Do Electric Cars Alter Your Brain Forever? An Owner Says Yes

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Author Marc Lausier and his 2012 Nissan Leaf

Author Marc Lausier and his 2012 Nissan Leaf

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Having now driven my Nissan Leaf electric car for more than a year, I've begun to ask myself whether it's permanently altered my brain.

And I have to be honest: The answer, from my perspective, is a resounding YES.

I 'feel better' for the following reasons:

  • I spend less money on fuel and maintenance
  • The pollution I don't emit benefits the environment
  • Lower operating noise from the vehicle is comforting
  • etc, etc.

But I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there's one problem I frequently experience as a result of owning an electric car: I drive faster now than I did in my previous gas-powered car.

It's my understanding that this is a common occurrence among electric-car drivers.

It apparently started long, long ago. Even then, higher speeds were the result of the relative silence of electric cars.

I sense that my first ticket in this car is simply a forgone conclusion and probably not too far down the road, as the saying goes.

Of the five senses, sight is obviously the most important while driving--but hearing is more important than I realized.

This was quickly brought to my attention when I lost the 'audible cue' from a noisy internal combustion engine.

When you floor the accelerator of a gas-powered car, the revving sound lets you know the car will speed up quickly.

But when you floor the accelerator in an electric car, from a hearing aspect, you get...relatively nothing.  It's as though I've gone deaf and as a result I'm re-learning how to drive.

Keep in mind that learning is always easier with positive reinforcement, which I get every time I sit behind the wheel of my electric car.

On a lighter note, I'll remind you of the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov.

He is famous for his "conditioned reflex" experiment whereby he trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell because he made them associate it with food.

I believe that driving a 100-horsepower electric car for a year has 'conditioned' me.

There's now no doubt that whenever I manage to get behind the wheel of a car powered by a 500-hp electric motor, I will immediately begin to salivate!

Marc Lausier is a retired pharmacist living in the coastal town of Scarborough, Maine.  He is an electric-car advocate and the owner of the first Nissan Leaf sold in his state. He first wrote for Green Car Reports about his car's carbon-dioxide footprint.

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