Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Opened Letter to the President of the United States of America

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you sir for being such a great advocate for American energy independence and providing the American people with a choice over what type of vehicle they drive.  As the administrator of the Affordable Electric Car NOW! website, I wholeheartedly agree with your goal to see one million electric vehicles on American roads by 2015, just as we saw with hybrid electric vehicles in 2005.  But I also recognize the limitations of the Office of the President in driving this great nation toward that lofty yet attainable goal.

Let's be frank, Mr. President.  You can't control Congress.  You can't control the Supreme Court.  You can't control the private sector.  There are a lot of things the President has no control over, but there is one thing you can, Mr. President: the federal infrastructure!

President Obama, if you want to see one million EVs on the road by 2015, the most effective thing you could possibly do is require all federal facilities provide a place where employees and contractors can charge their electric vehicles.  This isn't to say that this should be a free service which would none the less reduce our dependency on foreign oil; a nominal fee that reflects the going local electric rate would be more than reasonable.  But the important thing is to let the federal workforce charge at their federal installations.  This would eliminate the most salient of potential EV Buyer's fears.  This, Mr. President, you can control.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Come See the Tesla Model S in D.C. Today and Tomorrow

See the Model S Beta on display.

The Beta version is a 90% production intent prototype of the Model S.

  • Saturday, November 26: 10am - 5pm
  • Sunday, November 27: 10am - 5pm

Tesla Washington DC
1050 K Street N.W. Suite 101
Washington DC 20001

I may own the prettiest EV in town, but there's no way I'm gonna miss seeing this!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Come see Revenge of the Electric Car

Come to the Washington, D.C. premier of Chris Paine's latest documentary, Revenge of the Electric Car tonight at the E Street Cinema at 7:45.  If you missed it's first showing in Silver Spring, MD earlier this year, now's the perfect opportunity to see the best film this year!

And as a special treat tonight there'll be a special panel after the film that the EVA/DC will be holding where you can get special insight into the latest in Electric Vehicle news, advocacy and information.  Finally, join us outside for a tour of some of the group's member's own EVs, including the Smart ED and, hopefully, even CO₂ Fre, my very own Nissan LEAF.

So come on down to the E Street Cinema and see automotive future in the making!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meet your Dealership: Priority Nissan/Mazda

Welcome to RosenthalPriority Nissan/Mazda, in Tyson's Corner (Vienna), Virginia

Hello again everyone and welcome to another edition of the Meet your Dealership series, my seventh installment.  "Seventh?" you ask, when so far there is but one other?  Okay, you caught me.  My apologies go to the other 5 dealerships who's photos are waiting for a story but now I'd like to present a more current tale.

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It was Friday, 18 November.  I started out making good mileage in my Nissan LEAF on my way to work.  I'd used 4 bars and my LEAF was reporting over 50 miles (80 km) remaining range on my car, more than enough to see me home again.  However, to get to work I have to cross the Potomac River and on that 34°F (1°C) day as I reached the far side of the bridge my car's range dropped by half to 26 mi (42 km) and only 3 bars — not enough to get home!  I can only guess that despite my hypermiling with no heater, no heated seats and no heated steering wheel, the car must have activated the heater beyond my control in order to heat the traction batteries.

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Even though it's well know that the estimated range of the LEAF is quite inaccurate, the 3 bars remaining pretty much proved I needed a boost to get home.  Since my job site has no policy against charging an electric car on site, yet chooses to enforce a no charging policy, I had to make other arrangements to get home.  Knowing my car could probably make it to Tyson's Corner, I decided to give Priority Nissan/Mazda a call to see if I could us their Aerovironment EVSE.  So I phoned up and left a message with the service department and the Service Manager, Gary, called me back and told me it was a-okay!  Thank you so much Gary!

