EV20Q Nissan Leaf Update

 We are on the racetrack coming round the final bend and I can see the winning line ahead of me. I was hoping to collect my Nissan Leaf from the dealers today and it doesn’t seem to be happening. The salesman rang me this morning looking for more paperwork. I was able to send him what was required within 30 minutes. Then there was nothing from him from lunchtime until about 5 o’clock. It was obvious at this stage I wasn’t going to get my car today. The redtape in Spain is a complete disaster. They always seem to want everything in triplicate and signed a half a dozen times. The salesman was giving me information about something needing to be done with the local council. This is where the tax for the car is paid. Except there is no tax to be paid on a fully electric Nissan Leaf. It still has to be registered with the council though. I find out later the car has been registered. Iv’e no idea what the problem was that he needed to tell me about that.

A Fat Lady Singing

A little bit later I got my wife to ring and speak to the salesman Catalan to Catalan. She rang me back later to tell me the car hasn’t been registered for the road and the hold-up is with the traffic department. I can only assume this will be sorted out tomorrow. I’ll be able to go and collect my car in the afternoon when I’ve finished work. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed because it isn’t over until the fat lady sings – In triplicate!

I had been hoping I could go and collect the car today. It just seemed like a good thing to do on my day off. I was going to get the train to the dealership and enjoy the drive back home. If it got too late for getting the train I even toyed with the idea of driving my present car to the garage. I would leave it there overnight and go back to collect it tomorrow. That would give me a 200 km drive in my Nissan Leaf tomorrow. That would have been okay as it would give me more experience and fun learning all the ins and outs of my new car. Most of it would have been motorway so not that interesting apart from getting the best out of Pro Pilot Assist. Perhaps I would have improved the journey home by taking a few detours. I’d be able to enjoy the scenic route in the Nissan Leaf. Get the feel of the car.

Still no WallBox Installed

There was a problem I could possibly anticipate. I’d have expected to use half the battery approximately driving back home from the dealership today. I don’t really know how long it would take to charge back to 100% using the ‘granny cable’. This is where you charge your car using a normal household plug socket. It puts the electrons into the battery about half as fast as you do with the 6.6 kW Type II charging. Would I have enough in the battery to get me back to Barcelona again? I think the answer would be probably, even though I wouldn’t be able to charge the car many hours overnight. I leave the house at five thirty in the morning hence there not being many hours during the night time to charge up. There is of course the possibility I could charge at work, although I don’t know how the boss is going to react to that. I will ask when I have the car. I have been told by someone who knows a company is legally required to provide a charging point at a place of work. It wouldn’t just be there for me to use as the only worker with an electric vehicle. It would also be there available for customers of the campsite. I think this would be a good thing for the business. It would be something we could advertise. A destination charger which could be used by people with electric vehicles to come camping at the campsite by the beach in Platja d’Aro.

Time to Chill

On account of the fact I’m not doing anything now or later on this evening I will just relax, sit back and put my feet up. I’ll take a chill pill and hope things go better with getting my car tomorrow. It would be just nice and lovely if I could have a string of lucky happenings take place. I could have been lucky and have Nissan give me my car based upon the date of my first order. One month less waiting for delivery. The salesman could have told me the truth that I would be starting again and waiting longer for the car. Nissan could have been getting cars into Spain just as quick as they were sending them off to Norway and the UK. The car did arrive in the dealer showroom about a week before it was due to, so I suppose that was fairly lucky. That luck could have continued by the salesman pulling his finger out and getting all the paperwork and car registration sorted out sooner rather than later. At least three or four days have been lost to incompetent inactivity. Like I said that’s been mixed in with a bit of desperately slow paperwork shuffling you always seem to find here in Spain.

There will be more organising to do once I’ve got the car. I’ll need to register the car with the company that charges for the use of the motorway. The Peajes with the barriers.  I’ll get an electronic tag in the car which will allow me to pass through without paying. That’s lucky I suppose. Then I will need to register with the office that deals with electric car chargers in Barcelona and Girona. I can’t remember what it’s called but it will give me free charging in a lot of places nearby. It will be useful for when I make a trip down to Barcelona airport to collect friends and family. I’ll give myself an extra 20 minutes or so to throw in a few electrons. This will make sure I have plenty of range for getting back home again and it also give me some electric for free. Handy for keeping the overall running costs of the car down.

