Thankful… and the reason, I haven’t been posting as much…

It’s Thanksgiving Day. The day that Americans post their thoughts on things that they’re grateful for.

Two years ago, I wrote an EV Thanksgiving post focused on all the EV choices that we get in California. Since then several other models have been introduced, with the latest one being the Tesla Model X.

Another thing I can be thankful for is the safe, little EV that my mom was drving that met its untimely demise when an SUV merged into her. It did its job and protected her through the whole process and reminds me that i have to re-emerge from the cocoon I’ve been in and help her find a new EV to replace little OB-8.

I’ve been very busy lately and have started, but not finished a few blog posts that have not seen the light of day.

  • Namely a draft of my Tesla Model S 70D experience (it’s what we drove from SoCal to the Bay Area in September for the Model X Launch party.
  • A draft of my month of driving a Tesla Model S P85, P85+, P85D, and 70D in the same month.
  • and so much more… I’ll get to it… eventually.

So, loyal readers, what have I been up to?

A few months ago, I was approached and engaged by EV Connect, Inc. an EV Charging Solution provider [since I started writing this on Thanksgiving Day, I didn’t get formal approval to release my client’s name, so withheld for now] to assist them to manage and file a submission to design, construct, manage, maintain, analyze, and report on the nine electric charging highway corridors that the State of California, via the California Energy Commission (CEC), has decided to fund in its 2012 agreement with the states of Oregon and Washington, along with the province of British Columbia to create the West Coast Electric Highway. It’s been a fun three months of working in a field that I’ve grown into.

As many long-time readers can attest, I really “fell into” this industry and I really enjoy transitioning from a consumer to hopefully a professional in this field. I am thankful for that client and truly hope that we “win” the bid from the CEC for GFO 15-601 (which was due yesterday at 3pm.)

Since, I didn’t get a release from my client, I won’t give out the details of the proposal, but can at least talk about the CEC grant.  I can say that the approach we took gave due consideration to light duty electric vehicle drivers traveling these routes.  It wasn’t that long ago I was driving an 80-100 mile EV with no DCFC capability. (I miss my Active E.)

The CEC identified 9 highway corridors that are in need of additional DC Fast charging (DCFC or CHAdeMO and/or SAE-Combo/CCS.)

The corridors identified by the CEC are:

  1. I-5: Oregon Border to Red Bluff
  2. I-5: South of Red Bluff to North of Sacramento
  3. SR 99: South of Sacramento to North of Fresno
  4. SR 99: Fresno to North of Wheeler Ridge
  5. US 101: San Jose to Buellton
  6. I-5: Wheeler Ridge to Santa Clarita
  7. I-5: San Clemente to Oceanside
  8. SR 99: South of Red Bluff to North of Sacramento
  9. I-5: South of Sacramento to North of Wheeler Ridge

These nine corridors had differing distances, budgets, and preferred number of chargers to install. The first seven were required to have both CHAdeMO and CCS for the equipment to be proposed and the last two were secondary and required CHAdeMO only, though preferred a combo CHAdeMO and CCS, but the budgets were also very tight.

We had several months to find site sponsors, get equipment quotes, find construction partners, obtain additional funds, start the process to participate in the WCEH, and approach other constituents.

As a rEVolutionary, I am glad to see the expansion of the ability of light duty electric vehicles (your approx 80-100 mile range EVs in the parlance of the CEC proposal) to traverse the North-South corridors of California and eventually connect with Oregon, Washington, and beyond, but as a participant in the process, I’m biased. And hope that EV Connect, Inc. [name retracted for now, the awesome folks who hired me to work with them and get our bid in to fruition] win this bid!

I truly am happy and thankful. Hopefully by this time next year, we’re well on our way to having this DC Fast Charge network being completed to get mom in her replacement light duty electric vehicle able to fast charge from the LA Area to wherever North or South she wants to head to… ’cause my input was to ensure that folks like her can travel these distances comfortably without getting stranded… So, fingers crossed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Update to CHAdeMO Instructions and Review – Efacec and Greenlots Combo CHAdeMO/CCS

My original instructional post for using CHAdeMO only covered two different CHAdeMO chargers. The Eaton and the Nissan CHAdeMO chargers. Yesterday, I found a combination CHAdeMO/CCS charger from Efacec (the Evapower EV QC 50) at the ARTIC, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.


