2019 is a good year for butterflies, at least in Sweden.
We awoke to -20°C this morning in Bruksvallarna, after spending much of yesterday driving northward to get here. Still, here in the region of Härjedalen we are only in the middle of Sweden, when it comes to it's large north-south extent.
Bruksvallarna is known for cross-country skiing. The tracks were a bit icy today, but the forecast promises fresh snow for tomorrow.
Since I just mentioned it, maybe it's time to comment on how well, or not, we like our electric Nissan Leaf, now that we have had it for 15 months, going into the second Swedish winter with it.
We bought it used, very reasonably priced, since it's the base model with no frills, from 2013, still the early days of electric cars. Plus, it has a quirky history, being imported from California. This brings a few minor annoyances with it, like the AC temperature setting in Fahrenheit, or that the car cannot be convinced to recognize the European tire-pressure sensors in our winter tires.
But overall we're very happy with it. It's a comfortable ride and covers my commute (2x20km) plus the occasional detour without causing "range anxiety". In summer, a full charge would last for two trips to town and back, so I mostly charge to 80% only then. In winter, the number of charge percentage points needed for a single trip increases from ~20% to ~30%, which still leaves a comfortable margin.
I use the app LeafSpy to read the car's internal information and it tells me that the battery is at 82%, which after more than five years lifetime seems to be slightly above average, when comparing to statistics.
But all the numbers are not what's important. I found driving to work became more relaxing with the Leaf. Stop-and-go traffic is much less stressful than with a stick-shift and the lack of combustion engine decreases the noise-level, which in turn means that I can listen to my podcasts or audiobooks at lover volume - again preventing stress.
In addition, mileage is cheaper (less than half the cost) and less polluting than a fossil car. So we can feel smug about that, too.
Last spring, during one of our long drives I was stupid enough to bump into the car in front of us, at low speed. Luckily, there was not much damage, but our car's front was compressed a centimeter or two, such that the left headlight no longer was properly attached.
Since it's an older car and not the kind of damage that affected operation, I just let it be and did nothing much. But now it was time for an inspection so I had another look yesterday. After thinking for a few minutes, I found a spot on the light casing that could hold a screw, such that it works as an attachment for a strong zip tie. This, in turn, now pulls the light into place and secures it. I love zip ties.
This morning, the car (2009 Toyota Yaris) passed the inspection with flying colours - yay! Now it is ready to be sold. The replacement will be a Nissan Note, which is the right compromise between a city-traffic and long trips, that our electric is not meant for.
Today at lunchtime we arrived back at our place in the forest outside Uppsala, Sweden, after driving all day yesterday and since early morning today. From Brussels the drive is over 1600km and takes over 18 hours without breaks. But since the whole point of driving instead of flying is to get our dog from one place to the other, we do stop regularly.
Some years ago we did this trip in a single day, starting very early and arriving around midnight. Even with two drivers switching every second hour, the final hours were a real pain; alone as I did it once, it is no fun at all. So we started booking a dog-friendly hotel located such that we arrive at dinner time and have around five hours of driving left the next morning. This is much more comfortable and arriving by noon means losing less than half the day - which we would otherwise have lost recovering anyway.
This was the 18th time we took this drive, usually we spend long summers and new years in Sweden, the rest in Brussels. There are rarely any major hassles in such a trip through five countries. Once we got stuck in a storm though, on the way down when both the ferries and bridges to and from Denmark had to close. Waiting out a storm near the sea at night in a shaking car sure was an unwelcome adventure. But this time all went smoothly.
This presentation is quite mind-blowing. The full title is What Bodies Think About: Bioelectric Computation Outside the Nervous System and it shows almost incredible results of what happens when you influence the communication between cells, notably not neurons. Limb regeneration, double-headed worms, memory remaining after the brain was cut off!