Making Up Rude Words on the Reg Plate

I’m looking forward to finding out what the registration of the car will be. Wondering if it will be something which could be construed as rude as is the registration plate on my current car. The letters on my Renault were able to be read as “go screw yourself” or something similar and ruder. There were two or three people who brought that to my attention within days of me having the Clio. Quite amusing really!

Looking ahead to driving electric

I’m looking forward to getting out and about in the local area. I want to make trips to find places where I can charge the car in the locality. It will be in the spirit of exploration and discovery. I don’t get much time off during the week. So it’ll be quite nice to take off on a Sunday evening and perhaps do some camping overnight and come back later in the day on Monday. Or I could just do a day trip on the Monday if I think the roads are going to be too busy with people heading back home after the weekend. I will start with some local trips and work my way up to going further away. I would like to head up into the mountains in July and August. The evenings will be cooler there and for one night of the week sleeping will be easier because of the lower temperatures. It will probably be quite good to take trips up towards Perpignan and Carcassonne. I’m sure there are some pleasant places to visit in that region. I already have the RFID card for Chargemap and that will allow me to charge easily and at a reasonable price while in France. The charging points for Chargemap in Spain are not compatible with the Chargemap card. I’m not sure how that works. Maybe just gives me details of where the chargers are and then I have to work out other methods of paying to use the charger.

Driving around the Peninsula

This is something I plan to do when I’ve got a bit more experience of being an EV driver. My loose and basic plan is to drive south from Catalonia along the Mediterranean coast. Pop into Valencia and Tarragona and other interesting places along the route. I plan to hit quite a few towns along the way to see a few things I haven’t experienced yet in Spain. I’ll probably go to Gibraltar just to say I’ve been there. I’m more interested in seeing cities such as Granada, Sevilla and any other fantastic places along the south coast of Spain. Of course the journey after that will bring me up the Atlantic coast going through Portugal. It would be cool if I could meet up with some of the Portuguese members of the 2018 Nissan Leaf Facebook group while travelling through. Continuing around the coast it’s going to be great to visit Pais Vasco, I want to go to Bilbao and Santander. From there it will be a hop skip and jump across the north part of Spain taking in Pamplona and Zaragoza. A journey such as this could easily take me a couple of weeks. I’ll be doing it on my own or maybe with my dog. Unfortunately my wife will be back at work. It’s a shame our working patterns don’t fit together at all.

Nissan Leaf Tekna – Rosie Red True Love

This morning I took a trip to Barcelona to the dealership where my car is waiting for me. The red Nissan Leaf Tekna named Rosie. When I woke up this morning I didn’t know if I was going to be able to call in and see my new car. There is a public holiday in Barcelona, but fortunately it didn’t extend out as far as the Nissan dealership in Terrassa. It was an uneventful drive along the motorway and I got there in one piece. I walked into the showroom and the salesman Dani spotted me and took me over to my Nissan Leaf.

Love at First Sight

The combination of a rich red paintwork on the body with the black highlights around the car was stunning. The tinted rear windows and the black C pillar look fantastic and on the rear of the car there is a blue highlight giving it that little bit extra oomph. This matches the blue highlights you see on the vee shape of the front grille. I had a good look all around the car from all angles and I was delighted to get the key and have a sit inside. The car screams quality and style with the blue stitching in the seats and in parts of the dash. You also see the blue stitching around the steering wheel. It was a real pleasure to sit inside Rosie the Nissan Leaf Tekna.

Nissan Leaf

Time to play with the car electronics

The size of the centre screen in the console seems a little bit small. It is a reasonably good resolution screen and responsive to my touch. Using the on-screen buttons I was able to make my way around the controls and also the views with the cameras. There’s plenty of things to be set up and adjusted to my liking. I can see I’ll be spending an hour or two fiddling with all the settings. I’m particularly looking forward to connecting up my Apple iPhone and sorting out Apple Carplay. I’ll get the connection going with Bluetooth as well, but the Carplay requires the lightning cable. I don’t think it’s possible to use Waze with Apple Carplay which is a bit of a shame. I’ve got quite used to using Waze as my driving application in the Renault Clio.

