By on August 18, 2011

One of the most challenging aspects of running a blog like TTAC is managing diversity. As a global site, TTAC and its readers are exposed to the full range of diverse global perspectives, but our largest market, the United States, is also home to incredibly divergent views and lifestyles. Much is made of our national polarization these days, and when the topic turns political, TTAC often finds itself on the front lines of America’s cultural and ideological battlefield. Luckily we’re all of us bound together by something that transcends much of what divides us: our shared fascination with cars gives us the opportunity to interact with and relate to people with whom we may have little else in common.

Take this photo: depending on your perspective, this scene, photographed near my home in Portland, OR, might be a symbol of the ultimate automotive aspiration or a dread vision of a dystopian anti-automotive future. But regardless of how the image relates to your personal views and circumstances, nobody can deny that the people who live in that house think very seriously about their automobiles. And even the most unabashed, gas-huffing EV skeptic has to respect that. Vive le difference!

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70 Comments on “The Portrait Of An Early Adopter...”


  • avatar
    thirty-three

    They have solar panels on the roof too.

    I certainly would like to refuel my car at home. Amazingly there is only one gas station on my regular commute, but I never go there because I have a discount card for another company. This means I have to go out of my way to fill up.

    I’m seriously considering buying an EV in the future (2-5 years). My commute is short, so range is not an issue. I don’t mind renting a larger, more comfortable, gas-engined car for long trips.

  • avatar
    drylbrg

    I saw my first Tesla this week. There was what I thought was a Lotus weaving in and out of morning traffic sans turn signals in my rear view mirror. When he got in front of me I could see the “TESLA” on the rear. He was not exactly a ringing endorsement for that owners group. The Leaf I saw a few days before seemed to be operated normally, though, so there is hope. I still want to know what those guys are going to do with those cars in winter. I assume the Tesla will be parked like other toys, but the Leaf?

    • 0 avatar

      It rarely snows in Portland, and when it does it only sticks for 48 hours or so at most. We just get lots and lots of rain… I’m guessing the major seasonal issue here is the solar juice drought from October-April.

      • 0 avatar
        drylbrg

        I meant the Leaf I saw here (Spokane, WA). It can get damn cold here and the snow tends to stick around. We also have even shorter days here than Portland, though more sunny days, so the lights get a work out both to and from work.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Assuming the Leaf owner has your average, 15-20 mile commute, I can’t see winter being a problem. That said, owning TWO of these is just silly, I’d guess one of those Leafs(yes, they’re not Leaves) is just stopping by for a visit.

      • 0 avatar
        sitting@home

        You’d have the cops sniffing around when they noticed there was such massive overnight power consumption at a single house, especially in rural Oregon.

      • 0 avatar
        drylbrg

        I’m just wondering how big of a hit range takes when it’s 0F and dark both ways of a commute. There aren’t a lot of charging stations around here and most people park outside when they’re at work so the batteries will suffer the cold. I’m sure the person who bought it has taken all of that in to consideration, but it’s that kind of stuff that will limit EV appeal for a while.

      • 0 avatar

        Sitting, two reactions: First, they would see the Leaves in the driveway, and that pretty much answers that, and second, the solar panels on the roof were probably installed to offset the cars’ power needs, and so it’s likely the electric bill is close to average net of the solar power.

        D

    • 0 avatar
      steeringwithmyknees

      that’s crazy! the same thing happened to me two days ago – saw what I thought was a Lotus but it was a Tesla. My special lady was unimpressed and gets bored of me pointing out cars (at least ive gotten much better about not rambling about them since discovering this site)

    • 0 avatar

      tesla’s aren’t that super rare in nyc anymore. i did see a first yesterday: a manhattan street parked tesla. it had small scratches on the bumpers like every street parked nyc car. this was the first time i realized that the tesla is a car that people use as a daily driver. ev’s are real. let’s get used to them.

      btw, street parked exotics are fairly common here. it sounds crazy until you realize that the people who drive these things can afford to repair them. it’s also a macho thing. a lot of the wall street traders have a street tough swagger and they love to show off.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    “Luckily we’re all of us bound together by something that transcends much of what divides us: our shared fascination with cars gives us the opportunity to interact with and relate to people with whom we may have little else in common.”

