After 14 months with the Nissan Leaf, I still have never charged at home. On occasion, out of town, I have charged at my host’s house. It takes the night to trickle charge that way.
My favorite fast charger is out of town. It is a wonderful solar charger in downtown St. Petersburg. I hope Sarasota is paying attention to that one. It is my favorite solely because it is powered by the sun, which allows me to essentially drive on sunshine.
In town, my most frequented favorite charging spots encourage that 15 minute fast walk or that 30–45 minute walk that everyone should take once a day or twice a day.
My favorite is the Level 2 charging station at Sarasota Marina — a ClipperCreek charger that always works well. It’s approximately 12–15 blocks away. I’ll come back to it further down in the article.
On days I am pressed for time, I appreciate the fast charger just blocks from my place. It is most often available. If not, it is only temporarily in use by a group of polite environmentally friendly EV drivers. Even waiting for a charge seems to fly by at that charger.
All drivers at both the St. Petersburg fast charger I often use and this Sarasota one (one of two fast chargers in Sarasota) have been considerate to me and others so far. They charge and drive away to vacate the spot for another. If that spot is not vacant, it is a short wait or I can go a few blocks to various Level 2 chargers.
St. Petersburg does have another fast charger near the fast solar-powered charger. That one has not been as useful — my experience from one year of EV life and occasionally visiting that fast charger has been that it is often ICE’d.
Florida attracts attention for its international community in Miami, Disney World and a growing film industry in Orlando, Hemingway’s Key West, and the troubled Everglades. My take, in sizing up the state, is that the serious heart of Florida is the west coast on the still aqua Gulf waters. Just today, a snowbird from Canada who keeps a house here told me Sarasota is the nicest city in the US. St. Petersburg seems to be an even wiser city that is setting a smart standard. I hope Sarasota is trying to keep up in environmental policies. I certainly appreciate the wide variety of free EV charging stations it is offering.
The charger at the Marina in Sarasota is within a short walk of a playground with fountains and rich with orange and lavender skyscapes that bathe the walker in beauty as one laps the Marina. It is within walking distance of Whole Foods, Selby Library, Selby Gardens, downtown restaurants, a diverse selection of art galleries, hair salons, and the Burns Court Historic District — which offers a pleasant choice of foreign and art films at Burns Court Cinema.
In my first year with the LEAF, I visited all the chargers in the area. Now I frequent 3 or 4 — the ones I can walk to.
When near the airport, I sometimes use the chargers there and make use of the complimentary SRQ (Sarasota airport) WiFi.
In the past year, I’ve enjoyed 99% positive exchanges and hopeful conversations with passers-by at all charging intervals. This is one of the great pleasures of driving an EV early on in the adoption curve. This week I experienced my first horrid one. As I sat in my car working (complimentary WiFi as I charged), a man approached me and popped his head in my window. “I guess if you drive electric you believe in that hogwash about climate change.” Shocked at the aggressive quality of his language, I responded. “Oh, you have a degree and work in environmental science, to have such knowledge?”
He responded, “No, those liberal schools teach lies. I know what I’m talking about.” He continued and ranted more insubstantial slurs, degrading any words of environmental or social thoughtfulness.
Wow, not only was I startled, I was interrupted from something positive. I reacted, saying, “Oh, and along with this, you believe the next leader our country should have is a predator?”
His response, “Oh, Billy Bush made him say those things.”
We did banter, myself unwillingly. Yes, Billy Bush lost his job, and Donald got elected. I won’t say exactly how I finally ended it … but my words got pointed, images profound — and finally Elmer Fudd scampered away quickly into the distance. Still, I wanted to cry for my daughters, sons, and grandchildren who must live in a world so beset by negative forces. And yet…
Fortunately, the next day, I talked to a thoughtful nurse practitioner who not only wanted EVs and clean air but social justice. She is a passionate caretaker who was set on working in the prison system to help mental wellness and rehabilitation. The coin flipped. She had so much goodness and passion for true reform that the clouds of shady confusion disappeared.