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So I left work around 15:30 and made it to Priority around 16:15, about 15 minutes earlier than expected.  There I met Gary and showed him my LEAF.  We chatted a bit about how fun it was to drive and then he showed me to their one public AeroVironment EVSE, which they have behind the dealership.  They have a second EVSE for the Service department which I didn't see.  We immediately plugged in and after a moment of confusion I pressed the charge now button and we got the electrons flowing!
I thanked Gary for his help and proceeded to the dealer showroom to get some reading done for my Loudoun County Writers meetup on Saturday.  The folks at Priority were kind enough to let me borrow one of their desks and do my reading though I was very happy whenever one of them came up and asked me how I enjoyed my LEAF.  Unfortunately, by this time Gary had left for the day which is why his image is missing.
The showroom is long and thin and on the left as you face the wall you have a selection of Mazdas and on the right and a variety of Nissans on the right.
After I finished my reading I went to find my old friend Mohamed Wadood.  I first spoke to Mohamed over the summer when I was trying to compile a dealer reservation list to help customers find dealerships opened LEAF quotas.  Mohamed agreed then that Priority Nissan would not sell the LEAF for above MSRP and would not include any surprise options when buying the car.
Mohamed has worked hard to keep Priority Nissan/Mazda clean, spotless and honest.  He stands by Rosanthal's Fair Price guarantee.  Mohamed is well-versed in the nuances of leasing and promises a 62% residual.
He's achieved the Platinum Elite Award and a near perfect rating.  And Priority is quite honest and upfront about their $389.00 processing fee: it's printed right on the wall.
Priority may not have been the first Washington area dealership to become LEAF certified, but with folks like Mohamed they know the LEAF and are ready to bring the automotive industry into the 21st Century.
Priority Nissan/Mazda has been in business since 1988 when it was one of Washington's main Datsun dealerships.  The current building was constructed in 1989 and has been a Tyson's Corner landmark.
Need a test drive?  I didn't learn until the end of the March Drive Electric event that Priority had a Blue LEAF for test drives on Wednesday, 16 March.  None the less, I was very happy for Mohamed (telephone: 703-867-7087, email: mohamedwadood@me.com) to show me the Grey LEAF Priority has available for anyone to take a test drive.  Give Priority a call and schedule yours!
Priority Nissan/Mazda is located at:
8525 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22182
Priority Nissan/Mazda, your source for the Nissan LEAF in the heart of Tyson's Corner.  Welcome.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fascinating Tale a week long Chevy Volt Test Drive

My friend, Gina Coplon-Newfield, Sierra Club’s Senior Campaign Representative for Electric Vehicles, recently test drove Chevy's new Volt for a week.  It's a great two-part story which gives you the feel for what it's like to own an electric car in Massachusetts, an area of the country, unlike California, with a true 4-seasons climate.

The first part covers the initial delivery and excitement that driving an electric car gives; the quintessential EV Grin.  You can read all the details here:

My Week Driving the Chevy Volt: Part 1

In the second part, Gina runs the numbers, including the true cost per mile when emissions are taken into account.  Gina even investigates how solar could allow her to run her EV completely on sunshine:

My Week Driving the Chevy Volt: Part 2

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rant to Nissan in latest survey

Any state outside of the blessed 5 (AZ, CA, OR, TN, WA) were left in the dark; then we heard that we in the South East could order in December and then, the day before my friend Olivier (Gudy) took possession of his Nissan LEAF, were told Nah, No LEAF for You and that I'd have to wait 8 more months to order my LEAF while Texas and Hawaii had already ordered.  This pushed my delivery past 1 July 2011 which caused damage which is impossible to remedy in that I was forced to loose HOV access to I66, one of DC's main arteries since you needed to have registered your car by that date in order to qualify for Tier 2 Clean Fuel Plates.  Instead, all I can get is a Tier 3 Clean Fuel plate which only allows me to use HOV on the Dulles Toll Road.  Yet, we thought we may have an advantage in that we'd be first to get the 2012 model year.  But you know what the 2012 model year is?  It's the same as a late 2011 Model Year car (when you could get the Cold Weather Trim) but for $1500 - $1900 more — for exactly the same car!  I had asked, and even offered to pay up to $1000 more for a 6.6kW charger.  I warned you that was the Ford Focus Electric killer option!  But no, you didn't offer that in 2012.  You don't even offer the car in Green yet.  :(  So am I annoyed?  Yes, unbelievably so!  But do I love my red, zero-emission, CO2 FRE LEAF, yes!  Unbelievable so.  But the one does not negate the other.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Capital Area Nissan LEAF Owners Group & Meetup

I've been looking into setting up a meetup for all you Northern Virginian, Washington D.C. and Southern Marylanders to gather and talk shop about their brand-spanking new Nissan LEAFs.  Although I considered using Meetup.com for this like I do my Reston Writers Roundup where I share my work on Project Kronosphere, I decided that since Facebook would give this too me for free, that's the best place to begin this organization.  So hop on down to the Capital Area Nissan LEAF Owners group and help me plan our first official meeting!  Not on Facebook?  We also have a Yahoo! discussion and planning mailing list at Capital Area LEAF Owners!

