Short Trips and Shopping Centre Charging

It’s a while since I’ve been out on a longer day trip. Rosie has been doing the daily chores of getting me to work and back. I only have an 11 km drive to work and 11 km to drive back. Not much else apart from that, just a couple of trips 40 km away to attend choir rehearsals. It’s not a particularly fun drive. I just get on to the dual carriageway, put on the Pro-Pilot Assist and keep an eye on the speed limits. I do like to occasionally use the ‘happy pedal’ to get me out of trouble. This usually happens when a car is pulling into the main road from a smaller road and isn’t really looking. A quick blip of the throttle to get me out of the way and I’m happy! My wife will tell me off if she is not expecting it and she gets shoved back into the seat by the acceleration. But it’s worth it!

Girona Shopping Centre

Yesterday I took a trip to the local shopping centre in Girona. It was good place to go to buy a birthday present. In the car parking underneath there are four charging points for electric cars. It’s a strange system where you have to go to the information centre on the first floor above the car park. They ask for your car vehicle registration number, telephone number and which charger you are plugged into. They have somebody switch it on. I really don’t know why they can’t just leave them switched on so you can just plug in and use them. Probably because it’s a new thing and they feel it’s necessary to control the use of it. This time there was no one at the information desk and I had to find the telephone number for the shopping centre and make a call. At least he just switched it on and I didn’t have to give my whole life story to get the job done. The charging points in the Girona shopping centre do actually work. Not like the charging points in the La Jonquera shopping centre next to the French border which don’t work. Very annoying!

Electric Car charging at La Jonquera

Slow Going For The Change To Electric Cars In Spain

While I was driving the other day I was considering the fact that there are very few electric cars on the road still, here in Spain. I would like to see more evidence of progress towards electric mobility. I have spotted a couple of Teslas recently. As I was driving into work there was one part in the road. I later spotted the driver driving it too fast around the roundabout in front of where I work. He was making the tyres squeal and obviously having a lot of fun.

While I was plugged into the charger in the shopping centre there were no other cars plugged in. As I was leaving a Renault Zoe did take the charge points next to me. It was a bit of a novelty to see another electric car. It’s nice to know I’m not the only electric car driver in the village.

Destination Charging While Shopping

There is an Aldi supermarket on my way back from choir practice which has a plug socket in the car park. It is unfortunately, not marked in any way. Unsurprisingly, it is always ICED and unavailable. When I pulled in there was a car taking up the space and when I left the car park there was a motorbike in there. I wasn’t too bothered as it was a quick visit to the supermarket and the charger is only a Shuko plug socket. Not really worth taking advantage of the plug-in point unless you were going to be there for an hour or two. Not worth the bother of opening up the boot to get the cable out. it is kinda disappointing really. Over in the UK I know there are quite a lot of the supermarkets with type II charging points for customers use. There are even some that have rapid chargers available. I do know of a couple of supermarkets not too far away with type 2 sockets. They are just another bit too far away to use for the weekly shop. I would have to make a special trip to get to one of these.

Setting the Car Heating on a Timer

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One of the great things with a connected electric car is the ability to remotely turn on the heating or AC. There’s also the timer in the car to set it up. Where I live is a fairly warm climate, at least, it is warm for most of the year. So it’s not needed to get the car warmed to de-ice it before leaving home. I feel sorry for the poor souls who have to scrape the ice of the car in the morning before they can set off for work. I’m lucky to have a garage to put the car into and I’ve no need to leave it outside much. So I had the car for at least nine months before trying the feature to set the car temperature and have it just perfect for driving when I leave wherever.

Nissan Leaf

In the Nissan Leaf there are two timers which can be set independently. The second is redundant for me and my car for the moment. Only need to set it on the mornings I leave at 5 am. I have to admit it really is nice to get into a pre-heated car. Tell the car what time you expect to leave and the timer does the rest. For me, it is the height of comfort and luxury to get into a cosy car. All that is left to do, is to turn on the seat heater and maybe the steering wheel heat and I am totally toasty.

Leaf at the beach

I’ll also give this feature a try in the summer when the temperatures can hit 30 – 35 degrees Celsius. If I have to leave the car outside in the sun I’ll either use the app to send a command about 15 minutes before I leave to turn on the air conditioning. This could be really useful if the car is at a charger without shade. I’ll be really glad of the coolness of the car when I get in to begin my journey. When I’m at the beach I could set the AC to start when I am collecting my stuff together and leaving. By the time I get back to the car, it will be just the right temperature in the cabin.