    Word to that.

    That said, as jealous as I most invariably am of his electric/petrol bill, dude is probably jealous of my monthly car/home payments.

    One has to wonder how much of the vaunted Oregonian sunlight is needed to power each of those LEAFs.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, real estate is cheap in the Cigarette Triangle and thereabouts. (One of my favorite sites in Durham, where I was dating someone several years ago, was the Duke estate.) AT least by northeast/west coast stnds.

      My guess is they are fanatic early adopters. Not just with the twin leafs. I mean, more power to them, no pun intended, but they probably can’t even reach the Cascades, and certainly can’t reach Seattle or Eugene on a charge, and someone from Oregon correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Portland powered by cheap hydro? Those PVs would make a lot more sense here in Massachusetts, where I pay about 20 cents per KWH, more than $100/month.

  • avatar
    banjopanther

    I see someone who is pathologically unable to accept a future without the automobile. Electric cars and gas cars are not two sides of the political spectrum, it’s the same side. It’s just that one of them want to assuage their guilt by not using fossil fuels as directly (and save a little money in the long term). It’s the cult of the automobile that is the essential problem (I totally understand the appeal, I’m a victim too). We have build a society where not having a car is often not possible. This is the tragedy of how we have used our prosperity since WWII. The true “other” side of the spectrum are the new urbanists who design sustainable walkable communities with public transportation based on rail or even sail. The solar panels are a good idea though.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with the virtue of the new urbanists, but I don’t see the problem with cars, even if our current dependence is a bit much. My educated guess is that cars will be getting 100 mpg plus in 20-30 years. We’re still going to need them, because even if all new development henceforth was in the best tradition of the new urbanists, most of the country will still be sprawling even 50-80 years from now.

      • 0 avatar
        musiccitymafia

        God I hope so. As romantic as the new urbanist sounds … and when I was a kid that would have worked … today my world just seems bigger and I need my wheels to go where I want when I want. And to haul my stuff!!

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The “new urbanists” tend to be either people who never have had children, or young couples or singles who still haven’t had children. The latter begin preparing for a move to the suburbs almost immediately after the pregnancy tests return a positive result.

      My wife owned a small, row-type house when we were married. The house is located in an older town that borders the city. It has a local population that is largely middle class and lower. I remember how much she was in love with the place when she bought it. We still live there, although the place is now on the market.

      Why?

      Well, now that we are expecting our second child, I hear about the need for a big yard, more room, better schools, and the desire to get away from the lowlifes with too many tattoos and the Section 8 recipients who live too close for comfort…

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Live and let live, I say. If those EVs meet their commuting needs, then more power to them (ooh, sorry, didn’t even see that one coming)!

    I could easily use one of these for my daily commuter, but the 1997 Civic that I already own gets me 35-38mpg on my commute and works just fine, so there is no way that an EV would ever make financial sense for me compared to what I drive now.

    I have been a member of the local EV club and even used to own a (never-running) 1980s-era EV, which ceased to be practical for me when I got laid off from my job 3 miles away and the new job was 22 miles away over hilly freeways (and I didn’t feel like ponying up $3-4K that it would have taken to upgrade the motor controller such that I could have maintained highway speeds on the hills). The EV that I had would have worked perfectly for my 3-mile commute and any after-work trips quite easily (oh well!).

    I’m glad to see automotive diversity in play, and we should all fight for our right to drive whatever we want, be that an EV or an SUV. (Besides the EV) I’ve owned everything from a 1981 Volksrabbit diesel to a 1990 F350 4×4 quad cab, and each vehicle has met a particular need that I have had for it at the time.

  • avatar
    BTEFan

    They say “The Dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland”

    http://www.ifc.com/portlandia/

    But, I guess some in Portlandia have jumped into the 21st Century full force. Portland has an “Electric Avenue” of charging stations that just opened near the PSU Campus where electric cars can charge up their rides. Different companies have supplied their chargers for evaluation.

