2019 Nissan Leaf Announced & Trip To Birmingham

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Just after getting back from a trip to Birmingham for a family event the expected news from CES came through about the 2019 Nissan Leaf. There had already been plenty of rumours about what was coming with the new version of the generation 2 Leaf and there were no big surprises. The new size for the battery is 62 kWh which is more or less as was expected. So that’s about 50% more battery available and consequently 50% longer range. I suppose the range is going to be somewhere around 400 km. It’s been confirmed that there isn’t any liquid cooling/heating for the battery. Plenty of the Rapidgate detractors of the 40 kWh version are complaining even before tests show us how it’s going to work in practice. Is the battery going to get hotter with it being squashed into the same physical space as used by the 40 kWh car? What is the battery management system going to do to the charging speeds which have also increased with this car. Most CHAdeMO charges tend to be of the 50 kW variety. This latest Nissan Leaf will be capable of a faster charging speed, so it will still be possible to go from 20% battery to 80% battery in about 40 minutes. Just so long as you can find a CHAdeMO charger capable of those higher speeds. For most people that’s not going to make a lot of difference for the moment.

2019 Nissan Leaf

2019 Nissan Leaf E Plus – Nothing New to See

The 2019 Nissan Leaf doesn’t look any different on the inside or the outside of the car. It might just be noticeable when you’re in the driving seat there is a new slightly larger screen. It is supposedly of a higher quality with better resolution and better touch sensitivity. For those of us using Apple Carplay or Android Auto is not going to make much difference because we control most of what we need using our voice.

Prices going up to pay for the improvements with the2019 Nissan Leaf

There is supposed to be some improvement to the Pro Pilot Assist, but will have to wait until there are proper test drives and reviews before we can comment on this. Are the cameras and sensors new and improved? Who knows, we’ll just have to wait and find out when the car properly hits the road. Nissan have said the 40kWh car will still be available and the 2019 62kWh Leaf will be about €5000 or €6000 more expensive. I still don’t know the full details on pricing I’ll update this post when I more information. With the new improvements and the new prices people will be comparing closely with the Hyundai Kona, Kia eNiro and the Tesla Model 3. You might not have to pay too much more to get the Tesla and for many people that will be worth spending the extra cash. It also will be interesting to see what’s coming soon with the Hyundai Ioniq which should be amazing with a larger battery.

Travelling to the UK

Birmingham Canal

I drove my 2018 Nissan Leaf to Barcelona Airport en route to the UK. This time I didn’t charge the vehicle before going into the car park because it was early in the morning. Decided it would be a better option to charge the car on the way back after the trip to Birmingham. It was an easy job to pull into the charger nearest to the Barcelona airport before travelling home. There’s a fancy hotel next to the AMB charger where it was okay to take some refreshments are waiting for the charger.

Electric Powered Public Transport

While in the UK we did make use of some electric transport. There was the trip from the Birmingham International railway station next to the airport into the city centre. This was with an electrically powered train. All of the bus transport we used was using big old diesel engines, but at least they shut off when parked. They were not pumping out noxious fumes while idling at any of the bus stops. There was one trip on an electric tram from the jewellery quarter back into the Birmingham city centre. I like trams, there used to be lots of them in cities across the UK many years ago and they were all ripped out to make way for cars. It’s a very modern idea to put them back again and get rid of the cars. I was amazed at the low level of traffic within the city centre. Some of the streets had been made pedestrian only. I remember when I was a young lad driving down some of the streets in my car or on my motorbike. Many of them now are completely pedestrian, some are trams only, while others allow buses. Even the roads where cars were allowed I thought the level of traffic was extremely low. This is good news for the city centre. I did think that there could have been more effort to make cycle lanes both within the city and also on the roads going out to the suburbs. Didn’t see any electric scooters as I saw in Barcelona. That’s down to the laws of the UK not allowing them on pavements or roads. That should be changed.

2019 Nissan Leaf
Old Birmingham Pub

Electric Vehicle Charging Points in Birmingham

While walking around the city I did spot a couple of charge points. There was one around the back of the Birmingham City Art Gallery and Museum. We didn’t see any cars charging while walking past it. Whilst in Sutton Coldfield, my sister informed me there were chargers just round the corner from the restaurant. She told me they were often in use, so we can assume there are some electric cars around even though I didn’t see any on my travels.

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Electric Car Road Trip in a Nissan Leaf

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EV20Q Podcast 49 – Révéo Charging in France

It was another electric car road trip day and this time to France. I recently received the Révéo RFID card and I wanted to test it out. On my last trip in a northerly direction to do the testing I wasn’t able to get past the traffic jams to get into France. I wasn’t sure if it was the roadworks taking place on the French side to widen the bridge or if it was the yellow vest protesters being revolting. On this day out we did see some of the yellow vest revolutionaries by the side of the road as we were coming back onto the motorway in the direction of Spain. It looked like they were busy doing some cleaning up and they were not stopping traffic from flowing. We got lucky!

A Surreal Charging Point on my Electric Vehicle Road Trip

The first part of the trip was to drive to Figueres which is the hometown of Salvador Dali. I have visited the Dalí museum three or four times and I have a couple of favourite paintings in there. Our interest on the trip was less of surrealist art, more about putting some electrons into Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf. On the outskirts of town there’s the Nissan dealership and it’s a good place to stop for charging. The CHAdeMO charger is easy to get to and not hidden away inside the workshop or within a compound. So it’s available 24-hours seven days a week. We stayed for about half an hour, maybe a little less and added a decent amount into the battery. I think we arrived with about 68% of battery and left with something in the region of 90%. The dealership was open and we had a look at an NV200 van which was converted into a camper. I’d certainly have one of these as an electric propelled eNV200 campervan. If you don’t mind doing a conversion by hand, it would probably work out a lot cheaper to buy the van and put the bits and pieces in yourself.

Leaf in the Dealership showroom

Crossing the Border into France

The road between Spain and France at the coast is interesting and winding. Good roads for an electric car road trip. Even though I had to drive slowly, I enjoyed the trip through Portbou. We stopped in a couple places here and there to take photos and shoot video. Just across the border we drove into a town called Cerbére. As it was time for lunch we were happy to plug in and charge the car. Found one of the Révéo chargers we were looking for, in a car park by the beach. The parking was free due to it being winter and there was a pizza place on the other side of the road. Disappointing the charge was going in to the car quite slowly. Much too slowly for a charger rated at 22 kW in the Révéo app. Using my new Révéo RFID card with a €1.50 connection charge and two cents per minute after the hour meant that even with a slow charge it wasn’t too expensive. For just over an hour its cost €1.78. It would be more cost-effective to find one of the CHAdeMO chargers on the same network. These destination type chargers are still useful for the grazing type charging. It’s good to add to the battery while you’re doing something else, like getting food or having a walk around the town.

electric car road trip

Collioure Tourist Trap and Charging Spot

After filling our faces with tasty pizza it was time to move on to the next town on our electric car road trip. The next town was Collioure and it was full of tourists, a harbour and a castle. The charge points were right next to the castle and there were two bays available. Both of these charging spots were empty and we took up position. We asked a local police officer if the parking was free while charging and they said yes. Once again I used the RFID card from Révéo to activate the charger. It was an easy operation to get the charger working. Spent a little over an hour walking around the town and exploring. We were connected to the charger for one hour and five minutes and the cost was €1.62.

electric car road trip - Collioure in France

EV Hole Kona Electric Driver

When we got back to the car we spotted a Hyundai Kona which looked pretty cool. He was also on an electric car road trip. Had a quick look around and it’s not got quite as much room in the back seats as my Nissan Leaf. It would be a good car to have with the larger 64 kWh battery. I certainly would have considered it if it had been available at the same time as I was buying the Nissan Leaf. With the extra battery available it would have probably cost another €5000 or €6000 more than my Leaf. Probably would have been worth paying the extra money for the bigger battery even though for the most part I don’t need it with my Nissan. In terms of value for money and the fact the Kona is available now I would say it’s a better deal than the Tesla Model 3. I think the overriding factor which would make you choose a Tesla rather than the Hyundai would be the network of superchargers you get with a Tesla.

Transport and Fuel – It’s All About To Change

It was obvious the Hyundai Kona driver was new to the realm of electric vehicle ownership. He had pulled into the electric charging bay for the Révéo charger and was not plugged in. It would have been good manners to have either plugged in or use a normal parking spot. Another EV driver on a electric car road trip arriving at the charging place would have been disappointed on being unable to plug-in due to this EV-Hole. An ICE-Hole is a driver of a fossil fuel car parking in a EV charging place. An arse-hole is just a bad person. Let’s hope people like this learn EV etiquette quickly. In the transition period between the majority of cars being fossil fuelled and the passage towards a fully electric vehicle environment there’s going to be pain points. The number of charging points will have to increase to take into account of the increasing number of EV’s on the road. The behaviour of drivers will have to change to take into account the new usage of energy/fuel.