If the car is connected to a charger while this preheating or cooling is happening, it will take the energy from the external power source. It isn’t going mean we will have less range for our drive. If the car isn’t connected it can use the power from the battery. There is a setting to allow this or not, as you prefer. After organising the car to be heated ready for me at 5:40 am on my early day of work each week I noticed there was an extra light illuminated on the switch panel for the heating in the car. It just lets you know you have your car heating automation set in the car computer. When you find you don’t need it anymore, you’ll know to go back and change the settings.

Nissan Leaf


Just one more thing I love about my 2018 Nissan Leaf. The only thing to wish for is the slowness of the remote connection through the app to improve. It really takes a long time for the app to make the connection to the car. This is if you want to use the app to look at the stats or whatever, as well as settings for the heating/AC.

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Electric Vehicle Bubble

Electric vehicles in Spain

The Spanish government has recently announced this year’s EV fund money for the promotion of electric vehicles and infrastructure. Some of the money is for grants to help people buy electric vehicles and the rest of it is to go towards the installation of charging points around the country. The south of the country and in particular the interior of the country away from the coast really needs to get on board. I just visited Sevilla which is quite a large city in the south of the country. Sevilla is the capital of Andalucía and it compares really badly with Barcelona in terms of electric vehicles. Am I living in an electric vehicle bubble?

Sevilla Setas

There were a couple of trams moving passengers through the city and these were electric vehicles. I did see an electric scooter/motorcycle, but I saw very few of the personal mode transport electric scooters. I did spot a few hybrid cars, but as they drove past I did hear the engine in operation. Full BEV is so much better. The buses in the city were all burning fossil fuels. One of the buses did have a sign only to say it was ecological. It was burning natural gas instead of diesel. Not that ecological! None of the buses were stopping the engine when pulled up. Birmingham in the UK was better as all of the buses were fitted with anti-idling controls.

The EV charger application which is most popular in this country is ElectroMaps. It doesn’t show any electric vehicle charging points in the city of Sevilla. In PlugShare I can see that there is a rapid charger at a Repsol petrol station and another one at the Nissan dealership. Apart from that, there are nine slow charges, some of them with the Shuko plug and some of them with Type II connections. For the size of the city, it is very poor coverage. Something needs to be done by the administration in this area to encourage electric vehicle ownership.

Electric Vehicle Bubble

A different story in Barcelona

When I arrived back at the airport in Barcelona I was happy to get back to my Nissan Leaf. I saw another of the same model of Nissan Leaf in the car park. I knew there was plenty of choice for me to find a charger to top up the battery before heading back home. I used to the one nearest to the airport and while there I also saw another strange -looking electric vehicle. It was plugged into the slow charger which is next to the rapid charger which I was using. The car looked kinda funny and really only big enough for one, but two people got into it.

The electric vehicle bubble

I watch videos about electric vehicles and also listen to podcasts on the same subject. I drive an electric vehicle and I’m good at spotting electric vehicles when am out driving my car. Even when I’m walking I’m quite likely to notice if an electric vehicle goes past. After this experience in the capital city of Andalucía I’m wondering if I’m living in an electric vehicle bubble? Electric vehicles are the future and for me the future is now. The truth of the matter is electric vehicle still have a long way to go. The legacy car dealers are still pushing out the fossil fuelled cars. The price of electric vehicles needs to come down. Local governments have to do more to improve the air quality in their cities. The stench of diesel fumes is still far too evident in places like Sevilla.

On a brighter note, I did see on a sign that electric vehicles are allowed to drive in the bus lanes in Sevilla. Let’s hope there will be huge changes in the next couple of years in the uptake of electric vehicles in Spain.

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Catalan Strike Blocked Roads – Leaf Trip

Lots of driving in Rosie the Nissan Leaf

With having my family here for the last couple of weeks I haven’t been able to do much in the way of podcasting, video making or writing. On the other hand, I have travelled a lot of kilometres in Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf. I feel really comfortable with the range the car has. I don’t feel I have much in the way of range anxiety at all. The day before yesterday my son and I got up really early to go to the airport. It was earlier than previous trip to the airport the day before because of a strike taking place in Catalonia. It was our hope we be early enough so we would miss all the fun and games out on the roads. The Catalan separatists don’t just go on strike but they also block the roads. At 5 o’clock in the morning we were doing great until we hit a huge traffic jam on the motorway. The Catalans had got out early and had set fire to the motorway. What they do is to drag a pile of tyres out onto the motorway and set it alight. We were stuck in this traffic jam for about an hour. Eventually the firefighters were able to clear one lane to allow people through. As we went through we could see the mess on the road even though all of the flames had been put out. Gave up after that and went home, didn’t even get half way to the airport. More traffic jams on the way back too. Five hours of our lives gone never to be seen again. At least we were comfortable in the Leaf. Love the Tekna seat for the comfort.

