Public Charging Stations in Ottawa. Finally!

When we first got our Leaf a year ago, charging infrastructure in Ottawa was non-existing. The only known “public” Level 2 charging stations in the area were the ones at a public parking lot at Aberdeen Road, but they were all reserved for Adobe employees. One year later, Ottawa is still far behind other municipalities like Montreal and Vancouver, but the situation has improved quite a bit over the summer, culminating on this week’s announcement of a pilot project by Hydro Ottawa and the installation of a public charging station at City Hall.

Here’s the list of all Level 2 public charging stations currently available in Ottawa, in chronological order, plus a little bit of history behind each station. Exact locations can be found in PlugShare.

Place D’Orléans

Place D’Orléans was the first to install a public charging station in Ottawa back in July. The station was a collaboration between the shopping mall and a nearby GM dealer (Myers Orléans), a perfect partnership since the mall can attract EV owners while the dealer can advertise and sell more Chevy Volts. Customers can charge at no cost for up to 2 hours and the parking spot is well marked for Electric Vehicles, with the asphalt painted in green. There are also adjacent spots that can be reached by the charging cord if you get ICE’d (blocked by an Internal Combustion Engine car parked at the EV-only spot).

Algonquin College

It wasn’t until September that we discovered a second public charging station: a ChargePoint station at the Algonquin College at Woodroffe Avenue. It wasn’t clear how long that station had been there, and to this date ChargePoint is yet to show it on its map (I already opened a support ticket with their help desk), but the  station is operational and I already charged there once using my ChargePoint access card (at no cost).

Science and Tech Museum

The Science and Tech Museum is where the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO) meets every month. The museum has always had electrical plugs available for electric cars visiting the museum but they were all 120 V outlets and there were no reserved parking spaces for EVs near these outlets. This changed in October 19th when Sun Country Highway officially unveiled a 90 Amps Level 2 charging station at the museum parking lot. Sun Country Highway donated the station, EVCO provided seed money for the installation, and the museum provided the parking infrastructure and electricity while complementing the installation costs.

Les Galeries de Hull

Les Galleries de Hull officially announced four EV charging stations for clients in October 25th. The stations have been active for testing since October 14th. They are managed by VER network/AddEnergie and require a “ReseauVER” access card, though if you call the number on the station they will activate the charger for you. The status of each station can be seen online at the VER network website, if you have an account. Charging is currently at no cost but this may change in the future.

Mountain Coop Equipment

Four charging stations became available for MEC customers on October 26th after a long period of renovations at the store and at the parking lot. The stations had been covered with black plastic bags for a long time, and we were all curious to know which kind of stations they were, and how many ports they had per stall. We now know these are ChargePoint stations, two J1772 ports per stall, and require a  ChargePoint access card but are free once activated.

City Hall

Hydro Ottawa and the City of Ottawa have started a six-month pilot project to better understand demand and service costs. A Level 2 charging station is available for EV owners at no cost with charging is limited to 2 hours. The Eaton station was unveiled in an event at City Hall with a fair amount of media coverage.

Carrefour du Versant

As I was writing this, someone in PlugShare reported that the first Electric Circuit charging stations in Gatineau are now installed! This was quite a surprise since the estimate Electric Circuit gave me last week was end of November. I’m not sure if they are really online or just put in place. I need to go and check. In any case, it’s a really good addition for us. It’s one of the farthest Level charging station reachable from my house so it will significantly extend my range on trips to the province of Quebec.