Shopping and Charging – Or Not

On the move again and instead of heading back the way the same way, we took the easier route back on the main roads and motorways. A relaxed drive using Pro Pilot Assist in my 2018 Nissan Leaf called Rosie. It was a good day for am electric car road trip. We arrived in Girona and pulled into the shopping centre to use the facilities. My wife can’t resist a whizz around the shops looking for bargains. There are four charging points in this shopping centre, but we couldn’t get into the parking underneath easily. Annoyingly, a long queue of cars for the main car park where the charge points are situated. So we didn’t bother going in as we easily had enough power to get home. Plenty of charge in the battery so we used another car park which was easier to get into. Fortunately didn’t have to stay there too long. I’ve had enough of shopping to last me a long time over the last couple of weeks. The only shop of interest was the one selling personal electric vehicles. The single wheel Segway types, electric scooters and bicycles looked like fun.

Overview of the Electric Car Road Trip

When we got home there was about 20% left in the Leaf battery. To fill it back to 100% would cost around about €2.50. I reckon the total cost for driving 276 km was about €5.90. Even factoring in the cost of eating pizza while out it was a cheap day out for the number of kilometres driven. You have to feed yourself anyway during the day, so let’s not count the food costs. Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf is a joy to drive as well as being highly economical. During the winter it is great to make use of the heated seats when on an electric vehicle road trip. Seat heating takes very little electricity and has a negligible effect on the range of the car. Even using the car heating it only takes between 6km to 8km off the Guess-o-Meter range.


Nissan Leaf long-distance driving and Rapidgate


During the year since the 2018 Nissan Leaf came out, some people have complained about the throttled charging on a long trip. I can honestly say it hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. Usually, this is due to the necessary stops due to bladder range. If there’s a charging spot available you might as well plug in and add electrons to the battery during a 15 to 20 minutes stop. After an hour or so of driving it’s good to stretch your legs anyway. I usually find with such a stop I have still got 50% to 60% left in the battery. The battery isn’t too warm from having been used hard during driving. In any case, a relaxed style of driving keeping the speed under 102 km/h on the motorway isn’t working the battery too hard. It’s often true with the second stop of the day that it’s time for food. This usually means a break of about one hour and that’s plenty of time to put more juice into the battery before driving on. Depending upon the speed of the charge, this will bring the battery back up to nearly 100% and ready for the next stage of the journey. If the charge speed is throttled back on a second or third charging it’s also highly likely you’ll be more in need of extra time to recuperate from the driving. The rapid charger might be slower, but you’ll be taking advantage of that with a longer rest period. I reckon Nissan got it right with the battery management for the large majority of Leaf owners.

Optimum Driving and Charging

People who might complain about Rapidgate and the 2018 Nissan Leaf will be those who are in a hurry to get someplace. Perhaps they have more than one driver, meaning it’s easy to have short breaks on the journey before driving on further. Someone driving a vehicle as part of their job and having time constraints might need a longer range vehicle. For the average person on an electric car road trip Rapidgate is not really going to be much of a consideration. There are enough charging points on a route these days, especially through France it seems. More charging points are being situated during 2019 in Spain. So it works well to use the grazing type of charging as you travel on your electric car road trip. By not letting the battery get down too low it’s not working so hard and the temperature is kept low. Having short charging stops means you are not waiting too long when the charging speed has tapered down after 80%. This also helps to keep the battery temperature lower. The optimum charging speeds are found when charging the battery from 20% up through to 80%.

2019 Nissan Leaf Coming Soon

The new Nissan Leaf is going to be announced at CES in the U.S. in January. There are already rumours flying around about improvements made to the car. It’s expected there will be a battery in the region of 64 kWh coming from a different manufacturer. Even though the car hasn’t been announced properly there are rumours suggesting there will be no liquid temperature management of the battery. Electric car pundits and journalists are complaining about this even without knowing any of the details. We’ll have to wait and see and make our mind up when the car actually hits the road. I expect the car journalists will do a more thorough testing of the car than they did with the 2018 Nissan Leaf. There was a honeymoon period with the 2018 car when none of the journalists mentioned anything to do with the charging speeds. The Nissan Leaf was still ahead of the game with regards the technology and the comparative pricing. When the new version is announced in 2019 there will be other competitors to compare the car against. As well as the Tesla Model 3 there is the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Kia eNiro as well as an updated Hyundai Ioniq.

What Improvements Would I Like to See

I’d like to see a faster AC charging speed for the next Leaf. The built-in charging should be increased from the 6.6 kW to the 22 kW as you see in the https://ev20q.com/ev-nicolas-raimo-renault-zoe-driver/Renault Zoe. This should make a big difference driving the car around in France. For the moment the Nissan Leaf is still the biggest selling electric car worldwide, although that might change soon with the speed with which tester is making the Model 3.

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Leaf vs Hire Car – Gen 2 Leaf Facebook Group

48 – EV20Q Podcast News

Since my last road trip with my Nissan Leaf I visited Ireland. I had to hire a car in Ireland and unfortunately, it was a petrol car. It sounded and felt really agricultural compared to driving my beautiful electric car. As we were leaving from Barcelona airport it was necessary to drive from home to the parking space where we left Rosie for the four days we were away. It was an easy drive down and on the way there was time to pull into the AMB Electric vehicle charger near to the airport. It didn’t take long to get the battery up to just over 75% so when I arrived back in the country I wouldn’t need to go looking for a charger to make sure I had enough energy for getting home.


I have in the past I’ve driven from home to Barcelona airport and back again with one full charge of the battery. That was in the summer time and I think the range in winter is just a little bit less. It made sense to add some electron juice to make sure. I didn’t want to fill the battery to 100% because it doesn’t do the battery any good to leave it full over a number of days. It’s better to keep it under 80% to make sure no damage is done to the battery. It probably would have been okay, but it’s best not to take any chances anyway.

Weird Fossil Car


It was so weird to drive a hire car, especially one without cruise control. You can get used to having cruise control that’s intelligent with the radar to keep your distance from the car in front. Pro Pilot Assist is a marvellous safety feature well worth having. I don’t rely on it for the steering, but I do allow it to assist me to steer the car.


In the hire car I had to get used to changing the manual gears. I had to use a switch to manually turn on the headlights and another switch in order to dip the headlights. I even had to reach up to manually dip the rear view mirror. After all these months of having a technologically advanced car going to drive a hire car is like driving like an animal.


I also missed my comfortable seats I have in my 2018 Nissan Leaf Tekna. I’m glad I paid extra to get the top of the range with the good seats and the heating included.

Deer Park Forest – Virginia, Ireland

Yearning for a Big Trip


I can see that one of these days I will have to drive my car up through France, maybe go across the UK and once again take the ferry crossing to Ireland. I’d love to do one of these really long road trips and really drive my electric car to the limit. I feel comfortable with having enough electric charge points I can connect to all the way through France. I would have to do some research and checking on what I would need in terms of RFID cards and apps for driving through England and Wales. It would take a lot longer than flying and I’m not sure I’d persuade my wife to take the trip because she doesn’t like going on boats. It would also be weird driving my left-hand drive car on the wrong side of the road in the UK and Ireland.

Gen 2 Nissan Leaf owners on Facebook

This group has grown to over 1500 members. Many of the members are actual owners of the Gen 2 Nissan Leaf. It’s a good group to be in to share knowledge about our favourite electric car. Sometimes the questions are about the general workings of the car. People who have just bought the Leaf or about to buy the car and are wondering about a functional feature of the Nissan Leaf. We have members in the group who have had the car for a long time and done a lot of miles or kilometres in their vehicle. So there is a lot of experience and knowledge available. It’s also a good place for us to share photos of our cars. Spreading a bit of the Leaf love.


There are times when we have problems with the vehicle. Like that time I had a problem with my radar sensor at the front of the car. I was able to see if other people had experienced the same problem and what they did to be able to get things sorted out. By the way, my Pro Pilot Assist and Intelligent Cruise Control has been working perfectly since I got the radar sensor changed.

