Air Quality

Published on February 7th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan


8 Ways Life Has Changed Since Driving An All-Electric Car

February 7th, 2016 by  

I started a list of how life has changed since driving an all-electric car — the list grows longer by the day.

To begin: 0141. Every time I plug-in, I breathe in well-being. The clean, odorless connection to my car triggers my shoulders to drop. I relax as the memories of smelly, often dirty gasoline fuel pumps and noisy gas stations fade with the quiet of the ChargePoint or EV plug-in connection. Knowing that I do not contribute to air pollution is akin to finding a sense of right livelihood, I experience right driving livelihood.

20160130_175535 (6)imagejpeg_0 (3) (2)2. Driving an all-electric car is a great conversation piece — one on one, with new acquaintances. So many seem interested. When I plug in at an EV station, people often walk by quizzically interested in the car. Questions: How does it plug in? What does it cost to charge? How long will I drive once charged? They comment on the fresh style of the LEAF. They listen as I start it — to the quiet. When I say, “it is on,” there is the inevitable look of amazement as we only hear the quiet of our voices.

Sometimes they sit in it. The lively exchange meets with their wonder of the spacious feeling inside. I take my friends who drive nice gasoline cars for rides. Always, they remark on how comfortable they are, how remarkably smooth the EV moves — rides. More comments are always about the vast open windows that enable such a clear vision of the road and traffic.

3. In a group of people, the EV quickly takes over as a conversation piece. Everyone likes to check out the phone apps for EV station sites. I share my ChargePoint fuel cost for the month. 1$. Plugshare, ChargePoint, and Greenlots apps make for more interesting conversation. Conversation is fresh, educational, and electrically positive.

0134. State of mind. Composed in the LEAF’s tranquil surroundings — my mind is clear, focused — even in heavy traffic. Being more naturally inclined as a traveler and not a tourist, I am unaccustomed to such ambiance. A clean energy bubble surrounds me. Like a protective, newfound LEAF ‘aura’ as I travel. The LEAF maneuvers adeptly and flows quietly, without the bad conscience of exhaust fumes. The singular odd part of the experience is wondering why there are so many gasoline cars still? It seems like I am in a backward time zone, as I am now aware that such immeasurably safe, ethically sound, and technologically superior EVs are out there — available in so many varieties and forms.

031 (2)032 (5)033 (2)5. Efficient Technology of Modern Time — Less is More. There is no oil change or lube job necessary. One remembers opening a more complex hood of an ICE. Technological advances may seem complex to many of us who wonder how it is all done. The Nissan LEAF and other EVs change one’s perception. One begins to accept that EVs are intrinsically cleaner. Combined with the more efficient drivetrain, there is a long list of charging stations and on-the-dash info on a screen at my fingertips, efficiently helping me navigate in more ways than one.

002001 (2)

6. Walking. A daily walk or two improves mental acuity and vitalizes the walker. It’s also found to be the least stressful mode of transport. I park, charge, and walk to the store, the library, over the bridge to the beach, or only walk the center of town — wherever my feet feel inclined to move. I lap the marina around beautiful Sarasota Bay through the sculptures by local artists, around the dog park, and by docked boats. Walking is particularly useful as a daily activity for aging adults and studies indicate walking keeps cognitive decline at bay.

7. Environmental Education & Solutions. Being part of global wellness trends and 071solutions, I 018read about EVs, study the technology, and learn more about environmental solutions, such as electric buses. I gather more knowledge of solutions to global concerns. Even though I now drive a Nissan LEAF, I must say I appreciate Elon Musk, whose efforts have positively stimulated the idea that driving electric is hip, cool. I know the Model S is the safest car on the planet. I urge whoever can look into a Tesla to test drive one, or a BMW i3, and more. Though I am content, for now, with the LEAF for my county-wide jaunts.

Zachary and Mira Bai 8. Efficient Mobility Without Increased Transit Costs. I travel to my client’s homes up to 80 miles without increasing fuel costs. The adept LEAF takes to the road so easily that longer trips seem shorter — even with more charging. I eat and exercise while recharging. Trips seem more concise — even with more charging. And the cost of the transport doesn’t usually rise even if I drive more.

