Saturday, September 27, 2014

Clean Windows and Air

There's no denying that driving an electric vehicle charged by solar panels is doing my bit to minimize my impact on the climate.  But that's not what this post is about.  Driving a gasoline-powered car, you find the world has put in place certain extras to improve your driving experience.  Namely, when you stop at a gas station for a fill-up, you will likely have a squeegee handy to clean your windows and an air pump handy to top off the air in your tires.  When you drive an electric car, you give up gas station visits.  This is a mixed blessing.  True, you get to re-fill (charge) your car from the convenience of your own driveway each night and avoid stops at the gas station on your way home (or rushing to work).  But you lack those little conveniences that help keep driving a safer experience.

Because I park outside, my windshield dews up at night and gathers all the settling dust.  After a few mornings, a haze has formed that I must look through.  After a few more days, I am reminded that I need to clean the windshield every time I drive towards the setting sun.  If I catch this early enough, a few squirts from a bottle of Windex and a clean rag get the windshields back in shape.  The real problem is the tires.  This is where a bicycle pump becomes my upper-body cardio program.  Unlike my VW GTI, with its 225 width tires, the i-MiEV features much smaller 175 width tires in the back and 145 width tires up front.  The advantage these tires offer is that as few as twenty pumps of the bike pump can bring them back from a six PSI deficit.  The rear tires require a little more work, but it’s nothing like the 120 strokes the GTI requires.  If upper body strength (or sweat) is not your thing, then you can either buy an electric air pump, or return to the gas station every other month to top off the tires.  (I’m sure they miss you there and would welcome you back.)  Luckily, you don’t need a paper towel dispenser for checking the oil level each time.
A good-quality bike pump easily keeps the tires up to pressure when used monthly.

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