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LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:21 am
by ksnogas2112
Now that the national sales opportunity is there and there are at least a few Leafs in the Kansas City metro area. So here are a couple of useful links: ... ement.html" onclick=";return false;
The Union Station plug is free but the parking is $1/hr." onclick=";return false;

so 7 cents/kWh normal and 8 for the four months of "summer" which I assume is June/July/August/September

McCarthy Nissan in Olathe has partnered with Lilly Pad for the EVSE:" onclick=";return false;

Hope to see more from KC Metro posting but until then just following the yellow brick road and by passing the gas stations


Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:26 am
by EdmondLeaf
Is your Leaf first official delivery in MO, any idea how many in KC area?

Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:40 am
by eclecticflower
:D Nice to see a local on this blog - but I'm sure we're few and far between right now. I'm still awaiting delivery (estimated as "June"). Made my $99 reservation in August 2010 and was finally advised in late Feb. 2012 that these cars were coming to Kansas City. I was notified March 1st I could order. Randy Reed Nissan was the closest, so I got my quote there (after being left hanging for a week while they figured out how to do this for an online buy - geez that was frustrating). Ordered my red LEAF on 3-12-12 (my biggest disappointment was being advised I'd be waiting another 30-90 days before delivery). This purchase was a reach for me, since I never buy cars without a test drive. Tested on April 14 and was very impressed with how roomy it was (was starting to worry about that) and how zippy it was going up the highway ramp - got to 70 mph without noticing! Can't wait to get mine (alas, that will come with a car payment, which I haven't missed for several years :lol: ).

Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:44 pm
by ericvoll
Mine is supposed to be delivered the "week of May 24th." It seems like I've been waiting for my leaf forever. I've owned a couple Priuses, first one in 2004 (Gen 2) and the second one in 2009 (Gen 3), but I've always wanted a 100% electric car.

I live in the Northland, but got the royal runaround from Randy Reed, the typical, obnoxious sales routine that makes one dread buying a car. One of the "sales managers" there, obviously unfamiliar with the online purchase process, wanted a $500 deposit for my LEAF order. In his own words, "If you order a LEAF from us, and when it arrives someone else comes in and offers us more money than what we quoted you, we're just going to sell it out from under you." The "out from under you" is a direct quote by the way. I was so shocked, I ended up calling all of the other LEAF certified dealers in town from work later that day and got a better offer from another dealer anyway and placed my order soon thereafter.

One thing I have to say, the online support from Nissan corporate has been jaw droppingly amazing!! Eager to place an order after waiting forever, I signed onto the LEAF website first thing the morning I had heard orders from Missouri would be taken. The ordering process was still closed at the time though. The representative I spoke with indicated that orders would indeed open up later in the day, but she didn't know when. I figured I would just have to check back every 30 minutes or so while at work that day. Later that morning, I was in the copy room when my iPhone beeped saying I had a voicemail. To my delight, when I checked my voicemail, the same online customer service person I had spoken with had left me a very cool message. She indicated that she had written down my information, and when orders opened up for Missouri, she had waived my $99 deposit, and pushed me all the way through their system to the point where I could request a quote, so I wouldn't loose my place in line. Amazing!! She deserves multiple gold stars for that one.

In order to get last year's charging station tax credit, I went ahead an installed my J1772 EVSE last summer. I ordered the Leviton model ($1200) and had an electrician install it ($1600). I was able to get about $900 of it back as a credit on my taxes this year. It would be nice to see the government extend this credit.

I've read the owner's manual twice. I was surprised the 2011 one had as many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors as it did. I'd send nissan a corrected version if they'd give me a free LEAF, but I think that's probably a long shot. I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the very cool, unadvertised features this car has, e.g. tire inflation guidance via the horn and lights.