  • avatar

    I’m fine with diversity. It’s the salt of life.
    Each and every person who wants, can afford and has use to an EV (for example) shall be praised for supporting pioneer work, as long as such individual decisions remain individual and are not government-mandated or government-subsidized.
    Otherwise, you might find more salt in the soup as you can taste.

    • 0 avatar
      steeringwithmyknees

      herb, you mean not counting the government-subsidized fuel and roads we use, and government mandated speed laws we are supposed to obey, right?

      Sorry … I couldnt help myself… i really am playing here and not looking to open up this discussion.

      Ed, cheers to you for recognizing that Truth About Dual EV Owners and sharing it with us.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    That’s quite clever – Tow one Leaf with another Leaf. When the first Leaf runs out of juice, swap ‘em and voila!! Extended range!

    • 0 avatar
      steeringwithmyknees

      in that leaf towing leaf demonstration of extended range, shouldnt there be some way to capture the energy from the non-driving leafs moving wheels? Maybe along with a roof mounted wind turbine and some other regenerative breaking-type gizmos, we could be talking about Leaf of Perpetual Motion

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Car and Driver used to call airbags “whoopee cushions” and argued in every ego-column that they were yet another intolerable intrusion on free choice. Can’t to read the bear the mag anymore but the last few times I did, those complaints had ceased. Things change. Automobiles are such an important part of the way we live that they intersect with public policy and real life probably even more than privately-owned guns.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I can’t read C&D to my bear either, he’s strictly a Motor Trend guy.

    • 0 avatar

      The worst of the C/D bears have retired, and David Davis died. If you read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn, in those cases, change happens as the old guard dies oiut.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Car and Driver and its columnists were against air bags as the PRIMARY restraint system. Early air bag proponents, including Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook, argued that car makers needed to install air bags because people wouldn’t wear safety belts.

      The car makers argued that this would pose a danger to children and adults of smaller stature. The buff books agreed with them. They were, of course, ultimately proven correct, as air bags are only safe if worn in conjunction with safety belts as a SECONDARY restraint system.

      The buff books also staunchly opposed the nationwide 55- and 65-mph speed limits, arguing that they were ineffective and stupid. And, surprise, surprise, they were right on that one, too.

      So the “bears” appear to have been better informed on these issues than their modern-day critics, who are apparently re-writing a fair amount of history. Unless there is still someone clueless enough to support the 55-mph speed limit. That should be an entertaining argument, to be sure, although more for its unintentional hilarity than its relevance or accuracy.

  • avatar
    jsal56

    Are those solar panels subsidized by the government?

  • avatar
    dwford

    We subsidized both cars AND the solar panels. It’s ok, though. Because as liberals, they like welfare.

    • 0 avatar
      sfdennis1

      Haters gotta hate…can’t leave the early adopters alone.

      Yeah, because in psycho-world, it’s MUCH better that we subsidize corporate welfare and fat-cat CEOs, reward companies that ship jobs overseas, continue tax breaks for multi-billion $$ earning oil companies, and refuse to increase taxes SLIGHTLY on millionaires while the middle class disappears and poor families starve, right?

      Liberals didn’t drive this economy into the ditch. Solar panels and electric vehicle tax credits are some of the LEAST of our problems. Where are all the jobs from the “job-creating millionaires” (aka money-hoarders) who are enjoying the lowest taxes in generations? Liberals “like welfare”, like neo-conservatives apparently like their delusions.

      • 0 avatar
        jonnyguitar

        So they do like welfare, right?

      • 0 avatar
        laphoneuser

        @sfdennis1:

        I couldn’t help but notice how angry your post was. Full of name-calling, which is a sure way to lose credibility when trying to argue a point.

      • 0 avatar

        He’s right, though. Our income distribution in this country has become like a third world country. We are becoming third world, as our middle class gets hollowed out.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Everybody likes welfare when they are on the receiving end. That’s human nature. It’s funny how those who receive the most complain the loudest about anyone else who receives it.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        You forgot to mention the $100+/bbl subsidy that is provided by the US military’s spending on CENTCOM and defending access to conflict oil. Some estimates are that about 1/3 of the defense budget is allocated for those forces and continuing operations in however many oil-region conflicts we’re in.

