Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Tale Of Two Pictures

I was at 3.2 miles per kwh when deciding to take pix

Are you excited? I am!  We are a week from the details of Tesla's Model 3, 6 weeks from LEAF II, and this week, VW broke ground on the charging network they are building to compensate for polluting our World while touting "clean diesel."  These are exciting times!

But what does that have to do with the picture above?  Well, lemme tell ya.  Generally at 3:45 in the morning there is not a lot going long as we aren't going anywhere on I-5 that is. Thursday, I was doing my morning ritual getting ready to drive north when I found out there was an accident on the way, a bad one.  I cut my routine short, leaving 15 minutes earlier than planned and took off averaging 70-75 mph for the first 15 miles before hitting traffic that slowed me into my normal 65ish (we still don't comply with the drive right except to pass law around here)   By doing this, I arrived 3 minutes early as opposed to my planned 10 minute earlier arrival (with a 15 min later starting time!)

Before we get more into this, a bit of history.  Most of my driving home is southbound from Pierce, King or Kitsap County.  I exit I-5 from Marvin Road, hit a few roundabouts, pass by Cabela's  and hit this downslope to my neighborhood. I always coast hitting around 50ish before hitting a short rise to another downslope on the other side.  I mention this because I have seen gains on the GOM as much as 10 miles.  This allowed me to see crazy numbers the next morning when I left for work.  I knew the estimates were high and why. IOW, the term "GOM" a coined acronym for "guess-o-meter" was a very apt description. It literally made estimates based on very recent driving conditions which doesn't work for most especially when we tend to drive the same routes daily.

But Nissan does listen to us and although they don't have a trumpeting spokesman like Tesla does (Since Jobs is gone, does anyone any more?) they have still worked on getting us what we want.  But they do have to deal with entrenched corporate ideologies, outdated processes and a multi-layered approval process that has greater veto power as it moves up the ladder.

But one thing I have noticed is that during my day, my driving conditions varying wildly.  Before, I used to hypermile first thing in the morning due to the fact that I was frequently going 10 to 15 miles farther than the EPA said was possible in my 24 kwh LEAF.   Most of the time, I just couldn't justify stopping to get 2-3 kwh (which I had to do A LOT!)  Despite being authorized breaks (which cannot be waived) or meals (which could be sometimes) I didn't want to spend 15 minutes at a charger.  My driving style remained fairly static thru out the day with slowdowns for congestion a daily routine.  My GOM varied wildly during the day which caused me a sense of comical relief.  It was literally fun to tease the display into making itself a complete fool!

But then my S30 came along. I only did it because I realized that Chevy was not going to provide me an acceptable lease option so I decided the first week of November that extending my 2013 lease 6 months to get a Bolt was off the table. Sadly I was right. (To this point, they still have not)

Now, I have to admit, I was "somewhat" in the camp that a 6 kwh bump wasn't significant. But it did open up several options for me especially in Winter.  I had long since resigned myself to the fact that stopping to charge was a necessity and it was then that I realized that I was getting too old to sit in a car for 90 minutes at a time anyway.  My typical drive home (using yesterday as an example) was 52 miles taking 102 minutes. Too much sitting... It takes my legs about 10 minutes before I can walk again and part of that is due to my job where I typically walk 12-14,000 steps in less than 8 hours. (Fitbit will back me up!)

As expected, the 6 kwh bump wasn't that much of a big deal but the much steeper fast charging profile was a very unexpected surprise!  This allowed me to do much longer trips quite easily and my time at the station became much more effective. No longer was I getting 10 minutes of fast charge, 10 minutes of medium charge and 10 minutes of "barely over L2" charge. It was a full 30 minutes!  Clearly evidence that Nissan had heard us.  I can't even begin to describe how much more use I could have gotten out of my 24 kwh LEAF had it charged the same way!

Anyway, back to the picture above.  That was Thursday driving 75 mph.  So add the elapsed miles plus the GOM and you get 118.7 miles which is right in the average 118-125 miles I tend to see with a huge range of mixed driving that always includes a lot of stop and go.  I had noticed the GOM was a lot more accurate in my 2016, but this was quite literally shocking.  With the old GOM, a 3.4 mile per kwh average would likely had seen me with 95.5 mile range or less.  I snapped the pix a split second after it changed from 3.2 miles per kwh which would have been  89.9 miles.

