do.

fastcharging

The following articles and commentary’s stand up for EV’s as we do.

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/electric-car-global-warming-emissions-report.pdf

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/517146/are-electric-vehicles-better-for-the-environment-than-gas-powered-ones/

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtml

http://www.pluginamerica.org/

http://www.electricauto.org/

http://content.sierraclub.org/evguide/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle

Here’s George Takei’s take on EV’s

To recap: we love our EV and fully support the EV industry and we believe that a much cleaner, greener, future rides on plug in electric vehicles and we will support it 100%.

Three Month Leaf Report

We have owned our Nissan Leaf now for just over 3 months and you are probably asking: Do we still like it? What do we like about it? What don’t we like about it? Has it saved us any money?

leafpari13

(Photo taken at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute http://www.pari.org)

Here are the answers.

Do we still like it and why?  Absolutely, wholeheartedly and positively: YES!

What do we like about the Nissan Leaf:

So far it has been a wonderful vehicle that gets us from point A to point B quickly, quietly and cleanly. It continues to be a joy to drive and I always look forward to driving it because it is fast, fun and easy to drive.  When I have to drive Godzilla, my 1999 Toyota 4Runner, it seems like an archaic, sluggish, noisy, smelly old fossil compared to the smooth, responsive, clean, green leaf.

I love the fact that the Leaf needs virtually no maintenance.  Since I have had it I have only had to check the air in the tires and wash it a couple of times.  As far as the old Toyota–I have had to change the oil/filter once (I use fully synthetic, bio-based, American made GOil) and that cost me almost as much as it has cost to power the Leaf for half the time we have been driving it!  (more on that later).  Once, on a long distance camping excursion in the Toyota deep in the mountains of North Carolina, the upper radiator hose blew off due to a faulty clamp.  This sprayed hot, toxic antifreeze all over my engine and paint causing a real mess.  I was able to patch it together using the tools and parts I had on hand and limp slowly to my destination.  The next day I was able to repair it for under $5.00.

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Issues: The Leaf has had no problems related to the mechanics and systems of the car.  The only mishap being the tire incident on day 3 and that was out of my or Nissan’s control.  The one major complaint I have about the Leaf is the design of the drivers seat–I do not find it to be comfortable. The position of the head rest is too far forward so I had to turn it around so that I did not feel like my head was forced forward all the time.  It would also be nice if the seat had a lumbar adjustment as well.  This is more than likely my problem because no one else that has driven it has had any issue with the seat.

leafhville13

(Photo taken at the Dogwood parking lot level 2 charging station in Hendersonville, NC)

Has owning the Leaf saved us any money?

Let’s look at the totals for a clearer picture.

Mileage driven from Sept. 01-Nov. 30

Total electric miles: 3939 miles

Average miles/month: 1313

Average miles/week: 109

Average miles/day: 34.7

Average max miles/day: 54.2 (average of miles driven above 35 miles/day)

Longest distance driven in one day: 92 miles (not on one charge)

Electricity Usage Sept. 01-Nov. 30

Total KWh electricity used: 887.7 (sources: 842.7 KWh mains trickle charge at home, 45 KWh  outside home with 25 KWh from commercial charging stations and 20 KWh from 120 volt outlets at work and friends’ houses)

Average KWh used/month: 295.9

Average KWh used/mile: 3.9

Cost/KWh:  $.09

Total three month cost to operate Leaf: $ 79.89 (887.7KWh x .09/Kwh)

Average cost/month to charge Leaf:$26.63

Average cost/day to charge the Leaf: $0.89

Average cost/mile/day to drive Leaf: $0.03/mile

Comparisons Sept. 01-Nov. 30

Before Leaf estimated cost to operate/maintain/repair 1999 Toyota 4Runner and 1998 Honda CRV: $1200 ($400/month x 3. (~Toyota 250/month and Honda $150/month (fuel + maintenance + repairs)

Before Leaf Toyota/Honda average cost/day: $ 13.33 ($400/30)

Before Leaf average Toyota miles driven/month: 1357.14 (1357.14/19mpg=71.42 gallons x $3.50 per gal. = $250)