I first noticed the ARTIC from the side of the 57 freeway as I zoomed by on my way home. It is a strangely modern piece of architecture on the same exit as “the Pond” and Angel Stadium. As we passed it on that first drive and on every subsequent drive since then, my wife and I often wondered what it was. It looked like a Disneyland monorail station, except Disneyland was several miles away from the sporting venues in Anaheim.

In preparing to write this update on how to charge using the equipment at this location, I ran into several links about the site that was not very positive about this $189 Million Transit hub.  From OC Weekly when it first opened.  To an LA Times review a week later.  To an update on its operational challenges from the OC Register, half a year later.  Regardless of what the critics may say about this location.  Many of what used to be free to charge CHAdeMO L3 chargers have now been converted to paid use and it is comforting to still have options that currently do not charge for the privilege to charge at higher rates of speed.



As mentioned, this particular DC Quick Charger is a combination CHAdeMO/CCS charger. What this means is that there are two different “heads” to the Quick Charger, the CHAdeMO one which the Mitsubishi iMiEV , Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla Model S (with an adapter) uses, and a CCS (AKA the “Frankenplug”.) The CCS one is what the BMW i3, Chevy Spark, and others use.


The CHAdeMO is the one on the left and CCS is the one on the right.

In my original post, I had yet to use a CHAdeMO that has been converted to a pay system. During our trip to Vermont, we actually used a couple of Nissan CHAdeMOs that have been converted to a pay system and require an RFID and payment to charge.  However, we lucked out when the NRG eVgo CHAdeMO was still in its introductory free period.

In addition to an RFID Card, the Efacec system at ARTIC also uses the Greenlots App to initiate the charging session. However, there are a few strange things about this particular location. Though there are few Greenlots locations on the map, this particular one does not show up in it.

Since the system has two ports, there is a set of CHAdeMO and a set of CCS instructions.


We’ll be following the CHAdeMO instructions.


So, aside from downloading the App before charging at this location, I went ahead and followed most of the instructions and steps that I wrote in my original guide.

We pick up at Step 5, we still need to make sure to follow Step 4 and align the notches appropriately, it won’t fit otherwise.

Step 5 is to mate the CHAdeMO to the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.

So, on the Efacec L3 charger, it looks like this.


Like the Nissan CHAdeMO adapter, make sure to pull the trigger on the Efacec CHAdeMO to secure the piece to the adapter. Now, with these App initiated.

Step 6 is to plug the Adapter to the Model S. Here is the Efacec CHAdeMO pictured:


It looks similar to how the Eaton sits on the Model S.  I use the cable to push the Model S to CHAdeMO adapter up so that the weight is on the CHAdeMO cable rather than pulling on the Model S port.


Now where we differ from the original steps come in a new Step 7.  Now with this new step, all the other steps get pushed back one.

Step 7 is to authenticate with the charging network.  With this Greenlots App, I scanned the QR Code on the charger. If we had the RFID card, you just swipe it. Additionally, it seems that there is also a Credit Card reader built-in to the charger. However, since this location is free, I chose the QR code method.


Step 8 is to start the charge. With the method I chose, the Greenlots App shows a virtual button to choose which port to initiate charge with. So, I started the charge for the CHAdeMO, which is on Port 1.


Aside from starting it from the App, the charger still presents the user with a physical button to complete the charge initiation on the Efacec charger. The soft button on the upper right becomes a START button.


Step 9 Go back to the car or go about your business, but put a note on the car if you do leave so that anyone who needs to use the charger can contact you.  If you choose a note, let me recommend the EV Card from Plug In America or Jack Brown’s Take Charge and Go tags. Additionally, I would recommend checking into Plugshare so that anyone looking at the location remotely will know that someone is charging, at the moment. On the display of the charger you will notice that the battery capacity and start of charge shows up.


Green light on the Model S chargeport tells you that the car is charging.


If you go back to the car, you will notice the charge speed of CHAdeMO. As opposed to the Eaton and Nissan chargers, the Efacec at this location was providing me with 152 to 156 miles per hour. I forgot to photograph the screen on the Model S, but I did take a photograph of the charger display before it completed.


There is no estimate of how long the charging will take, but it does show the elapsed time charging, the amount of energy provided to the car and the car battery’s state of charge (SOC) percentage in real time.