In the Horizon…

  • The City of Ottawa has announced plans to upgrade at least two of the existing Level 1 charging outlets at the Goulbourn Recreational Complex to Level 2 stations. Similar charging stations are expected to be installed at the Barrhaven South Recreation Complex currently under construction.
  • The Electric Circuit is making inroads into Ontario, in a partnership with Plug’n Drive. Hydro Ottawa is also involved in the talks since the first roll-out will be in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. We should be hearing more about this early next year.
  • The Electric Circuit is also expecting to install the first DC Quick Chargers next year. I’m hoping they choose highway 40 between Ottawa and Montreal as the first location for deployment, since that will make practical to travel between the two cities.
Advertisements

21,000 Km later

21,000 Km later

We hit 21,000 Km on the Leaf this month and it’s been almost a year since we first took delivery so I thought it would be a good time for a long due update. Overall it’s been a great journey, an incredible experience to be able to drive as much as half the Earth’s circumference without burning any fossil fuel. Not bad for a “range limited” car. So let’s look at the highlights of the experience so far, what went well and the few bumps along the way.

Performance

The Leaf continues to perform like day one. According to the Leaf Range Chart, we’re supposed to have a 2% degradation in battery capacity after 15,000 Km, but that’s something still way to small to be noticeable, and I haven’t noticed any difference really. One of the most recent trips we did was a camping trip, carrying three people, camping gear, a roof rack and a cargo box. We drove 78 Km at speed limit (80 Km/h max) and arrived with 48% of charge left, giving an estimated full range of 162 Km. Temperature was 28 C but dry enough to go without A/C. On a second camping trip, under the same conditions but with A/C on, we drove 122 Km and arrived with 20% of charge left, giving an estimated total range of 152 Km.

Costs

Our hydro bill has gone up $28 a month on average. That’s about half of a gas tank of a Corolla, our second car. The difference is that we drive an average of 1,800 Km a month, mostly in the city, about 1,500 Km more than the Corolla would be able to do with the same amount of money.

In addition, 21,000 Km would require at least 2 oil changes, and the Leaf of course needed none. In total, we spent $326 in home electricity with the Leaf so far. At current gas and oil prices, driving the same distance with the Corolla would have cost us approximately $2,183, resulting in $1,857 of savings. If we add the savings with car insurance (yes, it is cheaper to insure an electric car than it is to insure a regular car), we have saved more than 5% of what we paid for the Leaf. That’s 5% of the full cost of the car recovered in just one year.

Granted, these electricity costs don’t include the charging we’ve done away from home, which were all free. I trickle charge at work, at the Science Museum during our monthly EVCO meetings, and at camping sites when we travel. Most recently, a local shopping mall installed a Level 2 charging station, which is free for customers, and I’ve been there a couple of times. Finally, I also charged at the dealer a few times. It’s very difficult to estimate how much it would cost if I had done *all* the charging at home, but reality is, electricity is  available everywhere and it ends up being provided as a courtesy or as part of a service by businesses, and also as way for employers like IBM to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. I tell my friends at work that even if I tried to squeeze every single kWh from my employer (I don’t) all I would save would be $20 a month in home electricity. It’s just not worth the effort. I only charge to 80% at work, roughly 2 to 3 hours a day mid-peak. The electricity costs for my employer is equivalent to one Tim Hortons coffee a week!

Charging Infrastructure

Since we received the Leaf, there have been two, only two public charging stations installed in Ottawa (Level 2 stations). One by a local shopping mall and another by a local college. That’s about it. Everything else are from dealers, with limited access to non-customers. This is a stark contrast with other municipalities like Montreal and Vancouver. Something really embarrassing for the National Capital. Ontario has also been very slow in developing any program to promote public charging stations, falling behind provinces like BC and Quebec. I was recently interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen about this subject and the article has just been published today.

The Home Charging Station

Not much to say about the AeroVironment home charging station other than it has just worked flawlessly. It is a very straight-forward device so it just sits there, doing its work every night, never letting me down.

Our Leaf recharging at home.

Things that didn’t go very well

There were a couple of recalls and one software update but they were all optional and were able to be scheduled at our own convenience. I did spot one water leak in the trunk, most noticeable after a car wash, but that was also fixed quickly and without any costs. The only mechanical issue I had was when the parking brake woke up stuck at the ON position. The parking brake on the Leaf is electronic, with no physical cables between the parking brake handle and the electric actuator that does the real work. In my case, the light on the parking brake switch started to blink and an alarm started to flash on the display saying “visit dealer”, which wasn’t very helpful since I couldn’t move the car out of the garage.