I'm also pleased to see all of the charging stations going in around town. I have my ChargePoint pass and SemaConnect pass ready to go. I only wish there was a Chademo (Fast DC) station in KC, possibly Lawrence, and beyond.

eclecticflower, thank you for posting the KCPL utility information for Kansas. LEAF drivers in Kansas have it good. I live in Gladstone, MO and also have KCP&L, but my residential rates are much, much higher. I pay a $9.00 monthly customer charge and a per kWh rate of $0.11028 Summer and $0.09914 - $0.04968 Tiered Winter." onclick=";return false;

For Missouri drivers, just as an FYI, there was a law passed a number of years ago (somewhat obscure) that requires any vehicle that does not use gasoline, e.g. (Propane, Natural Gas, Electric, etc.) to get a special fuel tax decal every January. It costs $75 per year. I suppose the state wants to recoup some of their lost gasoline excise tax revenue. If you get caught without this decal, the fine is pretty steep, a mandatory $500 if I remember correctly. The decal can be obtained by filing a Application for Special Fuel Decal (Form-2300) at your local DMV." onclick=";return false;

Four more weeks to go. I hope everyone else gets theirs soon.

Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:46 am
by ksnogas2112
ericvoll, let us know how things go when you get your Leaf it sounds like you might get yours first.

I ordered 10 days ago and currently have the same "June" estimate as electricflower. I can't say enough nice things (so far) about my experience with McCarthy Nissan in Olathe. The last comment from the sales guy when I left was "come back if you want to drive it again".

The online thing has been a little sluggish but everyone seems to try hard to resolve any questions/concerns so that's a plus. I'm a little questioning on the whole evse install though. At my old house we had the whole thing completely re-wired for $1500 . The guy from Lilly Pad is coming out Friday for the assessment and quote. They offer either the Schneider ($1300) or Aerovironment ($1400) solution and installation charge on top.

The question is why does Home Depot sell the exact same Schneider charger for $800? Where's the $500 difference. The guy at Lilly Pad EV says it's because Home Depot is like Wal-Mart and they buy in bulk....Really? I could accept that if it was a $100 or even $200 difference but $500 mark up seems a bit much.

I have a request for electric quote out to A.B. May. I have been very very happy with the work they've done on our houses in the past and I'm checking with a couple of guys I know who are licensed electricians to see what is reasonable and what is taking advantage of a new concept to make $$.

I love the demo car. I took it for a couple of test drives and going to do one more next weekend (i hope) to actually test out my normal drive around town.

As far as charging stations go, I've actually visited the one at Town Center (435/Nall) it's in the lower level on the north section of the parking garage and across the street from the Sprint HQ. I plan to check out and use the one at Union Station later when I go to Pierpont's for a steak :ugeek:

There's also a level 2 charger at the Hy Vee in Lawrence at the 31st + Kasold Hy Vee but I heard they're (pardon pun) charging for the hookup.

I wonder if I'm going to be the first in Kansas although the dealer said they took orders for 4 others before mine.

What are your local experiences with the in home EVSE installation/quote/question/scenarios???

Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:13 am
by ericvoll
ksnogas2112, getting the charging station was somewhat an odyssey when I did it last summer, but I’m glad I was able to figure out a solution that worked out for me. I will tell you that I’ve learned more about how home electrical and EVSE protocols than I had planned to.

The first problem I encountered was the electrical service to my house. Electrical service typically falls into three categories, 60 Amps, 100 Amps, and 200+ Amps. Homes built prior to 1960 typically have 60 Amp service (many have been upgraded). Between the 1960’s and 1980’s, 100 Amp service was the norm. Pretty much anything built after the mid 1980’s have 200 or larger service. My home was built in 1971, so I have a 100 Amp service. I verified this by looking at the main shutoff breaker on the outside of my house which said 100 Amps.

Most of the charging stations out there are rated at 30 Amps/240 Volts (on a 40 Amp circuit). My home has central air, an electric range, and electric dryer, so my 100 Amp service was already pretty much tapped out and wouldn’t be able to safely accommodate an extra 30 Amp load without a service upgrade.

I called KCP&L out to my home to look at how expensive a service upgrade might be, if even possible. I share a transformer (big green box type) with a few of my neighbors (400 Amp service divided into 4 100 Amp services). The KCP&L technician took a look and called me back saying that the transformer was capable of supporting the extra load, but that I would have to install a completely new service to my house. As I found out, that process can be very expensive. KCP&L charges about $400 just to pull the cable from the transformer to the meter can on the side of the house, let alone the expense of installing 4 inch conduit from the house to the transformer, installing new main service cable from the meter can to my breaker box, and installing a new breaker box; all of this just for the service upgrade. We haven’t even got to installing the charging station yet. I was looking at about $2500 for just the service upgrade and another $2000 or so for the charging station installation. Ouch!!

