Five days with a Leaf and rediscovering a classic
Following on from my recent thoughts on using social media less and generally ‘detoxing’ my mind by reducing the time I spend on staring at my fondleslap, I have some good news to impart.
And for my next number I like to return to the classics
I have finally gotten hold of a Nokia 8810 4G via Amazon in Germany and am writing these words just as I intended without hacking away at my trusted iPhone’s tiny onscreen keyboard but on an iPad with physical keyboard, wirelessly tethered to the Nokia’s access point.
In fact I spent the day running around without the iPhone (nor the iPad until now — sitting in the shade at the local soft play outdoor area). When I wrote my post on 6 steps to a better digital lifestyle I wasn’t sure I’d be brave enough to to go through with not having a smartphone in my pocket.
After a day of abstinence I feel like I engaged with my kids more, paid more attention to what was happening in the moment and oddly did not feel like I missed taking pictures for Instagram, checking Facebook comments or sharing a quick brain fart with the Twitterverse.
The phone is fun and very capable although quite a different user experience. Compare it with a smartphone and you notice how much engineering effort has gone into keeping users glued to their devices. With the Nokia I don’t feel that I want to use it every 2minutes to check something. I use when I need to — that’s it. And yes, it has maps (GPS), address book and calendar sync and even a web browser.
Having two SIM slots and loading up the micro SD card with tunes means I have everything I could need in one tiny package, which lasts for days without needing a recharge. Try that with an iPhone!
Turning over a new leaf
In other news, I have been test driving a Nissan Leaf (30kwh, Tekna) thanks the the wonderful people at the EV Experience Centre in Milton Keynes. As you can see, I am still unsure which electric vehicle serves my needs best and that I want to splash out on. My VW Touran, while ancient in technology terms, is a solid, reliable example of German automotive engineering. It costs me very little to run, although I do go through a tank and a bit of diesel every month and need to replace some worn bushes now.
Why on earth would I want to drop a significant amount of money on a new car?
Because I can and I want to. It’s pure selfishness to be honest. I know that the environmentally ‘right thing to do’ is to drive the old people wagon until it dies, not buying a new (or recent) EV. I love the way electric cars drive, the quiet ride, prompt acelleration and low running costs.
By all accounts I should be buying a Leaf then — but here’s why I won’t.
The Leaf is a fantastic car. Spacious, practical, fun to drive, reliable, economical. It’s got space for five (at a bit of a push) and a wicked sound system (Tekna trim).
However, it lacks passion and the build quality I expect from anything I pay a lot of money for. If I spend 15–18k, I want to feel happy and the interior should at least be reassuring me it won’t break in two minutes. The sound of a door closing should sound like they won’t fall off and the seats should provide support that passengers and driver alike won’t be thrown around the car. The Leaf doesn’t feel solid nor ‘quality’ in my opinion. At least not compared to my old VW Touran or the BMW i3 I drove for a week recently.
And to round it all up, it simply doesn’t put as much of a smile on my face than the i3 does. And what’s the point of it all if you can’t have that? :)