So now its Thurday, my sleep in day.  Leaving home at 5:15 AM, headed to Tacoma, I am tooling along at my 65ish speed basically following traffic primarily in the right or center lane with occasional bursts to 70 to pass people who can't determine what speed they want to drive, etc. and snapped this and realized later (this morning in fact) that both pictures had the very same GOM reading! Well, now you know the inspiration for this blog!

Now a few things to point out.  Total estimated range will be 121.9 miles which is nearly the same as Thursday's trip despite being 10 mph slower over nearly the same distance.  Since both days, I started with 28.1 kwh available and 363 GIDs (for those of you that recall I reported the start of degradation. Sorry but it went away...)   But the reality is with a .4 mile per kwh difference, the range should vary about 11.2 miles, right?  Also, 28.1 kwh @ 3.8 miles per kwh only gets you 107 miles. So how is the GOM getting 121 miles?

Well, as mentioned, I see all kinds of traffic conditions during my day.  Because of my starting times, I don't see a lot of congestion. (Shoreline trip after getting past the Fife accident averaged 70 mph +. Try doing that at 7 AM!)  When getting home, my miles per kwh readings are averaging 4.3 or 4.4 (those two numbers come up 80% of the times for all days over 100 miles)  which means a normal range is 120.8 to 123.6!  This makes pretty clear evidence that Nissan is hearing us and one of our loudest complaints has been how deceiving the GOM is.

This brings me to a recent reveal for the 2018 LEAF of one pedal driving.  One thing we have talked about is how much B mode was appreciated and wished it would go farther and looks like Nissan is listening again. So now, for those who are in tune with LEAFers in the wild (or are a member of several dozen LEAF groups on Facebook like me) What is your prediction for new features on the 2018 LEAF based on what we have been complaining about the most?

I will leave the obvious unsaid...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

What Constitutes Abuse Of NCTC?

If you have read more than a few entries of my blog, you already know that free is in my preferred price range! And why shouldn't it be? The reality is that nothing is truly free. We have paid for it in one way or another.  Just as Tesla owners have paid for the free access to the Super Charger network, I have also paid for my access to NCTC.

Now, I have had a few comments on my charging sessions count which is currently 145 QCs,  182 L2's (there was actually one L1 in there for an hour only done to demonstrate) which lead many to believe that I was mostly charging publicly instead of at home and...well, yeah that would be correct!

So is it abuse to get way more charge than I need to get home?  Well, no not if I am not blocking anyone else from charging which actually did happen a few times but only because I was eating and not around the car but I paid for the right, right?

But I feel the need to defend half my actions so despite having 16,390ish miles on my LEAF, I have only had it 4 days over 8 months which is about 245ish days, give or take.  Now, I generally don't charge at home every day like today, I won't because I don't plan to go anywhere other than lunch or the gym or something. I have 85 miles or range more or less so don't need to charge.  Also need to consider times I have gassed it which would be more days where no charge was needed, etc.

But the reality is that the 30 kwh pack has made it easy to do a LOT of driving which means that public charging is more likely because of it. If you think that sounds counterintuitive, it really isn't. The reality is more range encourages much longer trips.  Unlike my 2013 when most of my "long" trips might have had 1-2 fast charges with an occasion 3 in there, I have done one 5 charge trip, 4 4 charge trips and the 3 charge trips I have lost track of... The month of May is a good example. I drove nearly 3300 miles but had 9 days where I drove less than 25 miles. So that leaves 22 days "averaging" nearly 150 miles a day.  But the best part of all that was most of the charging stops were incorporated into my work or "play" day so very little time just sitting there doing nothing!

  Generally I plug in for the full 30 mins whether I need it or not as long as there is not too much action going on. I tend to use Tacoma Mall most of the time because there are two stations which makes my blocking someone much less likely plus its 8 blocks from my office which I am compelled to visit waaaay more often than I want to... But because the office is 22.6 miles from my house,  this puts me in a situation where I am frequently getting home with 70-90 miles of range.

But my cheapness doesn't end here. How many of you use a credit card at chain restaurants? Like Red Robin, Applebees, etc?   And if you do, I only have to ask, why? Do you like spending more money than is needed?  I eat at these places a lot... probably more than I should but only with gift cards and why not?  Check with your credit card company. (yeah the same one you used on your last visit!) In most cases, they have great discounts on gift cards. I use got $100 of gift cards (In WA State they are not allowed to expire...) for Applebees and I will admit its probably a year's supply or so but only paid $75 so I will eat at 25% off.  Costco is another great source for discounted gift cards as well.