Rubbish Leaf Connect App


All of the group know that the application you get from Nissan to connect to you car is a bit rubbish. It takes a huge amount of time to connect to the car via the server at Nissan. I can understand it is necessary to go via a server at Nissan for digital security. I just wish it was not quite so glacier slow. I have been looking at another application called Leafy. This works a little bit quicker and I’m able to see if the car is connected to the charger. I can tell it to start charging from the app. I can also send commands to the air conditioning in case I want to preheat or pre-cool the car. For the moment I think I will stick with the Leafy app and not bother with the app from Nissan. Even though the app from Nissan has just been updated. In fact, it seems as if the app is working worse than previously.

Braking and Regen


One of the members of the group, Peter Haas is asking about the E pedal. “Anyone else notice ePedal regen going to full when you let off the accelerator, then quickly dropping to no regeneration, regardless of speed. Braking continues, but not as strong as I have grown used to. Looking at the powermeter the regen stops so I assume the car is applying the friction brake. What’s going on?


This isn’t a problem I’ve come across myself with my Nissan Leaf. Other users have asked for more information such as the level of the battery. If the battery is at 100% then obviously you’re not going to get any regen because there’s nowhere for the generated electricity to go to.


It could just be there is some sort of actual problem and Peter needs to take the car to the dealership and get it checked out properly. Another possibility would be to look into the Leaf Spy Pro and see if there are any error codes. As far as I can make out it seems that some of these error codes are a little bit cryptic and you need to get the garage to properly look at the car anyway.


Jennifer says that her car occasionally goes into fiction breaking without regen. She says if she gives a blip on the pedal it restarts to regen. It seems what this does is to stop the breaking briefly and then when the car starts to brake again it works with the regen rather than using the friction brakes.
David thinks its unusual behaviour and he says you need to be aware the power meter has a different scale between B mode and E-pedal. What may look like less regen on the meter, it actually isn’t.


Another hypothesis, this time from Patrick is that if you go down a steep hill, the friction brakes seem to take over. Also if the road is rough the car is more likely to use the friction brakes. I have driven down some steep hills and even some of them had rough surfaces and I haven’t noticed anything myself. Benedict says the reason it’ll go to friction brakes is because they work on all four wheels. If you’re only using regen then you’re only getting the braking action happening on the front wheels. It’s because of safety reasons regen is minimised and the friction brakes are used to give you the braking power you’re looking for.
Another owner-driver of the 2018 Nissan Leaf, Mario says he’s not using ePedal any more. He didn’t say why he has stopped using it, but it seems a shame not to use the ePedal. I always have ePedal switched on and the only time I’m not using it is when I’m using Pro Pilot Assist.

Knowledgeable Group of People


As you can see the drivers of the 2018 Nissan Leaf like to go into deep detail of inner workings of the car. For the most part I just drive it and enjoy it. I don’t fiddle about with it too much because I have not found myself in need of extra braking while wanting to slow down. So it’s working for me and as they say – “if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it.”

At the shopping centre again charging the car

I went again to the shopping centre where last time I was hassled by the security. This time I didn’t look quite so dodgy and didn’t get pulled over. I plugged into one of the two charging stations. On each station there is a Type 2 connector and also a Shuko connector. In the car I have both the granny charging cable and also my Type 2 cable. With the granny charging cable you’re only going to get about 3 kW charging speed. With the Type 2 the maximum is going to be around 6.6 kW. I suppose it’s handy to have the two charging sockets available even if the amount of power isn’t enhanced using the Type II charging point. It’s possible you only have the one cable with you so there being a choice of sockets is a good thing. The other charging variable is how much power the charging station will let you have. I checked with the Leaf Spy Pro app and saw I was getting less than 3 kW. The charging post is limited by the maximum amps available. It’s probably only got a 16 amp breaker compared to the 32 amp breaker I have with my EVSE at home. This is not really a problem when it comes to using a destination charger. Especially if the electric is free. I was able to plug in and use the Barcelona live card to activate the charging point. I stayed at the charger for more than two hours – It was a long shopping trip. It would have been much shorter if I was on my own. When we got back to the car the battery was at 100%. Excellent! I call that a result.

Electric vehicle cross-border driving – Or not?

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Another RFID Card

On account of receiving the new RFID card for Reveo which is an energy group for electric vehicle charging points in the south of France, I decided to take a trip to test it out. Started the day with a full charge which I have noted is less at this time of the year than it was in the summertime. The guess-o-meter now tends to show me approximately 250 to 260 km on a full charge. In summer it could be as much as 280km. The weather isn’t too cold here, so I wonder how things are for people with electric vehicles in more severe climates. So off I set on a mission to drive into France to the nearest Reveo charge point. I have the application from Reveo to help me find their charging stations. It can be used for the charge point activation too. I quickly saw there were five charging points to choose from just across the border. The cost of charging was going to be €1.50 for one hour and then after that it would cost 2.5 cents per minute. The charge points were rated at 22 kW delivery and I was interested to find out if I got that much in my Nissan Leaf. On my last visit to France when I went to Céret the station there was rated at 22 kW in the application, but was only delivering approximately 3 kW. On that occasion I used the Sodetrel/Izivia card and I didn’t have a good experience with the charging or the price. It ended up costing me €4.50 and it is a complete mystery as to why it was that much. I think it could have cost less if I had used the Newmotion RFID card instead.

Getting blocked at the border

On the drive towards the border I drove next to the motorway for some of the way. As I got closer to the border I could see a large queue of lorries on the AP7 building up. Just before I got into La Jonquera I joined a queue of traffic which was going very slowly and for a few minutes was stopped completely. There was some distance to go before I could get into France and get past this blockage, so I decided to do a U-turn and look for a different route. I pulled off just a short way back on a road suggested by Waze. This took me through a ford on a road going over towards the other side of the motorway. I took a short break on the other side and checked the map and decided the re-routing wasn’t going to do me any favours. It was only bringing us past a couple of roundabouts and back into the queue again. I decided it was a much better idea to head back home and give up for the day.

Driving through a ford near La Jonquera. Motorway in the background.

Testing rapid chargers in Figueres

On my last trip I tested out a rapid charger at the Nissan dealer in Figueres and I could have gone back to that one again. However, there is another rapid charger in the centre which needed to be tested. I was there before and was disappointed because it was in place but not yet commissioned. The electricity hadn’t been turned on. I had received word from the Ajuntament in a reply to an email asking about the charger to say that it was now working. I has a plan to follow – a rapid to try out.

On arriving at the charger, a car was pulling into the charging bay and it was an ICE, Infernal Combustion Engine vehicle. To be fair, he was only half on the green painted bay for the charging point. I got out of my car and tapped on his window and asked if I could pull in to access the electric vehicle charging point. I gave him space to reverse back from the charging bay. He moved out of the way and left a space reason for me to reverse into.

This rapid charger is a large electric vehicle charging point. It is set in between two charging bays, one in the front and one at the rear. The charging bay at the rear is suitable for front loader cars like the Nissan Leaf or the Hyundai Kona. The charging bay at the front can really only be used by cars which have the charging socket at the rear of the car. The road is a one-way street so it would be difficult to turn the car around to make use of the other bay if the one you wanted was in use. Mind you, it might not make too much of a difference if the machine was already being used in the DC mode. Perhaps if someone was charging a Renault Zoe with AC then the DC connections could be available. I kind of think that the rapid charger wasn’t put in the best place. It could have been better in a more open car park area. On the plus side, there were facilities available next to the charging point.

Charging point facilities

The charging point was next to a fruit shop and a couple of supermarkets. Just around the corner there were three or four restaurants of various types. Also in the vicinity there were two or three cake shops where you could perhaps also get a drink of something. Not only that, there was a small park area and benches you could sit on to watch the world go by. For this reason this rapid charger gets the best marks for chargers in the town. When you go to the other ones there’s not much available to distract you while the car is being charged.

Activating the rapid charger in Figueres

On this occasion I used the RFID card from Barcelona. There is also a card you can get from the Figueres Ajuntament. I saw on the instructions on the machine it’s also possible to use an app to activate the charge point. I don’t have that application on my phone. I do have several others, just like RFID cards I seem to be collecting them. The electric vehicle charger works really well and it didn’t take long for my car to suck in plenty of electrons. I had a walkaround to stretch my legs while waiting. To stop the charger from charging you put your card back up to the card reader on the machine.

 EV charging Catalonia

Taking advantage of free electric

I decided to continue on the route back home via Girona and use one of the rapid chargers available there. I headed for the charger at Girona South. This charger is situated in the car park and there are no facilities nearby. It would be possible to walk to shops not too far away, but you wouldn’t have time to do anything while there. Walking to the shops and then walking back would be long enough for the amount of time you have available on the charge point. Lucky for me, I had my new 12V car kettle. This is a small kettle I got from Amazon and it seems to work fairly well. It heated the water up to the proper temperature to make tea. It seemed to take a long time to heat the water up, but it worked. Happy days!