The “visit dealer” warning

Fortunately Nissan designed an override system to release the parking brake manually, bypassing the electric actuator. The instructions are on the owner’s manual so I won’t go into much details here. After the procedure and I was able to move the car out of the garage and drive it myself to the dealer, despite the audio alarm on the dashboard saying I was driving with the parking brake on. The dealer had to order a new actuator from Toronto, which was shipped overnight. The part was replaced and the car was ready the next morning.

Other than that, there has been absolutely no problem with the power train or anything else mechanic in the car.

Carwings

Carwings has been the only big disappointment of the whole experience so far. It started working well, I was able to review all the telemetry from the car, see the performance statistics, rankings, etc. After a few months the server became very unstable, constantly going down and people on the Leaf community in Canada started to get frustrated. We would constantly lose the ability to communicate with the car via the iPhone app.  The problem was resolved after a lot of complaining, and people were happy again, except that our car would still lose connectivity once in a while. I was also getting gaps in my telemetry, until one day the car stopped sending data completely. It would still download information feeds like Google Maps but would not respond to queries from the iPhone app, send notifications about charging events or upload any telemetry. The issue went all the way to Japan. They collected and analyzed several logs and the conclusion was that they wanted to replace my TCU (Telematics Communication Unit) and have the original one sent to them for analysis. They sent one specialist from Toronto for the operation. They gave me a loaner car and I picked up the Leaf the next day. It felt like a brain transplant but the car was OK.

Carwings connectivity came back online a few hours later and I was able to communicate with the car again. Everything looked ok, emails worked again, until I noticed I was not getting emails for *all* notifications, only for some of them (charging complete events, for example, were never reported). After many back and forth emails with technical support, the problem is yet to be resolved. And things got worse recently when the car stopped uploading telemetry again. So Carwings has been kind of a nightmare. Nissan continues to assure me they’re looking into the issue as hard as they can but I’m yet to see a final resolution. I haven’t heard of any other Leaf owner having this problem so I think I was the lucky one.

Anxieties

Range anxiety only lasted a couple of weeks. After I learned how to plan our day and our trips, and learned bit by bit what the car can and cannot do, it became really hard to get in a situation where I would run out of charge. It hasn’t happened to me yet, and I don’t think it will.

The funniest story I got about range anxiety didn’t come from me but from a friend. We were going on the same car camping trip to a provincial park 120 Km away. That was our second camping trip with the Leaf so I knew I would have enough range to spare. I knew I was going to take the shortest route, but not necessarily the fastest one, so I told my friend the day before that we could leave at different times so she could pick her own route and drive at her own pace (i.e., faster). The next day our friend called us saying she was concerned that we might run out of charge in the middle of the road so she wanted to go together and be there if we needed. 🙂 It took some convincing to explain we had enough charge for the trip and we finally hit the road in separate ways. Needless to say, we got there without any problems, with about 30 Km of range to spare.

New Driver

My son got his G1 driver’s license last month and took his first driving lesson on our Leaf. It was the first time he drove a car in his life, and it was an electric car.

First driving lesson. No gasoline.

What’s missing

One of the things I missed the most in the Leaf is a more accurate battery gauge, one that would show the exact percentage of battery charge. This is particularly important when you’re trying to measure your driving performance during long trips. The 12 bars are simply not precise enough and the dashboard range “guess-o-meter” is not totally reliable. I learned how to use a very convoluted way to estimate a more precise percentage, which involves reading the “120 V charge time” to figure out how much charge is left, but it only gives you a 2 to 4% precision and requires some calibration. Other Leaf drivers went out of the way and developed their own “SOC meter” device, plugged into the car diagnostics bus, but I was hoping Nissan would listen to those early adopters and provide the same functionality in a software update. That would be a very good move, to show that they’re listening. I’m surprised Nissan didn’t take the hint.