Inside the Nissan Leaf

There is another screen in front of the driver behind the steering wheel. There are buttons on the steering wheel to access the different levels of view and settings. Again there are plenty of settings requiring personalisation within these menus. I expect I’ll refine my needs on this screen in time after driving and seeing which settings I like. It’s possible to define a default screen and which is best depends upon the type of driving I’ll be doing most often. A couple of times while playing with these menus I found it difficult to back out to the main screen. At one point I switched the car off and booted it back up again to get back to the start. There’s a nice animation you see when starting the car up, but this can also be switched off if you want.

Nissan Leaf Tekna Comfort

The driving seat is incredibly comfortable and of course this is important if you’re going to be sitting in it for a long trip. Today I didn’t spend any time sitting in the passenger seat. There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of legroom for the passenger, but there’s probably enough. I did jump into the back seat and I was pleased to see it was possible to get my feet slightly underneath the driver seat in front. When I was trying the car previously there didn’t seem to be any room to tuck away the toes. Maybe the seat height has been changed or adjusted. There was plenty of room for the passenger in the back seat behind my driving seat which was set for my usual legroom. That’s not the case when anyone wants to sit behind me in the Renault Clio. In that car I have to move my car seat one notch forward which is not quite so comfortable for me. Big plus point for the Red Nissan Tekna, Rosie.

Inside the Nissan Leaf Tekna

The Waiting Will Soon Be Over

I was surprised when the salesman suggested he’ll be able to get the government incentive money sorted out. I was expecting that if it was possible he would delay me getting the car for another month or two. I wasn’t having any of that and I’m prepared to just pay for the car without the incentive if necessary. He’s going to tell me tomorrow if it’s possible. I am wondering if he will remember to send me the email he promised me today. He’s not been very good so far with his communication skills. This is one of the main reasons I’ve been so unhappy with the service from this Nissan dealership. I’d like to be to go and collect my car on my next day off and that is one week from today. I’ll have to get the train because my wife is going to be away. By using public transport I should arrive there little fresher than how I was today after driving down the motorway. I’ll be in tiptop condition for driving my car back home next week.

Fully Charged and Ready to Drive

When the car leaves the dealer showroom it’ll be fully charged. Today it was showing a charge level of 21% and it also has 64 km on the odometer. I only have just over 100 km to drive home, so when I get back I’ll still have plenty of juice left in the battery. Mind you, there is a huge possibility I might make a few detours along the way just to enjoy the driving experience. I’ll have the whole day to myself although I will have to get back to look after the dog.

Boomerang shape rear lights

Live video from inside Rosie the Tekna

For all the members of the group on Facebook for 2018 Nissan Leaf owners I recorded a live video. A little bit of chat about the car and a tour of Rosie inside and out. Thanks for all the well wishes from the members of the group. Many of them have been feeling my pain with all of the bad luck I seem to have had with my long wait and poor service from Nissan. It was good to have a few people watching the live view and sending me questions in, as I was recording. There were messages from people who are still waiting for their Nissan Leaf 2018. I fully understand how jealous they might be because I’ve been in that situation myself. It seems I’ve seen so many who’ve ordered their car months after my order went in, but got their car before me. Nissan have been very slow in getting the car delivered to Spanish customers. EV20Q Podcast Page.

Happy at last with Nissan Leaf Tekna

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things work out right for my Nissan Leaf Tekna from now on. I haven’t been too lucky so far with the purchase of this vehicle. Despite a very slight pessimistic feeling of impending doom today, I’m delighted and happy to be getting this close to driving off in my new Nissan Leaf Tekna called Rosie. Wish me luck for this coming week.

Bittersweet Symphony – Nissan Leaf 2018

This morning I got a call from Nissan customer assistance and the guy was as useless as before. Basically just telling me they couldn’t do anything and suggesting I could cancel the order if I wanted to. It makes you think they don’t want to sell me the Nissan Leaf.