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Decisions, decisions – What to do next?

As always I was using Waze while driving. With the time wasted in the traffic jam and the ever more distant time of arrival showing in Waze. If we travelled further it was certain we would run into more problems. The time lost brought us into the heavy duty commuter traffic. This would be even heavier due to more people driving rather than using public transport. It was much more of a sensible plan to stay at home rather than go anywhere. We were left with no choice, but to turn round and go home. The plan was to take the non-motorway roads to get back home. This was going okay until we ran into another traffic jam. Another half an hour wasted. Finally found a turnoff to get back onto the motorway going in the home direction. We got lucky and the motorway journey back home worked out okay.
One of the good things about having an electric car is that while you are sitting in a traffic jam you are using very little energy. During the hour while waiting Rosie used about 3% of the battery because it was cool enough to need heating. Using the LED headlights wasn’t much of a drain. Even so, when we arrived back at the house Rosie certainly needed to be plugged in. I think we had got down to about 20% left in the battery. It wasn’t really that efficient of a drive to the traffic jam and back home again. I knew we would get back home again and there were a couple of places I could plug-in along the way if absolutely necessary.

Getting the level of the battery back up again.

When I arrived back home again it was early enough that it could still take advantage of the cheaper level of electricity. The lower rate is available until midday. I wasn’t able to leave it on long enough to get it completely fully charged. However, went out on a small trip to the local town where there is a Type II Mennekes charger. It was a beautiful sunny day and just perfect for a trip to walk along the seafront. I was able to add more to the battery for free while enjoying the promenade.

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Type 2 or Granny Charging Speeds near Barcelona

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I went for a drive down the coast to check out a couple of charging points. I went to a place called Sant Pol de Mar and is not too far away from where Greg lives, the guy with the black 2018 Nissan Leaf. In the town there were three charging points to choose from and I went to all of them. The first two had two separate charging posts one with Shuko sockets and the other with two Mennekes sockets. In both cases the type 2 Mennekes sockets were not working. The other charging point was a little further inland and situated on the edge of an industrial estate. It was also right next to a petrol station. At least there was a shop there you could use to go buy provisions if you needed to. Of the two sockets the Type 2 socket was out of order. I needed to take a break, so I plugged in anyway and added 2% to the battery. It wasn’t really worth the bother, but at least I was able to go and use the facilities.

Chit Chat with a Leaf Owner

At the first place I stopped, I got talking to a guy who had a 30 kWh Nissan Leaf. He was just about to leave and I could have plugged in there after him if I’d wanted to. I still had plenty left in the battery and there was no point in taking him up on his offer. There was also a Kia Soul plugged into the same charger. With the slowness of the charging it would have been okay if you were going to stay there for the whole day. He also told me he expected the T2 Mennekes posts to be functional in the next month or so.
The second charging place I went to wasn’t quite so close to the beach, but still within the main part of town. It was quite a nice little area. There was a children’s playground as well as places you could get something to eat if you wanted to. Same thing again, two charging posts and only one of them working. Same again only the slow one giving any electricity out.
At the third stop I charged the car for a short while, just so I could stretch my legs for a few minutes. Not worth staying too long with the granny charging speed.

Time to move on and head in the direction of home.

I carried on until I got to Calella de Mar and I found another charging point. This one was better because it was two Type 2 sockets and both of them worked. I plugged in and took a walk down to the beach while waiting for the charging. You do have to pay for parking most of the day in this charger. I was lucky in that I turned up in between 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock and it was free parking. The charging was also free. It’s certainly a good idea to read and take notice of any signs where you are charging. Otherwise you could end up with parking fines.

Renault Zoe Driver

A guy pulled up next to me in his Renault Zoe as I was about to leave and he had a chat with me. He seemed to be of the opinion there was something to do with the hour of 3 o’clock having an effect upon getting fined for parking. I’m sure he was wrong because I read the same post again and it was definitely free parking while I was there. In any case I rolled up my cables, put them into the boot of the car and went on my way.
I drove past a couple of other places where I could have plugging in to charge on my way home. It wasn’t necessary for me to stop as I’d got the battery level up to 84%. Still had 61% left when I pulled into the garage at home.

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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

EV20Q Podcast
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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.

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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