Before Leaf Toyota average cost/month: $250

Before Leaf Toyota average cost/day: $ 8.33 (250/30)

Before Leaf Toyota average cost/mile: $ 0.24 (8.33/34.7)

Traded in 1998 Honda CRV for 2012 Nissan Leaf SL

After Leaf total Toyota 4Runner miles driven (90 days): 2965.03

After Leaf average/month Toyota 4Runner miles driven: 988.34

After Leaf average miles driven/week: 247.08 (988.34/4)

After Leaf average miles driven/day: 32.94 (988.34/30)

After Leaf Toyota fuel used from Sept 1-Nov 30: $546.19 ($546.19/$3.50 per gal = 156.05 gal x 19mpg = 2965.03 miles)

Toyota maintenance costs: $60 oil and filter.

After Leaf Total cost in gas/maint: $606.19 ($546.19 + $60 oil/filter)

After Leaf 90 day Toyota total operational costs: $606.19

After Leaf Toyota average cost/month: $202.06 (606.19/3)

After Leaf Toyota average cost/day: $ 6.73 (202.06/30)

After Leaf Toyota average cost/mile: $ 0.20 (6.73/32.94)

Total fuel saved during 90 day period:  $593.81 (1200-606.19)

Fuel savings after power cost: $ 593.81 Fuel – $79.89 Electric Cost= $513.92 saved

Car payment offset: $350.67 x 3 months =  $1052.01 payments – $513.92 savings = $538.09 out of pocket!

We have already saved over $500 in fuel costs in just three months of EV ownership and applied that to our car payment!   After the Leaf is paid off we will be saving even more!

Had we continued driving the Honda CRV and the Toyota 4Runner together we would have burned ~209 gallons of gasoline, spent over $730 in gas and belched out ~3971 lbs of CO2* and other toxic gasses into our shared atmosphere!  (4389 miles driven / 21 mpg av. of both cars  = 209 gallons of gas x $3.50/gal. = a total of $731.50 just for gasoline costs for three months!

*1 gallon of gasoline burned emits 19 lbs of CO2 source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/contentIncludes/co2_inc.htm

By buying the Leaf we have saved money, reduced our carbon footprint by eliminating almost 952.95 lbs** of CO2 from being eliminated into the atmosphere and gained a maintenance free car that is fun to drive and seems to be very well thought out and well constructed.

**(156.05 gal x 19 lbs CO2/gal = 2964.95 lbs CO2 – 2012 lbs CO2***= 952.95 lbs CO2 saved) ***Based on the Carwings telemetric data collected by the Leaf’s on-board efficiency monitoring system that compares the size of the Leaf to a comparable sized ICE cars tailpipe emissions.

Wow! All great reasons to love the Nissan Leaf EV!

UNCA2

(Photo taken at the BrightfieldTS solar charging station at UNCA Asheville)

More good points about the Leaf!

Handling: We love the way the Leaf drives!  It is quiet, smooth and very responsive on and off the pavement–it is really surprising how well it drives on gravel roads.

Heated seats and steering wheel:  I love these features about the Leaf–I hardly ever turn on the heater!

Climate control timer: a truly wonderful feature that pre-heats/cools the car while plugged in to pains power before leaving for work in the morning.

Stereo system: Great stereo sound that you can truly hear because the car is soooo quiet!

Backup camera: what an amazing feature–I use it every time I put the car in reverse.  The 2014 Leaf LE has a 360 degree camera that shows everything around the vehicle–a great safety feature for sure!

Regenerative braking: This system allows the car’s electric motor to act as a generator when the car is braking or coasting with the power generated feeding back into the battery for extended range–amazing!

