Sunday, September 17, 2017

NDEW 2017 Steilacoom, Seattle and Portland

Today marks the end of National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) 2017 and I was lucky enough to visit 3 of them at least briefly. And first on the list was Seattle for two reasons. One which needs to remain secret (no insider Nissan info involved)  but the other was to sign up for a test drive! (One can never have too many of those!) But it would be tough to get there and to Steilacoom so decided to stop and get as much of a charge before the signups at 9 AM so I could drive "normally" back South afterwards and again, the benefits of a 30 kwh pack charging at 16+ KW even at 97% SOC!

So a quick stop to Harvard Market to say hi (just worked there a few days before) and grab a charge.


I arrived in Seattle a bit early and luckily a spot was open next to Matt Moreno's Tesla S!

By now, my coffee had outstayed its welcome so was time to give it the boot and realized I had just missed out on a great chance to win something wonderful!

This pix kinda makes me wonder. Marketing puts so much into prepping for the big Holidays but we buy stuff every day. Friday night I was "doing the Puyallup" and the electronic reader boards were still flashing specials from Labor Day weekend!

Signups for the test drive started promptly at 9ish so got that and some sort of dinner thing on the 20th of October. I am guessing that is a "Thank you for your commitment" party or something.

2018 Nissan LEAF SL

As always there were several cool EVs present but had minimal time to see them since I had to get to Steilacoom but one LEAF with custom paint I just had to grab a pix of!


But out of time and I was technically parked in someone's spot anyway (since I didn't register for the Seattle event...) so off I was back down South!  Thanks to Dick Muri, the Steilacoom Event was one of the largest in the Northwest. Not sure what the real total of EVs were but there was North of 80 registered but pretty sure we were well over 100!

EV Truck Conversion

Complete with its own 24 kwh Nissan LEAF battery pack!

Jay Donnaway and his ALL ELECTRIC Mail truck.
2 years ago, I had a chance to talk with the Lacey Post Office and found out that their routes run 20-50 miles total. In fact; the rural areas within their jurisdictions are contracted out to 3rd parties, so they only handle the close in areas! This sounds like a perfect "in" for Nissan and its NV 200 EV. Put a 30 kwh pack in it and it would save a ton in fuel and emissions!

Mazda RX-7 EV Conversion
My roommate in California had one of these. Pulling the engine out of the car has to be one of the best decisions ever. He had nothing but problems with it!

Zero EV Cycles 
Pretty cool startup displays!

Ford Focus EV.  A rare one but the newest version with better pricing and 
range should be much more popular!

Now this car should be rarer but its not! There were 4 RAVs here but only one (maybe two) Focus EVs. So Toyota! Explain to me how a car not sold in WA and not built anymore  can out do an EV that is still being built and sold in the state??  Can we say "oops?"  or "maybe we need to rethink our super stupid decision to stop building the RAV 4 EV?"  SMH!

Kia Soul EV
Pretty cool color combo!

Prius Prime Interior with the obvious "Tesla-like" design.  Well, it does have a plug after all!
Notice the dash display that does put "something" in front of the driver!

Hyundai Sonata Plug in. 
Ok, so did this guy get super lucky on the license plate lottery or is this some 
sort of cryptic personal meaning?? 

Chevy Bolt. 
Its got the range but also VERY bad lease terms. I did get to sit in several and I do understand the uncomfortable seat issues but I can't even come close to understanding the decision to skip the padding that would have gone a long way to mitigate the problem?  I do think that the next Model Year will have several new (and much welcomed) features. 

BMW i 3
Great high seating position here. More money and less range than I need but still a very well appointed vehicle!

Fiat 500 e
Say what? I didn't know they were available here! But then again, half of what I saw isn't either.  No matter, with a background like this, this picture was a must!

Chevy Spark EV
After the Fiat, this was the natural next choice! This was the "Lease King" in California. In most cases costing less than a one month gas bill to lease!

Smart EV

Tesla Roadster
The car that caused the fantasy that continues today! 

One of the "BIG" reasons I had to be here was because Pierce County Transit was showing off their EV options including handing out test rides!  For the ride experience, you can youtube it here or watch it below (if you have bandwidth!) 

Proterra 32 Passenger Bus EV
A large part of the VW settlement money will go towards reducing emissions in the urban areas of the state concentrating on School Bus emissions. The reality is that all emissions are not created equally when our health is involved. Not saying that a billowing smokestack 100 feet high is a good thing but its MUCH better than a 2" tailpipe blowing exhaust into the face of our children. Its time that Washington mandates no emission transportation for our cities. There is simply too many downsides to diesel. Every reduction helps.  

This was not the only ride experience I had.  The other one was a "bit" less sedate. **Do not try this after a meal!**  Thank you Brian Manthos!

Telsa S P100D
FYI; It took 20 minutes for my stomach to recover from 2 seconds of Ludicrous Mode! If you haven't done this before, there are no words in this Universe that can even approach an accurate portrayal of what your body will experience!

Tonia Buell (and her finger!) and I displaying our like-minded "Soul"s!

Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention there were also a "few" LEAFs there as well but you already know what they look like :)


A week later, Portland had their event which was good because it was a second chance to look at the 2018 LEAF.  Being a 127 mile (one way) jaunt means charging so a quick breakfast at Country Cafe for me and the LEAF and someone really pigged out! (I just had Biscuits and Gravy)

Chaz Smith, one of the city captains for NDEW Portland was nice enough to send a drone video. If you look close enough, you can see me just arriving!

30 min charge@125 Amp AV in Ridgefield, WA

2018 LEAF Interior shots
Despite it being the same Black on White color scheme, this was an SV.  Did verify no backseat heating (or at least I was unable to locate the controls for them) and no extended visor. This is a VERY appreciated feature from both my 2013 and 2016 LEAF. The Northern Latitudes suffer from very low Sun angle making the extension a very valuable asset.  Nissan, I am disappointed! Again, told they will be available in "early 2018" but this build date tells me that they will start selling as soon as the 2017's have been depleted and rumor has it they have already stopped building them!

VW Golf EV
I NEVER accepted "Clean" Diesel so I can say I am happy about "Dieselgate" because it finally got one of the largest polluters on the planet to do an inward evaluation of itself.  Now to see how they execute their 180ยบ turnaround. I am rooting for you VW!

Chevy Spark EV
Can their possibly be two of them?? Same color, so I have my suspicions!

Archimoto EV
Remember the Sparrow? A 3 wheeled EV that required a motorcycle endorsement? It was enclosed so "weatherproof"  I often thought that if I ever got a real job and went to commuting solo to work everyday that it might be an option but not sure they ever made it to production? 

Th!nk EV
An Oldie but a Goodie! Waaaay back in the day when my ZENN and a few Zaps and Zebra's were pretty much the only EVs on the road in Olympia, I came across a Th!nk charging downtown using 240 Volts! This was in the Summer of 2010. It was my first ever 240 volt experience!

1958 Metropolitan EV conversion
Hands down winner of "Coolest EV of the Show!"

Chrysler Pacifica Plug In
Great option for Soccer Mom. 32 miles of EV range on 16 kwh pack means most in town errands are 100% Electric!

Honda Clarity EV
No Hydrogen needed! I guess I have to say not bad for a first "real" try. But maybe you should have looked at the competition first! Good interior space and ambience here. 

Fiat 500e
Just a super cool 500e interior. Interesting back "bumper" treatment. What are the holes for? Reduced wind drag? 

Honda Fit EV

Tesla Model X
Whole line of X's showing off their towing capabilities. Very cool but they are even expensive when compared to a Telsa S!

So there you have it! I have a lot more pix but tried to fill this blog (and its FULL!!) of the more unique and different. There were many many many more cars there than I could put into this blog.  NDEW is growing and so is the reality that EVs are the ONLY way to go!


  1. Awesome pictures and write-ups of each event.
    Those bikes though, those are Zeroes, not Vetrix.

  2. Next time you are coming down to the Portland area, message me so I can say Hi. I was at the Portland event too, but didn't see you.

  3. Great job Dave,you really get around. The electric buses are really such a good idea. Did you see the drone video from the Portland event. I can send a link to you if you haven't alreadone seen it.

  4. Thanks for a great report Dave- I managed to leave the show without taking any photos (too much talking), so your shots of my RX-7 and mail truck are greatly appreciated.

    1. Have to get the mail truck! It wasn't a good idea back then due to the battery issues but that issue has been solved! We need reminders that sometimes our past failures were simply failures because of bad timing, not bad ideas!

  5. Dave, That is a Spark EV kn Portland (not a Sonic) and there are quite a number of them in CA/OR. They were leasing at $99/mo for quite some time and the Bolt shares some things they first had on the Spark (3 separate cooling loops, i.e.). We had at least 3 show up for our event. The Clarity Electric is a bit of a "meh", but the PHEV version might give the Volt a run for it's money with 47 miles EPA electric range.
    The 2018 LEAF was the same one that was in Seattle. It was bundled into the semi parked in the back corner after the Seattle Show and trucked down where it arrived on Tuesday and sat, locked in the truck, until Saturday morning. Wanted to do a Press event Friday, but couldn't get Nissan to let it out even for a short stint until Saturday.

    1. Oh good catch! (temporary insanity I guess. At least I got it right for the Steilacoom Version!)

  6. Hi Dave,
    So what is the likelihood of turning in your current lease early for a new 18 Leaf after January? I'm curious how that works, having never leased before.
    Thanks for your passionate reporting!

    1. It is 100% dependent on the deal I am offered. I want the 2018 (not willing to wait for or likely pay for 60 kwh) because I think it does represent my sweet spot for range and value. But there are complications to this.

      For one, I am on month 11 of a 36 month 45,000 mile lease and I will turn 23,000 miles in a few days. So there is that. The best I can realistically hope for is a few thousand out of pocket to get out of my current lease due to length of commitment left and the mileage.

      If the deal is not good enough (they might not offer me a deal at all although I consider that unlikely) I will hold onto the car since it does a good job of covering my needs for now and see what develops down the line.

  7. Did you notice there is no range provided on the Clarity EV Monroney? Strange!

    1. Yeaaah, well. Tony Williams test drove one and its apparently 80 miles... IOW; its in the iMiEV class... smh.

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