Going Backwards — Driving A Gas Car For 1 Day After 2 Years In A Nissan LEAF

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It is nearly two years since I began my daily journeys in a clean, electrified vehicle — no particulates, zero emissions, human friendly, child friendly. I found myself driving in a light bubble that seemed to push the smell of gas to the periphery.

Becoming free dependence on oil/gas in my personal driving, it was initially easy to enjoy heightened optimism about air pollution and environmental concerns. I hoped that most drivers would to switch to electric vehicles — soon. If I could do it, many could.

Things have changed in an uncomfortable, challenging way within the history of those two years, though. EV range is the least of my worries.

I’m now accustomed to the ease and the smooth nature of the LEAF, and I sometimes take for granted what I fell in love with — the fluid ambiance and the sublime quietude that comes with a zero-emissions electric vehicle.

Remember the old saying, “you don’t know what you have till it’s gone”? I recently left the Nissan LEAF at the shop to get a tire changed. It was going to take a day, so Nissan offered me a nice new gasoline-powered loaner. Immediately, I felt the “rougher” feeling of an ICE car … just turning it on. No magical quiet jingles like the LEAF provides.

Taking off was fine, but not nearly as responsive as my LEAF, which moves like a silent airplane through time and space — without the smell of diesel or gasoline. I feel as if I am on a private plane in the LEAF. In the gas car, I was presented with a gravelly sound and feeling from under the car, a rumbling engine, and bad smells of gas. I felt I went backwards in time. It was similar to, but not nearly as deadly as, the day after the last election. (That day, I was reminded of the historical and tragic day John F. Kennedy was shot — my mother picking me up at school early with tears streaming down her face and clothes.)

Two years ago, I wrote, “Every time I plug in, I breathe in well-being. The clean, odorless connection to my car triggers my shoulders to drop. Like a sense of right livelihood, I experienced right driving livelihood.”

To go backwards and drive a gasoline car again, I lost the beautiful daily effect of driving an electric car. You don’t need a Tesla to experience the dramatic difference between an electric drivetrain and one that is based on burning noxious liquid. (But if you want that comparison, see: “My Tractor Keeps Shaking Violently & Has A Sore Throat.”)

That’s not to say everything is perfect with electric car life. On a recent #Electrifying webinar, Jacek pointed out, “You have to be open to the limitations of EVs. You can’t just say they are good, and good, and good — you have to be open to the limitations.” There are opportunities to transform those limitations into something else, but they are sometimes simply challenges and that’s how we should look at them. I am now automatically aware of time concerns to a different degree — planning the day in a way that I will be near a charger for the amount of time I need to be. This is from a legitimate “limitation” (and no home charging), even as charging has become primarily convenient, vitalizing, and complementary to my creative work. One person’s life and choices will never be another person’s life and choices, though. Thus, we weigh and balance what compromises and limitations we prefer for what goals and benefits.

Time charging does not seem like a limitation to me most of the time. Smelling gas in and out of the car does. That loaner was a nice new Nissan, yet it smelled of gas. Being exposed to those fumes is exactly like being exposed to cigarette smoke versus avoiding it. Smokers sit in separate areas. If only we could separate out those gas fumes for children, pedestrians, bicyclists, and EV drivers to keep the air they breathe pure.

Back to the electric charging limitations, here are a few sights I would not have enjoyed without a walk while stopping to charge:

Generally speaking, coins do have two sides.

LEAF drivers love the LEAF. I love the LEAF. It’s hard to imagine switching to any other car after the LEAF, but going back to a gas car is definitely, absolutely, without hesitation, not an option.

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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor. Pronouns: She/Her

Cynthia Shahan has 947 posts and counting. See all posts by Cynthia Shahan