When I got back home I’d covered around about 185 km. Because I stopped in Girona and topped up the battery, when I got home I still had about 75%. This means my driving for the day was extremely cheap. Topping the battery up to 100% using the cheaper night-time electricity cost me less than one euro. A day out for next to nothing! The joys of driving an electric car, especially the Nissan Leaf. I know I did go off last week to see the Tesla Model 3 in Barcelona, but I still love Rosie, my car.

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Tesla Model 3 Barcelona – Catalonia

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Disappointing Tesla Model 3 Day Trip to Barcelona

I was going to set off first thing in the morning, but it was raining and I didn’t fancy driving in the rain. The day cleared at about lunchtime so I thought “Why the hell not?”, got in the car and drove. I arrived in Barcelona at about 2 o’clock and parked in a shopping centre not too far away from the Tesla showroom. I had hoped to park in a parking space not too far away which had a charger. When I got there I found it was a charger for motorcycles and I couldn’t pull in. There were some chargers available in the shopping centre, but I didn’t know exactly where they were. I did think about moving the car after getting the full information for the charging points, but couldn’t be bothered. It was handier to charge my Leaf later at a Rapid. I couldn’t wait to see the Tesla Model 3 in the flesh.

Tesla Model 3

As I walked to the Tesla showroom I passed a couple of public rapid charging points in the street. They were not in use and I could have used those except I wouldn’t have had long enough for my visit to the Tesla place. With these public chargers you get just 30 minutes of parking and charging. Can’t complain, as the charging and parking is free.

In the Tesla Showroom

In the showroom there was a Model X just inside the doors with the Falcon wing doors open. It does look rather impressive. It’s a hell of a car for a hell of a lot of money. Next in the showroom was a gorgeous looking model S in white. Another fantastic looking car. Finally at the back of the showroom was a Model 3 in blue. Blue is my favourite colour and the car looked great. It didn’t look like a new car though. There were dirty marks in the foot wells and fingerprints all over it. I suppose you’d expect a lot of fingerprints on a car in a showroom. A bit of cleaning wouldn’t go amiss though. On the rear offside wheel there was a little bit of damage. A Dutch man coming in to look at the cars pointed this out to the salesman in the showroom. He didn’t seem too pleased. I was looking forward to taking photos and maybe shooting some video of the car.

What Gives – Tesla?

Imagine my disappointment when he told me the car was not available to be viewed inside it. The car was due to be moved from the showroom that day for whatever reason. He wouldn’t open the car to let me have a sit inside. It was as if somebody had bought the car. This is a little bit strange because the car is not available for sale in Europe yet. I had received an email from Tesla inviting me to go and view of a Model 3 in the showroom. I received a less than optimal welcome from Tesla in Barcelona. The salesman was pleasant enough and was happy to chat about the cars with me. On account of him living in the city he has no need of a car. He said if he was going to buy a car then it definitely would be a Tesla. That is quite understandable!

I took plenty of pictures with my camera of the Tesla Model 3 and I have to say it does look absolutely gorgeous. I think my own car, the 2018 Nissan Leaf is marvellous and sexy too. The Tesla Model 3 does take it to another level. It has sportier more aerodynamic lines than my Leaf. I don’t really have a need for the Tesla, but I want one. The longer range would be nice even though my bodily function range is taken care of by my Nissan Leaf. I need to stop about every 100 to 150 km to take a break. Stopping for charging points to fill the battery of my Nissan Leaf works very well for me. He said 500km was possible in the Tesla Model 3. More range is always good when you are on the longer trips.

Tesla Model 3

The inside of the Tesla Model 3

I was able to peek in through the windows and inside the Model 3 does look extremely minimal. I like it because it looks quite classy. Having one large instrument screen in the middle of the car dashboard would work well for me. Even so, I think I’d be grateful to have some sort of heads up display for behind the steering wheel. If Tesla don’t put one in, then I’m sure some aftermarket manufacturer will come up with something. It’s a shame I couldn’t sit inside the car because it’s always nice to test the seating position. You want to know if it feels comfortable or not. Some car seats are comfortable straightaway. Some take a little while to get used to, but are comfortable once you have done so. There are some car seats which are always going to be uncomfortable. If I could have sat inside the car I could have had a better feel for the car. Would have liked to experience the feeling you get from the glass roof. Should make it feel extremely light, spacious and airy.

Tesla Model 3

What next for the Model 3?

As far as I’m concerned then there is a possibility if there is another Model 3 available to be viewed properly in Barcelona I might go back and visit. Or I might just wait until they are available to have a test drive. Everyone says when you have a test drive you are completely sold. Everybody who’s bought one of these cars completely loves it. I’ll keep in touch with the Barcelona Tesla showroom and maybe they’ll just send me another email when they have another car in there available to look at. Next time I’ll ring up first and double check with them to see if they’re going to display the Tesla Model 3 fully.

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EV Public Charging – In Charge in France

EV public charging France – All the Options

On one of my first trips to France with my electric car, my 2018 Nissan Leaf I got a little bit worried about EV public charging. I wasn’t able to charge the car at the Nissan dealer in Perpignan due to it being closed for lunch. I didn’t have the right card for charging at the large shopping centre either. So I continued on my journey towards my chosen destination a little further north of Perpignan. I was feeling sure one of the RFID cards I had would let me charge. As it turned out, the one I thought would work, didn’t. I started to sweat a little bit, wondering if I was going to have to call out the flatbed truck. I got lucky with the Newmotion RFID card which I had recently acquired. Nice to have a little bit of luck when you really need it. So I was able to plug-in, get something to eat in the Double Dutch café and then continue on my journey. Trip to Leucate.

Thank goodness for Newmotion

I also used the Newmotion RFID card on another trip to France when I connected to another CHAdeMO charger. This was on my trip to Quillan which is on the other side of the Pyrenees from where I live. That was the trip where I decided to make a little detour to the top of the mountain to Les Angles. Drove up a delightful small winding road to arrive in the middle of a thunderstorm. On the way down from the top of the mountain on the other side, but still going towards Perpignan I was able to pull into another charger at Villefranche de Conflent. That one was a slow charging point, type II Mennekes and again I was able to use the Newmotion card. The battery of the car really didn’t need much, if any charge, but I wanted to try out this other Réveo electric vehicle charge post.

My latest trip to France to a small town called Céret

On my way my first stop was to the Nissan dealers at Figueres which is the town of Salvador Dali. On this occasion I didn’t go into the centre of town, instead I went to the Nissan dealer on the outskirts. A good choice for Nissan EV public charging. First of all I was happy to see the CHAdeMO charging machine was not hidden away inside a workshop or the compound of the dealership. This makes it more useful as you can get to it 24/7 and I didn’t even need to put in any code to use it. I stayed there for 20 to 30 minutes before deciding to continue on my journey towards France. When the dealership is open it’s useful to be able to use the facilities which were clean and pleasant to use. So onwards towards France, steering clear of the motorway for a more enjoyable drive. There were huge tailbacks on the motorway going into France due to roadworks on the motorway bridge at the border.

Autumn driving an electric vehicle through the foothills of the Pyrenees

The day turned quite dull but this just made the autumn leaves look even more spectacular. Some parts of the mountain were covered in low cloud making it a fairly dark day. I didn’t care because I had a nearly fully charged electric car. My rear end and the small of my back was delightfully warm due to the seat heater. The cabin of the car was also fairly warm due to the efficient heating of the 2018 Nissan Leaf. Interesting roads to drive on and my comfort level was high, just perfect. With the sort of roads I was driving on there was no need to use the Pro Pilot Assist. I had made use of that technology while on the straighter, less interesting roads on the way towards the border with France. Now I was into enjoying the E pedal technology and not having to touch the brakes hardly at all. When I arrived at Ceret the GPS took me through narrow village type roads to get to the old centre where the car park is containing the EV public charging point.

Each EV charging point seems different from the last

Aside from the fact the charge points of difference when some have DC charging and others only have AC charging, there’s such a lot of difference between models. Some are activated using a QR code, others need an RFID card, some are activated by an app and one or two you can just plug in. The ones you can just plug-in are generally the free ones and I like those the best. So take some time to get used to all the different types of EV public charging equipment out on the road.

