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michelle chin

The lease is up on my beloved 2013 Bianco Perla in 34 days. The first two years with the car were flawless. The past 10 months have seen a number of software and charging issues (half a dozen system resets by disconnecting the 12v to get me on the road plus a couple tows to the dealership). All that being said, I have loved this car.

Whoever buys her used or at auction will be getting 29k miles of easy driving, no accidents and only one tiny chip in the paint (thanks to one of FIAT's roadside assistance contractors who dropped a battery charger on my bumper).

Last Sunday, I bought a 2013 RAV4 EV to hold me over until we have more options for actual cargo capacity in the EV space (I've already fit a 36"x80" door into the RAV). I do a lot of DIY and home projects and have to say that my little Perla's limited cargo space slowed me down a lot in that area. But her cuteness and ability to park pretty much anywhere, made it pretty easy to forgive and adapt.

Is anyone else having a problem with their Blue & Me requesting you to sync contacts every time you get into the car? This started last week when I upgraded to an iPhone6. Anyone have a solution? Thanks :)

Made an appointment with Glendale FIAT for my PIM recall a month ago. It was also the first service I've scheduled in the 12 months I've had the car. Figured no problems, so point in sitting around the dealership.

I was initially told the service would take half a day. Work has been busy for me, so I called this week to reschedule, knowing giving up half a day wasn't going to fly. I asked to switch to a Saturday, but was then told they'd have my car for 2-3 days and Saturday wouldn't work, so I asked for a loaner and kept the appointment (there was some resistance about providing a car to me. I was told, "we don't normally do this, but we will this time. Really? It's recall work. FIAT should cover that without question).

Surprisingly, they called me later that afternoon saying, "you're car is ready for pick-up, but we didn't perform the PIM recall work or software update because we didn't realize we had a waiting list for the parts required. You're on the waiting list now and we'll call you when it comes in." Seriously, what?

It was bad enough that there was a mix up at the cashier's desk and I waited almost an hour for my rental car pickup (I ended up walking down the street to Enterprise because I didn't realize they were less than a mile away), but to not do the work that I was scheduled for and not know ahead of time that they didn't have the part?

In fairness, they did fix a weird clicking sound my driver's side window had been making since the beginning that I offhandedly mentioned when I dropped the car off. So the trip wasn't completely wasted, but I could have kept living with the window clicking.

Figured I'd warn anyone to make an inquiry about parts ordering when you set your appointment so your time isn't wasted and you don't have to make two trips.

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Looking forward to the future of EV charging!

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If you can spare a few bucks, will you consider helping Belle?
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My newly installed Level 2 charger! Huzzah!

It took me a while to commit to having one installed because my previous job was in Santa Monica, which is very EV friendly. Now I'm commuting to Torrance, and despite working at an agency that has Toyota as a client, we don't have a charger available. Also, I had to interview several electricians. Most wanted to charge me far above what I ended up paying ($1700 vs $900). It would have been $600 if I hadn't insisted I have it on a separate TOU meter to get the LADWP discount per kWh.

I was a little worried when the GE WattStation arrived from Amazon and had "plug in" on the outside of the box rather than "hardwired." A quick search guided me to several other EV forums where reps from GE verified that these can be installed either way simply by disconnecting the power cord.

This is installed in my driveway and is rated indoor/outdoor. I had read some reviews that mentioned the unit was really noisy. I had to put my ear up to it to hear any sound at all. Anyway, so far, so good!

As of yesterday, FastTrak (HOV toll requiring transponder) lanes are now free for zero emissions vehicles! I emailed Metro here in Los Angeles to inquire about the change, which I thought started March 14, but received a reply from them today that I can now set my transponder to "3" (instead of "1") and drive in the FastTrak lanes toll-free.

The only restrictions are: you MUST have carpool stickers visible on your vehicle AND you need to have a transponder mounted in your vehicle (available at at discount at Costco and AAA).

Edited to say, Metro must have updated their FAQs yesterday. Here it is from the horse's mouth:

"Effective February 24, 2014, vehicles displaying a DMV issued White or Green Clean Air Vehicle Decal will be toll-free. All vehicles, including Clean Air Vehicles, are required to have a FasTrak® transponder while traveling on the ExpressLanes. To ensure toll-free travel, set your transponder to switch position 3 (3+ person carpool) prior to starting your trip. Clean energy vehicles that do not have a Clean Air Vehicle Decal must drive with their transponder set according to their vehicle occupancy."

   #hov   #fasttrak   #tolllanes  

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Belle's human passed away unexpectedly. She was only 47. We are working on re-homing Belle, but need to get her checked out by the vet. Please help, if you can.
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Some personalized touches...
Animal from The Muppets will be guarding the Fiat from his spot atop the antenna. I also put an alumni license plate frame on the back, but had a hard time sourcing a plain, black frame in the same style for the front (ebay $4). Also, none of the black screw caps fit, so I'll either paint these or replace with black screws :-/

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Finally put the HOV stickers on the Perla. I had heard from friends with other EVs that trying to go with just the small, rear sticker was asking to be pulled over. So, despite my aesthetic preferences, I put 'em all on.
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