Over the last three months I have regenerated a total of 6979.4 Watt Hours! (according to the Carwings monitoring system)

At first that sounds like a stupendous amount of free power however, Watt Hours are not Kilowatt hours.  Once we see that one watt hour = 1000 KWh we discover that although the Leaf did generate 6979.4 WH that then converts to 7 KWh of electricity for a whopping savings of $0.63.  When we then take .63 and divide that by the Leaf’s cost/mile to operate of $~0.3/mile we find that the Leaf gave back ~21 miles of gravity assisted free Leaf produced power.  Although at first that does not seem like much, it is $0.63 and 21 miles more than the Toyota (or any ICE vehicle) has ever or will ever give back in its entire lifespan.  If this trend continues then I estimate that at the end of one year the Leaf will generate ~84 miles free range and ~$2.52 in electricity savings and that is good news for sure!  EV’s give something back–internal combustion vehicles engine (ICE) vehicles only take giving nothing back but a very expensive ride, loads of waste heat, leaking fluids and toxic life poisoning emissions.

On one particular wildlife conservation field excursion (I work with reptile conservation) I had to drive uphill all the way to my destination near the top of a forest covered mountain to radio track two wild Timber rattlesnakes.  Upon arrival at the site I had only around 41 miles of range remaining on the GOM. After I completed my work several hours later and set out for home I decided to take several miles of steep, downhill, winding, dirt forest roads–which included a shallow creek crossing–to get to the mostly level highway at the bottom of the mountain.  When I arrived at the highway I noted that I had regenerated ~23 miles of range and then later, when I pulled into my driveway I was astonished to have 41 miles of range remaining–the same amount as when I started on top of the mountain! The Leaf’s regenerative braking system had provided power for almost 2/3 of the entire trip home–amazing!

Watch the video of the excursion below!

And check out another fun Leaf video I produced on my 2013 National Plug In Day adventure in Asheville, North Carolina.

Leaf Improvements? 

I can think of a few for Nissan to contemplate:

Audio system: While the stock stereo system and new Bose sound system sounds amazing I still believe that the audio operating system could use an upgrade (this may have been updated in the 2014).  In my opinion the search and filing system for the USB feature is not very well designed and could use some attention.  The connectivity between the audio system and Bluetooth devices also needs work.  The system has trouble when connecting to my Droid so I have since stopped using the Droid and use only the USB with a flash drive.

Carwings: an interesting and informative system but it could be more accurate.

Navigation system: overall well done but it does need some updating as well.

(I have not seen the 2014 model year Leaf–hopefully the last three points have been updated for the better.)

Charging system: I believe that the Leaf would benefit from an optional rooftop solar panel covering the entire roof of the vehicle and possibly even the hood as in my badly Photo-shopped concept idea below.

solarleaf

With the current advances in lightweight, flexible, high output solar technology and even solar paints,  this would be a great addition especially on vehicles used in sunny areas. Imagine the loads of free power you could generate with this feature while your Leaf just sat in the sun drenched parking space all day while you were at work.  Obviously it would not charge the Leaf’s battery to full capacity but it could only help just as the regenerative braking system does and both systems working together would be able to supply the vehicle with even more clean, green, free energy!  In cars equipped with the rooftop solar option Nissan could also add USB charging/AC power ports inside the vehicle so that a person could charge their USB powered phones, tablets, cameras and other devices while the car was charging on solar power. I believe this should be an optional feature because some people would not be interested in it aesthetically–but others like myself would jump on it in a heartbeat.  Also, for Leaf owners who park in garages or under trees or live in areas where it rains a lot or is often overcast  this feature would not be of much use.

More adjustable driver’s seat: as mentioned before it would be nice if the driver’s seat had a lumbar adjustment and the head rest could be adjusted fore and aft for more comfort.

Battery pack: obviously the battery of the Leaf needs improvement–the day the range of EVs pass the 300 mile mark they will be in everyone’s garage.  This is the single most limiting factor of this otherwise wonderful vehicle.

Conclusions: even with the limited range and other little issues we still love our Nissan Leaf–it is a truly amazing car and we do not regret our EV decision in any way.  We are loving our pioneering decision and look forward to many years of EV adventure and savings!

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(Photo taken on day one on the Barr Nissan lot in Columbia, TN)

Notes

Public charging stations we have used.

BrightfieldTS (1.50/hr and free) Asheville, NC

Chargepoint (1.50/hr) Asheville, NC

Blink (DC fast chargers $5.00/charge) Tennessee

 Eaton (free) Asheville and Hendersonville, NC

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Sharing a free charge along side a Chevy Volt.