The charge point in Ceret was another new style of charger for me to use. The network was Reveo and the charger contained two type 2 Mennekes sockets and two of the Shuko sockets. I expected the type to sockets to be up to 22 kWh, but I was wrong. I only discovered this when looking at the details on the website later. The car was only charging at 3.7 kWh which was very slow indeed. It’s exactly the same as the maximum as you get from the Shuko sockets.

The cost of charging electric vehicles using EV public charging

One of my reasons for the trip to France on this occasion was to test the new card I got from Sodetrel/Izivia. There was a small screen at the front of the charge point. I first needed to put the RFID card next to the screen. I somehow carelessly managed to touch the flag for Germany. So I had to put up with all of the instructions being in German. I can understand German but I would prefer English for the first time using this electric vehicle charger. It’s recognised my card and I could move on to the next stage which was to plug-in. It took me a while to realise I had to fully close the door covering the sockets before the charging would initiate. After a little bit of head scratching I managed to get the thing working. It was time to go and have a wander around the town.

One of the good things about having an electric vehicle is that you have to stop and spend time in a place. Usually it’s necessary to take breaks for food, drink and natural requirements. Often this is all the time you need, especially with the rapid DC charging. It’s often welcome to take a break and stretch your legs. I was glad of a chance to have a walk around the town. I found a supermarket where I could buy some apples and have something to eat. The rest of my walk around the town was pure discovery. I was happy to find a small art gallery who are setting up an exhibition for the next day. They still let me into look at the work even though it wasn’t officially open. I would have visited the Museum of modern Art which was totally unexpected in such a small town. Unfortunately, it was closed due to it being a Monday. I have to go back and visit on another day of the week. I even spotted another small art gallery on my travels. I think I spent about 40 minutes walking around the place and I got back to the car and started my journey back home.

I wuz Robbed…

It was when I got back home I saw on the website for my account how much the charging had cost. I had paid €4.50 for just a small amount of electricity. The reason for the high cost per kilowatt-hour was due to there being an initial charge to activate the charger, followed by a per minute charge. With such a slow rate of charge it can get quite expensive per kilowatt-hour with this type of charging. The Reveo charges if you don’t have a subscription which costs €12 per year charges €3 to initiate the charge. With a subscription this comes down to €1.50. There is still a charge per minute from 7 AM in the morning until 9 PM in the evening, but during the night time you can avoid the per minute pricing.

Reveo EV public charging is a network contained within the Izivia group which covers the whole of France and some other countries. I have downloaded the app so I can use Reveo chargers directly although there are some which only will activate with the RFID card. I’m not going to get a subscription even though it’s effectively only one euro per month because I don’t go to France that often. If you live in France it would definitely be worth it.

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The truth about using electric vehicle public chargers

For the most part most of us won’t be using EV public charging very often. 90 to 95% of our charging is done at home or work. We can plug-in our car at night time and wake up the next morning with a fully charged battery ready to go. Even so, we still want to see reasonably priced charging options available for the occasions where we do need to travel further afield. I have seen petrol stations which are charging $0.30 per kilowatt-hour which is reasonable. The IBIL chargers in Spain have a set up/initial charge plus a cost for how much electric you put into your battery. I’ll probably have to use more of these when I do my tour around Spain and Portugal.

Plugging in at the dealerships

If you have a Nissan you can plug in at some Nissan dealerships. I have encountered to dealership so far were they have claimed the CHAdeMO charging point was not working. Nissan should be making sure these charges are properly available. I would like to see Nissan making available Type II chargers in accessible positions so they can be used 24/7 by Nissan Leaf drivers. It would make buying an electric vehicle a much more promising proposition. Electric cars do cost more to buy and so we do need to have the savings in the running costs. We need good EV public charging options.

Travelling home from France

After getting across the Spanish border I pulled into the shopping centre at La Jonquera. There are four well marked electric vehicle charging points just as you pull into the parking area underneath the shopping centre. I toyed with the idea of plugging in. In the end I didn’t bother and I parked elsewhere in the parking area. I am intended to run in quickly use the facilities and to run out again. It wasn’t worth the effort in getting the cable out of the boot of the car.

EV public charging

One more stop on the way home for a bit of EV public charging. Again it was necessary to pull in to find some facilities and also to add some juice into the car. I stopped at the Girona North Electric vehicle charging point. I have the card from the Ajuntament to use this one for free. You can stay for 30 minutes, which I did, using the CHAdeMO connector. As I pulled into the car park there was a Hyundai Ioniq plugged into the charger in one of the two bays. It wasn’t charging so I can assume he had gone over the 30 minute limit. There was a car in the second charging bay. I get lucky and only had to wait less than a minute in order for that paid to become available so I could pull in and connect my car. It’s not a bad place to stop. There is a supermarket there, so often you’ll be able to get provisions as necessary. There is also a café next to the supermarket as well as other bars and restaurants not too far away. With 30 minutes of charging I had more than enough to get home. I probably could have got home without stopping, at least as far as the battery of the car was concerned. By taking the free electricity out on the road I was able to reduce the amount of electricity needed to bring the car back up to full charge using my home charger during the night.

My costs for the daytrip

My first stop for charging the vehicle battery in Rosie my 2018 Nissan Leaf was free. The cost for stopping and charging in Ceret was €4.50. The cost to bring the battery back up to 100% was about one euro. So it only cost me about €5.50 to drive 237 km. That seems like a bargain to me!

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Gen 2 Nissan Leaf Owners Group on Facebook – News

News from the Generation 2 Nissan Leaf owners group

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First of all a big congratulations to Chris Duncan who picked up his new leaf yesterday. He has a 19 SL and loves it to pieces. The Nissan Leaf does look rather nice in white. I nearly bought a white one myself when I was trying to get a car from a different dealer due to delays and poor service from where I did actually buy the car. We’ll be looking forward to hearing stories of first impressions and trips made with the new car.

Working with the charging timers

Jennifer is asking if anybody knows a way to set the end time for charging timers. I’m surprised Jennifer is asking this because she is highly competent with technical stuff to do with her Nissan Leaf. I know it is possible to set an end time for the charging. I’m not sure how the setting of an end timer is going to make much difference due to the variability of how much is left in the battery when it’s plugged in. If you have the start timer set to 10 PM and you have 60% in the battery then it’s going to be finished much sooner than if you plug-in with 20% in the battery.

You would need to have some sort of automation which could recognise how much was in the battery and would change the start time as necessary. Jennifer wants the battery to still be warm from the charging just before departure. This will allow her to get more miles driving on cold days.

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I think the only way around this at the moment is to know how long it takes to charge from a specific percentage level of the battery. Then adjust the start time to take into account this detail. I suppose the other possibility would be to store the car inside a garage and maybe even have some heating on the go. I suspect that heating a garage would be too expensive to make it worthwhile as a solution.

Lower range for the winter

We know already that with the higher range models which have the 18 inch wheels you get less range than with the 17 inch wheels. If you had snow tyres, falling wet snow, wipers, wet roads, highway speeds, heating the cabin, heating the seat and using their headlights more could have an effect upon the range. Possibly.

The wipers, the headlights, seat heater work from the 12 V battery and therefore might not have any effect upon the range. I know when I switch on the seat heater I don’t see a difference in the guess-o-meter on my electric car. I’d say it is more likely the combination of the larger wheels with the snow tyres, the driving speed and the road conditions making all the difference.

When I start the air conditioning or heating in the car I find there is only a difference of between 6 and 9 km. I think I’d say the answer Michael is going to have to go with is to drive slower and take into account the conditions of the road. It’ll be safer as well as him being able to drive further than 90 miles on a full charge.

Tyre rotation

Marcus Collings is asking how often people rotate their tyres. This seems to be a thing that people like to do with the Nissan Leaf. It’s something I’ve never done on previous cars I’ve owned. Maybe I should have done so. It’s certainly going to be the case you are going to get more wear on the two front tyres and especially if you like to put your foot down on the happy pedal. It is so tempting to get that big smile on your face due to the magnificent acceleration.

Thomas says he will rotate all four tyres every 7500 miles has put the manual. He says he’s got 43,000 miles on the original tyres so he must be doing something right. He also says if you go more than 12,000 before rotating the tires they will wear unevenly and need premature replacing. Marcus has changed the tyres around on his car after hitting 11,000 km.

Jodie Brisson has gone for the comedy element with the reply that her tyres rotate thousands of times per day. Nice one! You’ve got to have a little bit of a giggle sometimes.

David Laur says he rotates his tyres every 5000 miles. Kari Lee and Bruce Clift do the rotation when switching between Summer and Winter tyres. Winter tyres he switches front to back on the same side and the summer tyres straight forward and cross to the rear. Complicated or what?? Joseph Wammes says he never rotates tyres and Alan Stenson asks why.