I did some more research and discovered that the 2011/2012 Nissan leaf only has a 3.3 KW charger onboard, so it only draws 13.75 Amps max anyway, so getting a 30 Amp charging station was unnecessary. (Watts = Amps * Volts, so 3300 Watts = 13.75 Amps * 240 Volts)

I looked around and some of the charging stations have a switch inside the unit where you can set the maximum Amps. Setting the maximum Amps in these units changes the square wave pulse width on the J1772 comm pin that lets the car know the maximum current it can draw. The EVSE I went with is the Leviton Evr-Green EVB22." onclick=";return false; They have both a hardwired version and a plug in version. Because the maximum draw with this unit is 15 Amps (20 Amp circuit), I didn’t need a service upgrade after all as this fits nicely in my current service.

At the time, the Evr-Green was about $1200. I’ve seen them on Amazon for much less than that though. With this unit, I discovered, you have to also purchase the home installation kit. According to National Electrical Code (NEC), an EVSE has to be a fixed installation. After all, you wouldn’t want someone constantly plugging in and unplugging a 240 V circuit – that’s just asking for trouble. They take a liberal view of this regulation and offer both a plug in version and a hardwired version. With the plug in version, the plug is covered by a bubble cover (which comes in the separate installation kit.) Bubble cover implies fixed installation. I discovered the device has some sort of protection feature where it can detect if the bubble cover is snapped shut over the plug; if not snapped shut, the EVSE actually flashes an error until the cover is snapped shut.

When I purchased my home, the existing wiring in my garage was already pretty bad. Instead of using conduit, someone had attached the Romex directly to the wall with a staple gun. For $1600, the electrician replaced all of the 120 V wiring in the garage (properly putting it in conduit), ran another 20 Amp circuit for the EVSE, installed a “240 air conditioner plug – included in the installation kit”, and upgraded my breaker box. Total cost $2800. If you already have a “dryer plug” in the garage, nothing extra would have to be done.

There is a really good installation video for the Evr-Green on their website.

At the time, last August, I called Lilly Pad EV to get a quote on their residential charger. Back then the one they were selling was the ChargePoint residential/light commercial one. The unit itself was about $3000, so I went elsewhere.

With that said, I have to say I am extremely impressed (through my other interactions with them) with Lilly Pad EV as a company. UMKC, using some DOE grant money, installed a charging station across from their admin building Spring 2011. The spots were always occupied by non-electric vehicles though. UMKC took the grant money but never bothered to install EV parking only signs. After bugging the parking department for about six months and getting the run around, in frustration, I wrote several entities that were involved in UMKC getting the station pointing out that the money had basically been wasted if no one can use the stations.

The people at Lilly Pad EV (they actually installed the station) were exceptionally responsive. The president of the company personally contacted me and told me that they would try and resolve the situation. Through multiple emails and visits in person, they stayed on the issue until UMKC finally relented and installed signs after nearly 12 months of stalling. A Lilly Pad EV employee actually drove over to UMKC just to make sure that everything had been resolved, and the company president wrote me back to let me know the problem should be fixed and to contact him once I use the station to let their company know if my concerns had been adequately addressed.

As far as customer service goes, I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Lilly Pad EV.

Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:01 am
by eclecticflower

Wow, lots of information you've provided, for which I'm thankful. I saw Randy Reed Nissan's ratings on the web and they were not stellar, but I chose them since they're close to family, where I consider my stomping grounds. So far, they haven't been rude to me, but I'm sort of flabbergasted that they'd sell your LEAF out from under you (sonds like that guy was a real prize) after you reserved. I basically contacted them after going through the online steps and asked for a quote, so I wasn't advised to put money down to hold one. Maybe they learned from their experience with you (taking your business elsewhere)?