The future

I look forward to seeing more public charging stations deployed in Ottawa and Ontario. That will significantly expand our range. I know it’s just a matter of time but it has been a very long wait. I also wanted to see Level 3 stations installed between Ottawa and Montreal, and along the 401. One day…

KWh-meter installed

KWh-meter display after a quick charging test, showing 0.3 KWh used.

No more guess work on how much electricity we’re using with the Leaf. Today we had a KWh-meter installed that is going to show how many KWh are being consumed by our Charging Station.

So far I’ve been doing all the measurements using a combination of manual logging of charging hours and reports from the smart meter in our house. None of the two are very precise. They only give us a rough idea of much is being consumed. With the KWh-meter we will be able to tell precisely how much we’re spending each month in electricity. The meter doesn’t measure how many dollars are being spent, just how much energy is being consumed. We still need to multiply the measurement by how much we’re paying for the KWh, but the price varies depending on when we charge. This is because we have time-of-use rates, with different prices for different times of the day. We charge almost exclusively during off peak hours, at a rate of 12.8 cents per KWh, all included, but I’ll still need to keep track of any eventual mid-peak or on-peak charging to get a more precise dollar amount at the end of the month. Luckily, these have only happened during the winter so far.

The KWh meter is manufactured by a company in California called EKM Metering. The unit I purchased is one recently UL-certified for use in Canada (electricians will normally refuse to install any non-UL certified equipment around here). I had to wait quite a few months for the certification process, but once the unit was available, shipping across the border was quite fast, with no extra fees other than the S&H. The only caveat is that you have to order the enclosure and the required CTs (current transformers) separately.

The meter also has a serial interface for remote reading by a computer. You’ll need a special RS-485 to USB converter, which EKM sells for $20. I haven’t hooked it up yet but I will in the future. They also have software available and it’s free.

What if I forget to plug it in?

You know the feeling. You’re ready to go to work, grab your stuff, grab your phone, only to realize you forgot to recharge its battery overnight. Gone are the days when phones had replaceable batteries, so you’re stuck with a dead weight in your pocket.

Now, imagine if that happens to your car! That’s what I hear over and over from friends. “Electric cars are not for me because I’ll always forget to plug it in.”

So today I got back from work and, on purpose, I did exactly that: I did NOT plug it in. I went inside the house and a few minutes later I heard an email sound on my iPhone. I opened the email and saw the following message:

Folha is our car's name on CARWINGS. It means Leaf in Portuguese.

For a moment, that felt like something out of a science fiction book! The car had just sent me an email basically saying “I’m home and ready to charge but you forgot to plug me in to my charging station!”

It also sent me a text message, just in case.

The Leaf can do this because it is equipped with a GPS and has its own 3G cellular connection. It also “remembers” it was able to charge at this location before and that I configured a timer saying it’s supposed to recharge every night.

This is an awesome example of technology being used in a very smart way to solve a very common problem we have as humans: we forget stuff. The notifications are all configurable of course. I can tell the Leaf to send me just a text message or just an email, or both. I can also tell it to notify me if someone unplugged the car before the charge was completed. I can configure what hours of the day and what days of the week I want it to charge, in order to take advantage of cheaper off-peak rates. And I can tell it how much charge I want every night: 80% to save energy and prolong the lifetime of the battery, or 100% if I really need the full range.

If only phones were that smart…

First week with the Leaf

It’s been a week already and we’re still excited to own and drive a Nissan LEAF. We had very high expectations, but the Leaf has exceeded every single one of them.

Range

We’ve driven 546 Km already since taken delivery of the Leaf last Friday. That’s way above average for us. At this rate, we’re on the way to drive more 28K in one year. Nevertheless, We’ve never went back home at night with less than 40 Km of range left. My longest drive in one day was 141 Km, and a bit of Level 1 charging at work kept any feeling of range anxiety out of the way.

Costs

Electricity consumption numbers for the first two days: 33.6 KWh ($3.96) for 198 Km driven (80% city, 20% country roads). Average 5.9 Km/KWh. With gas at $1.207, that’s equivalent to 1.66L/100Km. Quite impressive.

