This post is part of a series of EV Driver Spotlights that shine a light on why people choose to drive electric. Drivers, want to be profiled? Tell us your EV story.
Robert lives in Boulder with his wife and his Nissan LEAF, which is the family’s only car—but the 2012 LEAF with almost 50,000 miles gets them where they need to go. Here’s their EV story.
How long have you been driving electric? What made you decide to drive electric?
We’ve been driving electric for almost four years. My 14-year-old Saturn sedan started having transmission problems and I knew it was time for a new vehicle. We started noticing more and more LEAFs in the area, and found a used one with low mileage. Since we're a multi-modal family (lots of busing and bicycling), we knew we could make a LEAF work even as our only car.
"We knew we could make a LEAF work even as our only car."
- Robert, LEAF Driver
How did you decide which EV to buy?
At the time, Nissan's LEAF was the only EV on our radar. We were apprehensive at first to buy used due to battery degradation concerns, but pricing for a new LEAF with all the features we wanted was still more than we wanted to spend at the time. With lots more options now, we would probably look at price, range, comfort, and features like intelligent cruise control/lane assist features.
How do you charge at home?
One deciding factor in going electric is that our apartment has a garage. While we can't install a Level 2 charger due to electrical limitations in the garage, we are able to plug in to the 120V outlet every night. We're also fortunate to have a few L2 charging stations within walking/bicycling distance from our apartment should we need a quicker "fill-up" between work and date-night.
What’s your favorite thing about driving electric?
Our favorite thing about driving an electric-only vehicle is that we rarely have to go to gas stations (we still use their free air for tires and their carwash). It's practically maintenance-free which is important being as it's our only car.
"It's practically maintenance-free which is important being as it's our only car."
- Robert, LEAF Driver
What are some of the challenges associated with driving electric?
The only challenge we have is our 75-mile range, which is almost entirely eliminated by planning ahead. Some longer road trips, we rely on a rental car instead of putting mileage and time on our EV. On days where we do need to charge up again due to lots of errands, we plan it out, and make sure we do something fun (lunch or dinner dining out, or charge while we're seeing a movie, etc), so we never feel like it's time lost while charging.
Where would you most want a charging spot?
My favorite charging stations are ones close to public parks. I almost always have my ukuleles with me, and can spend time charging by practicing in the park (or even in the car, if the weather isn't as nice). I think if every city installed charging stations near parks, people could easily adopt EVs and have a healthier lifestyle as a bonus!
"I think if every city installed charging stations near parks, people could easily adopt EVs and have a healthier lifestyle as a bonus!"
- Robert, LEAF Driver
Where’s the best place you’ve taken an electric road trip, or where would you like to take one?
I took my wife on her very first camping trip in our LEAF. The campground and lake was only 5 miles away, but it was interesting parking our little EV in the tent site next to much larger and noisier motorhomes. We're fortunate to have many great museums, zoos, and botanical gardens in Denver (most of which have charging stations available!), so we're never without something fun to do.
What’s one thing you think people should know about driving electric?
The important thing for us was having a reasonable expectation of range, and buying from a dealership who knows electrics. We learned some things the hard way our first year, especially in the winter when heating and battery efficiency can decrease the driving range.
What do you wish you’d known before you chose to drive electric?
I wish I had understood better the estimated range and how different things can affect it (winter/cold driving, air-conditioning/heating, highway driving, etc). As our used LEAF gets older, we're needing to rely on ChargePoint stations more and more to meet our daily needs. (Fortunately, tap to charge makes it really easy to start charging!)
Whoa. @ChargePointnet knocks it out of the park again. My primary tag stopped working. But learned I can just use NFC on my phone instead (even on off-network stations). Rad, guys!— Robert Rowe III (@rorowe) February 2, 2018
What’s your favorite place to charge?
Again, public parks are my absolute favorite place to plug in, especially in the warmer months. I always keep a picnic blanket in my trunk, and often carry a couple ukuleles with me, so being able to charge up while sitting beneath a tree playing music is wonderful. (It’s fun even if I’m not charging, like in this picture!)
Two of my favorite spots are Namaste Solar at 4571 Broadway St in Boulder because it’s near my work and favorite coffee/pastry shop. I also like Grant Community Park on 1631 Coalton Rd in Superior, Colorado, which is near home, our local grocery store, and a great park.
Charging stations close to shopping, dining, entertainment options are also quite helpful. For us, it's important to utilize the time required to charge doing things we enjoy or need to get done, rather than simply watching the time tick away until we're ready to keep moving.
Thanks, Robert! It’s so great to hear about a happy EV-only household.
Want to share your EV story? Just drop us a line!