I'm in the same boat as you with the inadequate service on the house and have to upgrade service to my 1964 Ranch. I got a cheap rate from an electrician friend ($1200) but now I understand he's going to have to move it to the side of the house due to KCPL restrictions (probably what you encountered) and that will cost me a lot more money (don't yet know how much). I'm not looking forward to the $2,200 outlay for the permanent charging station install from Aerovironment, but from all indications on the online process, that was my only choice. If you know a better and cheaper way of getting around that and how to keep electrician costs down due to moving the service required by KCPL, then I need you very much, ericvoll!

All of this getting ready process is taxing my poor math skills and bottoming out my pocketbook. I figured I'd be ramping up just trying to ensure I map a proper route for my daily range when I get the car, since I work downtown and live north of the river and that's a round trip of about 17 miles, so s/b OK daily commuting without much "range anxiety."

It's exciting to know KSnogas2012 and ericvoll are in the LEAF family (what I call us) and was wondering if either of you would be interested in a driveway party here in MO - Gladstone/KC North to check out our cars when we all get them? ericvoll, you're pretty close. I noticed a charging station installed at the Walgreens at Antioch/Vivion but not sure if it's live (doesn't show up on the carwings map). If it's live, KSnogas2012 could use while over this way.

KSnogas2012, have you experienced any EV car backlash yet? I've read a stream where someone else did. Yesterday, I asked about charging in a proactive note to our facilities department management here at work, in anticipation of my LEAF delivery. You wouldn't believe the condescending tone of the response...but he showed me his cards when he identified they installed 6-8 charging stations at our other facility across town (and "nobody using them"). He quoted the $20-30,000 instllation costs and wanted to know if I wanted them to engage an engineer to install a $5,000 charging dock of my own since they had no capital dollars to place these downtown. And he tried to also add the electricity consumption in there too, even after I explained it would be about $64 cents a day (like running a radio all day). C'mon, if they had actually put up that kind of cash layout at our Lakewood facility without a grant or government reimbursement, then I know there would be no charging docks installed there. I know about the government incentives that offset that huge outlay (which I'm sure he didn't expect of me - yes, I read) and pressed that these installs could perhaps be done downtown in the same manner using those same government incentives. I even had to explain how long it took for me to even be able to order a car (all those nobody's will show up eventually to charge). Funny thing, those 6-8 charging stations don't show up on the carwings map - have checked a few times but not in the last couple of days.

Great stream, let's keep talking, local LEAFers!

Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:59 pm
by ksnogas2112
Definitely sounds like we need to get a party going at some point. I'm in the southwest corner of the 435 loop. I expect getting up to north of the river is a can do. I've tried to swag the speed needed to get to kci and back on one charge and I think it's doable. I've got trips to Independence planned since I'm out there every couple of months for Scouts and I figure I'd be ok for that.

On the electric frontier, I should be ok for main service. If I'm not then I'm really screwed, underground lines. I think the house is less than 25 yoa though so I'm pretty sure it's 220.

On the other front...which I guess makes it a side? =) Have to get new garage door in since the cables on both doors broke over the last couple years so that's another grand before the car ever arrives. Wife gets her door fixed later.

Regarding the EV backlash, my wife decided she wants a new car too...sigh...Her old Saturn blew the transmission 2.5 yrs ago and we got her a Corolla that night. It's a very nice car with decent mileage if you hypermile, which she doesn't. But she wants a custom designed 'her' car. Right now they're offering better than loan pricing on KBB value for her Corolla so after I get the Leaf she gets a Prius V. This is a long way to say, we went to the Toyota dealer (Olathe Toyota) next door to McCarthy Nissan. It's where we got her Corolla. Took a Prius 3 out on a drive and the sales guy was nice but clueless about the car. That's mostly ok with me since I told him we wouldn't buy that day. He still made the obligatory try which was fine but then he got his sales manager.

The condition on buying the car was that I get mine first. She and I agreed on that. This <insert expletive> sales manager was all over trying to push the range anxiety button. Then he brought politics into the mix by trying to blame the gas prices on the current administration. Hmm....I should have let him kick my dog while he was at it, wouldn't have made me madder. Anyway, he was "I can't understand why anyone would want a car like that so enlighten me...".

That's been the only negative I've experienced. And that's also why we're getting my wife's Prius ordered from Molle Toyota.