The Greenlots app does a funny thing somewhere around the 30 minute mark, the app does not provide the status of the current charging session.  Before the 30 minute mark, it actually provides a snapshot of the charging session that is anywhere from most current status to as dated as a few minutes (it batch updates).  When it does provide this status, I believe that I saw it provide for a method to STOP charging from their app.  However, after the 30 minute mark, the session disappears from the app.  In order to stop the charging session, one needs to press any of the buttons on the charger directly.

Since no one was waiting, and I was just hanging out at the car, I figured to get it close to full.

Step 10 When done using the charger, press the STOP button


When I press one of the buttons and the stop is displayed, the screen goes from black to white. I figured to wait until I got to 47 minutes of charging.


Then press the Stop button (the upper left soft-key).

If you press that button the screen updates itself, first with the following “Ending Process message”.


Then the charge ended by user message.


Since I registered for an account, I actually receive an email and text message with the charging sessions statistics, cost, kWh, and time at charger.

From: “”
To: {Me, the Happy Greenlots user}
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 5:18 PM
Subject: Unplug / Charging Ends

Your vehicle has stopped charging at 43100, ARTIC. You have used 29.61 kWh for 0 hour(s) 47 minute(s).

Billing Details

Sale Amount : 0.00 USD
Tax & Fee : 0.00 USD
Transaction Charge : 0.00 USD
Total Cost : 0.00 USD

Thank you
The Greenlots Team

Step 11 Detach the Adapter from the charger’s CHAdeMO cable.

The Efacec CHAdeMO is similar to the Nissan charger in that there is a button on top to detach it from the Model S cable.

Step 12 Return the cable back to its proper location.


Step 13 Return your CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter back to your car and drive off.


If you’re interested in more pictures of the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter, here’s my flickr stream. And if you’re looking for the instructions of the same things on a Nissan or Eaton Charger, here is the link to the original instructional post for using CHAdeMO that I wrote a few months back.


Since this is a combo CHAdeMO/CCS station, I don’t know if it is one of those sites that only lets one car use the DCFC on EITHER the CHAdeMO or CCS OR if it is one that lets two cars use both at the same time. No one else showed up while I was there the 47 or so minutes at the site. The only other EV was a Leaf that was using the L2 J1772 stations that were next to the DCFC (pictured in the background below.)


Something to see some other time. Seeing that many of the DCFC are available for at least $5 to initiate charge, I probably will only use this “in a pinch.”

Preparing for a cross-country EV trip

So, you probably were wondering why I haven’t been posting much lately…

Well, if you follow me on Twitter, you would’ve realized that I had been on a Tesla Motors Model S powered roadtrip from Southern California to the East Coast…

Starting tomorrow, 9am Pacific (12 noon Eastern, 5pm BST, 6pm CET), I will be releasing a post on what I call “pseudo-real-time” basis.

Basically, I had drafted a bunch of posts that are set to publish four weeks from the time that the actual day “happened”.

However, the focus of today’s post is the subject of what things did we do before we even rolled off from home to go East.

1) Get a check up from Tesla.

A few weeks prior to the start of the trip, we had Tesla give the car a look over and verify its “road worthiness”. The car was around 36,000 miles at the time and some of the tires may need to be replaced, so it was a good idea to have them check it out.

It turned out that one of the tires did need to be replaced (this is one of those things that Teslas do go through a lot (a lot more for 21″ wheels and P series Models S).)

So, we took the opportunity to do the thing that is an option for Single Drive Model S models.

2) We bought a spare wheel and tire.


And put one of the “old tires” in the frunk. Basically, we replaced the one tire that needed to be replaced and had them install that in the rear. The OTHER rear tire is the brand new wheel and tire, and the remaining tire with good tread was moved in the frunk. The two front tires had good and even treadwear to each other, so the tires were “somewhat” balanced (in terms of treadwear, etc.) so we left those in place in the front.

The service center put the spare in a plastic bag to protect the frunk, but during our trip, and many a down-time at a supercharger, we found out that we could also pick up the very stylish Tesla Tire Tote

Even though Tesla has a “loaner” program for tires that could be deployed by its fleet of third-party tow trucks to a Tesla owner that is in “tire distress”, we’ve found that all the “loaners” could be all deployed in a high density area such as Southern California, nor did we trust that this program may be in place in long stretches of “somewhat Tesla rare” Wyoming or South Dakota. So, it was “insurance” for the trip and the future. Besides, a larger frunk is an advantage that Rear Wheel drive Model S has over our Dual Drive younger brethren.

3) Scheduled bill payments.

4) Stopped mail delivery.

