Couple takes pureelectric Leaf on 500mile journey Cars & Trucks

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Couple takes pure-electric on 500-mile journey

PHOTO BY TIM

Jimmy and Christie Sauers the first in Texas to own a pure-electric Nissan Leaf. Recently the couple, with daughters Annabel and Amie, took a 500-mile trip in the Leaf to Christi and back.

PHOTO BY TIM

Jimmy Sauers charges the with his home unit, in the garage. The standard household can give the battery with juice a full charge in to eight hours.

While view pure-electric cars as Nissan’s Leaf a short-commute a Seabrook couple believes a practical car for trips longer its estimated 100-mile range.

Jimmy and Christie Sauers a bold step into the of electric vehicles last becoming the first owners in of Nissan’s pure-electric 2011 Recently, their adventurous led them to push their five-door hatchback to new level, it on a family vacation. With Allie, 5, Annabel, 4, and Amie, 2, in the back seat, the family on a roughly 500-mile journey Seabrook to Corpus Christi and

For the Sauers family, the five-passenger isn’t a novelty vehicle; use it as one would a conventional gas-powered It’s their daily which they alternate to work. The Leaf’s stable a 1998 Toyota 4Runner is their other ride.

commute is to downtown Houston, he works as an analyst and with care for Reliant Energy. has a shorter drive to NASA, she’s an engineer, working on the spacecraft.

“Fueling” the Leaf is convenient, he It gets a full charging at with a charging dock in the garage, and occasionally is charged at its

Opening a panel at the Leaf’s reveals two charging ports. The one to the accommodates plug-ins from 220/240- and 110/120-volt household The home unit can give the with zero juice a charge in seven to eight The port to the left is for special DC hook-ups. In 15 minutes the 500-volt charger can give it a boost for 50 to 60 miles.

A 30-minute quick charge battery capacity to about 80 full.

Before leaving on the trip to Corpus Christi, the had a clear idea of the Leaf’s Three times, under conditions, they drove it their neighborhood until the energy supply.

“The car around 100 miles every Jimmy said, noting the is given repeated warnings the level is extremely low.

the heater, he said, draws range-sapping energy than the air conditioner. During the winter, use was spared by warming the cabin via a command to turn on the heater and use from the household current the car’s battery. On one unusually day, with the temperature to the low 20s, the range was limited to 70 miles. The couple mapped out a strategy for charging their along the route to Corpus Two stops for charging at Nissan — in Rosenberg and Victoria — were (both dealerships had household

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These detours, the couple worked out perfectly.


“The were beyond ready to get out for Christie said, “and we visited the zoo in Victoria.”

The stops not gave the children a break, she but allowed the family to visit locations and enjoy time Driving off the highway, at 40-to-50 she said, is the Leaf’s “sweet — the best speeds for maintaining charge levels.

While in Corpus Christi, the was plugged into an outlet at hotel with a standard trickle charger that with the car. This is a good back-up, but takes 20 hours to fully charge the

The Leaf’s performance is excellent for and highway driving, Jimmy

“It handles more like a car,” he said. “When you put it in the drive mode (vs. Eco mode), you can just dart traffic. When you punch it off the it’ll hang with any car.”

Delivering 107 horsepower/80 and healthy torque of about 207 it sprints from 0-60 mph in than 8 seconds. The Leaf’s top is governed at 90 mph.

What are your thoughts using electric cars for well beyond their range?

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