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Monday, September 19, 2011

How Low Can You Go

Our good friends, Erin & Jon invited us to their family house up on the North Shore today and it was exactly what we needed.  We decided to take the Nissan Leaf because the trip would have cost us a lot of gas in the Highlander.  But, the Leaf has roughly 100 mile driving range and their place on the North Shore was 40 miles away according to google maps, so that would put us at 80 miles round trip.  Now, all the Leaf forums out there say it's really difficult to know exactly how much driving range you can get out of the car at different times.  So, 80 miles could be the limit.

Here's what the dashboard of the Leaf looks like (this is not our car)
On the right there's little electricity gauge which tells you how many miles you have left.  But, it's very inexact.

This has all the makings of a disaster...Pregnant wife at 32 weeks who is prone to frequent contractions and 2.5 year old in the backseat...

We decided to try the trip anyway.  We knew there was a Nissan dealership on the way home and we could always stop there and charge on the way back if absolutely necessary.

So, we started our trip 100% charged at 100 miles.  We were literally about 10 miles into our trip on the Pali Highway, when our gauge looked like this:

Uh oh.  I think it was because we were going up hill.  We started to get nervous.  But, we still felt confident that we certainly had enough juice to get us to the North Shore.  We passed the Winward Nissan dealership about halfway through our trip there, so at least we had the safety net.

We arrived at Erin's place with the gauge reading 50 miles.  At their place, we looked for an outlet to charge the car, but we couldn't find one and we thought we'd be ok.

We had a great time at the beach.  Nikhil and Elliott played together and found a huge pit that someone else had dug in the sand, which kept them occupied the whole time.  We all swam in the water
Jeff wearing my sun hat since I left his in the other beach bag

The men carrying our stuff back

Nikhil loves the beach, but he hates being sandy    He stood with his arms by his side, not touching anything until we rinsed him, all the while asking for a "hot shower"
After we showered, we then hit the shrimp trucks for some lunch.  If you haven't been the North Shore of Oahu, there are many, many shrimp trucks there.  It's the equivalent of Ray's Pizza in New York, there's backstory about the different trucks and who started them and underhanded dealings.  Anyway, we went to Kahukus and enjoyed their garlic shrimp.

Nikhil and Elliott had a great time and at the end of the day when Nikhil was back in our car, he asked, "Where is Elliott? My friend."  So sweet!

But now we had to get back home.  Jeff plugged in our home address into the GPS.  Yes, even though Jeff grew up here, he still uses a GPS.  And, it took us a different route then the way we came.  At this point, I asked him if the Nissan was still on the way home, just in case (foreshadowing).  We literally had 47 miles left on the electric gauge and I'm not one for cutting it close and with the trip back home being 40 miles, I didn't want to take a chance.

Well, I dozed off for a moment and I awoke because it was really hot in the car.  I automatically went to turn the AC on and Jeff said not to do that.  I looked at the gauge and we had 8 miles left and we were more than 8  miles from home.  Unfortunately, the alternate route no longer passed the Winward Nissan, so we were on our own.  There is a feature on the Leaf where you can use the GPS to find nearby charging stations.  Our car informed us the closest one was out of driving range.  Great.

Of course, at exactly this moment, when I'm starting to panic a bit, Nikhil wakes up and wants water because it's hot.  Jeff didn't want us to lower the windows because it would increase the drag on the car, making us need more energy to get home.  Like I mentioned, the makings of a disaster.  I was trying desperately not to say "I told you so", though I'm not sure if I was successful (sorry, Jeff!)

Thankfully, we were on a stretch that was all downhill, so magically, the 8 miles, climbed to 11 miles and finally to 16 miles and then we knew were safe.

Here's our dashboard as we pulled into our house.  7 miles. 

Though the return trip home was a bit stressful, we made it and we had an awesome day at the beach - thanks Erin, Jon and Elliott!


  1. whew! glad you made it home! :o) 32 weeks already?! my gosh, we need to get together!! i think at this rate, i'll be visiting you and the new baby :o)

  2. I know and I still have Olivia's present, which I will probably need to give to you at her 1st birthday party!!