But back to the public charging thing. I will admit my circumstances are different than most where a lot of time (3 hours this week alone for 6 30 min sessions) charging publicly would seem like an inconvenience but of the 3 hours I charged publicly,  90 mins was "billed" to my employer for a State mandated meal period.  But overlaid on those 180 mins was also 125 mins of  "work at home" time that includes a whole bunch of stuff that can't actually be done at home.  So the reality is this week if considering lunch to be a waste of time, one could look at 55 mins of my time wasted charging but the reality is I actually used all my time charging to do something else but sometimes being there has other benefits.

2018 LEAF Test Mule

I originally only wanted to stop long enough to make a few calls and get a bathroom break but saw this so had to hang out for the full 30 mins.  So I uploaded that days job and started setting up my equipment for the next day's job instead.  As luck would not have it, they started a 2nd charging session so I decided to move to L2 and wait for them to leave and went inside to use bathroom and came out just as they were leaving so got 2 really sucky pix of the car uncovered but another EVer in South Carolina got a bunch of really good close up pix so you can check the Nissan LEAF Owners site on Facebook for those... or look below!  Thanks Calvin Greer!

Although I did not get any good pix I did do an up close walk around and the car is longer for sure so I am predicting 2" more rear leg room and larger cargo space in the hatch!

But the real excitement?  I have had a ton of fun (and made a lot of money) due to the extra 6 kwh capacity of my 2016 LEAF so just the thought of what I can do with the much greater range of the 2018 LEAF is really making me a bit giddy!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Clock is Ticking

Larger packs are already here but faster charging is not.  Several stories coming out with Bolters almost bragging they had to restart their fast charge sessions multi times to "fill up" while other LEAFers stating waiting over an hour for someone to complete a charge.

Does this seem fair?   My LEAF is almost never filled up after 30 mins, but I never start a 2nd session and yeah, there have been times I left knowing I would have to stop again somewhere else on the road.  But that was pretty much the "LEAF charging mantra"  Charge the lower part of the pack for greater efficiency, less heat, yada yada, right?

The other thing is that time in one spot is acceptable if its short enough. I had conditioned myself to have stops that last basically 15, 20 or 30 mins and this corresponds to the length of time I charge. How convenient is that!

Now, I am not a fan of restricting someone's charging time if they need it and we do realize that the CCS network is severely lacking in several areas including going south from Tacoma Mall, which brings me to an incident witnessed yesterday.

Bolt charging while passengers were inside apparently napping.  The charge session ended as we were walking into the mall. I did not stick around to see what was going on.  I returned about 15 mins later and their charge session had been restarted.  So its really anyone's guess as to how long they had been there.  But there was obviously others who were waiting as both L2's were full and another LEAF parked near by. I was going to charge the full 30 mins (since I was on "electrons" pulling in) but I had enough to eek it home so unplugged and left.

Maybe its time to institute a 30 min charge time limit.  Finish your first 30 mins and get back into the queue if you have to.  Public charging stations should not be monopolized by cars who have the desire to charge for 90+ mins.

Now the easiest way to do this is allow queuing on the stations like Blink does (or did...) This way, the Bolter can't run two sessions together if another Chademo car has queued up already.

Either way, chime in.

1) Should we institute a time limit on the fast chargers?

2) First come, first served even if it takes all day?

Keep in mind; the Public World has time limits imposed all kinds of things and comes with a huge level of "resigned acceptance"  We don't like it, but "them's the rules" so we grudgingly abide.

If we want more, we simply get back in line at the end and wait out another turn.  With the current state of public charging, this is something we need to adopt ASAP. There is simply way too much privileged abuse going on out there right now.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Death By A Thousand Cuts

Recently, Washington State decided to suspend sales of Lotto and Powerball tickets in preparation of a possible government shutdown if a new budget could not be agreed on.  Everyone in the state thought it was BS and that we always go thru this doom and gloom scenario every two years on the local news only without a shred of reality. Well, New Jerseyrites have a different view on that...

Anyway, it must the season because now I seem to be seeing the same thing over and over....

"My LEAF was at 93% SOH in April but now its down to 86% only a few months later. If this keeps up, I will need an EVSE at BOTH ends of my driveway to go anywhere!"

