Owning a Nissan Leaf turns owners into advocates.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: May 17th, 2012
ost car owners don’t get stopped on the street and questioned about their cars, unless they’re driving an exotic sports car or something brand new that hasn’t been seen around too much. Nissan Leaf owners, on the other hand, are used to being questioned about their vehicles.
Leaf owners are as avidly involved in their community of fellow owners as are muscle car enthusiasts or comic book collectors.
Mark Feierberg was among the first people in Illinois to purchase a Leaf, and he, like many Leaf owners, has become a sort of unofficial ambassador for Nissan’s electric car. “I get stopped all the time,” Feierberg says. “People ask questions about the car wherever I go.”
Leaf owners are as avidly involved in their community of fellow owners as are muscle car enthusiasts or comic book collectors. This is partly because, like all early adopters of new technology, they have a geeky enthusiasm about their new toy. But Leaf owners are also eager to share information with each other, which is partially a practical concern. With new charging stations popping up around town faster than their “Carwings” telematics system can inform them, sharing this information can be extremely helpful.
And because it’s an all-electric vehicle and not a hybrid, owning one entails doing a few things that ordinary car owners might see as deal-breakingly annoying, but Leaf owners see as interesting challenges. Making the most of the Leaf’s limited range means not only knowing where charging stations are, but knowing other ways to squeeze more miles per kilowatt out of their EV.
Not using the heater in the winter, keeping speeds low, and avoiding jackrabbit starts all can help extend the Leaf's range, but having a limited range is something that causes old-school car enthusiasts write the Leaf off as a nonstarter. But EV enthusiasts know they are, in essence, beta testers for what they believe is the future of automotive technology.
And let's face it, range, cost, and availability and speed of charging stations are all serious issues that EVs need to overcome if they are ever to make a serious dent in the automotive market, but without early adopters, new technology would never stand a chance.
"Leaf owners are the pioneers of the new age of driving," Freierberg says. "We've learned to adapt to mileage anxiety and have no fear of oil company bad publicity propaganda. We don't stop for gas, we stop to recharge. We do half the polluting and ninety percent of the electric car publicity. We can drive 100 miles a day and plan the next 80 around our next charge. We know that we drive a car that serves our purpose ninety-five percent of the time and understand that if we don't own a second car, we can rent a gas vehicle the other five percent and know we are doing the right thing."
Or, as another Leaf owner told us, “Being a Leaf owner is about embracing the future. It’s about enjoying some pretty cool technology and doing some good for the planet, one person at a time.”Related Vehicles: nissan leaf