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Driving an electric car in Boston, now with less pain

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh June 29, 2012 03:09 PM


(Eliana Monteforte for

That's me smiling, because now I don't have cold sweats worrying about the city's nearest charging station.

In April last year, my neighbors thought I'd burn the building down while charging one of the first Nissan Leaf electric cars. Outside of the Charles Hotel parking garage in Cambridge, there were exactly zero public charging stations in the Boston area. It was cold, which meant the batteries had even less capacity than they normally do. I almost got stranded on my way to work. It was bad.

Now, after a week with a 2012 Nissan Leaf (base price $36,050), it's comparatively peachy to drive an EV here. Boston installed three public stations outside City Hall a month after my first test drive, and in October, Brookline placed two charging stations in Coolidge Corner, less than a mile away from my condo. The Boston Globe even has a high-voltage charging station, though it's not for public use. Thankfully, due to the recent 95-degree weather we've had, I didn't have to worry about the battery losing charge (in more extreme heat, it can).

Ordinarily, the Leaf and other electric cars like it have a range of up to 100 miles. It varies widely based on temperature, whether you're blasting the A/C or heat, and if you're on the highway or just putting around the city. Do a combination of all these things and you'll most likely see about 80 or so miles before the car begs you to recharge.

So how was it? Well, it's still a little frustrating, but all of the stress I had before was gone.


Carving Malibu Canyon in a C63 AMG

Posted by George Kennedy March 16, 2012 02:28 PM


(All photos: Steve Davis/WheelsTV). Click photo for larger version.

LOS ANGELES—Refined excess may sound like a contradiction, but it's the simplest way to describe this city and the monster I'm driving, a 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe. A fair amount of Angelinos will buy this elegant luxury car, which only gives off subtle hints of its bone-crushing power and finely-tuned suspension.

AMG is the in-house performance wing of Mercedes-Benz, akin to BMW's M Division. Both are well known among car enthusiasts, but with the M3, only BMW had a true world-beating performance coupe. Until now.


Building a bridge to Jay Leno's garage

Posted by Bill Griffith March 2, 2012 11:54 AM


(Jay Leno). Click photo for larger version.

Jay Leno at his garage with the Dunlop Bridge replica, an Austin Healey, and (left to right) Dominic Falconeiri of Middleboro, Peter Sturtevant of Mansfield, and David Altman of Beverly.

A group of local Austin Healey aficionados have built a bridge that has spanned the country, starting in Middleboro and ending at Jay Leno’s Garage in Burbank, Calif.

The display is a replica of the landmark Dunlop Bridge that spans the LeMans race circuit in France.

Leno’s “garage,” of course, is one of this country’s most extensive and eclectic high-quality collections of automobiles, automobilia, and motorcycles. And its owner has a special place for his new archway.

“I just acquired a new building and needed something for the transition area that connects the garages,” says Leno. “The bridge is a perfect connection. It’s the gateway to the new area.”


About Boston Overdrive reports the latest trends, auto shows and wrings out the newest cars in our city's hellish maze — and across the great roads of New England.
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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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