Related Stories:

Early Adopters & First Followers — What They Want, In A Nutshell

An Epic Tesla Road Trip (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

10 Tips For EV Charging On Road Trips

How To Be Environmentally Conscious 

Images © Cynthia Shahan (All Rights Reserved)

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About the Author

is a Mother, an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • Harry Johnson

    A remarkably enlightening and refreshing article with a mini-vacation thrown in.

    • Neel

      I mini vacation with my Leaf and save $60-100 on fuel cost each time depending on length of drive.

  • What it look like

    The piece reads like a piece of propaganda and I AGREE with all of it.

  • Ramon A. Cardona

    Nice piece. Be aware, however, that the dollar sign goes before the number, not after. Thusly, “$1” is correct anf “1$” is not. Thanks for your words.

  • ToddFlach

    After drinving a Ford Focus Electric for three years, I am now acutely sensitive to the stench of the exhaust from diesel and petrol cars, including that from our car number 2, a petrol dino 🙁 .

  • Doug Kettles

    Thanks for your holistic view Cynthia, notwithstanding the cats or the walking you would do anyway…sheesh!

  • Wonderful article. Thanks, Cynthia. I hadn’t thought of the point about walking during the charge time. I like it.

  • Peter Egan

    What has electric drive done for the car radio? Particularly, AM radio? Big cities like Sydney Australia have many weak radio signal spots due to distance from broadcast towers, buildings, hills, underpasses, cuttings, etc. In low signal areas, the radio compensates by increasing its sensitivity and often picks up electrical ‘noise’ from the engine and broadcasting it in the cabin instead of the radio station.

    • I listen to AM news and talk radio rather frequently, and have had no significant problems with my Leaf. But I also had no significant problems with my Mustang Convertible, so for me it wasn’t a differentiator.

    • Ole Tjugen

      Electric cars have much lower levels of “electronic noise” than gasoline-powered ones. The main sources of noise are the alternator (dynamo) and the ignition circuits.

      • Peter Egan

        Thanks. We can declare EVs much better when it comes to weak radio signals.

  • Robert

    Any drawbacks?

  • Bob Vittengl

    Yes , EVs are game changing . All of the above are true , but also I find every EV I have driven makes me a better driver , trying to get every extra mile out of each charge . No road rage , just a peaceful , relaxing driving experience , zen like .
    Plugging into my level 2 charger powered by the sun with solar is as easy as plugging in my I phone . Every time I switch over to an internal combustion engine ( ice car ) I feel anxiety waiting to pump in gas.
    As the number of charging station expand and range of batteries increase , there will be no stopping this transformation from gas to electric . Just drive an EV for a few days and you will be hooked 🙂

    • Simple INDIAN

      I am hooked for two wheeled electric vehicle but I live in a high rise. There is problem with charging point. Battery has to be replaced every two-three years. Roads in my city are SUV quality. Government of INDIA has given sops under FAME, but only to major cities.

      • Neel

        Kia Soul EV is a good SUV quality, or even BMW i3 and u dont really need a full charging station just plug into a regular outlet everynight and its always 100% for me in my high rise complex; and if you need longer distance driving then take a break at a Fast DC charger 100% in 31 mins.

    • Great addendum! 😀

    • cynthia Irene

      Absolutely. I alway drove conservatively — yet,not as range conservatively as I do now. I love to cruise and see those ECO green lights come on telling me that I am regenerating, The trees build and I delight as my range gage goes back up to 54 or something after being at 51 or so.

    • GCO

      Agreed, except it only took me about a minute test-driving a Leaf to be hooked to EVs. The first push on the accelerator did it. So responsive, so smooth, so quiet… That second, I knew I was done with ICEVs.

      Solar is icing on the cake. Driving on sunshine feels so… liberating.

