Published on June 20th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan


10 Things I Do While Charging A Nissan LEAF

June 20th, 2016 by  

When driving an electric car, the two most common questions you get from people fairly new (or completely new) to the technology are: “How long does it take to charge?” And “How far can you drive before you have to charge again?” The thing it seems they often don’t understand is that you can do other things while charging. Even if you do understand that, but don’t yet live with an EV, we figured it could be helpful to demonstrate things I often do while charging.

Also, worth noting here is that I don’t have home charging, so all of my charging is done in public places.

Things I Do While Charging A Nissan LEAF — Top 10 List

Nissan LEAF Charging What to do

1. Exercise. I enjoy walking. Several of the EV charging stations in my city are located in great places for taking a walk or exercising in other ways. Naturally, we all need to exercise, so this is usefully spent time. Also, if you still have young kids, you can exercise with family.

2. Explore (adventure). You will find new spots as you find charging stations in corners of the city to which you had never been drawn. Using a variety of charging stations in your area can teach you more about the place you call home, and make you feel a bit like a tourist. I take in local history, for example. I get to know “old” Florida, giving myself history lessons of the place I’ve lived for decades.



3. Work. As I am a writer and photographer, I check out the cool cars parked nearby while charging and take photos — notice the eucalyptus wood inside the BMW i3 pictured below! I also call people on work-related matters inside the privacy of my own small Nissan Leaf EV Bubble. I also work on many CleanTechnica articles while sitting in the LEAF.

4. Photography. If you enjoy photography, and if you have a smartphone, you can take and edit photos with it while charging. You cannot pull out an easel and set up paints in the time required to charge — still, with photography, there are brief remembrances of the day to share or punctuate life’s movements and still points.

010 (1) copy

5. Shop. I pick up food for dinner, lunch, and breakfast while charging. This is a necessity of life, for those of us who aren’t millionaires sending people to go shopping for us. Surely, this is something many EV drivers can do while charging.

6. Process and plan. I make notes and complete what is incomplete for the day, planning and processing life.

7. Contemplate. Charging gives one time to sit and consider one’s day, consider life, consider the meaning of life.

8. Compose. I find the approach I will take to another story or article as I contemplate and process. It has been a while since I wrote poetry, but this is on my mind if I ever get caught up on work.

9. Sketch. One can go freestyle at this point and doodle or write, another old pastime I can rediscover in the LEAF.

10. Educate. As people walk by, and I see their genuine interest, I share more news and information about EVs. A great deal of education is needed in order to  make more people aware of EVs and their great benefits. I try to do my part.

Related Stories:

Out of Town Trip In A Nissan Leaf No Problem 

Ten Uses For A Silent Nissan

Images by Cynthia Shahan

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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.

  • RobSez

    I’ve been driving a Leaf for 5 years. Charging away from home isn’t a very common issue for us. Most of the time we only charge overnight at home. If we do need to charge away, we usually only need an hour at a L-2 to get home.

    The problem is most charging stations are Level-2 and most of them are located in some really stupid places. What to do when charging only becomes an issue when encountering one of the many poorly planned and placed chargers. At the mall, or a restaurant, hotel, movie theater, city park, etc., there is plenty to do.

    If I’m stuck at a charger with nothing to do, I usually take a walk, or read, surf the web, or work, make phone calls, or sleep. I think the thing that is hard to get most people to understand is you probably will only charge at home most of the time and you don’t have to fully charge up every time you plug in away from home.

    We have a few L-3 chargers scattered around our city at gas stations. That’s really nice. What takes an hour on a L-2 only takes about 10 minutes on a L-3. I usually run in and get something to drink and/or snacks. By the time I stand in line and pay and get back to my car, I can unplug and go.

  • Larry

    Coffee and a doughnut would just about fill the time

  • cynthia Irene

    I don’t remember writing that I contemplated the meaning of life. Contemplation to me is

  • scott whitaker

    Just how long does it take to fully charge a Leaf?

    • vdiv

      People usually do 80% charge and almost never start from empty. It takes 5 seconds to plug/unplug the car, 30 minutes or less at a CHAdeMO DC fast charging station, 4 hours or less at a Level 2 AC station. People that charge in public these days do something called opportunity charging, they plug in when they get a chance and unplug when they need to go. Most charging is done overnight or while at work.

      • Yes, except many people (like the author) don’t have home or workplace charging. This is a tiny niche of early adopters, but a significant percentage of the overall population.