The charging port being left open

Bill Farmer posted about his charging port. When he finished charging he thought he’d closed the door to the charging point. As you’re driving along 4 miles later the wind caught it and it popped open. I’ve done this a couple of times myself. When I’ve done it is because I have not pushed the door in fully enough to have it catch properly. After the first time of doing this I promised myself I would be more careful and yet it did happen one more time. I obviously needed more of a reminder. It is easily done and there isn’t any sort of switch which gives you any reminder that you haven’t loaded properly. The main thing is to not panic and to pull up safely and push it firmly closed. Jason Aspinall thinks that it’s not particularly dangerous, it only works as a mini airbrake. It totally messes up the aerodynamics of the car. Steve Brailsford and Jason Munion are of the opinion that it is possible to accidentally press the button on the key fob. I don’t keep the key fob in my pocket so that’s unlikely to be the reason in my case. He was just a case of getting forgetful in my old age! Jorge Izia Mendes seems to think the issue might be solved with a little bit of silicon spray upon the mechanism. I can’t see how that’s going to make a difference myself it’s just a case of making sure you push it firmly closed.

The child locks on the rear doors

Julian Hüsing had a problem where he had travelled just few miles with some friends. Apparently they were not able to open the rear door by themselves. It seems this can amount because the child lock had been switched on. There is a mechanical switch on the door and maybe he had the same problem as Nick Hoehler. His son drags his backpack against the latch and is constantly locking himself in. That seems like a good safety feature to me.

I have my car set so that all the doors lock when I’m driving at 15 km/h. It seems to switch on quicker than that though. I now have it set so they will unlock automatically when I put the car into Park. Previously I had it set so that it switched off the door locks when I switched off the car. If you are driving in an area which is a little bit dodgy it could be safer to have it switch off when you turn off the car. I changed it to switching off when I going to park because my wife is always complaining that she can’t get into the car when I put up to let her in.

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Excuses to drive my electric car

During the summer time I drive my electric car every day of the week driving to and from work. Now that I’m off work for some months I don’t have anywhere I need to get to daily. I can quite easily spend three or four days at home in the house doing my stuff. If I don’t get out I go kind of stir crazy and so this is one of the reasons why I do my road trips. My excuse for the road trip is to go and locate electric vehicle rapid chargers and test them to see if they work. The reason to do this is when I’m out on a trip going someplace and I could have some sort of time-limit I want to have easy access and no hassle finding electrons.

my electric car
My Electric Car

When I first got my car, fairly shortly afterwards I needed to collect family from the airport. At that time I didn’t have all of the applications or RFID cards necessary. I wanted to put some charge into the battery to help me feel confident of getting back home again. I had already wasted some kilometres by taking wrong turns looking for chargers. I thought I was late for picking up my daughter-in-law and my two grandchildren. As it happened, I wasn’t late but I was still kind of stressed. I hadn’t been able to add charge to the battery on the way there due to getting a little bit lost. I tried to connect to a charge point which I found after picking up my passengers. I wasn’t successful and I had to mollycoddle the car back home again. I got back with 3% left in the battery and I breathed a sigh of relief. During the drive in my electric car I did feel fairly confident I would do it, going by the number of kilometres I needed to travel compared to the numbers in the guess-o-meter. Despite this I do feel the need to be more sure of where I can find suitable charging points on my travels. It’s for this reason I’ve been making trips to Barcelona to see which charge points work and which ones don’t. It’s also good to know which of these charging points are free of cost to use. We’re in a good situation at the moment with rapid chargers in Barcelona in that most of them are free to use. There are some in Repsol gasolineras/ petrol stations and I have used one of them when I had dire need for my electric car.

In order to keep the costs down what I like to do is to find the charging point which is closest to home and get a good fill of free electrons. I can then arrive back home after a days driving around the city and it will only cost me one euro and at most two Euro, to get the car back to 100% battery level. The nearest free rapid charger on this side of Barcelona is about 68 km away. Typically I can arrive back home with between 50% and 60% of battery left in my electric car. If I only have to fill up 40% of the battery the cost to me for that is approximately one euro.

Charging my electric car at a supermarket equiped with destination chargers

On some occasions when coming back from Barcelona I could be getting kind of tired by that stage. Unless I need to stop for other reasons I will keep driving. I always don’t feel like it’s worth the hassle of taking any sort of detour to get to a rapid charger for the sake of one euro.

My latest trip to Barcelona

What I do is to have a look at PlugShare and choose a rapid charger I want to go and visit with my electric car. This time I chose one 94 km away which is about an hour of driving. The first one was in Carreterra de Fra Juniper Serra and not too far away from La Maquinista shopping centre. The idea was to go and check this one out and also go to the shopping centre so I could have a look at the new iPads and Mac Book Air computers.

I arrived at the rapid charger and it was fairly easy to find. It is in a slightly industrial area of Barcelona, but at the same time it didn’t seem like it was a dodgy place. There was a post office vehicle parked in the EV charging bay. I only had to wait less than a minute and the driver moved his vehicle. The other charging bay was occupied with an infernal combustion engine vehicle. It was okay because he was using his hazard warning lights. It was extra okay because I’d since found the rapid charger was out of operation. I looked at the screen and the lights were on but nobody was at home. I pressed buttons and waved my RFID card at it with no success.

I rang up the Ajuntament and gave them the information that the rapid charger was broken. The guy I spoke to, was aware of the problem with the charger and he tried to be helpful. He wanted to suggest to me rapid chargers nearby and hoped I had enough kilometres left in the battery to get there. I was grateful to find a sympathetic voice even though I still had plenty of battery left in my 2018 Nissan Leaf. Thanked him and told him I would consult with the PlugShare application to find the next location. In any case, I had planned to drive my electric car to the La Maquinista shopping centre.

As I drove into the car park for the shopping centre I noticed something was wrong straightaway. I needed to get to the minus one level and the entrance was blocked and we were guided down into level minus 2. I did find a way to sneak back up one level so I could go and park at the EV charging points. It seems they were doing some work in that minus one level which is why it was blocked off.

I got onto the intercom which is necessary to get someone to come down with an RFID card to start the charger. I don’t particularly like the way they have got this set up. There are other shopping centres I been to and all you need to do is to plug-in. There was one where I had to plug in and then go to the information desk to register and they were able to turn on the charging from there. It just seems a little ridiculous and extra work for their security people having to use a system of calling up with an intercom. There aren’t even any signs in the electric vehicle charging area telling you of the need to make the call. The guy at the other end of the intercom just told me that the chargers were still out of order. I was not impressed as they’ve been out of order for at least a month. At least they do have some chargers there and they have plans to make them work. There are other shopping centres who haven’t yet made the effort at all to install chargers.

Tea and carrot cake

I left my electric car parked in the electric vehicle parking bay even though I wasn’t plugged in. Why not, it’s not as if I was going to annoy somebody else by blocking a functioning charge bay. The new iPads were on display in the Apple Store and they had me licking my lips and wanting to buy one. I won’t be making a purchase because the iPad Pro I have still is giving me good service. I’ve decided to wait until next year. I also checked out the MacBook Air which is also tempting. Most of the writing I do is using dictation and I need a Mac to do that. I can use my iMac at home, but that does tie me to sitting at the desk in the office. DragonDictate would be more useful on a portable machine. It’s a shame I can’t get it to go on the iPad. The Siri dictation available on iOS works fairly well but is nowhere near as good as the professional dictation you get with DragonDictate.

At least I was able to visit the Starbucks in the shopping centre and grab a decent cup of tea and a fairly okay slice of carrot cake. I can’t stand coffee and it’s not that easy to find places selling tea here in Spain. I’m thinking of buying a 12 V kettle to use in my Nissan Leaf. That would be pure bliss. There should be tea making facilities in all electric cars not just my electric car.

Time to move on – two charging places down and still no charging done. I looked at the map in PlugShare for a charger nearby. I saw there was one not too far away at Sant Andreu. I set the GPS and Waze to help me drive there. I did get caught out going down a couple of small rat run type of roads. The charging point is situated behind a bus station and is also next to a metro entrance. It’s right next to a main road. I was hoping to find some public toilets, but I was out of luck. In these situations the only choice you have is to go and find a café or bar.

In terms of charging my electric car I was lucky because the two charging bays were both free and no one was using the charger. The charger was functioning and available to use. The parking and charging limit in these EV spots is 30 minutes although you might get away with just a little bit longer. I was able to add over 11 kWh to the battery in the time I stayed there. I was probably charging for around about 20 minutes. At this stage I’d got plenty of juice in the battery for as much driving around Barcelona as I was going to do and also enough to easily get me back home again.

