cdysthe,, delighted the i-MiEV is working out well for you! Excellent that you assessed your real needs before you bought the car.
cdysthe, turtle is your 'spare gas tank'. Note that as the battery ages and loses capacity, this invisible reserve is reduced, with little apparent affect on your car's range.
We have a saying on this forum: range is whatever we want it to be. Our driving style is the primary determinant of how far we can go with a given battery pack. Freeway speed is a range-killer, so stick to the right lane and slow down early-on if there is any question at all.
In six years of i-MiEV daily driving, neither my wife nor I have ever seen turtle, and rarely arrive home with fewer than two bars.
1) In addition to reduced range due to low temperature decreased battery capacity and heater use, need to recognize that driving on a wet, slushy, or snow-covered road surface significantly increases the car's rolling resistance.
2) For getting out of snow-stuck situations, in your bag of tricks don't forget that you have the ASC (Active Stability Control) switch (by your left knee) that you can disable - be sure to hold it pushed in for at least a second. See your manual. Perhaps some of our snow experts can comment on this?
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV