|Earth Day 2016
at Zion National Park
Mark D Larsen
Down to Earth Gathering
(Click to enlarge)
Like in 2014 and 2015, I again volunteered to display my Leaf at this year’s Earth Day Festival hosted by Zion National Park at the Bit and Spur saloon in Springdale. This year I decided to arrive one day early and stay the night in a motel so that I could fully recharge at the Visitor Center rather than have to arrange for a lowly 120V outlet at the gathering. I could therefore spend the first afternoon attending the inauguration of the first water-bottle filling station in the town, checking out the EVSE and HPWC at Flannigan’s Inn, and doing a bit of hiking in the Park. Below are a few photos and comments for the two-day trip.
NOTE: You can click on any of the following photos to enlarge them.
When I left home, this is what the Guess-o-Meter guessed would be my range from a full charge. You can also see that my Leaf is still missing 2 capacity bars. I also launched LEAFStat and noticed that my capacity was now at 72.43%. According to Nissan’s parameters cited in WikiLeaf, that is a lower percentage than when the 3rd capacity bar was supposed to disappear. So much for the “improved” accuracy of the gauge that Nissan claimed to have implemented with software upgrade P3227! Here is what the display showed when I arrived at the Visitor Center: I had averaged 4.7 miles per kWh, only the 2 red charge bars remained, and the GOM showed 9 miles of range. Out of curiosity, I launched Leaf Spy Pro to see in how many more miles the Leaf’s “low battery warning” would sound. At 4.7 MPkWh, the app estimated that said warning would appear in only... 1.8 miles! The capacity loss is evidently on the verge of prohibiting day trips to Zion. Leaf Spy Pro also had recorded a double graph comparing my speed and elevation. The blue line shows that I had climbed over 1,200 feet to reach the National Park. The red line shows that I pretty much drove at the speed limits, but had to slow down and stop several times before arriving at the Visitor Center. While the Leaf was charging, I walked to the downtown area of Springdale to meet Zion ranger Juli Rohrbach and attend the inauguration of the water-bottle filling station. The National Park’s superintendent, Jeff Bradybaugh, gave a speech to commend the town’s Rotary Club for spearheading the project. All the children in the Springdale Elementary School had crossed the street for the event, and were able to be the first ones to fill their water-bottles from the filling station. I was delighted that one of my bestest friends in the world, Nelly, was also there with her “pet” Juli. While walking back to the Visitor Center, I stopped at Flannigan’s Inn. The Tesla HPWC and J1772 EVSE are barely visible looking up the driveway of the entrance. Here is a closer shot of the two charging stations; the EVSE is in an upper parking spot, and the HPWC in a lower lot. I arrived at the Earth Day location early the next morning and was assigned a spot to set up my Leaf’s display. I also had prepared some posters and numerous handouts in anticipation of the usual questions that people ask about electric cars. I also stuck a few flyers on the Leaf’s rear window so that attendees could take one when entering the grounds from that direction. Unfortunately, as the day wore on, the wind started to play havoc with my posters and sheets. I secured them to the table as best I could with some blue painters’ tape. Next time I will bring some small bungee cords and velcro to solve the problem in a less obtrusive, ugly way. After the celebration ended, I drove home using climate control and a faster route that included a stretch on the I-15 freeway. As expected, the higher speed took its toll, for about one mile from home the “low battery warning” sounded, and I pulled into the garage with 5 miles left on the GOM.
I always have a great time at Earth Day, and enjoy chatting with folks about the benefits of driving an electric vehicle. I did notice, however, that fewer attendees came over to check out my Leaf and ask me questions this year. Could it be that the interest has waned because of lower gas prices? I hope not, for that would suggest that people have extremely short term memories, only care about costs, and aren’t even concerned about national security, let alone climate change. That would be truly sad, for they would thus be passing up what are actually... far better cars!