Monday was my first trip to work. The ability to trickle charge at the office is great but makes the cost calculations a bit more difficult. Without the reports from the smart meter, I can’t tell for sure how many KWh went into batteries, but I do know that trickle charging alone is not enough to keep me going during the week. I still need to Level 2 charge at home.

For the first four days, my Level 2 charger used 51 KWh of electricity, or $6.02 (5 liters of gas). With a little boost from IBM’s level one charger, I was able to drive 339 Km, or 1.47L/100Km.

Driving Experience

The Leaf continues to be by far the best car I’ve ever driven. Reminds me the AMC slogan: Silence is golden. And at the same time, I leave every other car behind after the traffic light goes green. Amazingly fun to drive.

Attention

People on the road don’t really notice the Leaf is a special car. I’ve kept a bit of an eye on other drivers and pedestrians, to see their reaction, and there really isn’t one. My friends get  surprised when they see the “electric car” for the first time because they expected something very small or very odd shaped, not a 5-door roomy hatchback.

Room

I had four adults already in the car and they were all impressed by how much space they had inside. Space in the trunk is also not bad at all. At one point we had 3 or 4 gym bags with lots of room to spare. Not a problem for groceries either and if you need more room you can flip the backseats.

Media attention

I gave two more interviews after delivery day. One to a university radio station in Toronto and another to the local newspaper, Kanata Kourier. I took the reporter, Jessica Cunha, for a ride around the neighborhood and nearby roads, while answering all of her questions. I think it was the best interview so far.

Charging at work

We have two reserved parking spots at IBM. They’ve far apart so I can’t always see who’s using the other one. Today I drove by and saw an electric bike charging there. It didn’t prevent an actual car from parking there so I guess it won’t be a problem when someone else at the office starts driving an electric car to work.

I’ve been voluntarily limiting the Level 1 charging to mid-peak hours (7am to 11am). We still have several coal-fire power plants in Ontario used during peak hours so I want to avoid getting dirty electricity from them (the Leaf would cough). In the winter, the time-of-use schedule changes so I’ll be able to recharge between 11am and 5pm.

I get about 7.5Km of extra range for every hour trickle charged at work. Cost for IBM is about 1.4KWh/h or 25 cents/h at mid-peak. If I charge for 4 hours, that’s a dollar. Cheaper than a coffee a day. And we already have free coffee at the office. 🙂

Carwings

Probably the biggest surprise at all. Just the sheer amount of telemetry information saved by the car and available for analysis. You can see your daily driving records, how many Km driven, how much energy used, how much energy regenerated by the brakes, total electricity costs (estimated), your rankings compared to other Leaf drivers all over the world, it goes on and on and on. I started ranked #300 but I recently dropped to #690 with an average energy economy of 9.6 Km/KWh. The champion’s score is 37.2 Km/KWh but I have no clue how he’s able to do that. That would be equivalent to driving 892 Km in one charge, so there’s gotta be something wrong…

Other Activities

I took the Leaf to a charity garage sale the day after it was delivered. People would have to give a donation to get a tour of the car. More generous donations would get a ride around the block.

I was also invited to attend the monthly meeting of the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa. I got there 30 minutes before the meeting so that people had a chance to see the Leaf at the parking lot, together with a few other electric cars, mostly ICE cars converted to plugins. It was a bit of a short notice and had another commitment the same night. I was able to speak and answer questions at the beginning of the meeting, and as a token of their appreciation, I was presented with a free one-year membership which I intend to use.

No trips to the gas station

Not much to say here. Probably the best single thing in this whole experience!

Gadgets

iPhone integration works perfectly. The car connects automatically after you turn it on. You can answer phone calls on the screen, and if you were listening to a podcast when parked your car, that same podcast resumes playing, even with the iPhone still in your pocket! Same for any music. Really neat.