      I too feel much more Zen driving electric, except when I get the urge to just floor it, to experience this linear sci-fi-sounding railgun effect again.
      It’s been 4 years now, but instant acceleration is something I still haven’t gotten tired of yet. 🙂

  • Modok EvilMastermind

    When you first buy an EV car you think, “oh yeah! I don’t need to go to the gas station anymore…hell yeah”. After a couple of months in the winter you realize that was the only time you thought about washing your car. It is totally worth it (obviously) and I can just drive to nearest place to wash my car; but these small realizations are the ones which stick with me since changing…

    • On the more positive side, I realized that I typically stopped for gas first thing in the morning, and more often than not picked up junk food fit breakfast. I haven’t eaten a package of Little Gems all year since I switched to a Leaf! 😀

      • Bob_Wallace

        So now you need to store some healthy breakfast food close to where you plug in?

        • In fact, I grab a high fiber oatmeal bar most mornings now. Despite the lack of evidence, my doc is convinced I’m growing older. 😉

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’d best be careful with that getting older stuff. It has a definite downside….

      • I have thought (and written about that one) a few times. 😀 It is a genuine benefit, but one most wouldn’t realize, I think.

    • Ha, nice 😀

  • JamesWimberley

    Having to walk more from your electric charging car park strikes me as a rather counterintuitive selling point. You could say the same for random breakdowns in your bargain from Groucho’s Reliable Used Cars.

    • cynthia Irene

      Yes, I am sure most people just charge at home. I thought of talking about what it is like if you do not. Ideally the charge is full every morning.

      • Martin

        As for # 5, for those of us live in more northern climate, there are also liquids like the anti freeze for the motor and windshield washer anti freeze.
        Now the engine anti freeze is bad in another way as well, any spilled stuff of it animals like it, because it is sweet, but it will be a painful death!


        • cynthia Irene

          Yes, my friends cat died that way. Terrible.

          • Martin

            One additional benefit of EV.s.
            If in the future somebody will do a study of electric transportation vs FF one, they will shake their heads why we had for about 100 years a system that was so detrimental to all life on this planet!

          • Definitely

            Future generations: “What was wrong with people? Why didn’t they switch to EVs much quicker?”

            History lesson. Answer: inertia trumps logic and survival in many cases….

          • Martin

            Zach, do you know of any article that anybody has done on the life cycle energy input and emission of gas and diesel?
            People have done such study’s on EV’s and ICE’s, but with the ICE’s as far as I know they only use the emissions of the combustion of the fuel. So what about the emission created from the exploration, extraction, transportation, refining and transportation of the fuel>
            Are those not equal to the emission of the combustion of the end product?
            But maybe I am wrong?

          • TomK

            Look up the Cleantechnica article “Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Cuts Lifecycle CO2 Emissions By 64%”

          • Martin

            Thank you.

          • Harry Johnson

            Don’t forget greed. It’s always greed…

        • Oh my… didn’t know about the anti freeze killer… 🙁

        • rockyredneck

          Yeah, I know of a few cats chopped up by fans on IC engines but that has been largely cured by ELECTRIC fans that only start after the engine has been running a while.
          Deaths from glycol is more from careless storage than spills and electric cars are unlikely to cure people of carelessness.
          How much more road kill is likely if they can not hear you coming? Are we going to have accident from pets chewing through electrical cords?
          I hardly think that safety is a selling point for EVs except that suicide by CO1 will be more difficult. Might have to use a slower method, like booze.

          • Otis11

            Most modern day ICE vehicles are drive-by-wire anyway, so pets chewing through cables is not any more of a problem with EVs than it is with today’s vehicles.

          • rockyredneck

            Might be a problem for the cat.

        • Benjamin Nead

          It should be noted that both the Leaf and i-Miev have liquid cooling (radiator with glycerol anti-freeze/coolent) for the traction motor and controller, even though the traction batteries in those cars are air cooled.

          The radiators on these EVs are smaller than what is needed for an ICE and, since they don’t have to control the extreme temperatures of a cast iron block with controlled explosion occurring inside, they lead a much more leisurely life.

          Yes, check for leaks, so no animals poison themselves.
          But the fluid will typically be changed in a shop (where you would hope its disposed of properly) and may only have to
          be done after 125K miles or more.

    • Except you get more choice in where you plug in (than where you break down). 😀

      As she notes, she parks at nice parks, marinas, the beach. Nice places to chill out and exercise.

  • Mike333

    Trailblazers. The Real American Hero’s.

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