Part 2 “range anxiety”

This is part 2 of the electric car investigation.

People are asking me the wrong question: “what is the mpg?”

They should be asking “can you get home?” “Can you escape a hurricane?”

The nasty truth is coming out: the miles per charge is 50 soon after (18 mo) the Leaf is purchased.

As a new car, the reported range from dealers is 90 miles/charge. I saw for myself that a fully charged Leaf at 1 dealership had 73 miles in total and that punching it to get up and onto a Houston freeway cost me 5 miles that I never recovered.

I stumbled upon a Consumer Reports test of one that stated “I didn’t think that 46 miles on a charge was much to ask…”

Several reviews from owners talk about range anxiety and “white knuckle driving” creeping home with the “turtle icon” (how much energy is that darn reptile using anyhow?…)

Another account describes a doctor missing all his appointments from being stranded.

I wanted to be sure these weren’t just anecdotal stories, so I kept reading…

There are numerous reviews from owners with a lot of feelings one way or the other, but not a lot of real data aside from their username and city. Hah!

A map is in order here…part 3!

I did begin to notice where the owners lived. So far, only 1 truly on renewables from Seattle (solar panel at their own home).

Speaking of wet places, I did find that when consumer reports tested it, the tester got stuck in the rain:

In answer to “can I get home from work?
12 miles.
Perhaps so, but getting up onto I-10 may cost me dearly.
And in summer I NEED AC in Houston.

The EV charge stations ARE NOT COVERED from rain or sun.

Could I escape a hurricane?


My escape route is up N on I-45 (the infamous I-45) from downtown, 85 miles away in the boonies.
There are maybe 2 recharge stations at dealerships on either side of the freeway about 30 miles north.
At a “slow” 70mph, I might make it and pray they are open. One caveat: during hurricane evac, the freeway becomes ONLY northbound, so the southbound dealership may be moot. Also, dealerships are CLOSED on Sundays and at 5-6pm in Texas..
You can see how dire this becomes…
The Venn diagram gets dicey…
Let’s say that the planets align and I get a charge. I still have 35 miles to go, giving me maybe 15 miles of leeway. AC would probably eat at this too. Gah

Did the designers step out from San Diego to see what the rest if the country is really like?

My guess is no.

Hell on earth comes to Houston as 90pct humidity, 115F w heat index and a hurricane trailing.

Sounds like a summer Blockbuster…
“Extreme heat! Killer storm! An electric car! Can she escape Houston before the storm hits with her leaf?! Or will she be trapped, burnt to a crisp and eaten by alligators?!”
“This summer, in IMAX 3D, ‘Range Anxiety!’ Starring JLaw and Russell Crow….

Part 3: The map!


One thought on “Part 2 “range anxiety”

  1. Sue, I commend your writing skills for capturing my interest.
    Surely you read the literature and reviews which describes the Leaf as a commuter car. The definition of a commute being less than 20 miles to work for most people. A Leaf is not a long haul vehicle like the Griswold’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster.
    The long haul electric car may be the Tesla S, approaching 300 miles range, but the investment and operating cost is also 3 to 4 times more than a leaf. In the event that a Tesla driver wants to escape Houston as a Hurricane approaches, he or she will join the line in Huntsville (about 75 miles) or if the battery is near full Corsicana (115 miles farther). Huntsville’s Tesla Supercharger station will probably look like the gas lines in the 70″s. And all of these charging opportunities will be predicated upon the electrical grid surviving the storm chasing Houstonians up I-45.

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