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Everybody Loves A Leaf

Monica Horan, who plays Amy on the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond”, lives an eco-friendly life, which includes tooling around LA in her Nissan Leaf.

By Monica Horan

I love my Leaf.

For those of you who haven’t yet seen one, the Nissan Leaf is a fully electric car. There is no fuel tank, no need for an oil change, no stopping at the gas station.

I literally feel a weight lift off my shoulders every time I push the Start button and hear the “BWIP BWIP BWEEP BWIP BWAHP” sound I chose to alert me that my car is ready to roll. It’s one of the rarefied moments this former-Catholic-girl-turned-Jewess is truly guilt-free. I am not hurting anybody to get where I need to go. I am not, at this moment, contributing to climate change. I am making my country less dependent on foreign powers. I am part of a new way of life.

Forgive Me If I’m Rightous

It’s so easy to be cynical these days. Politicians either promote it or invite it and sometimes it feels like the Internet was invented purely for the propagation of snark.

So it’s comforting to have 3,500 pounds of metal in my driveway to remind me every single day that I am actively choosing to be hopeful. I’m as corny as Kansas in August and proud of it.

I love the graphic on my Leaf’s screen that tells me when I’m actually increasing my mileage because I’m using the car’s regenerative brakes properly, or driving downhill, instead of uphill. I love my oh-so-righteous seats made from recycled water bottles.

I love the shape of my Leaf. It screams less “good person driving an electric car” than I would like and yes, I plead “guilty” to wearing my heart on my sleeve. And I’m proud that I’m at a place in my life where I don’t need a big splashy car to prove my self-worth although as you can see, I haven’t quite achieved true enlightenment yet because you’re going to have to pry this possession — my Leaf — from my cold dead hands!

Don’t Hate Me If I’m Slow

I love that the ideal speed for maximum battery charge is 38 miles an hour. No, I’m not going to be the lady on the freeway going 30 mph under the speed limit. But around town? An even 38 is just fine. With all the reasons we have to rush, it’s nice to have a reason not to.

I love figuring out how to drive so that I can go 20 minutes away and arrive with the same amount of power left in my battery as when I departed.

Doing The Math

My only problem is the math anxiety. I suffer from intellectual insecurity on this…I have no idea what my actual mileage is. I know I’m probably the only Leaf owner who doesn’t know her exact mileage but oh, well.

I try to remind myself that we all have different gifts, but I still feel bad about myself every time someone asks, “How much mileage do you get?”
And someone asks every day. No exaggeration.

But I can’t figure it out. I just know where I can go with my fully charged car, and I know how to drive to conserve when necessary…I “feel” it. But numbers? I freak out.

I am not proud of this. It doesn’t cause me to lose sleep, but it does add to my ever-present low-level insecurity/anxiety disorder. Yet, in the three fabulous months I’ve been enjoying my smooth and prideful ride (made more fun by strategizing to keep my power over long distances), I don’t really know how much mileage I get.

But do I really need to?

My Leaf makes me happy. It grounds me as it takes me through my day. It is a small but very real assurance that I can help our kids, our country and our planet.

And you can’t put a number on that.

main photo © Tom Caltabiano

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12 Responses to “Everybody Loves A Leaf”

  1. Yanquetino says:

    I loved the upbeat, optimistic, joyful praise of your Leaf, Monica. It helps me keep my spirits up until Nissan will allow me to (finally!) order my Leaf –which coincidentally will be the same “glacier pearl” color.

    You are absolutely correct that there are so many petrolpuppet naysayers trolling the internet that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find truthful reports from actual EV owners. Thank you for posting yours!

  2. Jason says:

    Glad that you like the Leaf! We live in the Sacramento region, not as cool as LA but at least we got the capital city and not to rub it in but we beat the Lakers!! Anyhow, we love the Leaf and figure we can take it anywhere within a 40 mile radius of home, sometimes we have to use eco-mode and drive 60-65 on the freeway. We like the zero noise, zero pollution, and the fact we can charge with solar! We’ve even plugged in at Walgreens for an extra few miles of range. Best part about the Leaf though is how zippy it is off the line, does 0-40 in 4 seconds, not bad for 107HP!!!

  3. SharonaLA says:

    Monica,

    A group of LA Leaf owners are having a dinner at California Pizza Kitchen in Burbank later this month. It’s fun to network, plus a lot of the guys are engineers who have tips about maximizing range.

    Northern LA County Leaf Branch Gathering #6: January 19, 6pm

    SharonaLA

  4. Elaine says:

    Thanks Monica – I love my Glacier Pearl LEAF too…and you’re right, I too feel happy driving along knowing that I’m not emitting anything except goodwill and hope into the planet’s atmosphere! I’ve had mine since 11/11/11 and just clocked 1000 miles of gas-free driving. My vanity plates arrived yesterday: “OYL FREE”, so if you see me around LA give me a LEAF wave!

    Elaine
    Santa Monica

  5. Tom says:

    Actually, as we Leaf owners on the My Nissan Leaf (www.mynissanleaf.com) forum know, the most efficient speed is actually 12.5 MPH…

    I doubt Amy would want to tool around at THAT speed however!

  6. Loyd & Allison says:

    Great comments on the LEAF. We have had ours since June, and when I’m out of town on business, I actually miss it when I have to get a rental car that uses that old fashion oil stuff.

    I drive my LEAF the same way I would drive any car. I’ve learned to not focus on the miles to go, but on the battery level when making a longer trip. When you go by folks in the freeway that know what the car is, it is fun to see the look on their face.

  7. Bob says:

    CONGRATS Monica… know you will enjoy driving the LEAF.. I was lucky enough to get to drive one when the ‘tour’ came to Colorado.. enjoy every mile..

    Bob

  8. Monica, check out the range chart on my website, http://www.LoveMyLEAF.com, that you can download in a PDF file, and print out and keep in your car. It will help you with “the math”.

    San Diego LEAF drivers will meet at the Hamburger Factory this Saturday, Jan 7, 2012, at 9am – 12 noon. Lots of guests to speak on the DC fast chargers.

    Tony

  9. Dave says:

    Glad you love your Leaf! My year to date stats for 2011; 11,615.6 miles, 3132 Kwh, $322.28 in electricity. i also have a Prius. Date that Prius exceed $322 in gas last year; April 18th!!

    Continue to enjoy your Leaf, i love the upbeat on your article!

  10. Curt says:

    As a fellow Leafer, I enjoyed your prose. Out in San Bernardino my Leaf seems to be invisible to the folks out here, but that is okay. I’m averaging about 2.6 cents/mile off the grid.

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