Later in the day I speak to the year the dealership as recommended by Alberto who works a a Nissan dealer. He tells me that the silver Tekna wasn’t available after all. Or maybe he was telling me it was available and he would get back to me with the price. I’m kind of losing track of all of this. At some point in time he told me the silver tekna would not be available but that they would have two cars of the launch model available. The price was not terribly attractive at €33,500 for a 2.Zero. I’d rather spend the extra and get the top of the range.

One more look at the Ioniq

I went into Girona to meet my wife and to go to the Hyundai dealership. Before going in the showroom made a few phone calls. After speaking with the La Maquinista dealer I thought we might as well give Dani in Terrassa one more try. Unbelievably my red car is in the dealership. It has a arrived early. What a surpise! Why didn’t he get on the phone immediately to let me know. Maybe that’s why I got a call from Nissan Customer Assistance this morning. Did they know the car was there? He never said anything. We are still trying to talk the salesman into getting the price down even just a little bit. On one hand he says he can’t help and then later when we call he tells us he’ll try and put it through on the next government incentive. Personally, I don’t think that will work. I think I saw somewhere a rule saying that the petition for the government incentive has to go in at the same time or before the car is ordered. This car has been ordered since January and so I don’t think that’s going to fly.

I should be jumping up and down with joy to finally be getting the car of my dreams. It’s bittersweet due to the messing about I have had to endure for the last few months. The endless delays and disappointments due to lies by the dealer and red tape from the government in the form of limits on the time incentives available for. The Nissan customer assistance department is woeful in its behaviour.

Here’s the money – Give me the car.

Started to discuss sending money to get the process underway. It was after that the salesman suggested we should wait until he’d figured out if it is possible to do something with the government incentive money which starts in June. He doesn’t know when in June it begins and it could delay the car by another month or more. I’ve got to the point where if the car is in the garage waiting to go out and I can get the money to pay for it I’d rather push forward and be driving the bloody thing. He was initially talking about me sending money next week and it being ready to collect the week after. I was ready to start sending money today and have them start to get the car ready for collection at soonest possible moment.

I don’t trust these people.

I may drive out there on Monday and he can show me the car. I feel like I can’t trust these people and I’d rather see for myself that the car is in the workshop being got ready. It’ll give me something to do on Monday on my day off. Used car salesmen are a shitty bunch, even when selling a new car.

I need to start getting the information I need in order to set up the insurance for the car. I wonder what is needed by the insurance company. Would I be able to set it up using the VIN number, or do I have to wait until it’s been registered in my name and I have the car registration number. Hopefully I can still get the deal offered by the insurance company for €100 for the year.

Unbelievable

Still finding it difficult to believe that my car could be with me soon. If I wasn’t working tomorrow I would go there in the morning to see it for myself.

Talking about the Nissan Leaf test drive in Barcelona

Driving the Nissan Leaf Barcelona

When you get into an unfamiliar car it does take some time before you get comfortable and familiar with the vehicle. So when you go out for your first drive it’s best to go somewhere where you know the roads. This allows you to relax and take your time trying out the various tech gadget bits and pieces. Today in Barcelona I didn’t have that luxury. The roads were busy with lots of traffic and I hadn’t got a clue where I was going, relying upon directions from my co-pilot/minder. There were strange markings on the roads where it looks like they change the width of the road to adapt to which way the most traffic is going in rush hours times. Nissan Leaf Barcelona was a good day.

It’s true to say the Nissan Leaf is stuffed to the gills with new technology and it’s hard to know which to try first. I was keen as mustard to try out the Pro Pilot Assist and to have a bit more time with the E–Pedal. I had previously driven the Nissan Leaf for about 10 or 15 minutes. That last time I went out for a test drive I was being distracted by the salesman taking a call as I was driving. It was kind of unsatisfactory. I think the salesman might have called me sometime or other to say they had a car in to give me more of a test drive. That’s another story with regard to the ineptitude of the dealership and their relationship with Nissan. Nissan should be cranking these cars out faster. Only 4500 per month compared to the car maker newcomer Tesla with their 2000 cars per week.

