Now that the Charge|Carolinas pilot is underway and Duke Energy is beginning to understand the impact plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) have on our grid, we sat down with one of our first pilot participants. Ken Clifton not only teaches his students at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College about how to be more ‘green,’ but he also lives it. His first step to driving more ‘green’ started with the purchase of his Prius, but, with the launch of the Nissan Leaf, he decided it was time to go all-electric.
What made you decided to purchase an all-electric car?
There are many reasons why I decided to drive all-electric. One major motive was the poor air quality in my Rowan County, which tops at 10 on the worst in the nation. But it was also the added benefits of the smooth, quiet ride that my wife and I experienced when driving the Leaf at the Concord Mills’ Nissan Electric Drive tour, which confirmed we had both made the right decision to reserve a Nissan Leaf.
How did you hear about the Charge|Carolinas Pilot?
I learned about it through Duke Energy’s PEV e-newsletter. I was reading the July 2011 e-newsletter that featured Duke Energy’s Charge|Carolinas pilot and the beginning of enrollment. I had already reserved my Leaf, so I went online to www.duke-energy.com/plugin and signed up that day.
How was the process?
Very easy. After signing up, I received paperwork to fill out and began the charging station installation process.
How long did the installation take?
It took a few hours, but the electrician was very knowledgeable and quickly setup the charging station in my desired location.
So, what has it been like to drive an all-electric car every day?
Since bringing home my Nissan Leaf, I’ve not had to adjust my driving much due to my job being close. My wife, who also owns a Leaf, has had to make some adjustments and plan her commute because she drives further for work.
How much and how often do you charge up?
I usually only charge up to 80%, but my wife has to fill up to 100%. I have gotten into the habit of plugging in whenever I get home. The longest either of us has had to charge was four hours.
What is the furthest you’ve ever driven?
The most miles I have had to drive was 49, which is well within my vehicle’s driving range.
What would you recommend to others interested in purchasing a PEV?
I would recommend evaluating the distance they drive, to ensure the car meets their needs. Also, where you live can make a difference. Residents up north have colder winters and this can affect the range as well as use more energy to heat up the car. But, I definitely feel that everyone should look into buying one. Along with my electricity, I found out that my second charging station was made in Mebane, NC. It feels good to know I am buying American Made.