The untimely end of OB-8

On Saturday, September 26th my mom was driving her little blue 2013 Nissan Leaf (OB-8) that she leased on July 2013. An SUV didn’t see her and decided to merge into her lane. The most important part of OB-8’s job was to keep her safe and it did just that.


She was unhurt from the accident, she was sad for her little blue Leaf, but in good spirits at her getting through the accident physically unscathed.

Longtime readers of the blog remember welcoming mom to the rEVolution. And like many EV drivers, once you go EV, it’s hard to go back.

On initial review, The damage did not look that bad.


The wheel and tire looked like goners, but looks like it could be repaired or replaced.


The passenger side looked relatively unscathed. However, between the damage to the car and the depreciated value of the 2013 Leaf, the insurance company declared the car a total loss.


More shots of the car from the passenger side.


The charge port door was stuck.


Close up of the charge port door.



The battery is still in good condition, or at least it still kept its charge.


Thus, with 17,893 miles in a little over 2 years, we had to say goodbye to OB-8, Mom’s Ocean Blue 2013 Leaf.

Mom leased OB-8 and the residual value on the statement was about $6,300 more than what the adjuster had valued the car for. We initially were wondering whether Nissan would allow us to apply the $5,000 price reductions that 2013 Leaf lessors were offered a few months ago as a totaled car is effectively bought out.

Luckily, Nissan had Gap Insurance on the car, so she just had to pay her deductible and was able to walk away from the car. Had she purchased the car and not purchased this insurance, she would have been liable for this shortfall on a loan.


The 2016 Leaf with 6 kWh more in the SV and SL packages seem to be a no brainier, but there are definitely more options. Though mom originally wanted to be able to DC fast charge she only did one DCFC and that was when I trained her on using the CHAdeMO.

So, what’s next? Stay tuned. We’re checking out alternates for her, too bad the Model 3 or Bolt EV isn’t out yet. However, it’s a good thing I started test driving new EV choices during National Drive Electric Week 2015, but that’s another post.

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.

Follow up to the City of Industry Metrolink charging stations, and uncovering a hidden EV benefit for a select few.

So, it would seem that the 32 charging stations at the City of Industry Metrolink station is a great benefit for some Metrolink commuters around the City of Industry.

Sure, the station is closed on the weekends (from 7:30 pm Friday until approximately 5:00am Monday) which is a schedule that I have found to be irksome.  But apparently, after digging through some articles and being made aware of a program by Puente Hills Nissan’s Internet Sales Director specifically geared for Metrolink commuters of that same station.  The City of Industry and Metrolink are looking to support some folks into switching their vehicles to some Nissan Leafs.

A parking lot of EV chargers on a late Friday afternoon (closes at 7:30 pm)





These chargers were announced (and looked to be available) about a year ago as evidenced by a couple of articles on from last year as well as a related article on the local paper, San Gabriel Valley Tribune.  It’s a rather impressive PV installation and the Accidentally Environmental in me commends them on it.  However, what really is striking is the incentive that Metrolink and the City of Industry has done since installing the PVs last year.

What is the incentive?  An additional subsidy on top of the Federal and California rebates directly available to 28 commuters (initially) from the City of Industry station.  Additionally, these 28 commuters will receive RESERVED parking at the station (the EV chargers will then be charging each of their Leafs whilst they commute onward in the Metrolink Trains.  The article from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune does a better job than I in writing this subsidy.  Additionally, the direct program information can be found at their website

For the financial aspects of the program, this is what I gleamed.  There is an initial purchase rebate for $2,000 toward the initial capital reduction of the lease PLUS $125 a month for 24 months off the lease price for a Nissan Leaf from three participating dealers (so if you use the station to commute to Los Angeles for 24 months, you get $3,000 over the whole 24 months as Metrolink and the City of Industry will pay for a good chunk of your lease.)  This is a total $5,000 savings in addition to the Federal and State incentives (if you lease for 3 years.)  I suggest that those that travel to Los Angeles from the City of Industry apply for this program and join the rEVolution!  (I did not factor in the approximately $220 per month price for a monthly pass from the City of Industry to Los Angeles that an eligible commuter is ALREADY PAYING FOR as that is still required to participate in this program.)

If you are eligible for this program, I can tell you that in my experience – AVOID Puente Hills Nissan.  Their pricing and tactics more than make up for this $125 difference and you’re better off trying to get the vehicle elsewhere.  I went to Puente Hills Nissan under the AAA (American Automobile Association) program and found their prices to be grossly inflated compared to others that participate in the AAA program.  Additionally, the gentleman that I worked with (the Assistant Internet Director) was constrained by “dealership policy” into including a $1,995 “”Multi-Shield Protection Package”” that is NOT optional for vehicles obtained at this dealership (oh, I was lucky, as an AAA member, I got a discount off this unnecessary ad-on that dropped the price to $1,495.)  Even if they did not add this “Multi-Shield Protection Package”, their pricing would have still been over $2,000 for the car.  Guess what, this option DOES eat into whatever savings you would have had with this rebate by getting a Leaf from any other location.  There are two other dealerships listed for this Metrolink program and I have no experience with either of them (Empire Nissan and Fontana Nissan).  Since we were not eligible for this program, we did get a deal from Nissan of Duarte that was approximately $4,000 less than the aforementioned dealer with less attitude.  Additionally, looking through the eligibility for the program, it looks like an individual CAN choose a different dealership and the program will reimburse the $2,000 down-payment that they would have provided to the three dealerships.

Now, if only Metrolink and the City of Industry would leave the parking lot available to the EV community over the weekend for those that need a Level 2 charge when the trains are not running.  Luckily the Diamond Bar SCAQMD is open, but that’s up a hill and further from the freeway.