I went to the wrong place and so I was late

Nissan Leaf Barcelona – I didn’t know there were two shopping centres with the word Diagonal in the title. I thought the Nissan Leaf test drives were at Diagonal Mar. The street called Diagonal is a long street and the place I needed to be was at the other end. I’d never been there before and I was completely unfamiliar with that end of Barcelona. I was rushing and decided the best thing to do was to leave the car at Diagonal Mar and take the Metro. That was a good plan although I was unable to find where the nearest metro station was to Lilla Diagonal shopping centre. I took a guess and got out at Diagonal and then I had 20 minutes of walking to do. None of this really mattered too much because I didn’t lose the chance to drive the Nissan Leaf. That was the most important thing. It would have been better to arrive in good time as I did to the wrong place, but in the right place relaxed and in the right frame of mind. No worries, I only had to wait a couple of minutes before being escorted to the parking spots under the shopping centre where there was a Nissan Leaf waiting. It was a black Tekna which was great because it was full of all of the good tech and is similar to the car I’m buying. So we jumped straight into the car and I was guided out onto the streets of Barcelona. No wasting time showing me where everything was. Pressed Start and put it into Drive. Off we go Nissan Leaf Barcelona test.

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Wide roads and a little bit of motorway

The man working for Nissan Leaf Barcelona changed the route so I could try out the Pro Pilot Assist. I was grateful to him for that. This is how we ended up on a stretch of motorway style road. Now I’m thinking about it again the route was simple – Getting on to one road driving into a roundabout and turning around to come back again. Not the sort of route you could use to test what the car was like driving round bends. Not going to get anything different with a test drive in a city anyway. Some lucky people had had a car for a few hours or even days to really get under the skin of the car with a test drive. At the time it didn’t seem too bad, but now I’m wishing it could have been longer. Due to the amount of traffic I was having to spend more of my mental processes keeping myself and the car safe on the road, rather than properly testing the car.

What did I love about my drive today in the Nissan Leaf?

The smoothness and the silence of driving a top quality car was marvellous. Obviously the quietness due to no internal combustion engine making annoying noises was noticeable during the test drive at Nissan Leaf Barcelona. In the cockpit of the car there is a definite feel of luxury in well-padded comfortable seats. The dashboard of the car is fairly understated if you don’t take into account the number of buttons all over the place. Doesn’t look cheap and plasticky like some cars do.

Nissan Leaf Barcelona

The first time I sat in the Nissan Leaf in the dealership showroom it felt a little cramped. In the drivers seat this time I felt I had plenty of room. The centre console seemed to impinge upon my leg when in the car previously, this time I didn’t even notice it. Once again I enjoyed the high up sitting position in the car. You get a great view through the windscreen, across the bonnet towards the road ahead.

During using Pro Pilot Assist it seemed a little weird with the steering wheel moving by itself on my Nissan Leaf Barcelona test. To be honest though it seemed more weird with the intelligent cruise control and letting the car come to a halt behind vehicle stopped in front. That’s going to take some getting used to! My co-pilot didn’t seem to know about the three second rule. When the cars been stopped for more than three seconds it’s necessary to press the reset button to get it moving again, or give a quick tap on the accelerator pedal. Getting that to work was kind of nice considering the amount of traffic on this road in Barcelona. You’d want to make sure you are aware the driving assistance was turned on or you could forget to use the brake. That might be taken care of by the collision control feature, but it’s better to be properly in charge of the vehicle and use the brakes yourself when you need to. I suppose after owning the car for some time you have more awareness of what’s going on because of familiarity.

Various beeps and warning noises

One of the things I noticed first was the centre console screen changing from the navigation to showing what the cameras could see around the car. It may also have beeped during the Nissan Leaf Barcelona drive. I didn’t know why this was happening at first but it was because a motorcycle pulled up alongside and went past the car sensors. It’s possible to turn that off and that could be a good thing with the way motorcyclists drive in Barcelona. They are always making their way to the front of the queue when you’re pulled up at traffic lights.