Bluewater Leaf is not responsible or affiliated with ads that may appear below this line.

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Wildlife Conservation in a Nissan Leaf

A few days ago I drove my Nissan Leaf deep into the forest on a one lane dirt road in search of Zoe–Zoe is an adult Timber Rattlesnake!  I am following Zoe’s movements in order to learn more about the natural movements of a wild Timber rattlesnake in it’s natural habitat.  I bring my experiences and knowledge to the world via my Youtube chanel, nature blog and facebook page.  

This is probably the first time a Nissan Leaf has been used as a Timber rattlesnake tracking vehicle and possibly the first time a Leaf has been used in wildlife conservation.  

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After driving to the top of a steep mountain, parking at the end of a gravel road on a foggy, darkening mountainside I located Zoe and collected the vital biometric data and got ready to head home.  I noticed that my GOM said that I had ~41 miles of range remaining so I decided to take a remote, steep, one lane gravel road through the deep forest in order to benefit from the most regenerative braking and gravity assist (downhill) as possible to extend my range.  The only issue was a creek crossing–yes, a creek crossing.  It was a small creek but it must be crossed in order to make it back to the pavement.  Like any true pioneer I turned off the safety of the pavement and into the dark forest I plunged with LED headlights cutting  laser-like paths in the foggy blackness of the night.  Down and down the narrow, steep road wound until I came to the creek.  Would I tear out the bottom panels of the leaf on the rocks in the creek?  Would the leaf flounder and get stuck? Would it short out?  Like electrons through a wire all these questions and more went through my mind at warp speed…but I could not go back or turn around because the road was to narrow to do so…I was committed so I plunged into the creek…slowly…and the Leaf charged across with no apparent ill effects–woo hoo!!  Without so much as a wheel spin or slippage the Leaf negotiated the creek and the entire journey with no problems at all. While it may not be a 4×4 it is a very sure footed and capable car for steep, mountainous, gravel roads…and yes, even shallow creek crossings.

I must say that the car performed admirably while quietly climbing steep, wet mountain gravel roads without issue.  When I reached the bottom of the trek I realized that I had regenerated over 23 miles of range just by rolling downhill–amazing! Free power means more range, less money out of my pocket and less power I have to suck from the outlet and therefore a cleaner, greener ride!

When I arrived at home I glanced at the GOM and noticed that it was sitting on 41 miles range–the same range I had when I was at the top of the mountain at the start of the trek–truly amazing–the 12 mile drive home was powered by the car for free!

Watch the video of the adventure below!

The Leaf is an amazing vehicle!

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A few days after my snake tracking adventure I found myself in the city charging my Leaf alongside a Chevy Volt.

Premium parking + Free power = Bliss.

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Snake Tracks is a Timber Rattlesnake conservation and research project occurring near Earthshine Discovery Center in the mountains of western North Carolina, USA. Through the magic of modern technology and allot of hard volunteer work by a wildlife conservationist and his small crew of volunteers, glimpse into the lives of two wild Timber rattlesnakes in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at the website at: http://www.earthshinenature.com

Follow us on our blog at: www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

It is our goal at ENP to promote wildlife conservation through our unique, exciting, citizen science based, hands-on education, out-reach programs, and online with our nature videos, blog and website.

We are not paid to operate ENP or to conduct wildlife conservation activities. ENP is a 100% volunteer operated and donation funded organization. It is our mission to educate you about these beautiful but greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.

THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to ENP over the years!! Without you this important reptile conservation and education work would not happen. If you would like to support Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate by visiting

www.earthshinenature.com/donate

You may also donate supplies such as animal foods, medical supplies, vitamins and habitat supplies just contact us for more information on what supplies we are in need of and how to donate.

Visit www.earthshinediscovery.com to learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit the Earthshine Discovery Center and have a wonderful fun and educational retreat!

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers www.steepcanyon.com used with permission.

Bluewater Leaf is not responsible or affiliated in any way with ads that may appear below this line.

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