        Abolish the federal gas tax but slap a $100-200/bbl tariff on imported conflict oil to offset that spending.

        Anyway, I was preapproved for a loan for a new Volt, I may buy one tomorrow if the local Chevy dealer aren’t complete douchebags.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        @sfdennis1: Is that the new liberal line: the rich are “money hoarders?” Yes they are. The rich aren’t trying to take everyone else’s money (unlike liberals), they are just trying to keep what they have – which is what smart people do with money. In an unstable economy, the rich are keeping their money safe instead of spending (investing) it in risky ventures – unlike liberals who love to spend money foolishly on feel good projects with no real benefit.

        I hate welfare of all kind. It creates a dependency that is hard to shake. I would love to eliminate all the corporate subsidies as well as the direct payments of money from the government to individuals. Unemployment benefits are one thing – a temporary help to a willing worker in between jobs. Welfare, SSI etc are just hands outs to lazy people. Disagree if you like, but I see people everyday drive to my work, get out of the car, walk into the showroom, talk to me and write out a credit application that are getting full disability from SSI. Really??

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        For 7 decades, the whole world depended on Amerika. And Amerika depended on magik money. And since debt does need to be paid sooner or later, what we see now is the true value of the world’s wealth(?) Rejoice!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Robstar

        @Holzman:

        I don’t think we are anywhere near 3rd world, although I believe we are heading that direction. I’ve spent considerable vacations in Mexico & Brazil.

        One brother of a friend, living in a decent area in Gualadjara, Mexico forgot to bring his car into the garage while visiting the parents. The next morning there was almost nothing left of it. Stripped down to the bone. This was 10+ years ago. I don’t think my car would be stripped down to the bone in even poor areas of Chicago (although I could be wrong).

        In Brazil (which I visit twice yearly to see in-laws), you daren’t leave an unguarded car on the street overnight for similar reasons, even in richer areas. You also shouldn’t be seen coming out of Citibank (only rich people have accounts there…) nor driving anything other than a locally producted Ford/Vw or chevy or you are kidnapping bait.

        My wifes biggest culture shock here (US) was that people left camry’s, bmw’s, and other import marques parked overnight & they weren’t gone in the morning or stripped down to almost nothing.

        We are a waaaaays from that.

        @bunkie:

        I’m not sure about that either. Maybe my family just has pride, but we qualified for free school lunches when me & my brothers were kids due to income. We never accepted & always paid full price. My parents told me “Other people need it more…”. I qualify for some financial disability perks but don’t take them for similar reasons. I guess it’s really how you are raised.

        In regards to this picture with solar panels & ev’s…..It’s great that they work for some people. I’m always happy to have someone else beta-test Gen1 for me, get the kinks out and jump into Gen2 as well, so I can eventually buy Gen3 after service-pack 1 rolls out — or if Gen1 is fantastic, buy it used after it has depreciated.

        However, I think for most of USA’ians who either rent, need more range than EV’s provide, have to deal with snow/cold/lack of sunshine or ${x} other factors, EV’s simply aren’t viable. IMHO they also shouldn’t be encouraged or discouraged. Let people buy what works for them without trying to push them in any specific direction.

      • 0 avatar
        lakeuser2002

        Tax breaks for the oil companies… my dad brought that up so I did some research.

        $40B is the number quoted. And that’s across 10 years (ie. and estimate). So $4B per year total, across the handfull of US oil companies. And what they get is to classify certain types of buisness costs as expenses vs. capital investments (ie. write them off in one year vs. across five for example). This is so small that it’s not worth talking about. If they didn’t have this ability to pull the expenses foreward, they would just take it off as expense in the later years. So it’s really the time value of money to pull it ahead. Peanuts…

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        At this point, no credible economists believe that the current economic downturn is the result of “deregulation” or laissez-faire capitalism run amok. Quite the opposite…that isn’t to say that both parties don’t have dirty hands, but it is well-known that both Republicans and Democrats are more than happy to deviate from official party lines on economic matters, particularly when key members of both parties benefit handsomely.