OMG!...Seriously???   There is NOTHING you can do to degrade your pack that fast!  But the readings did happen so what did happen? 

Well, its really anyone's guess but there are a few possibilities starting from the worst (and probably least likely)

BMS Reset;  I blogged about a famous (mostly famous since this was one of the first actually verified)  BMS reset 2½ years ago detailing how someone bought a used LEAF with 12 capacity bars only to find out it was sold 6 months earlier with only 9 capacity bars.  But as luck would have it, the car was a well known one whose degradation was tracked on so she got a new pack and it all worked out. 

Pack Stats Manipulation (PSM); For whatever reason, the pack numbers can be puffed up to a level not likely indicative of the pack's true condition. I have demonstrated this several times on both my 2011 and 2013.  (Haven't lost anything yet on 2016 so that is yet to be tried.) 

Here I explained how easily the numbers can swing up to 10%.  Yeah, that is like 66 to 60 ahr (done it!) or SOH from 93 to 100% (not quite as dramatic....unless its your LEAF!)  But then again, the LEAF only had 20,000 miles on it, right?  Much less than the people mentioned above. 

So lets move a year forward to March, 2016.  Now I am at 34,000 miles and ahr averaging 59ish so too late to boost the numbers?  Although it the blog was not specifically about boosting the numbers, the pix are still there to see...

Couch Potato Syndrome;  For lack of a better term, your LEAF is a lot like you. It performs sluggishly in the cold, degrades quickly in the heat and more to the point; gets fat and lazy if not exercised properly!  This is closely related to the  PSM mentioned above. 

The real question is can the LEAF be permanently damaged from lack of use? And the answer to that is yes. The reason is that degradation also suffers from the march of time.  There is a ton of anecdotal evidence that 2 LEAFs living side by side will vary only slightly in their levels of degradation even if one has driven 2 or even 3 times farther.  I we Pacific Northwesternites are lucky in that regard. 

But then again, it is a two edged sword.  Unlike Arizona that has 40 year old cars, so looking nearly new, all our 40 year old cars that spend a lot of time sitting are rarely any other color but green nowadays... 

But this does add another dimension to the purchase decision.  Previously the common ideology was "as long as I don't charge too full or run it down too low, I can do my 40 mile commute for several decades"  and that is proving to not be quite as true.... Well, sort of. You can actually go a long time in a LEAF if your needs are really that modest but we are seeing more and more doing 100,000 miles in 4 years with healthier packs.

But the reality is that no matter how your pack numbers changed, the pack does not fall off a cliff. It is well known that new packs tend to stay at max numbers longer than is realistically possible which tends to support the claim that Nissan instrumentation is not the best. (Please do not blame LEAF Spy! It only reads what is transpiring on the LEAFs data bus. Very little else is going on here. IOW, DON'T BLAME THE MESSENGER!) 

Your pack dies little by little which means everything matters.  Now before you go into panic mode and start calling around for bids to AC the garage, lets take a look at the compromises first.  

Although everything matters, you have to keep in mind, several hundred cuts may not be good but also may not be all that inconvenient either.  The extended degradation warranty on 30 kwh packs actually benefits us Pacific Northwesternites since its actually long enough for the more extreme cases we see here.  The previous 60,000 mile 5 year thing was simply hard to attain in this climate. 

We also have to think (finally!) that public charging is going to be better making opportunity charging much more convenient in the near future.

So what can we do that might make a difference? Weeeellll, SINCE YOU ASKED!!


I am on my 3rd LEAF and as luck would have it, from all early initial impressions this one also seems that it will outperform many of yours. How lucky can I be!!

Or is it really luck?  Or maybe the question should be "What am I doing that makes my pack stand up so well?" 

Could it be slow driving?  Well that argument would have had a lot of legs on my 2011 (I was simply too paranoid to go faster) but not as much on the 2013 (With LEAF Spy, I had the confidence to drive at a speed to get me home at ~ 10 GIDs and that frequently meant 70!) but on the 2016?  Well... it only took 3½ months to get a speeding ticket.  (confession is good for the soul!) so that should tell you enough...

Could it be the Mediterranean climate of Olympia?  Well, that could be true but for the fact that the car spends most of its time sitting in parking lots in full Sun all over Western  WA, the same place most of you all live.  Climate helps, parking in garage that is shaded more than half the day helps, etc. Remember, everything matters.  Charging primarily only late at night helps. Leaving garage door open a few hours after the Sun goes down helps. I live on the edge of somewhere facing the middle of nowhere.  You have to know the area to understand this statement but theft is not a likely risk. Besides they would probably grab my bike and other stuff that sits outside unsecured all the time, first. 