The navigation system is fairly good, with both 2D and 3D views. I’m a bit used to the way Google Maps works on my phone so it takes a while to get used to a different way of displaying things. I also noticed some of the newer streets in Ottawa are still not showing up on the navigation map. Wondering how that will get updated.

I programmed the HomeLink garage door opener tonight and it worked perfectly, but you do have to follow the instructions on the owner’s manual. By the way, I think this is the first car I had that I actually *read* the owner’s manual. Lots of info in there, makes it easier to figure out all those buttons on the dashboard.

The iPhone app also works very well. I’ve turned on climate control a few minutes before I left work, just for fun because it wasn’t any hot, and it was really neat to see it working. It will be very useful in the winter.

Alerts

You can configure the car to send you emails and text messages for different events. The most useful is the one that alerts me if I forget to plug in the car at night. It also alerts me if I leave the car charging at work and the power in the parking garage goes out or someone disconnects the charger.

Come on… Any negatives?

I’ll have to dig really deep to find anything wrong with this car, but I’ll give it a try.

The data access is a bit too slow. We’re used to immediate responses on everything we do online, but getting updates from the Leaf may take 30 seconds to a few minutes. Downloading information from the touch display is also slow — it’s more like an old “Edge” phone browsing the web, not a 3G phone.

I also find the regenerative braking in Eco mode way too aggressive and even dangerous if someone is following you too close. When you take your foot off the accelerator, the car decelerates very quickly, almost like you’re braking. But without the stop lights.

I think that’s all for this week. I’ll try to do smaller posts more often for now on. A week of updates turned out to be a very long list!

The Leaf is finally home! Delivery day report.

I took delivery of our Leaf yesterday from the hands of Allen Childs, president of Nissan Canada. It was a busy day, but also a very fun and exciting day.

The event received a lot of media attention. I gave interviews to several local radio stations and newspapers. The main newspaper in Ottawa, the Ottawa Citizen, published this story on the front page of its Business and Technology section.

There was also a story on CBC News, Auto123.com, several news segments on CBC Radio and CFRA, and short news story on TV at CTV News.

Getting the car keys from Allen Childs, President of Nissan Canada

I drove our Leaf for the first time with Allen Childs as a passenger. Then I took my family for a ride. Then I gave more interviews. Then we went home.

First report

I drove 99 Km the first day and arrived at home with 51 Km range to spare (3 bars). The average energy efficiency is sitting at 7.6 Km/KWh, which is really good. All my cost estimates were based on 6.6 Km/KWh. I plugged the car in for 2.5 hours in the evening before I had to leave again for an errand, and arrived later at night. I continued the charge overnight but my smart meter report only shows the first 2.5 hours right now, so here are the numbers:

– 2.5 h charge = 9.8 KWh
– Times 11 cents/KWh = $1.08
– Estimated range went up from 51 Km to 135 Km, or 84 Km.

Our Leaf finally recharging at home.

Now, that’s quite amazing. For less than a liter of gas, I can drive 84 Km. In the city!

I think the estimate is a bit optimistic though. Given my average of 7.6 Km/KWh, that charge should actually give me 74 Km, which is still very very good. I should get more precise numbers in the next few days, after a few full recharges.

iPhone app status after a full recharge overnight

As for the iPhone app, it works really well but don’t expect fast responses. You’re not talking to the car directly but through a central server. Update requests take about a minute to receive a response from the car.

ECO mode is sluggish but I’m starting to make sense out of it. It drives as if you had five heavy people in the car and lots of luggage. It gets to the speed you want but accelerates much more slowly than what you’re used to on the Leaf by default. On the other hand, the acceleration is very similar to a small gas-powered car, so you’re not making any people behind you crazy. It’s worth getting used to it because it saves a lot of energy, and you can always click it back to “sport mode” when you need it.

One thing to watch for in ECO mode: the regenerative breaking is very aggressive. That means you rarely have to step on the break when getting close to a red light. That’s great for recharging the battery but remember the person behind you will NOT see any break lights while you’re decelerating so make sure there’s enough room between you and the car behind you.