        The “money hoarders” line is straight from the 1930s, when Roosevelt and his supporters alleged that the rich were stashing away their money out of spite. Never mind that the economic uncertainty created by Roosevelt’s economic and tax policies was the real culprit, as his policies stifled investment.

        Unemployment was still at 14 percent in 1940, even with accelerating defense work in response to World War II (which only involved European and Asian nations at that time).

        As a contrast, in 1928, the last year before the Great Crash, it stood at 4.2 percent. It doesn’t take a math whiz to realize that a 4.2 percent unemployment rate is better than a 14 percent unemployment rate.

        Somehow, I have the sneaking suspicion that bashing rich people for holding on to their money isn’t going to work any better this time than it did in the 1930s. For that matter, we haven’t been spending too much, either, even though both cars are paid for and have well over 120,000 miles on the odometer. We aren’t rich, but I guess that makes us money hoarders. Who knew?!

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Can’t give it all to BP…

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I don’t mind diversity.

    Just stay out of the damn left lane.

  • avatar
    SomeDude

    Okay, vive le difference, but, if someone wants to be different, the cost of being such should be the one’s own responsibility, not the society’s. Otherwise it is too easy to be different when others have to pick up your bill.

  • avatar
    jsal56

    of course the panels are subsidized, nobody would want them if they had to pay.

    France is collapsing from govt spending and we are following in their footsteps.

    Say good night Gracie.

    • 0 avatar

      ln France, it’s all that nuclear power.

      Actually, within the EU, I think France is in better shape than most, although Germany is definitely the healthiest. Despite all those subsidized solar collectors over there, in a country that’s as far north as Hudson Bay and the Alaska panhandle.

      Oh, forgive me, those who are on the other side of the spectrum. I love Caprices, and Panthers and Corvettes and Porsches and classic Peugeots and BMWs and the list goes on and on. And I love feeling my 2.4 liter, 5-speed Accord respond so instantaneously and enthusiastically and relatively devoid of NVH when I whomp the pedal in a low gear at high rpms…

      And Pch, thanks for that history. I didn’t know. I’m going to have to google this

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The early adopters for electric vehicles died a long time ago. The first electric carriages were invented during the 1830s. (No, that is not a typo.) At the turn of the 20th century, over 100 years ago, electrics outsold gasoline-powered cars.

    In the almost 200 years that these things have existed, no one has come close to solving the recharge time and range issues that are inherent to batteries. Internal combustion has not had such problems, hence the market’s willingness to adopt it once the bugs had been worked out.

    If a few people want to drive EV’s, I’m not at all bothered. But they aren’t early adopters, they’re throwbacks, and they’re attempting to use a technology whose fundamental flaws have never been addressed. Batteries aren’t suitable to the task, and EVs will not have widespread adoption until a replacement for the battery can be invented.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      It’s correct to call these people throwbacks as long as we realize there is nothing wrong with that. For people with very short commutes, the electric buggy of the 1830s, or it’s modern equivalent which doesn’t go much further on a charge, is sufficient.

      My wife and I could easily get by with a brace of Leafs. We each have a very short commute, 5 and 6 miles, one way.

      Of course a new Leaf doesn’t have that “paid off” feature that our present vehicles have.

      EVs won’t be widely adopted due to range, and much needless range anxiety, but they are well suited to many people.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It’s correct to call these people throwbacks as long as we realize there is nothing wrong with that

        What’s wrong with it is that the technology in its current form basically doesn’t work, and putting these on the road won’t lead to improvements in the technology, since road testing batteries isn’t going to do anything to increase their range or reduce their recharge times. These are a step backwards if they support the belief that EVs are a viable alternative, when they aren’t — batteries are a fundamentally flawed technology, at least in their present form.

        What the US needs to do is to accept is that there are no alternative technologies at this time to replace internal combustion, and that this lack of alternatives is a serious problem that should spur an intensive research effort in order to fix the deficiency. In other words, we need a Manhattan project of sorts in order to find a replacement for oil, whatever it may be.