Everyone else has either been polite as I gush and giggle like a little girl or truly interested.

As far as charging at work, the Lilly Pad EV guy was talking like he knew people here and I should talk to the upper brass to consider putting in a charging station as part of the Green campaign. And maybe they will since we've gotten county exposure for recycling and other initiatives (recycle the free pop cans, put in fiiltered water machines instead of bottle water, "plastic" cups are corn starch, all the TP is recycled paper products, battery recycling for small batteries).There are currently 16 spots reserved in the lot for carpooling. I checked with the lady running the Green campaign and she said sure I can park there. Since we currently have 2 over flow parking lots and people parking on the street, parking places are at a premium. They're looking to move us to a second building down the street for an extended temporary stay. I'm hoping to take the vp's kid for a drive who will tell his dad who would want a ride who would then say ok to charge at the office trickle style. Since I'm only 8 miles from the office it really doesn't matter but would be nice and fun. It's 25 mile round trip after dropping the kids off at school but only 16 mile round trip during the summer when kids are out.

So thinking personalized license plates.... since the Kansas ones show a wind turbine and it's on an electric Leaf but the power for KCPL is still 99.99% coal, I'm thinking IRONY might be about right.

Or maybe: NO MFLR

Of course I could get SCTJPLN (Scott Joplin) and tie a Canadian flag to the antenna and point to my Maple Leaf Rag.

Tom in Lenexa

Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:21 pm
by Stanton
I read this thread because I was originally from KC (Overland Park actually). My comment/suggestion to all of you is: you need to seriously consider getting the Nissan EVSE modified for L2; you guys are getting outrageous quotes for chargers (not to mention installation). I understand there may be issues with old houses/wiring, but I simply plug my modified Nissan EVSE into an (old) dryer plug that was installed in my garage when I built my house (total cost ~$300). If you're interested in details, checkout my blog on this forum.

The Leaf is worth the wait: enjoy it!

Re: LEAF in Kansas City

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:06 pm
by ericvoll

First I have to say that I'm not an electrician, just a big science nerd.

With that said, if 30 amps is too much for your service, I would suggest you ask your electrician friend if a 15 amp circuit could be safely added to your existing service instead. If you're like most people, you have two hots, a neutral, and a ground coming into your house. The 240 volt charging stations use the two hots and the ground only, no neutral. In your breaker box, you can differentiate the 120 volt circuits from the 240 volt circuits by looking for "double breakers" - two breakers taking up two slots connected together. Double breaker (two slots) means 120 volts + 120 volts = 240 volts. A single breaker means 120 Volts. Don't confuse this with "tandem breakers" - two breakers in the space of one. "Tandem breakers" are also 120 volts.

If you already have a dryer outlet in your garage that is not being used, then you should be good to go, no new wiring required. Otherwise, you will need a 20 amp circuit installed from your breaker box (double breaker taking up two slots) to your parking location. Once this is wired, all you need is a 15 amp charging station, like the Leviton Evr-Green I mentioned. Aerovironment's charging stations are 30 amps I believe. You cannot (unless you want a fire) install a 30 amp charging station on a 20 amp circuit. The 30 amp charging stations typically need a 40 amp circuit. You only want to use max 75% of what your circuit is rated at.

The current Nissan LEAF only has a 3.3 kw onboard charger anyway, so 30 amps is really overkill. The most you'll ever use is 13.75 amps.

Even if you don't buy an Evr-Green EVSE, I would still strongly recommend you check out the following installation video as it shows you how the installation process works." onclick=";return false; The only difference between the Evr-Green and other EVSE's is that the station is not hardwired.

Since I did my installation, the Evr-Green units have gone down in price. I've noticed them on Amazon. Also, I've read that you can find different charging stations on the websites of Home Depot and Lowes. The main reason I did not go through the Nissan charging station installation was because I wanted to get the tax credit (it expired last year) and I only could install a 15 amp circuit, 30 amps was way too much for my existing service. The Evr-Green unit is unique in that it is a 15 amp unit. I have read that some of the other EVSE's may have a switch inside where you can set the maximum amperage; I don't know which ones though." onclick=";return false;

I'll take some photos of my installation and post them.