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Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:57 am
by Mikedemana
Hi everyone,

I hope I'm not duplicating a thread, but the search didn't find one. I think it'd be a good idea for Leaf owners in central Ohio to communicate tidbits of info we find. Like, for example, the Easton chargers are NOT free as I'd heard, and actually require you to have a membership card mailed to you already. No "slide a credit card" access, it seems (or at least that I could figure out). One guy with a different hybrid pulled up with his card and couldn't get it to work. So, I'm not sure how user-friendly the Blink system is going to be. I signed up online that night, but not sure when my card will arrive.

How about other charging stations in the Columbus area? Any tips or good things to know? And has anybody installed that Home Depot charger in their garage that lists for $799?

Happy to be part of the electric club!

Mike Demana
Owner of "Neptune" - ocean blue Leaf SL

Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:03 pm
by SalisburySam
Hi Mike, I'd be happy to join the thread. I'm in Blacklick, OH on the East side of C-town.

The Easton L2 charger on Morse Rd between Wal-Mart and Sam's Club was free, at least the last time I used it. It does require a Blink card but both those stores have them and offer the charge as a free customer service. You may order your own Blink card as I have (took less than a week to get it) but then you pay for the juice. Not all store staff is aware of the program so you may have to ask for the store manager. I've not used the AEP L2 charger near the Hilton and PFChang's and I don't know if there is a cost. Also all Nissan dealers have one or more chargers, all free to use. Germain Nissan on Morse at Cherry Bottom has 4 chargers: one in front, one in back, one inside the delivery bay, and one in the service area.

Didn't know HD sold chargers...wish I had known. I have an AeroVironment L2 charger in my garage that I'd give mediocre ratings; I'd certainly not go that route again given the unworldly expense and frequent trouble lights I experience. It is, on the other hand, the choice of the dealers.

Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:14 pm
by Mikedemana
So, at Walmart you just go in ask to borrow their card to start the charger? I have a blink card, but if someone else is going to pay for the juice, I'll let them!

I paid $800 for the Home Depot charger, and d'oh! It just went down to $750 since I bought it. It is the one made by Schneider, but they show 5 different varieties. Schneider Electric EVlink Full 30A Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Station ... GTPYhgmk7A" onclick=";return false;

Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:44 am
by SalisburySam
No, they usually won't just hand over the Blink card. You'll most likely get one of the store staff to go to the charging station with you, swipe their card and you're charging. At least that's how the manager at the Sam's Club did it. He told me Wal-Mart does the same.

UPDATE OCT 3 2012: just went and tried to charge at the station between Sam's Club/Wal-Mart. As before, I had to go into the store to get a manager with the card. This time it took well over 10 minutes for them to find the card. We walked back out, the card worked, but the station asks for a zipcode for verification. Despite trying the correct zip as per the manager's written instructions, the device never authenticated, so no charge. As luck would have it, I didn't have my Blink card with me either. Let me know if you have better luck.

Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:11 pm
by markbb99

I also bought the Schneider Level 2 charger at Home depot about a month ago for $800. I called home depot and ask them for a $50 refund. Instead of giving me a $50 refund they gave me $60 refund.

Thanks for mentioning that the price had changed


Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:41 am
by deltwalrus
Hi, folks,

I'm considering a lease on a Leaf, and I wonder what your commutes are like? I live in Delaware and work downtown, so my round trip each day is 50 miles. Also, any tips for a (prospective) new owner/lessee, and how do you drive the roads around here, climate on/off, etc.?

Hoping to join the EV club very soon!

Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:12 am
by SalisburySam
Hello Deltwalrus, and welcome to Central Ohio LEAF Owners!

My commute: I have none, retired. I use the LEAF for everything except long-distance (>40 miles one way) travel. Most of my trips are shopping, multiple errands, dining out, appointments, and so on. Most of us charge our LEAFs overnight to 80% capacity as suggested by the owner's manual to increase battery life. On that, I can get 75 miles with limited driving on the Interstates. The more I'm on the Interstate, the fewer miles I can go. I do all driving in "ECO" mode as opposed to "D", which will mean more to you after you take delivery.

Charging my LEAF to 100% capacity gives me an additional 15-20 miles, again limited by Interstate driving.

I didn't buy a car to be uncomfortable in it so I use climate control for hot, cold, and humid days, which is to say, most of the time. When heat is needed but it isn't really cold, the heated seats and steering wheel are sufficient for me and save a lot of juice. Surprisingly, in hot weather the A/C uses less charge than I expected and works very well. It is also very, very nice to turn on the A/C 10 minutes or so before I get into the car when it is parked in the sun to cool it down in the summer. And yes, that takes a few miles away from you but it is wonderful.

I'm averaging 4.4 miles/kwh, which seems average to slightly-better than average. Given that the battery is a 25kwh battery, I should get 110 miles to completely drain the battery from full charge. That won't happen though as (1) the 4.4 is only an average, (2) the car goes into "turtle" mode at low charge restricting power and climate control, (3) I don't want to risk running out away from home or other charging station.