Still some more checking and testing to be done.

There is a road I often take going through the city when I’m heading to the airport called Ronda de Dalt. I spotted there was a rapid charger on this road and not too far away from where I was already charging. It was definitely worth going and have a look. This was at the Mercat de Canyelles. It was an easy drive to get to this place and I was expecting to plug in just to test it. I was disappointed to find it was another charging point out of action. While I was there I did get chatting to a little old man who was interested in my electric car. He was asking me all sorts of questions about the car and how to charge the battery.

So I logged the inability to charge the car into the crowd sourced PlugShare application. However, I was undeterred in my search for active chargers around Barcelona. I saw there was another one not too far away on the same road and it was near to the consulate for the Republic of China. How useful is that??

Charging my car in Barcelona

Stopping at Vallacarca I els Penitents rapid charger was easy enough. I nearly missed it because I was in the left-hand lane and I needed to be into the right-hand lane. Fortunately there was a lull in the traffic and I was able to pull over into one of the two available charge bays. The charger was working and not being used by anybody else. I was at about 83% charge in the car and I didn’t really need any more. On the other hand, I did need to find some facilities. So I plugged in and took a walk and I found a couple of café’s and bars nearby. In the café I chose, I ordered some food and had to wait ages for it. It was for this reason I stayed at the charging point for longer than I wanted. The charge would have been going in very slowly due to the high level of charge already in the battery. I couldn’t leave though as I had to wait for the food to arrive and then scoff it. When I got back to Rosie the battery level was back up to about 95%.

Somebody had pulled in to the other charging bay who was driving a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The driver and hadn’t tried using the AC cable. Or maybe he had? I don’t really know which connection the Mitsubishi uses. With only having a small battery am guessing it would be AC. Sometimes with these triple headed rapid chargers the AC charging is still available even if somebody is using one of the DC adapters. Maybe he was just taking advantage of a free parking space. Parking can be quite difficult in Barcelona.

Moving on and finding another rapid charger

The Catalan TV station TV3 is in Barcelona and there are a couple of charging points next to the entrance. I drove to this rapid charger and had a look, but I didn’t bother plugging in. No point apart from just testing to see if it was in order. There was also a plug-in point next to it for motorcycles which could be used by a car driver, but would be very slow to use. I kept driving after spotting the charger.

Not far away Otto Diesel – Nissan dealership

So far I’ve not had too much luck with getting charged at Nissan dealers. There is the Nissan dealership next to the la Maquinista shopping centre which I have used once. The Otto Diesel (what an unfortunate name) dealership is on the far side of Barcelona from me which is not too far away from Barcelona airport. I decided it would be worth checking out the rapid charger. I still had plenty of juice in the battery so I just got out of the car to have a quick look. I saw that the rapid charger was inside the compound so it’s only available during opening times. I also saw that it was not broken and in working order. I’m sure I could have charged up there if I’d have tried.

At the Otto Diesel Nissan Dealership in Barcelona.

I think it’s about time Nissan put their money where their mouth is. They really need to make sure all of the rapid chargers are in working order at the dealers. I would also like to see them add charging bays available 24/7 at all dealerships. These should be Type 2 sockets available to all Nissan electric vehicle drivers. If they want to keep it to just Nissan owners they could do it with a QR code and an app. Or there could be a system where you just have them available because the charger knows when you are plugging in a Nissan Leaf or a Nissan eNV200. Just the same way as someone with a Tesla can easily plug in and use a Tesla supercharger. In these early days of electric vehicles in Spain and everywhere else, this could make a huge difference. We want more people driving electric cars. Save our lungs and out health generally.

There were other rapid charges nearby I would like to have checked out. But, I was getting a bit tired so I decided I would head home. The plan was to catch one more charge at the rapids closer to home. Just to make use of the free electric. I pulled into a charger I’d used before at Cabrera de Mar. As I drove into the car park I saw there was a Renault Zoe already plugged in and charging. No problem, the Zoe uses the AC connection and I was able to check in with the CHAdeMO. A little bit of a walk around the town to stretch my legs, before jumping back into my car and driving the last bit back home.

As per my plan I did arrive back home with more than 50% still in the battery. All of my charging during the day was free. I drove 250 km approximately and to top back up to the 100% cost me less than two Euro. This is easily one of the best benefits of driving an electric vehicle.


Charging Electric Barcelona

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The Barcelona Merry-Go-Round

Today was road trip day. I decided to go and check out a couple more rapid chargers in Barcelona. Set out from home with the GPS coordinates set for a charger near to Poblenou, Vila Olimpica. It’s a 99 km journey and would take about an hour. I ended up doing a few kilometres extra due to turning off at junction 23 and not quite getting the next turn left correct. I had to do a left turn, followed by a keep left with an immediate left turn into a petrol station. I didn’t think the chargepoint would be in the petrol station – I was so wrong about that. So I had to drive back to junction 24, do a U-turn and try again. On the second try I couldn’t see the charger straightaway so I pulled up to one side of the petrol station and parked the car. I got out and had a quick walk around and soon found the rapid charger I was looking for.

Getting the CHAdeMO plugged in

The rapid charging point was a triple headed charger with CCS, CHAdeMO and an AC plug. It was one of the Barcelona Live chargers and it was activated with the Barcelona Live electric vehicle charging card. I did try the Girona RFID card first. I don’t know why I keep bothering to try because never seems to work anywhere else apart from Girona. The plug for the CHAdeMO was one of those with a lever. I found out you have to push the lever away from the plug and then firmly push the plug into the socket in the car. This lever then will click into a holding point so it is securely in position. I didn’t get it right the first time, but now I know how to do it after getting it right the second time. Woo Hoo…

Rapid Charging In Barcelona

I spent a couple of minutes messing around taking photos. I like to add photos to PlugShare, the crowd sourced electric charge point app. During this five or 10 minutes the battery went very quickly from about 54% to 70%. When I looked at the car computer information for the charging I could see it was going in at about 28 kW and it must have been going in faster than that to begin with. I stayed there charging for around about 24 minutes and I added 11.25 kWh into the battery. I think it got me up to approximately 84% or 85% of battery and it was time to move on.

Heading south towards the market

There were seven or eight charging bays

There is a public charger inside a car park which according to the PlugShare app is at a shopping centre. I thought I’d be able to use the facilities and maybe grab something to eat. There was a café nearby, but I decided not to use the charger after all. It wasn’t very far away from the previous charger and I still had plenty juice in the battery of the car. I stopped and had a good look at the rapid charger and I was quite impressed with the facilities there. It seems that it is a work in progress though. The rapid charger is at the bay closest to the exit of the car park at ground level. Due to the layout, only one bay is available for charging at the rapid. There was however, two type 2 chargers with cables even though there were seven or eight charging bays. I can only think they’re going to add more of these chargers at some point in time. At the moment it’s only possible to have three cars charging at any one time. You do have to pay for the parking at three cents per minute, but the chargers are free to use. On the other hand, there is a barrier you have to go through to get into this markets area which costs €2.10. If you stay in the car park for 45 minutes it’s quite cheap to charge your car. Better if you can charge using the rapid charger to get more electricity into the battery quicker.there were seven or eight charging bays

EV charging Barcelona

Moving On To The Airport Barcelona

There is an AMB charger not far away from Barcelona Airport. I tried to use it before, but was unable to do so. I didn’t have the application on my phone first time and the second time I didn’t know how to use the application. I have used the AMB application on a few occasions since then. It was necessary for me to ask for help on Twitter or Facebook to find out how to use the app. Today I pulled up at the charging point and plugged in. In no time at all I was filling up the battery of my Nissan Leaf 2018 model. My car is called Rosie because she is red and beautiful. While Rosie was charging I used this opportunity to use one of the three café’s next to the roundabout where the charger is situated. During the daytime it’s a good place to go and use the facilities and get some food and drink while your car is hooked up to the CHAdeMO or CCS. There is also another charging post and although I didn’t look I think there are two Type 2 sockets contained within. Next time I go, I’ll have a proper look. Even though the Mennekes slower it’s useful to have them there just in case the CHAdeMO connection is being used.

charging electric barcelona

Heading back home – Hoping to be at home in time for the Apple event

Initially I put in the details to stop at a supermarket in Tordera which has a set of Type 2 chargers. This would be a very handy place to stop and do a bit of free filling up before the last stage to home. As I got close to the town I changed my mind and continued back to my house. If I’d stopped I would have missed more than the 15 minutes already accounted for of the start of the Apple event.

