My dear wife and I have travelled many miles by car. She is content having me do the driving. However, I am, in her mind, careless about going by any gasoline station without filling up the tank. That is a bit of hyperbole but running out of gasoline is high on her list of things to never do. Imagine if you will, how she would feel if we owned a Nissan Leaf and used it to drive from Knoxville Tennessee to Antioch, Tennessee, a distance of 182miles (293km). The Nashville Tennessean reported on such a trip taken by Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, along with his wife and son. The trip took place on a cool day, about 35F (2C), primarily on Interstate 40. Fast (30minutes) electric vehicle chargers have been installed at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant chain and they planned to use them as needed. The 182-mile trip took 6 hours to complete. It included 4 stops for recharging.
Quoting from the newspaper story:
Only problem was, the Leaf’s charge dropped more rapidly than promised. In what has to be a public relations disaster for Nissan, Smith’s EV was unable to travel no farther than 55 miles on any leg of the trip – and for the most part, much less. The company, and its government backers, proclaimed  the Leaf was “built to go 100 miles on a charge” (large print), with a footnoted disclaimer (small print) that it travels shorter distances (like, 70 miles) if the air conditioning or the heater is used. Turns out even that was an exaggeration. A trip that should take – according to map Web sites – less than three hours, ended up lasting six hours for the Smiths because of all the stops they had to make. The approximate intervals where they paused for recharging were as follows:
- Knoxville to Harriman: 45 miles
- Harriman to Crossville: 31 miles
- Crossville to Cookeville: 31 miles
- Cookeville to Lebanon: 50 miles
Lebanon to destination in Antioch, just south of Nashville: 22 miles
“It was a little nerve wracking,” Stephen Smith told the Nashville-based newspaper. “I’m finding the range is not 100 percent accurate.”
A further quote from the article:
The Smiths’ experience echoed that of a Consumer Reports reviewer  and Los Angeles columnist Rob Eshman , who called his Leaf his “2011 Nissan Solyndra.” Eshman, editor-in-chief of The Jewish Journal, experienced the same gauge inaccuracies and range anxiety that came from traversing hills and mountains and the use of his air conditioning in hot, smoggy L.A.
“My life now revolves around a near-constant calculation of how far I can drive before I’ll have to walk,” Eshman wrote. “The Nissan Leaf, I can report, is perfect if you don’t have enough anxiety in your life.”
Bonus geography question—- How many State of Tennessee towns are named ANTIOCH? See below.
Makes you wonder how that ever happened.