Today I drove another 82 Km and ended the day with a 67 Km range, or 4 bars. A full recharge was estimated to take 4.5 hours but took a bit more than 3.5h. The hydro report will be available tomorrow.

Charging station installed

This is Eric from AeroVironment. He flew all the way from Atlanta to bring our charging station through customs and make sure it got installed in time for the delivery of our Leaf this week. I was really impressed. It really shows how serious AV is about this business and how successful they want the launch of the Leaf in Canada to be.

Eric is holding a test jig that will be used to test the charging station after it is installed. This is particularly important because we’re yet to have the Leaf in the garage so we can’t test it with a real car.

The charging station was still in the box while Scott, a local contractor from Ottawa, trained and certified by AV to do the installation was already busy working down at the basement. Things went really smoothly and uneventful. The two guys knew exactly what they were doing and I could even go to the office and do some of my own work while they were busy doing their stuff.

The installation took basically the whole morning. When I got back home at lunch time, the charging station was ready to go and Eric was able to do a quick training session. I thought it would be a good idea to capture his tutorial on video so I could share with the others in the Leaf Owners group. Youtube link coming soon.

The best way to describe my experience with AV is “piece of mind.” I did a fair amount of research on other charging stations, with the help from other future Leaf owners on Facebook. I had an electrician come over and give me an estimate for the installation, but things were not very simple. He would have to see the actual station before he could tell me exactly how much his work would cost, and his ballpark estimate wasn’t too far from the quote I had already received from AV. I was also reluctant with the warranty, and who to go for technical support in case I had problems. Finally, I didn’t think I would be able to get it done in time for the delivery of the car… All these issues disappeared once I asked AV to do the work. It was one of those “set it and forget it” things. They took care of everything in record time. They hand-carried the charging station to my door, had a fully-trained electrician to do the work, even took care of the final inspection. They basically turned something that would be very complicated for me into something very very straight forward.

Price request submitted to the dealer

Just got an email this morning from Nissan Canada saying “You can now request a quote from your local Nissan Dealer and place an order for your Nissan LEAF.”

So that’s what I just did. After entering the price request, my account page shows this now:

On the home assessment front, the quote from Aerovironment came a bit higher than expected. The reason has to do with the fact that I decided to place the charging station at the far end of the garage, which added to the cost of materials and labor. I asked them to move the station to the near end, right where the wires are coming through the wall, and I’m now waiting for the new quote. I’m also waiting for a second quote from a local electrician who’s installing the charging station of a nearby friend who’s also purchasing an electric car. Let’s see how that goes.

Home assessment done!

AV did our home assessment this morning. It was quite uneventful. Our panel has a lot of room, the wires will only run through the unfinished part of the basement, with direct access to the garage, so the work should be fairly straight-forward. The assessor was a local contractor hired by AV, the same person who installed the two chargers at the local Nissan dealer. He didn’t provide any quotes, not even a ballpark… That will have to come from AV after he enters all the data in the system. He said I should get the total cost later this week.

 

Ready for the home assessment, early next week.

Aeroenvironment is coming over for a home assessment first thing Tuesday morning (Monday is a holiday). The appointment was originally booked for Sept 13, but Nissan was able to speed up the process, which is great. It is important to make sure our house has the right circuits in place to support the charger (it needs a 40A@240V circuit, basically the same as your dryer) and that the wires can be pulled to the garage without any trouble.

The Leaf needs 3.3KW to charge so in principle we only need a 15A charger. These ones tend to be less expensive. However, Nissan has indicated there are plans to upgrade the Leaf on-board circuit to support a faster charge (6.6 KW), which is standard in the upcoming Ford Focus and requires a 30 A charging station. That’s the one Nissan’s EVSE partner Aerovironment is offering to future Leaf owners in Canada. However, there are other charging stations in the market and they all follow the same Level 2 standard, so I’m trying to get a second quote from a different manufacturer/installer. We’ll see how that goes.