I’ve had my Nissan Leaf for over a year now and still love the car. I’ve driven over 23,000 km in that time and I still like going out on a trip to enjoy the driving experience. Over time you become used to living with and driving an electric vehicle. It becomes the new normal. When I’m at work during the summertime I plug the car in every couple of days as I only drive 22 km daily to work and back. I plug the car in overnight on Sunday so I have a full battery on Mondays when I have my day off. Occasionally I go on a trip which involves staying overnight someplace on a Sunday night. So I have to make sure I get a full battery on a Sunday. I did forget to plug the car in one Saturday night and I had to charge the car in at work to get it back up to 100% ready for the trip. There is a legal requirement in Spain for workplaces to provide electric car charging facilities. My work hasn’t done that specifically, they did give me permission to plug in on that day. It’s not usually worth me bothering to park inside the camping site where I work to take advantage of the electric there. It is all so easy and it’s great to not need to visit petrol stations.
Longer trips with Rosie the Nissan Leaf
The last trip I made with Rosie was to Les Angles which is on the other side of the border in France. It didn’t go perfectly because I didn’t charge for long enough on either the rapid charger about a third of the way on the journey or at the two thirds point on a Type 2. I had to find another charger close to my destination to top up. I perhaps could have got away with not doing that, but it would have been extremely close. I will be making the same journey in October and I have a different plan in mind. I will try to charge up at the midway point instead. I will go to either the Nissan dealer in Perpignan or to a nearby shopping centre where there is a rapid charger. I’ve tried to use the rapid charger of the shopping centre before, but didn’t have any RFID cards which worked with it. I now have more of these cards available and one which I know is specific to that charger. I might give myself a day trip to Perpignan just to test out which of the RFID cards will work. It would be better if I can charge at the Nissan dealership in the town because it will be free. I might just use the other one where I have to pay just to know I have a second option. Annoyingly the Nissan charger is not available outside of opening hours. Too many are like that due to a poor relationship between Nissan and the dealers. That’s why Tesla not having dealers is such a big deal. No middle man to mess things up for the end user.
There’s got to be a better way than RFID cards
The KiWhi charging network with the RFID card which has the charger at the shopping centre in Perpignan is annoying. I have to access the website to add funds to the card. I need to do this using chrome so the site can be translated from French to English. The signup for the card in the first place is quite difficult and requires a special process for non-French residents. It’s a pain having to pay for the card and for it to come without any funds on it ready to use. I think it cost €24 to get in the first place. I’ve just put a deposit of €20 onto the card and I’m going to be disappointed if I have any problems with using it at the shopping centre. I will also see what other cards I have might work with it too. The NewMotion Card has always been useful and it has saved my bacon a couple of times.
I would like to see a European Union initiative where all charging points allow payment by credit card. We should be able to use a contactless credit card or with Apple Pay on every charger. It is still early days for electric vehicles on the roads. I’m sure it’s going to get better and easier over time.
Is 40 kWh enough?
As things stand at the moment, for longer trips it would be better to have a larger battery. The guess-o-meter on the car will tell me I’ve got 260 km available. It is always overoptimistic and it doesn’t have a clue when it comes to driving up mountains. There are websites available where you can plan a journey and it takes into account the terrain.
One such website is A Better Route Planner. It is a fantastic resource and works with various electric cars. There are lots of changes you can make to the settings. How much battery percentage you expect to start your journey with and have low you want it to go before charging. You can give it a maximum percentage of charge to receive from a rapid charger. When you tell it to plan the route you get plenty of information. It tells you how much battery you should have left when you arrive at a charger. A Better Route Planner informs you how long it will take to get to the battery percentage you’ve set in the settings. It will then tell you how much you should have left in the battery when you get to your final destination. I’m going to use this electric vehicle route planner more often.
Dreaming about a Tesla
I received an email from Tesla telling me about cars they had in stock and available. I couldn’t help but dream. I started wondering how much I would get selling my Nissan Leaf to put towards a Tesla Model 3. It’s only after adding everything up and seeing how much extra I would need to cough up that the dream falls flat. The car I have is perfect for 99% of my driving. The amount of money extra I would need to pay is completely unreasonable. There are advantages to having a Tesla with a longer range than my Nissan Leaf. The cost of those advantages are just not viable for me. It makes the desire for a Tesla a want, rather than a need. I even wondered about the possibility of trading in the Nissan Leaf for a 62 kWh Nissan Leaf. It will also be more money and not far off what it would cost to get the Tesla Model 3. I’d rather spend the money on the Tesla. The main reason for getting a Tesla would be the access to the supercharger network. Driving long distances would be like a walk in the park. I wouldn’t hesitate driving from here in Catalonia to Norway if I had a Tesla. With the Leaf I think driving all through France would be no problem. Going into the rest of Spain seems a little more daunting. Would probably need more RFID cards and apps