        If we kid ourselves into believing that we can save ourselves with corn or batteries or waste oil from Chinese restaurants or by drilling for domestic oil that doesn’t exist, then we’re going to be even further behind the curve and completely unprepared when the future becomes the present. The only thing that these power successfully is complacency.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        In other words, we need a Manhattan project of sorts in order to find a replacement for oil, whatever it may be.

        The replacement for oil is synfuel generated from atmospheric CO2 + water, and power from either renewables or thorium LFTRs. Liquid hydrocarbons are the best way to transfer lots of energy quickly and (relatively) safely, and there’s already an infrastructure in place to support and utilize them.

        Me, I prefer the characteristics of electric drive (mostly silent, diesel-like torque, inherent efficiencies greater than Otto-cycle, improved reliability) and component electrification, and would like to see _all_ vehicles have no accessory/serpentine belts, though doing that would require a higher-voltage system and once you have higher voltages you may as well put a 100-200lb LiPo battery in there and make it a hybrid..

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        “What’s wrong with it is that the technology in its current form basically doesn’t work”

        I have to disagree with you on this. The technology does work, but only for specific conditions. Here in Chicagoland, I could easily use a Leaf to get to and from work all year long, and even run errands during the day. If recharging stations become available in public spaces, I could even make most of my trips into and across the city via a Leaf. We have 2 cars in our household, so if the other car were still an ICE, we could use the appropriate vehicle for the trip at hand. Even if we didn’t have a second car, we could rent an ICE for the occassional trips that the Leaf can’t handle. There are a lot of households around here like mine that could make a Leaf work. However, as long as the assumption is that any vehicle must be capable of every driving mission, EVs certainly don’t work.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The technology does work, but only for specific conditions.

        That’s as good as saying that they don’t work.

        They don’t work in that it is unreasonable to believe that battery-powered EVs can be used as a meaningful replacement or complement for the dominant technology. EVs are, at best, a niche product, and the energy problem cannot be solved with niche products.

        The last thing that we need is to have politicians who believe that giving out a few EV energy credits has solved anything. If anything, the deficiencies of EVs should make it clear to everyone that these cars are absolutely not a solution, and that we need to get work and go find one.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        “That’s as good as saying that they don’t work.
        They don’t work in that it is unreasonable to believe that battery-powered EVs can be used as a meaningful replacement or complement for the dominant technology.”

        The real world example I gave covers a very significant portion of the urban/suburban population, so I believe that demonstrates that EVs CAN be a big part of the answer to replacing our dependance on petroleum. And my example is not the only scenario in which EVs can replace ICE satifactorily. Agreed, EVs will NOT be the single solution, but there is no single solution to the problem. Politicians can only hide behind EV credits as a “solution” if the public fails to see reality, and I believe that oil prices will continue to make reality clear to the public. In any event, it’s no worse than what most politicians are currently doing, denying that there’s even a problem that can’t be solved with more domestic production and a tougher stance towards oil producing nations.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        EV’s do work and will work well for a lot of people. There is nothing “wrong” with the technology it’s just expensive at this point. All 2012 Leafs are going to have the 480v fast charge port, it was optional on the base 2011 and standard on the upper model. It will charge the battery to ~80% from fully depleted in ~30 minutes.

        My friend recently purchased one, he and a couple of his friends are EV nuts. He was involved with build and number of home built EVs. The 2 S10s were built for range and one will go over 300mi on a single charge. It will also smoke a lot of cars in a drag race too. Of course there are over $40K worth of LiPo batteries to do that.

        I can certainly see adding an EV to our fleet to replace my wife’s sedan. Most days she drives about 40 miles so there would be no range anxiety. My commute is also less than 40 miles so IF we had only 2 cars we could certainly trade off if one had to drive more than the 80-100mi range.

        For me I am considering building a EV for myself since I can charge it at work It would eliminate my commuting fuel bill.