        • vdiv

          My point was that the time it takes to fully charge a car from empty is not that relevant and very few sit around and wait while it is charging, even those of us who charge in public. We go about our lives, just like “normal” people. 😉

  • Andy

    I am fortunate enough to have a home with my own car parking, so I just have my car plugged in when ever it is at home. I have a lead for a level 2 charger but have yet to use it, as, on longer journeys, I use the fast chargers, sited at all the main-highway, (motorway), service-areas, which are free of charge to use. The short period of time it takes to get 80% charged up on the fast charger is usually just long enough for a breath of air, and a quick walk round the car park, or solving a sudoku puzzle, so I have no list of things to do.

  • Bob Vittengl

    Charging the Leaf is comparable to charging my I-phone , charge overnite at home on level 2 charger, then off to work and driving around for 60 miles , a quick recharge after lunch another 40-50 miles meeting clients, home for dinner with a quick charge then off for another cruise . Back home for overnite charge. Level 2 chargers are becoming more abundant,and your lifestyles will adapt quickly.

  • I like this list! I read it as ’10 Reasons Why I Would Never Buy a LEAF.’ There is a major problem with electric vehicles. For those who don’t own a home (I never will because I’m always moving), you’re stuck with slow public charging stations. Tesla’s Super Charger network a great value. I can kill 20 minutes easily; getting lunch, coffee, mailbox, shopping, etc. Any longer than 20 minutes and it’s really eating into my busy day. Here’s the thing, if it takes longer than 20 minutes to charge your battery in your LEAF, then they should look into battery swapping like Tesla Motors did. At least until every hotel/condo/apartment complex in the country installs charging stations.

    • NRG4All

      I have driven LEAFs for over five years, and you are exactly right. Currently the cars are “around town” type vehicles that are wonderful second cars for commuting as many families have two cars. However, from the very beginning I’ve said that if no one supports the first generation of EVs, then there probably will not be a second generation.

      Fortunately, enough of us have supported EVs and now we are going to see the second generation very shortly. It appears that Tesla will win out with its Supercharger network and its $35,000 Model 3 due out next year with a range of 215 miles. Those of us that have reserved Model 3’s also expect that an extended range option will be offered as well. This may mean that one can travel for 2.5 or 3 hours and then stop for a half hour and get an 80% charge. Who knows, this may actually make for safer driving than 6 hour shifts without stopping.

      Also, GM will have the 200+ range Bolt out by the end of this year and Nissan will have its 200+ mile LEAF out in the next couple of years, perhaps even announced yet this year. The fact that Tesla received a net of 373,000 reservations at $1,000 apiece has shaken up the automotive world. So, look for other manufacturers to join the second generation of EVs now that the original risk takers have proven there is a market for the 2nd generation EVs.

      There are many, many other reasons to join the EV revolution so I hope that even if an EV is not right for you, at least you might be a little less critical.

  • Necro Nomaken

    No, dude, the thing is that they don’t want to do other stuff. What you do while your gas car is ‘recharging’ is scratch your ass, look around at nothing dumbly, or consider going into the gas station to get a red bull.

    Adapting to the reality of charging electric vehicles not being as fast as filling up a car is a thing i think people will be able to do, they just need to plan better. And not a whole lot better, just a little better.

    But they aren’t “not understanding” it. They are seeing it as a distinct disadvantage that they can’t just be lazy and fill up when ever, maybe being 7 minutes late to work because they totally forgot that they were out of gas.

  • RamboSTiTCH

    How about some Geo-caching while you charge? That would be exercise plus explore!

  • ADW

    Nice: I like when you post, its a great look into what ownership is like with the Leaf. The Public Charging world I feel is different than the Tesla Supercharger world.

    • Thanks! That was exactly the goal of this long-term review! Especially as more of a “normal person” than early adopter, and with no home charging.

  • omar

    i like your articles always simple and with Leaf the EV of medium peaple away from Tesla and their luxury buayers, just need to meet you to edicate me about EVs please

    • Thanks!! Am really happy to hear this long-term series is having the efefct it was supposed to.

  • just_jim

    I’d think the number one thing that people do while charging is sleep. Plug it in at home, wake up in the morning, Leaf fully charged.

    • Harry Johnson

      For me, the point of the article is that the author does not have home charging. It actually can be done except for maybe in very dense urban cities.
      I like the fact that Cynthia adds a human, real life element that seems to elude so many geeks. EVs are not ubiquitous and these articles help open minds.

      • Man, am so thrilled to see these comments showing that the articles do what they were aimed to do. 😀

    • Yep, but the author doesn’t have home charging, as much of the population wouldn’t if they got an EV today.

  • Mike Dill

    In addition to shopping, eating is something that I do occasionally, and charging while doing it makes sense.

  • gerry

    11.) getting bored….ghegeh

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