Your 50-mile RT (round trip) commute sounds like a perfect application for the LEAF, including the use of climate control and with a few miles left over should you want to drive a short distance to lunch. There are a few charging stations in and around downtown as well so you may be able to extend your range if you are parking near one of them. Some remain free to use, others have begun to charge for the electricity.

1- Charge to 80% overnight, do this by setting the charging time to FINISH charging around 5:30am or so.
2- Drive in "ECO" mode
3- Use regenerative braking as much as you safely can. This usually means slowing down sooner and more gently at lights and other stops.
4- Enjoy the car, the experience, and the forum!
5- At delivery, your LEAF dealer will have you sign up for Nissan's free Carwings service which links to your LEAF navigation system, iPhone/iPad links to the car, and so on. I also recommend signing up for the following charging station websites:" onclick=";return false;," onclick=";return false;," onclick=";return false;, and any others that may install charging stations near your route.


Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:05 pm
by Mikedemana
markbb99 wrote:Mikedemana
I also bought the Schneider Level 2 charger at Home depot about a month ago for $800. I called home depot and ask them for a $50 refund. Instead of giving me a $50 refund they gave me $60 refund.
Wow...I think I'll call them tonight! Thanks for letting me know...!

My commute is from north Columbus to Orange Middle School just north of Polaris. It is about 11 miles one way, so I could go about 3 days without charging. However, since I had my Level 2 charger installed, I'm charging it up to 80% each night with the timer. I'm thinking of charging it to 100% on Thursday nights so that I can hit the weekend with a full charge. Sometimes, my girlfriend and I do a bit of driving on Friday and Saturday. I can't imagine only one day a week of 100% charging will kill the battery.

Question for other Central Ohio AEP customers: Is there a way to tell the actual KWH price you're paying with AEP's bill? When I called, they said I am paying LESS already than I would if I signed up for the gridsmart program. I'm just curious, as I want to make sure I am indeed paying a lower rate as they assured me. Their customer service folks are a little on the shaky side, knowledge-wise...


Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:24 pm
by SalisburySam
Hi Mike!

I too am an AEP Ohio customer. I think there are a few ways to tell what your charge per kWh is. Here's what I'm aware of:

1- if you have a SmartMeter with AEP's GridSmart program, you can have a device called an "eView" for free in your home that does exactly this: gives the live kWh cost at any time (it receives radio signals from the SmartMeter). It also gives a lot of other useful information such as amount of kw's used today, last 24 hours, etc. Also, if you have any of the SmartCooling or other programs, you will have received an intelligent thermostat with the program, also connected to the meter by radio. It, too, shows the current cost per kWh continuously. I think both update about once a minute or so. For a thrill, I look at my eView to check the current usage, then turn on my electric dryer and check the rate again. Pretty scary stuff. Like the LEAF's GOM when you turn the heat on.

2- If you don't have any of the devices above, then look at your monthly or online bill. If you are on a flat rate plan as I am, just take the total amount of the bill and divide it by the number of kWh used, yielding the real, actual, honest-to-goodness, out-of-your-pocket cost per kWh. Yes, it will probably be higher than the quoted rate which usually does not include taxes, fees, and some other services. But this will show you the only rate you actually care about as you make your periodic payment.

3- If you don't have the devices in #1 and you are NOT on a flat-rate plan, I wish you well.

Re: Central Ohio Leaf owners?

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:32 am
by cmschafer
Hello everyone, as a fellow EV driver (Volt) and member of AEP Ohio’s gridSMART® electric vehicle deployment team, I’ve really enjoyed the great discussions on this thread. Being responsible for the deployment of the Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Easton chargers, I want to address a few points made in the thread below…hopefully to clarify our intentions for the chargers and make the chargers easier to use for our participants and general public.

The Walmart, Sam’s club, and Easton chargers are all free to the public at least until the end of 2013 (the end of AEP Ohio’s project). We are unsure if the host sites will begin to charge for electricity in 2014. Each person using the chargers must first swipe a Blink card to activate the charger. The charger will tell you that you will be billed $0/kWh. The user must acknowledge the message on the screen and the charger will activate. The customer service desks at Walmart and Sam’s now have temporary cards to activate the charger if a customer doesn’t have a card yet. We recently provided them with new cards.
We have also installed a new charger in the AEP Ohio headquarters parking lot for public use. However, users of this charger must pay a fee of $1 or $2 per hour, depending on the membership option you chose with Blink. The address is 850 Tech Center Drive in Gahanna.

Regarding other programs in the AEP Ohio gridSMART® area, there are several rate and bill credit programs that customers with Smart Meters can take advantage of. I’ve found that the Smart ShiftSM and Smart Shift PlusSM rate programs work well for my family and car charging. You may also be eligible to receive a free eViewSM device, to see your instant usage, or even a free programmable thermostat to better control your heating and cooling. Depending on your situation, you could save some money on your electricity usage. Visit to find out more.

Chris Schafer