I started watching Long Way Up this weekend. What a fantastic show and fascinating journey see – from the tip of Argentina up to L.A. on electric motorcycles.

As a fan of electric vehicles the first few episodes are bittersweet as they figure out how the bikes and charging work. Cold weather shortens the lifespan of any battery, so starting the journey at the end of winter and traveling through remote areas without a solid grid increases the challenge to a new level.

Seeing the beauty of these towns makes me want to visit Argentina and Chile so I can see it with my own eyes. The flight from Japan would be brutal as most flights to South America from Japan transit in Houston or L.A. – so a 10 – 14 hour flight to make it halfway.

One of the common memes to come from covid19 is to post a before-after photo of a famous city or landmark. The before covid19 photo is the city as we’ve become accustomed to it: brown air full of smog. The after covid19 at the same location, but with naturally blue skies and clear air.

With everyone social distancing and automobile/truck traffic near zero we have been given a rare opportunity. We no longer have to imagine what our air and cities could be like if we didn’t drive pollution emitting vehicles everywhere, we can see, taste, and smell it with our own eyes.

Air pollution from cars and trucks have been suffocating our cities slowly, like one boil’s a frog, so we acclimate and brown air becomes “normal” and the way things have always been. With the burner temporary malfunctioning we can see just what a precarious position we’ve put ourselves in.

When this is all done and our lungs have acclimated to clean air we’ll have a choice: do we go back to the way things were and forget what we’ve experienced, or do we the courage to demand a change.

I’m thinking of buying a (used) Nissan Leaf to drive around town and have been collecting some facts and figures to see how it compares with other cars here in Japan. I’m leaning heavily towards the leaf for three reasons: it’s cheaper to own/operate, no stopping for gas stations (can charge at home), and I don’t want pump out CO2 (and think about it) every time I drive.

The data below was written with Emacs Orgmode (using it’s fantastic spreadsheet capabilities). As I update my local orgfile, I will also update this page as well and make a small announcement on the blog.

Data Setup

2020/01/06 gas prices source

Model MPG MPL KPL Capacity kw/l Energy Consumption / 100km
Leaf 112 29.587 47.616 40 16.9
Note ePower 77 32.7 32.736 47 3.06
Gas/Liter JPY Gas/Gallon JPY Gas/Liter USD Gas/Gallon USD Electricity Min. Electricity Max
146.900 556.077 1.354 5.125 23.67 26.41

Running Costs

Model JPY / KM Fill Up
Leaf 4.00023 946.8
ePower 4.49514 6904.3

Common Destinations

Starting location: Home in Yokohama
Routing done via Apple Maps
Costs are 1-way. Train is 1-way, per person, using the route I’d probably take.

Destination Distance (km) Leaf (¥) e-Power (¥) Train
In-laws 5.8 23.201334 26.071812 242
Costco 15 60.00345 67.4271 609