Well, in my mind, its none of that.  I get more because I simply travel a lot of miles without the battery at all. 

Only God knows why the resistance to neutral driving persists today.  On the Chevy Bolt forum we still have people who are dead set against it because its supposedly unsafe but none can actually say why its unsafe and these are the same people who say they are forced to drive 10 mph over the speed limit!

Years ago when belt driven power steering was the norm, there was an issue with driving in neutral. Back when mechanical shifting was literally unrestricted, neutral driving was not a good idea. Several mentioned shifting accidentally into reverse while coasting down a hill.  Not good for the car. I did this once just to see what happened.  It only cost me two new wheels because the rear locked up long enough and hard enough to slot the lug holes on both back tires! I was lucky in that I didn't even know it happened until I got home and decided to examine the car.... Maybe I do have some luck in me!

But why do I do it?  Well, that is simple. It is "free miles."  In neutral, the battery does nearly nothing. Neutral allows you to maintain speed better as you approach traffic, a light or a likely stop.  Anticipation is key to eeking miles out of your EV and I found neutral is a lot more forgiving then light regen to the stopping point. My ultimate win?  Shifting to neutral several blocks before the stopping point only to have the light or congestion clear up just as I am rolling up to them having lost 10-15 mph. So I am starting back at 25-30 mph instead of zero.  Any law of physics will tell you that regen cannot win that game, NO MATTER WHAT. 

But the reality is I only have the ultimate win infrequently.  Maybe 10 times a day out of 100+ opportunities.  The most likely scenario is too much traffic requiring a slightly higher speed to the stopping point or simply too many cars sitting at the light, downslopes, etc.  IOW, not stopping is not an option. 

Another common scenario is the "half win." This means coasting with regen.  I do this on very steep hills where I will regen to something say 5-10 mph below the speed limit and then coast to say 5-10 over (obviously this is dependent on conditions. Don't think I am rolling down residential hills recklessly since this is not the case) and repeat as necessary.  The other time is when things happen that simply does not allow you enough time to adjust your driving to maintain maximum efficiency AKA typical Puget Sound traffic conditions.  I have been doing neutral driving so much (started with first electronic shifter in the Prius in 2004) that my normal reaction when lights change in front of me is shifting to neutral. Frequently I am going to fast to stay in neutral but I have time to gauge when regen is needed. I always drive in B mode and yea, my brake pedal is a very lonely place. 

So is neutral driving really making that much of a difference for me? Well hard to say and since an experiment would pretty much require side by side cars over several months and tens of thousands of miles, I will never find out because I am not abandoning this technique. Well maybe I will when my 500 mile LEAF shows up.  But again, I am doing this easily over 100 times a day and the shifter is showing no signs of wear and tear! (or maybe we should be looking at the pack? ;) ) 

So can we look at Neutral Driving as a thousand tiny bandaids?  

Finally; anyone with LEAF Spy probably already knows this but regen, even slight levels don't hit the pack evenly. This I have repeated pretty much every time.  Have a million pix of this including ones that split the cells exactly in half but decided on making new ones to show my less than 100% Hx to prove I am Human... 

LEAF Spy during initial regen

As you can see, not the best way to maintain the balance, right?  I would have felt better if the pack switched sides every once in a while but have yet to capture that....

So why does this not happen during a call for power? Again, several attempts using 2-3 Powerballs (must be leftover budget worries that caused me to say that.)  and pretty much an even draw. 

Gentle power draw

Ok, I will admit to using the best of 5 pix to display here.  But they were like this one. Random levels on adjoining cells. No group of cells up or down. Delta ranges from 11 to 26 mV.

So it would appear that LEAF Spy is at least partially on my side. 

So, do try this at home unless you can come up with a valid reason that neutral driving is dangerous. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 2017 Drive Report; 15,000 Miles And Still Nothing To Report!

As expected, June was just as busy as May for driving.  I did use the Corolla more mostly to keep her from sitting too much and also because I had passengers on some jobs that I would have had to stop to charge on the road making it a less convenient use of their time.