5) Arranged for someone to check on the house.

6) Notified our neighbors to keep an eye on the house (and let them know that someone will be coming by sporadically.)

7) Book several hotels in advance so that one has a goal and lodging already set up.

8) Pack all “extra” charging adapters.

We bought a CHAdeMO adapter, our JESLA (which we bought for the Roadster and Active E) but is basically a Model S Universal Mobile Connector with a J1772 head, instead of a Model S head. NEMA 6-50 adapter (because we have one) as well as spare NEMA 14-50 and NEMA 5-15 connectors.

9) Even a “really long” 120V extension cord, “just in case”.

Because you don’t want to have to stretch the connector like we did with our Active E, back when we first got it.

Visiting family with our new @BMWActiveE and using the included Level 1 charger stretched to the limit!

So, do yourself a favor and bring a LONG high gauge external extension cord.

(and here’s a picture with two extremes of “charging” L1 100 foot, 12 gauge extension cord (rated to 15Amps) and a L3 CHAdeMO adapter for the Model S)


That’s it… We feel that we’re prepared and our daily posts from four weeks ago will start publishing starting tomorrow.

Enjoy our ride.

Go on to the first day of the trip.

CHAdeMO to Tesla Model S charging adapter – Instructions and Review

A little over a year ago, I put my name on the waitlist for the CHAdeMO to Tesla Model S adapter. At the time, I was unsure whether I would need it or want it, but thought it would be good to get the option. At the time, Tesla wanted around $1,000 for the adapter, and it was very pricey. I figured that I could always turn it down when my number came up.

Well… Something happened between then and now.

Tesla dropped the price and my number was called. So… We said, “what the heck.”

Tesla does such a great job with the packaging for their accessories:



Tesla’s instructions are elegantly presented in the following pictograph:

CHAdeMO to Model S Instruction

Being a technical person, I found these pictographs to be well done and quite easy to follow. Now, I’m unsure whether they’re great fro non-technical people, but between this pictograph and the one provided for the Premium Rear Console, I have to tip my hat off to Tesla for providing very easy to follow instructions.

Step 1 is to order the product on the website.  Be aware that (at least in the United States) there is a waitlist (as of March 23, 2015).  When your number is called, you have to make the decision whether to order it or not.

Step 2 is to receive the box

Step 3 is to open the box, it’s nicely packed with the pictograph instructions above.

So, how do we use the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter? Well, it depends on which CHAdeMO L3 Charger you’re using.  I chose to try the adapter with an Eaton CHAdeMO charger and a Nissan CHAdeMO charger because the two locations that I identified currently provide the charging without a fee.  Many of the Nissan CHAdeMOs have been converted to a pay system and require an RFID and payment to charge.  I have not yet used one of these.

Step 4 Attach the CHAdeMO cable from the L3 charger to the Adapter.

Make sure to align the notches appropriately, it won’t fit otherwise.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


[Update as of 2015-07-15, wrote a post for the Efacec (the Evapower EV QC 50) that forks off the instructions from here.]

Step 5 is to mate the CHAdeMO to the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


Seat the Eaton CHAdeMO to the Adapter and make sure that it is secure.

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured


make sure to pull the trigger on the Nissan CHAdeMO to secure the piece to the adapter.

Step 6 is to plug the Adapter to the Model S.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured


Step 7 is to press start on the CHAdeMO Charger to initiate the charge.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured


It’s the blue START button, I forgot to take a picture of me pressing the button.

Step 8 Go back to the car or go about your business, but put a note on the car if you do leave so that anyone who needs to use the charger can contact you. Better yet, if you choose a note, let me recommend the EV Card from Plug In America or Jack Brown’s Take Charge and Go tags. Additionally, I would also recommend checking into Plugshare so that anyone looking at the location remotely will know that someone is charging, at the moment.

If you go back to the car, you will notice the charge speed of CHAdeMO

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO charging the Model S pictured

From the Model S:


From the Eaton CHAdeMO’s display:


One of the things that you will notice that is different between the Eaton and the Nissan CHAdeMO station is that the Eaton provides an estimate of how long the charge will take to full. The Nissan one that I have found do not do the same.

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO charging the Model S pictured

From the Model S:


From the Nissan CHAdeMO’s display:


Step 9 When done using the charger, press the STOP button

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured


Step 10 Detach the Adapter from the charger’s CHAdeMO cable.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


[I don’t remember if there was a button, but some of them do… press that to release.]

Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured

Step 10A Slide the Grey lock away from the handle


Step 10B Press the black button on “top” of the CHAdeMO cable. Make sure to be ready to catch the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter.


Step 11 Return the cable back to its proper location.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured


Step 12 Return your CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter back to your car and drive off.


If you’re interested in more pictures of the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter, here’s my flickr stream.

So, is the adapter worth $1,000? I probably wouldn’t have bought it for that much. However, since they dropped the price to $450, it came down to a price that is less than Henry Sharp’s CAN Adapters for the Roadster.

How useful is it? Well, on a recent trip to San Diego, I found a Nissan dealership (Pacific Nissan in Mission Bay) that allowed me to use their CHAdeMO. This is useful as Tesla has not completed the build out of the Supercharger down to San Diego. The nearest one is the San Juan Capistrano, one that is reported to be very busy with the seven SC stalls at the location.

Thanks for the quick charge @PacificNissan, you're a credit to the #EV community.  Letting a @TeslaMotors Model S charge!



It was quite useful since I arrived in the Mission Bay area about thirty minutes earlier than I expected to. I’m not sure how often I will need to use the adapter, but at $450, it was at a price point that is intriguing. The product is well-built, well documented, and works. Charging adapters are priceless when you need them in an emergency. There’s nothing more embarrassing than running out of charge.

Elon may think that the recently announced 6.2 firmware will end range anxiety, but I find the ability to charge at any rate is comforting. Even 110V at 3 miles per hour could work, in a pinch. But 130+ miles an hour over CHAdeMO is a bit better than 3 miles per hour.

First CHAdeMO quick charge

Regular readers will be stunned to see the term CHAdeMO pop up in a post on is site. After all, neither the Active E, Tesla Roadster, and, currently, the Model S have no CHAdeMO enabled. However, those aren’t the only electric vehicles in the family.

So, this past Satuday, my mom came over to visit us in her 2013 Nissan Leaf SV. Aside from Familial bonding and her visit to her favorite (son she would say, child I would say) this was a weekend of EV training and getting the information needed to see if she should go Solar at her home.

Step one in any decision to go Solar is to gather your bills to get an idea of what your consuming in energy. And we’re definitely still on the first phase of her Solar journey. We’ll revisit that later.

When we got her 2013 Nissan Leaf SV last year, one of the main drivers for her was the availability of the DC Quick Charging for the car. However, after over eight months of driving her OB-8, she has yet to use the CHAdeMO in her car. As I’ve mentioned before, for a Granny her age, she’s fairly technical. She carries an Android phone, uses some Apps and is quite adept at some of the things that she has on her Android (this is actually her second Android phone. Her first was the G1.)

So, why has she not charged via CHAdeMO? Well, it’s because most of her driving in her Leaf has been well within the range of a J1772 outlet. She hasn’t been in a rush to get charged up. She still has her ICE minivan and is quite comfortable living with a hybrid garage. Additionally, many of the CHAdeMO stations in the LA area have converted from being free to use to a minimum of $5 usage (for the Blink Network ones).

Luckily, we live near the Mitsubishi North American Headquarters and were able to train her on how to use the CHAdeMO charger there.



Granted that this unit is not the most common one out there, but it served its purpose and was free to use. In order to maximize the time spent charging her Leaf. We spent the day drawing the range down until we went to use the station.

This particular location usually has a wait and there was a gentleman finishing up his Leaf charge as we arrived and it provided a good amount of time to re-initiate my mom on charging etiquette and Plugshare. So, checked into the location and proceeded to train the use of the CHAdeMO station.

This was the first time I’ve used CHAdeMO and have to say that it is rather straight-forward, however we had to make sure certain things “clicked” in place rather than the relative ease that Tesla Superchargers work. But nothing that was critically flawed. I was confused, at first, with having to pull the lever down to lock the port in place, but it was good exercise to do so and the unit was smart enough to tell me when it was properly connected.


While waiting for the car to charge, I spotted the Plug-In Hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander that Nicolas Zart had written about. Based on the color of the one I saw at the Mitsubishi parking lot, I’m certain it is the same one.



