In his 97 years, Charlie Yaeger has driven everything from a Ford Model T to a 1916 Baker Electric to a Nissan Maxima. More recently, he can be found behind the wheel of a Nissan Leaf. Since his automotive life mirrors the industry as a whole, Nissan thought it would be worthwhile to offer up a new video that shows Yaeger explaining how things change. The takeaway point: history repeats itself, EV drivers, and let's remember there was a time when you could not find gas stations on every street corner.

Yaeger says it wasn't easy driving 80 years ago. It was a challenge to make it between gas stations and blowing out tires on gravelly roads was common. "You had to pretty well memorize where gas stations were and where you could get off the road and have a chance of getting back on after you repaired the tire," he said. Heck, it was great that there was a 60-mile concrete highway between Chicago and Danville, IL. That was the "super highway" then and it only had two 12-foot lanes of concrete with no shoulder. It took decades for President Dwight Eisenhower to finish building the highway infrastructure. Until then, they kept paving over muddy roads, Yaeger said.

All these years later, history is repeating itself. Nissan has sold more than 50,000 Leafs worldwide – and that means the need for EV charging infrastructure is growing. While EV drivers face fewer hardships than the very first automobile drivers had to deal with, there is still a bit of worry, sometimes, when some drivers get behind the wheel. To make the gas-to-electricity transition easier, smart phones show EV drivers where to charge, and EVs can receive HOV lane access in some states. That's much better than memorizing.

Check out the video below.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Cute video, amazing all the changes that gentleman has seen.
      Aaron
      • 1 Year Ago
      Please tell me he's not driving at age 97.
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Aaron
        Yup, he's still driving. I've been behind him doing 40 on a 55 mph highway with his left turn blinker on for the last 20 miles. It is a special place in hell called "Florida". =)
        Chris M
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Aaron
        As long as he's capable, why not? Some people age much better than others, and are capable drivers in their nineties. Others suffer disabilities such as vision problems or mental confusion that make them poor drivers in their seventies.
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      The difference between now and then is that back when we first started getting gas powered cars there was no National Horse and Buggy Association lobbying in DC with millions of dollars to buy out politicians to make sure the gas engine would fail. I agree completely about the parallels between then and now, but in some ways we are living in a different world. I want EVs to succeed and believe they will, but the battle today has it's own challenges.
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Reminds me of the Henry Ford quote. He said "If I had asked my customer what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse" Henry Ford.
      kEiThZ
      • 1 Year Ago
      1) I don't think reminding people of the "bad old days" is a great strategy. It simply reminds people that your product has limitations. 2) Tesla should gift this guy a real EV!
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      What living 'national treasures' , senior citizens like Charlie Yaeger really are ! Such open minded, living monuments to bygone era's are too often brushed aside, or ignored. Well done ABG, an interesting article and video.
      POD
      • 1 Year Ago
      They got their facts a little, wrong. Eisenhauer built the inter state highway systems after WWII and after he became President.
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      The infrastructure for EV's is really much less than the challenge was for gas cars back in the day. What do EV's need? 1) Roads. Check 2) Power lines. Check 3) A national set of dealerships for sales and service. Check 4) A large selection of parts suppliers. Check 5) 110v wall plug-ins for slow charging. Check All that is left is 6) High speed chargers for longer trips, tapping power from the existing power lines.
      Dave D
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'll bet he's a dang liberal that voted for Obama! For those of you who don't know me...that is definitely a joke :-)
      SublimeKnight
      • 1 Year Ago
      The LEAF has about a 70 mile range at interstate speed. I wouldn't have the patience to take my LEAF more than 120 miles even if quick chargers took 5 minutes. What I'm saying is that the popularity of the LEAF does not create a need or a market for a charging infrastructure. Give me 300 miles between stops and it becomes viable for roadtrips.
        SublimeKnight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        I meant to say 200 miles between stops. An induction charging system built into the road would do it to... but I doubt I see that in widespread deployment in my lifetime. More than likely EVs will settle in at around a 150 mile real world range with fuel cells that can be attached for long trips.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        Just take a gas car for road trips. Right tool for the right job.
          SublimeKnight
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Spec
          I agree, but that's not what this article is about. It's about infrastructure to make long EV travel feasible.
          Greg
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Exactly. People don't complain that their Corvette can't haul their new sofa, or that their Civic can't tow their boat. No vehicle is ideal for every task.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Listening to Charlie, it makes you wonder about the EV-haters that demand an EV to drive across the US (2900 miles). The sytem didn't even exist until 50 years ago. Boy are we a spoiled society. I include myself in that. We live beyond the means of what even Kings of yesteryear had to endure and we still demand even more. It takes a gentleman like Charlie to bring it all into perspective. Think of the changes in the world in such a small amount of time as his life. It boggles the mind.
      Tysto
      • 1 Year Ago
      "It took decades before President Dwight Eisenhower made it a priority to finish building infrastructure before World War 2." Check those facts, babe.
      • 1 Year Ago
      We are here to let those commenting below our project will be just like the gas stations of old. We would love to have all of you stop by http://eco-charger.blogspot.com/ tell us what you think
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