Of course, if you don't want to do this through the behemoth that is Facebook, please suggest another site in the comments as I'm truly agnostic about the how or the where save that we'll typically meet in Northern Virginia since my beloved EVA/DC typically meets in Southern Maryland.

Official Site Endorsement: Barbra Favola for Virginia Senate

Normally I don't want to use this site to endorse candidates specifically but tomorrow is election day here in Virginia and as I was recently redistricted into the 31st Senate District (as well as the 86th House District, but here my friend Tom Rust is running unopposed), I've been trying to give both Barbara Favola and Caren Merrick a fair listen in terms of where they stand on the issues and who could better represent my interests.

Now, the Merrick campaign has called me on two separate occasions to ask me for their support.  As I keep an opened mind, I basically said if Ms. Merrick can support me on fixing the anti-EV HOV situation here in Virginia, I'd be more than happy to support her.  On both occasions, the friendly campaign worker took down my query and the second time I was hung up upon in mid explanation.  Although I've not had dealings with the Favola campaign, this disregard for constituent interests is in my opinion inexcusable.  As today is the day before the election, I find it highly unlikely the Merrick campaign will call me in the next 19 hours so I'm willing to call it like I see it, and for her lack of responsiveness I'm officially throwing my weight behind Favola!

Now, if the Merrick campaign had contacted me by now and her response was she opposed my viewpoint, I would have remained neutral in this, but it's the lack of response one way or another that makes me believe she's not the best woman for the job.  I was in Barbara Comstock's House District when I wrote my original opened letter to this representative who was elected solely on the grounds of her muck-raking and mud slinging and who completely ignored my inquiry.  Needless to say I'm very happy to no longer be in that person's district.  Now that I'm in Tom Rust's district, I will admit we don't see eye-to-eye on the HOV issue (he's a Civil Engineering graduate from Virginia Tech and understands quite well the limitations we need to put on HOV access in terms of road usage and thus he supports option 2) but he was willing to discuss the issue with me, to meet with me and make sure my needs were addressed to the best of his ability.  Short of agreement on an issue, I could think of no better reason to support a candidate!  Not so with Caren Merrick.

And that is why I support Barbara Favola for Virginia Senate District 31.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nissan needs a Way-Back machine

The day after I took delivery of the first Nissan LEAF first Electric Car on the East Coast first Nissan LEAF on the East Coast first 2012 Nissan LEAF first Nissan LEAF sold in Virginia first Nissan LEAF sold in Fairfax County best priced Nissan LEAF arbitrarily numbered, high-priced, nothing special other than being mine, every-day, fully-loaded Nissan LEAF (come on, Carlos, je parle français, et mes ancêtres sont libanais aussi), I got this kind letter from Nissan:

Jeffrey, the excitement of driving a part of automotive history is almost here! Your Nissan LEAF™ is scheduled to arrive at your local dealer soon. Once you take delivery of the vehicle, your initial $99 reservation fee will be refunded. If you have any further questions about the delivery process, just contact your Nissan Dealer.

Oh, thanks Nissan.  I'll let my yesterday self know that right away; doctor Strange will take care of it for me!  Now, where is my $99 again??  It wasn't on my sales receipt.  And for the record, the $99 was refunded on my credit card along with the charge for $5,000 I put on it when I bought my LEAF.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I am Electric!

This morning I took possession of the very first Nissan LEAF sale on the Eastern Seaboard, and also the very first 2012 model year LEAF. Don't believe me? Well neither do I, but I haven't heard from anyone disputing the title so I'm claiming it as my own!

Having owned this car for the past 5 hours, I can say it is frankly driving bliss. Sure, the cost was exorbitant and it's missing its Zero-Emission graphic due to a snafu at the dealership, and I'm still unable to order new clean fuel plates, but man, what a sweet, sweet ride!