Filler Doors on both sides…



One nit about the Leaf Charging under CHAdeMO is the fact that the only indicator I have on the car that told me how long is the three blue dots on the dashboard. Luckily, the Eaton L3 CHAdeMO station has a screen in front that pretty much gives the user an idea of what percentage of the battery has been filled. It’s definitely not as fast as the Tesla Supercharger, but then again, nothing really is. It’s my understanding that CHAdeMO is actually going to be faster than CCS, so, why again are the other manufacturers installing a whole different standard than one that is already widely deployed? Would I have paid $5 for CHAdeMO? If I was travelling, probably, but being so close to home and having solar on the roof, it’s cheaper for me to just plug in L2. However, for the insurance it provides to have my mother with the ability to recover energy quickly, it’s definitely an option that’s been worth it. Even though it took eight months before we finally used one for her Leaf.

Even grandmothers can be rEVolutionary! (or Welcome mom to the rEVolution!)

As long-time readers have noticed, I’ve been testing a lot of other EVs in preparation of for being forced to handing in my Active E at the end of the two year close end lease.

Aside from the Tesla Model S, which is the current front-runner, I have driven a Chevy Spark EV, Chevy Volt, Coda (no longer being made), Fisker Karma (no longer being made), Ford Focus EV, Honda Fit EV, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and Nissan Leaf.   Well, it would seem that my many other test drives have given way to being used for something other than eliminating other EVs in contention of being my “next” EV.

Let me present you with the latest member to the rEVolution…  My mother…  She’s in her really late 60s (not really, she’s older than that) and was convinced by the cost of gas and the recent Honda Fit EV promotion to consider moving to an EV for her primary vehicle. She will still be keeping her ICE minivan so that she can run a hybrid garage (like we do) and in the off chance that she has to shuttle her clients with larger families, she can still fit them in her minivan. I fully expect that she will do the thing that most EV drivers do once they get used to their EVs and user her minivan less and less.

Here she is signing taking delivery of OB-8 (Not Obi-Wan, but OB-8), she likes the number eight and OB for Ocean Blue (as well as the rather oblique Star Wars reference.)


The guys at Nissan of Duarte, specifically Jeb Loberiza Martinez (He can be reached directly at (626) 710-8445 or at the dealership at (626) 305-3000), took great care of us on top of getting us the car we wanted at the deal that made sense for us. Though the trim level we originally specified was not at the lot, they were able to trade for it and get us OB-8 with all the important things that we desired. They even delivered the vehicle to her house the next day (as the car had to be brought back from another dealership.) The current lease models that are available for Californians and the lucky few states that these vehicles are available in make it a bargain to jump in and go EV. I am of the belief that folks that are considering jumping into their first EV and are somewhat reluctant should consider a lease to ensure that the lifestyle is for them, if one is fearless OR getting a Model S, then jump right in, the water is fine!

She was committed to getting an EV that on Tuesday of last week, a full two days before we were set to go pick up an EV, we went ahead and ordered an EVSE for her home so that she can charge at 240V (30A) when we get her car. We decided to get her the Aerovironment 30A with removable plug from Amazon because they have a local presence in the Los Angeles area, on the off chance that we would require service in the future.

What were the other candidates for her first EV? We had originally desired the Honda Fit EV. However, as anyone else on these waiting lists can tell you, the chances are slim to none to get the “killer” $259 unlimited mile three year close end lease. With that option practically out, we narrowed down the choice between the Ford Focus EV and the Nissan Leaf SV. Interestingly enough, the evening before we would go and finalize the acquisition of her EV, I got a call from several dealers of the renewed availability of the Chevy Spark EV, and we decided to go ahead and give that a try.

Here is the Spark EV that she tried out




She had a great time driving the Spark EV. She liked the availability of Quick Charging in the future, but we could not get a straight answer from most folks regarding what Chevy meant by “Future Availability” on the 2LT model she was considering. Whether this meant it is because there are no J1772 Frankenplug chargers deployed or whether this is an add-on that would need the car to be brought back to add when the faster J1772 Frankenplug becomes deployed. In the end, this lack of certainty, the charger at 3.3 kw vs. 6.6 kw for the two top contenders, and the lack of a fifth seat eliminated the Chevy Spark EV. All was not lost however as we found a very helpful gentleman from the Glendora Chevrolet Internet Sales Department, Roy Schafhuizen (909) 636-6700. He was very attentive and communicative. He would be a good person to see if one is in the market for a Chevy Spark EV or a Chevy Volt. He was not an expert on the Spark EV, but he was ready, and willing to help us.

