Nissan LEAF: OPALCO’s Electric Vehicle Journey Begins

To share our experiences – and our lessons learned – with the all electric battery-powered Nissan LEAF, this blog will host posts from OPALCO staff as they drive the LEAF.

Bev Madan writes: “Driving the LEAF from Bellingham to Orcas was exciting. It was easy to drive—so easy that I had to check my speed frequently as the car has a lot of get-up-and-go!! Because it was late, I drove the car to my home, watching the battery gauge closely. I calculated that I had enough battery power left to drive home (9 miles from the ferry) and to work the next day (11 miles). The drive in to work was tense—the gauge changes up and down, giving an estimate of how many miles are left to drive. At Massacre Bay I was at 16 miles, at Island Supply I was at 9 miles, and by the time I got to the medical center at the top of Mt Baker Rd the gauge simply had lines going across. A voice came over the speaker system asking if I wanted them to find the nearest charging station. At that point I knew I could at least coast into OPALCO. Needless to say, I made it just fine but it did make me nervous watching the gauge jump around like it did.

I synced my iPhone with the car when it first arrived and added the Nissan Leaf app to my phone. From my desk I can check the charging status, check how long it will take to fully charge, set it to charge on a timer (as long as it is plugged in), turn on the climate control, call customer support or roadside assistance, and receive e-mail or text notifications when the charge is complete. Up to 5 phones can be synced with the car.

Everyone who has driven the car is impressed with it. Personally, I look for any excuse to drive it! It is perfect for OPALCO’s use—errands and driving around the islands.