My 2013 Nissan Leaf goes further now than when I bought it

TS Designs charging station photo
© Sami Grover

The case for electric vehicles—even old ones—just keeps getting better.

When I bought my used Nissan Leaf, I did so knowing that I rarely drive more than 30 to 40 miles in a day. For the occasional longer trips for meetings and such, I figured I'd just swap cars with my wife or rent if I had to.

But something changed.

During the two or so years since I've had it, public charging stations have proliferated in the Triangle area, meaning I can now often take longer trips knowing I most likely charge at my destination, and that there are plenty of CHAdeMO fast charging options to top up with on the way home if I do get caught in a pinch. This fact was brought home when I visited my friends at TS Designs to check out their new public charging station the other week.

Having picked up my friend in the suburbs, driven to Burlington, NC, stopped off—ironically enough—at a "five star gas station" for lunch, and headed home via my friend's house in the sticks, I ended up covering 105 miles in a day with just the charge during our meeting and a quick fifteen minute calm-the-nerves stop off at a CHAdeMO charger on the way home. I even got back with 45 miles on the "guessometer" too...

Of course, stories like this will do little to blunt the concerns of those who say 200+ miles of range must be a minimum. But they're not meant to. I fully understand that for many mainstream consumers, or regular long-distance drivers, an 86-mile range just will not cut it. I'm simply pointing out that, not only do electric cars get greener as they age (one UK study suggests they're 50% greener now than in 2012!), they also get more practical. Just take a look at the charging options I now have in and around my usual area of driving:

plugshare screenshotPlugShare/Screen capture

In fact, things have changed so much, I've even started mulling the idea of a road trip to Asheville (220 miles) just to see how long it takes me. But I'm weird like that. Of course, I still welcome the arrival of truly long-range electric cars, but the ever growing availability of local charging infrastructure suggests short- and medium-range electric cars will still be a lot more practical than they were just a few years ago.

As corporations like Ikea make good on their commitments to speed up electric adoption with more charging options at their places of business, we should see range anxiety slip even further into the past.

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