With that welcome distraction out of the way, we soldiered on and had to decide between our two finalists. In the discussions with my mom, it seems that the access to a faster charger is very important. My mother is a realtor and she also requires seating for at least five, so that eliminated the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, though out of all the models that we drove, she was most comfortable in its simplicity and seats. It reminded her of the minivans that she has been driving for decades. She actually is rather nervous and does not like proximity keys. She would much rather have a physical key to insert and turn in place of the start button. So this desire for a “standard” key would’ve eliminated both the Focus EV and the Leaf. Luckily, this factor came to pass.

The aesthetics of the Focus EV appealed to mom because it looked “like a normal car.”



Additionally, she enjoyed the storage space in the Focus EV and “felt” that it held more cargo than the Leaf, though I would think that this is actually not the case.


Lastly, Ford was a brand that she was very comfortable with. She felt that they are trustworthy. Additionally, even with all the problems that I’ve had with MY Ford Focus EV experience, we finally found a Ford dealership in Southern California to recommend to potential EV buyers. The Internet sales team at Advantage Ford in Duarte were knowledgeable and helpful. I especially appreciate both Tom Grossman (626) 358-5171 and Sarah Ocampo at (626) 305-9188 and both can be reached at (626) 359-9689. The team was very easy to work with and nothing is more telling on how a car dealership treats is customers than when one brings in a 60+ year old woman to the dealership lot to purchase a vehicle. They were a pleasure to work with, and had mom decided on the Ford Focus EV, they would’ve won our business. Alas it was not the case and they get honorable mention and our recommendation should you be in the Southern California area shopping for a Ford Focus EV.

What was against the Nissan Leaf for mom. She didn’t like the “Christmas Tree” rear light set-up. She felt the car was too futuristic looking. In the end, those things didn’t matter, because to off-set the aesthetic things she didn’t like, she really liked the Ocean Blue color of OB-8.

So, how did mom choose her 2013 Nissan Leaf SV. Aside from price. It really had to do with several items.

1) The Nissan Leaf has been produced for three years and she felt more comfortable with the track record that Nissan has had in its EV sales leadership. The Chevy Volt was eliminated earlier on as this was going to be one of two cars and she can choose to go ICE on an as needed basis (also the seating for four is a deal breaker.) She remembered that over two decades ago we had good experience with a Nissan Sentra hatchback in the family and was made more comfortable in this knowledge.

2) Nissan’s recent upgrade to 6.6kw in the 2013 model made it a “push” vs. the Ford Focus Electric. (This 6.6kw base charge was also the reason for the Nissan Leaf SV vs. the Nissan Leaf S.)

3) The increasing availability of CHAdeMO chargers in the Southern California basin (even at Blink’s expensive $5 proposition) gives her the comfort of being able to get to the required charge quickly.

4) The storage for the Leaf is less than her minivan, but still felt like she can carry enough of what she would do so on a daily basis.

5) She loves how quiet and smooth the ride was (then again she noticed this on ALL the EVs that she test drove.)

6) For me, I wanted to ensure that she got Carwings with her EV.  She uses an Android phone and is quite technical, so it is important for me that she is able to communicate with her car on state of charge and the cabin cooling features that are available only on Carwings enabled Nissans.

So, why did we go to Nissan of Duarte. Quite simply, the customer service and attentiveness of Jep Loberiza Martinez (who can be reached directly at (626) 710-8445 or at the dealership at (626) 305-3000). As far as the pricing went, they also beat the prices of about three other dealerships that we had visited AND they went to look for the specific trim that we wanted. I can only mention the relative displeasure I’ve had in dealing with Glendale Nissan and Puente Hills Nissan. It is a pity that she does not commute to Los Angeles from the City of Industry Metrolink station, otherwise we could have used the rebate and other items that folks get from that specific location. The folks at Hooman Nissan in Long Beach were very good, but did not have the trim that we wanted and the price was higher than Duarte.

Nissan of Duarte found us the all important Ocean Blue color and the SV with the Quick Charge and LED Headlights without the Premium Package (Mom did not need, nor want the 360 view camera and upgraded stereo system (and thus the expense of such an option.)) Additionally, as of the writing of this post, several days later, Jeb not only delivered the car to her at her home, he also came back to give her some valuable training to familiarize her with specific relating to her car.

So, please welcome my mom and OB-8 to the EV community.