I am paid for most of my commuting because its a different location every day when driving my personal vehicle but passengers are on a different pay scale which is not good so additional time on the road is not beneficial for them in most cases.  When driving alone, I can alter my travel logs to take out time for charging when I have no justification for it.  So if I stop for 30 mins to charge and qualify for a break, I will deduct that break time and roll my real time to home back the appropriate amount.

I also frequently upload assignments, download new ones, etc.  This is also considered. For example, I drive home arriving at 5 PM but on the way, I stopped  for 30 mins of charging plus "detour" time of say 10 mins. (This is time off route to get to station itself.)  So my adjusted return time goes from 5 PM to 4:20 PM.   Now if I did upload assignments, I would not take that from drive time simply because uploading pays a lot more ;) so although I am honest with the books, I also do it to maximize my profitability.

For the month,  the Corolla went 605 miles costing $39.06 or 6.46 cents per mile or 38.1 MPG. 3 or 4 occupants each time with 70 - 120 lbs of equipment each time.  Sadly, gas is still cheap which means I am sharing the road with a lot of brand new full sized, single occupant SUVs...

The LEAF traveled 2485.6 miles costing $14.78 or .59 cents per mile... for now.  I did charge at my LEAFs hometown of Campbell Nelson Everett and the Chargepoint did advise it was $3 but it has yet to appear on my billing statement anywhere.  So I am reserving the right to call this month .2 cents per mile.

One thing mentioned is how much others could expect to pay if they only charged at home at my rates (just under 10 cents per kwh) and without the 405 NCTC Kwh last month or any month, my lifetime cost runs to 2.21 cents per mile. Still nearly 300% better than the Corolla.

Degradation;  With nearly 16,000 miles on the clock, batt stats are still frozen in place.  As mentioned several times before, in my area, I think time is the prime degradation factor and have not changed my mind on this.

This is an improvement over my 2013 which started dipping below the max 284 GIDs randomly before the end of its 8th month.  I have 12 reading in July 2014 ranging from 279 and up.  Keeping in mind, I still had several 284's after this but the definite beginning of the downhill slide.

Now keep in mind; we are talking two completely different cars with a 3+ year gap in technology so some improvement should be expected. But there are differences. The 2013 was charged mostly at home seeing only 31 fast charges in its first 8 months while the 2016 has 137 with a week to go.

The 2013 was fully charged nearly every night while the 2016 has been maybe 50% of the time.  Remember, I went 3 weeks without charging at home at all. I also had the water pump issue and only charged at home once during that period as well. This all means that the 2013 probably had a better balanced pack and the 2016 stats could be held up by the very heavy usage and the large number of QCs.  This holiday weekend should tell me something....maybe.  To compensate for the 15 consecutive days worked (ending yesterday) I am off till Wednesday and with my self imposed driving ban on holidays, should put minimal miles on the LEAF. Add to that, driving the Corolla yesterday and a local job Wednesday puts my LEAF on light duty for over 5 days.  Not sure if that will be enough to see a change in stats so stay tuned!

Maintenance; Well since I am over 15,000 miles that naturally means that tire rotation #2 is in the books. A lot of people rotate every 7500 miles and I suppose that might work. Keep in mind, I did experiment with a 10,000 mile interval that failed. Simply too much wear on the fronts causing those two tires to fail the lease turn in inspection. So do 7500 if you want but I will stick with the 5,000!

Finally some pix!  (Mostly tossed in because an all text entry seems boring)

Can't tell you how cool it is to get a full 30 minutes of fast charging!
As you can see, I am a few seconds away from ending my EVGO
session and still at full speed. (amps were bouncing around and
tried to catch it at 99 but oh well!) 

First encounter with a Smart EV.  Very small but seems like
huge front passenger space. Great litle commuter but too
 small for my needs.  Plus not sure I would want to be
 crossing the Narrows regularly. But I guess batteries would 
act as a good ballast to keep it grounded

This is just a shout out to fellow LEAFer Glenn Von Wedmeier at 
Harvard Market.  Had planned to plug in since I was there several 
hours before the crowds but an expected detour did not happen and had
65 plus miles of range so I "gave up" my spot to Reach Now. :)
Plus didn't want to charge to 90%+ and let it bake in the Sun 
all day. 

And finally; Another gasser bites the dust! Have needed to 
upgrade my BBQ options for a while now. The old one was 
too small really.  Saw this on sale at Costco and simply could
not resist! This leaves the Corolla as the last "smoking holdout"
and yes, she is sweating bullets right now!