Living With Ev

We used to watch the cable reality show, Living with Ed, in which actor Ed Begley’s actress wife Rachelle regularly poked fun at his devotion to conserving energy. For some reason my wife enjoyed that, and Deborah Petersen mines the same veins of humor on her blog, My Husband’s Electric Car, starring their Nissan Leaf:

I could tell that the idea to buy a battery-charged vehicle was ruminating in my husband’s head for months. Every now and then, he would mention it, and then, the topic arose more and more often, especially after we watched “Chasing Ice” a movie about the disappearing polar ice. I would listen, nod, and ask a question now and then.

How much would our electricity bill go up? How many miles can you get out of a charge? Where do we find charging stations?

Undeterred, he backed up his argument with research, including a slew of financial rebates and incentives offered by the state of California to pioneers – or Guinea pigs, depending on your perspective – willing to enter the yet unrefined realm of driving gasoline-free.

Naturally, things don’t always go as planned:

My husband had driven the Leaf from our San Mateo coastside home to the San Bruno BART station to take BART into San Francisco. There are no charging stations at this BART stop –although I could have sworn that during our negotiations my husband had argued that “ hey, I can charge it at Bart.” On a typical day, none of this matters because a single charge can take him roundtrip to work and back home.  On this day, however, he was making a detour to Palo Alto. The dashboard of the Leaf showed that there were 19 miles remaining in the charge. Home was 22 miles away.  He left work early to give himself enough time to park the car at a charging station, and then, walk to meet me for our appointment.  Palo Alto, according to his smart phone app from ChargePoint has one of the highest concentrations of charging stations.  But apparently the city also has one of the highest number of electric cars and hybrids.  He arrived at a parking garage and then, another to find that he had been elbowed out by a collection of  Teslas and Volts . California’s goal is to construct enough charging stations to accommodate 1 million zero emission vehicles by 2020, but apparently it has a long way to go.

My wife could probably tell the same sort of stories about me and my bicycle commuting.

There are two charging stations at the light rail stop, which are almost always unoccupied. It occurred to me that I could lease a Volt and charge it while swimming.


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