Q You say Nissan Leafs are clogging the 237-880 carpool lane. As a Leaf driver, I say SUVs shouldn't be allowed in the carpool lane. The reason for carpool lanes is to reduce auto emissions. My Leaf is "zero" emission! I have more of a right to be in the carpool lane than an SUV with three people in it. The 237-880 carpool lane should be renamed a Clean Air Lane or "CAL" for short!
A Oh, man, the recent debate over clean air vehicles has almost reached Roadshow highs. Here we go.
Q Once my brain stopped exploding after hearing that Nissan Leaf users put their lives and the lives of others at risk to save a few watt-hours of electricity by turning their lights off, I stopped to calculate exactly what they were saving.
The Leaf has LED headlights, which draw about 21 watts of power, which comes out to about 220 yards. Make sure you hold on to those pennies that you save.
A And ...
Q The total avoidance of quantitative thought or big picture consideration involved in practices such as the turning off of headlights in an attempt to increase the range of an electric vehicle says volumes about the ignorance and disregard so prevalent in our self-obsessed culture. Headlights consume an insignificant amount of power compared to that to move the vehicle.
We need to pull our collective heads out of our self-absorbed cocoons, stop fiddling with all of our toys, fretting about the insignificant and trying to feel politically correct and pay attention to our driving from now on.
Q I must be the only one who never turns off the headlights on my Prius. Since the Prius automatically shuts off the lights when I turn off the car and exit, I just leave them on all the time. I finally had one bulb burn out after 100,000 miles. It's to the point that I forget to turn them on when I drive a non-Prius.
A Hmmm. I wonder what someone who makes a living checking under the hood would say?
Q As a mechanic who works on electric cars and a driver of an electric car, I can say that headlights on have a negligible effect on battery life. I've driven with them on and off and have not noticed any difference.
What most need to realize is that the headlights, as with most car accessories, are still driven by a 12V car battery and the high voltage battery maintains the charge on that battery. Also, if you are driving so far that you are nearing the electric car's range, the half-mile or so you may gain from not using headlights is not worth running dark and being hard to see.
A much better way to extend range is to drive in traffic and not in the commuter lane. The car uses far less energy going at a slow pace as opposed to freeway speeds.
Just my 2 cents.
A And the final 2 cents of the day.