Here’s a link to more photos


Since she intends on using public charging, I gave my mother some quick EV training tips, including setting her up on a Chargepoint account, requesting a Blink Network account, as well as train her on Plugshare. We drove around having her plug into a Chargepoint chargers with her Fob as well as the Clipper Creek and Aerovironment fob-less chargers that are around as well. We visited the nearest Quick Charger to her home (less than six miles away) and showed her the difference in the two ports, as we were close to 90% at the time, we opted not to throw $5 to Blink to get use the CHAdeMO, but intend to have her get a quick charge at some point. Most importantly, I have also armed her with the requisite EV card from Plug-In America and explained to her the protocol that we all use for that as well as teach her how to check into Plugshare when one is using a public charger.


So, hopefully you will give her a friendly welcome as she and OB-8 drive around Southern California with the smooth, silent drive of an EV and to prove that even grandmothers can be rEVolutionary!

Charge It! – Great food near public chargers #5 in an ongoing series – Mateo Street – East side of Downtown Los Angeles, CA (Arts District)

This update on Charge It! is a case of great food and Leaf/MiEV – CHAdeMO – Level 3 (L3) envy…


Well, I love my ActiveE.  It gets me almost everywhere.  However, since the J1772 Level 3 standard is yet to be published, BMW released the car with Level 1 and Level 2 charging capability.  Level 3 gets most L3 capable cars to 80% state of charge (SOC) in 30 minutes.  Yes, you read correctly, you get up to 80% of your range in 30 minutes.  Mitsubishi and Nissan support a Japanese standard called CHAdeMO.  BMW, GM and others all decided to go with extending the J1772 format for L3 and that is not quite done yet.

Lucky for you that the food at Church and State is SO great and the wine selection is SO good that you want to stick around for several hours ANYWAY to wait for the L2 charger to finish.

So, what makes it Great! It’s definitely the food in one of the best French Bistro’s in Los Angeles.

We started our meal with the Beef Marrow and Bread. It was AWESOME.

Moelle de Bœuf - Marrow

Moelle de Bœuf - Bread

You get some of the marrow and spread it on your bread and munch. No need for the butter, also as you can tell, it’s definitely carnivore food for that course!

To go with the Moelle de Boeuf, I went with the Tarte Flambee and it was a very good flat bread.

Tarte Flambée 2

Since we were dining in the summer and it was a nice, hot day, figured a Riesling was in order and the one recommended by the Sommelier was very refreshing.

A nice summer Riesling

For our Mains we went with Scallops and Pork, the other white meat. Both were exquisite! I ordered the Pork, but swapped meals with the better half!…

Scallops, Potato Strings and Asparagus

Roasted Pork and Figs

The scallop was tender and plump. It went well with the wine that we chose as well the asparagus on the plate. The Better half let me take a bite of her, formerly my, pork dish and that was great! The Figs and Pork made great accompaniment with each other.

The dessert was scrumptious. We chose a nice, sweet chocolate tarte and paired it with a glass of the 2005 Prieure D’Arche Pugneau Sauternes that was on the menu.

Tarte for Dessert 2

I would say that Church and State rivals another of my favorite French Bistros in Southern California and gives Bouchon in Beverly Hills a run for its money.

Now the negatives, the Sommelier was very good and helpful, however, our server was not as interested in taking care of us.  The restaurant had a lot of people, however, the restaurant also had adequate staff to cover all tables. Our server had a disinterested demeanor about her when she did get around to following up with us. Luckily, it’s a French bistro, so such behavior makes me think of other bistros I have been to in Paris…  Wait, that’s not right, I’ve had better, attentive service in Paris.

However, the biggest negative for me is really the location. It’s on the scary Arts District on the way East side of Downtown Los Angeles. Fine in the summer, really dark in the Fall/Winter. The neighborhood directly between the restaurant and charging station parking lot is well lit, but the rest is really dodgy.

Here is the Google Map to the restaurant

View Larger Map

Here is the Google Map to the Parking Lot, it’s across the street from the restaurant.

View Larger Map

That being said, Church and State does have great food, well-lit blocks between it and the parking spot and charging stations. The parking spot is $5 to park, lots of ample parking on the street for free. Blink Network chargers and this was free to charge at the time that I used it, however, a lot of these have gone to whatever plan you’ve signed up for with Blink!

Coming up next on the blog will be my post on Real Goods Solar and how they won my business from Solar City with the partnership with BMW and good timing on the deal announcement as it related to my Solar City installation.  I’m figuring out my math (and getting a whole new napkin to do that calculations with.)