I am an Apple enthusiast, using an iMac, iPhone and iPad which is complemented by an Apple Watch on my wrist. I was pleased to see the Apple Mac Mini computer has finally been updated. My very first Apple computer was a Mac Mini. In fact I still have it upstairs and it’s in perfect working order even if it doesn’t run the latest operating system. It was from before the change to Intel processors. That’s how old it is.

Successful Rapid Charging – 2018 Nissan Leaf

On my last few trips to Barcelona to check out the rapid charging facilities in the city I have had great success. I feel much more confident now about travelling to Barcelona and finding somewhere to plug the car in. Even with a trip to the far side of Barcelona, to the airport for instance, it is possible to do the trip without using a public charger. I drive like a granny and I don’t drive like I stole the car. Due to my easy-going driving style and the range of the 2018 Nissan Leaf 40 kWh battery I don’t really have to worry. I just find it useful to take a few minutes while I’m having a quick break from driving to add some extra kilometres of range.

If there are possibilities for charging on the route then it’s a good idea to take advantage of them. You never know if there will be an accident on the road or roadworks leading to you having to make a detour. In a situation like that you could find yourself going from being confident of getting home to being just a little bit worried. It’s not much fun to experience range anxiety. I got my car in end of May/beginning of June and I’ve driven 9500 km approximately. I haven’t had any bad moments of worry. Indeed, there was one day when I drove 500 km going across the border into France. So it’s easy for me to say the 2018 Nissan Leaf is more than just a car for driving around a city. With the right infrastructure and the sufficiently large battery capacity it’s certainly good enough for long trips.

Leaving Rosie at home for a few days

Tomorrow I’ll be taking a trip to the mountains and going to Les Angles, where I’ve already driven Rosie to. On this occasion we are going in my wife’s car which is powered by fossil fuels. I would have liked to help her buy the electric version of the Renault Kangoo, but my funds wouldn’t stretch that far. Her next car will have to be electric. Due to the fact we have a lot of stuff to carry, we will be taking the dog with us and also the possibility of snow in the mountains Rosie will be staying at home. My wife already has the snowshoes for her car. My dog is losing hair like mad at the moment which would really mess up my car. If it’s wet up in the mountains I don’t fancy having a dirty wet dog jumping into the back seat. I think Rosie will thank me for leaving her behind this time.

Les Angles in France. 

Easy and Free Charging Electric Cars In Barcelona

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RFID cards and apps for activating charge points

I decided to go on another trip to Barcelona to test out various charging points around the city. I wanted to look at activating charge points with RFID cards and applications. I took delivery of a card from Sant Cugat de Vallés which was sent out from the Ajuntament for the town. I got this after trying to use the Barcelona Live electric vehicle charge card. That didn’t work and I think it should have. I also believe there should be some way for non-residents of the town to pull in and get the charger working. Maybe if there was a notice on the machine which said call into the bar opposite to get a card to use the charging. It would still limit the charger to when the bar was open. Even so, it would be good business for the bar and the town. People would be spending money while waiting for their car to charge up. Next time I go there I might even suggest to a bar owner or a restaurant owner nearby to apply for the card. Good for charging electric cars.

It was an easy drive down to Sant Cugat de Vallés and I took the motorway route. When I arrived there were no cars parked in the charging spots. Happy days! Pulled straight in and it didn’t take long before I was charging up my 2018 Nissan Leaf. The only difficulty was the sun on the screen of the charging post made it difficult to see the instructions. The charger recognised the card straightaway and soon Rosie was sucking in the electrons. Seeing as I hadn’t used a lot of battery energy on the way to the charging point I didn’t need to stay there for too long. I think I had more than 60% of the battery left when I arrived.

I sat on a wall in the shade under the trees not far away from the car and I recorded some audio into a podcast on Anchor. While I was sitting there I saw a Nissan van eNV200 pull in and have a look at the charger. It was one of the vehicles from the Ajuntament and because I didn’t need to stay there for a full 30 minutes I left after 15. He was then able to plug in his van and I was on my way.

Lots of charging possibilities in Sant Cugat de-Vallés

I drove just 15 km away from the place where I just charged. I went to the shopping centre where there is another rapid charger. That’s the AMB rapid charger I have used in the past. I wasn’t planning to plug in with the rapid, so I drove into the parking place underneath the shopping centre. As you go in, right in front of you, you’ll see a set of four Type 2 charging points. I failed to spot them as I was too busy trying to avoid running into a one legged woman. She was hopping out across a poorly painted pedestrian area and I was paying more attention to her than what was directly in front of me for charging. It was only after I parked the car and walked back when I saw the charging facilities. I didn’t bother moving my car although I did think about testing the charge points later after I’d finished eating.

Easy and Free Charging Electric Cars In Barcelona

Meeting other 2018 Nissan Leaf Drivers

I didn’t need to plug in to test the chargers. I bumped into a driver of a 2018 Nissan Leaf who had just parked there as I was going back to my car. He didn’t know how to use the chargers and I was able to help him get started. It was a simple plug-in and no need to use any cards or applications to activate the charge point. We had a little chat about the car and charging. He was driving a demonstrator model from a dealer and was still discovering what the car could do. I was also able to help out with how to use the AMB application so he could do a rapid charge. The rapid charger in front of the shopping centre is by AMB. The guy was grateful for my words of wisdom and I was glad he changed from Catalan to Spanish so we could have an easier chat. As I was driving out of the parking area for the shopping centre I spotted another four charge points. I am completely impressed by the level of provision for electric vehicle car owners in this shopping centre. Charging Electric Barcelona.

Rubí Charging Electric Cars

Just a hop skip and a jump away is Rubí. I set the GPS via Plugshare and Waze and went on the hunt. The charging bays are next to the ajuntament. There’s one rapid and two type 2 posts.

I was disappointed to find the rapid was unavailable due to a Hyundai Ioniq being plugged in to the AC. It should have been using the Type 2 post. It wasn’t even a full BEV. I couldn’t use the DC charging while it was plugged in. Sloppy driver hadn’t even closed the window on the passenger side. I asked in the office so they could let the driver know. They had no idea who owned the car.

Free is always nice!

I wasn’t in real need of power so I wasn’t really bothered. It could have been annoying to someone with a low battery. While I was there a lady asked me if was going to be long at the Type 2 charger. I told her I would be happy to move on so she could plug in. Yet another PHEV wanting to partake of the free electric.

Finding another Barcelona charge point on the way home

The next charging point on my list and in the general direction of home was at Montcada I Reixac taking me towards the motorway by the sea. I set the GPS to guide me using Waze and I was soon able to pull in front of the charger. It’s right at the end of a road where you have to do a tight turn to get into it. You kind of have to pull around and then back into the spot. The charger was an AMB and activated using the application. The charger is in front of a library and swimming pool. I was able to get in and find some facilities. There’s a small café for snacks. Found a toilet in the entrance to the sports area. It was a good place to stop, pleasant and not at all dodgy. I stayed there about 15 minutes to get some free electrons into the car.

Keep Looking for More Chargers

So I still wanted to find another charging point I hadn’t used before and I saw that there was one at Cabrera de Mar. Another free rapid charger and also in the right direction towards home. It wasn’t too far away and I didn’t use a lot of energy out of the battery to get there. I still plugged in to test the functionality of the Barcelona rapid charger. I activated the charger using the Barcelona Live electric vehicle card and I was soon charging the car. It was in a car park near to the Ajuntament buildings. There was just the one charger with the two DC plugs and one AC. It’s possible to charge two vehicles at a time. One AC and one DC. I expect over time took more chargers will be added as electric cars become more popular.

Done for the day

That was my last charging experience for the day and I had plenty of kilometres in the GOM to get me home. In fact, I arrived back home with about 70% left in the battery. I drove around 200 km during the day and I estimate the total cost to be around one euro. That’s if I plug the car in my T2 in the garage at home and charge up the 30% of battery left using my own electricity. Or I could go on another trip and make use of the free public charging and I will have had a day out for free.

Excellent charging facilities in Barcelona, but??

What about elsewhere when charging electric cars? What’s it like when I travel further away in Spain? Will I have enough range in the car to get from one charging point to the next? Will I have the necessary RFID cards or applications to activate the charging points? By taking these trips out to find charges around Barcelona I have increased my confidence in being able to travel around the region. I’ll have to do more of these trips in Barcelona to locate more of the free charging points. The next big thing will be to go on a longer distance trip to test the charging possibilities in other cities. It will be interesting to see if other cities do free charging or will I have to pay? How easy or difficult it is going to be?