        Certainly EVs will not replace the gas powered car entirely in our lifetime but they will be part of the solution and it can extend the time we have gas available for those situations where an EV won’t cut it.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The real world example I gave covers a very significant portion of the urban/suburban population

        And yet, not even a tiny percentage has bought one, or seems ready to buy one.

        EV boosters have been saying the same things for decades. Meanwhile, the range and recharge time issues are as persistent today as they were 110 years ago. Nothing has really changed with either the cars or those who tout them as the wave of the future, an effort that is especially odd when one considers how much EVs are a wave of the distant past.

  • avatar
    jonnyguitar

    Very tactful diversion from the recent impolitic remarks made by a hater of America/ns. I still think the individual who made the initial anti-American remarks, and then proceed to make several vitriolic baseless comments should have been the one barred from TTAC, not the other way around. The banned commenter was on the defensive.

  • avatar

    For Nissans, those Leafs are not bad looking. Nissan sure knows how to make ugly cars! I’m thinking especially of the murano and the juke. gag me with a spoon. Not quite Caliber caliber, but close

  • avatar
    Syke

    Early adopters? Hmmn, I still have those memories of living with a (buddy’s) Sebring-Vanguard Citicar back in the mid-70′s. Suffice to say that the people living in that place are having a much easier time commuting than John and I did with that overgrown golf cart.

    Rock on. Another five years and 25% increase in range, and I’ll probably be following them.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Why not. If it suits their needs, more power to them :).

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    They are parked outside because inside the garage there is a Ford F150 with dual tow straps.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Visionaries? Pffft! This was aomeone’s drawing in Mother Earth News 30 years ago.

    Probably met each other on the Leaf forums and decided to have a Leafest since it’s the only two around.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    Replace one of the Leafs with a built-up 4WD Turbo Diesel running B100 and you have my ideal driveway.

    BTW the 1.5-2kw PV system visible on the roof will be optimistically cover 25% of the Leaves consumption. You’d need a burly 7-12kw system to zero them out.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      11 panels, ~230w nameplate each if typical panels. 2.5 kw nameplate rating, probably generates 5-7 kwh per day averaged out (12 kwh in the summer?).

      That’s enough for 20-25 electric miles per day averaged out over the year. It might cover their commutes. It probably doesn’t; but it’ll help offset the extra draw they put on the grid.

  • avatar

    There’s two dedicated electric car parking spots in the garage out front. Usually, there’s a Leaf and a custom converted Geo Prism parked there. Occasionally a Rav4 EV will be parked there. The university pays for the outlets in those spots, so whoever has those cars get free juice. In Southern California, I’ve seen several of the Leafs out and about. They still turn heads (not on account of exotic styling) because of their eerie Jetsons whirr. I’m still not sure what to make of them yet, but it seems only fair that in a world where something as unnecessary but awesome as a Bugatti Veyron can exist, that a Leaf can exist as well.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Good thing those are Leaves and not Dolts. Fire insurance is such a hassle, ya know?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      There is an update on the homebuilt EV fire inventor a fire fighter and part time Clown:

      http://www.egmcartech.com/2011/04/19/gm-chevy-volt-was-not-the-cause-of-to-fire-in-connecticut-home/

      http://green.autoblog.com/2011/05/23/update-on-ct-garage-fire-the-volt-did-not-start-it/

      The guy was a hack even mentioning after the fact that a smoke alarm should have been installed and cobbled together a charging system for the Samari.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    That’s pretty cool. I’m no tree-hugger, but I am a fan of the Leaf and of solar energy, if one is willing to spend the money.

  • avatar
    TurboDeezl

    Leaves? Apropriate name for this car. Drive 30 miles, then get out and walk as you leave it parked on the shoulder. Hopefully with enough juice to run the hazards.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Ahhh, such troll-bait.

    Given what people tell me is the amount of sunshine in Portland, I find the entire photo pretty risible. (If this house were in, say, Phoenix, I would not be so snarky.) What we’re looking it is well into 5 figures of direct subsidies from the rest of us to these folks (assuming the owner of the cars and the house are the same).

    It would be churlish of me to point out that the two cars in the picture, subsidized with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars are made in . . . Japan.

    Nice work, fellas.


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