The car made other noises to tell us when the Pro Pilot Assist had turned itself off due to not being able to see the lines on the road. To be honest, I didn’t always notice due to having to concentrate on driving in an unfamiliar environment. Not really a problem because I was not taking my hands off the wheel to let the car drive by itself. You can only take your hands off the wheel for between five and seven seconds before it tells you to put hands back where they should be. That’s a safety feature and nothing to complain about. That short amount of time is useful anyway if you needed to reach for something and you want to know the car can keep you safe during that period. It’s quite clear that the Pro Pilot Assist is best used for dual carriageway and motorway style driving.

I would have liked to tried out more of the intelligent cruise control without the Pro Pilot Assist lane keeping being active. In the car I have now I particularly like using cruise control whenever possible. Having the added benefits of the car controlling its speed dependent upon the vehicle in front is going to be very useful. With a longer test and more time to get used to the technology I’d experiment more with the adjustable gap between the leaf and the car in front.

Other things I like to try with the Nissan Leaf

I’d love to be able to give a try of the reversing camera to see how useful that is pulling out of a parking spot. I’d like to see how that works in combination with the 360° Birdseye view you can have in the screen in the centre console.

Needs a Longer Test than Nissan Leaf Barcelona test drive


Really need to try the car out over a period of days and on a longer trip. On such a short test drive there’s no chance to try out the fast charging. It would be really good to see how the batteries affected by temperatures on a long motorway trip. I’d really like to know how the car would do in a trip from home to Barcelona on the Autopista. I tend to drive fairly slowly at about 104 km/h and it would be marvellous to see how much the battery gets used at these speeds. It will also be interesting to find out how this sort of driving affects the temperature of the battery in a warm climate.

Space inside the Leaf

On another occasion when I’m a passenger I like to be able to stretch out my legs. When I sat in the passenger seat in the display car in the shopping centre at first it seemed there wasn’t much legroom. So I made some adjustments to the seat. It wouldn’t slide back any further, but I was able to move the upright part of the seat back a notch or two. It was then it seemed like it would be okay in terms of passenger legroom.

Even with my adjustments to the driving seat to seat myself and my long legs there is still plenty of room for passengers in the back of the car. That’s going to be a nice improvement upon the situation in the car I drive now. Anyone sitting behind me in the Renault Clio is going to feel a bit cramped.

Testing the Safety Features

I didn’t have any pedestrians walking in front of the car or behind so I didn’t get to experience the sensors telling me to beware. On account of it being daytime I couldn’t experience how well the automatic headlights behaved. They are supposed to dip automatically when there’s a car coming from the opposite direction. The lights will also turn themselves on when it becomes dark enough to need them. When driving through Barcelona there are quite a few tunnels and you are expected to turn on your lights as you drive through. I’m wondering if the automatic headlights on the Nissan Leaf takes care of that situation.

Apple CarPlay

One of the things particularly interesting to me for the purchase of this car is the ability of it to run Apple Carplay. This is something else I wasn’t able to try out. Perhaps I should have just put in my phone when I got into the car anyway. My co-pilot/minder seemed to be making use of the centre screen for keeping an eye on the navigation.

Levels of Leaf Automation

As part of the testing of Pro Pilot Assist I’d like to have tested out the button which turns off the lane keeping part of the system. This takes it back to just having intelligent cruise control. I wonder if it’s possible to just turn on the adaptive cruise control without having to go to full Pro Pilot Assist.

The joys of having a minder

As I already mentioned the guy at Nissan Leaf Barcelona didn’t know about the three second rule. At least he was able to learn something along the way. It was slightly annoying having someone reaching across and pressing buttons for you. It would have been better if he had just said to me “See that blue button there, give it a press to turn on Pro Pilot Assist”. That would have been less intrusive and allowed me to feel more in control of what was going on in the car. In any case, the guy was very friendly and helpful and was able to chat to me despite my questionable Spanish language skills.

The Nissan Leaf purchasing experience

My experience so far of being a Nissan Leaf has not been perfect. I knew there was going to be wait of a few months after putting the ordering in December. They started making the vehicles in Sunderland during the month of December. So I believed the dealership when they told me I could expect a car around about the end of March. We are now three weeks into April and it was only two weeks ago when I was finally given a date for delivery of the car. I’ll be waiting until the end of May. I’d love to know why it is some people go to other dealers and are given an approximate delivery date as soon they make their order.

I’m expected now to pay more for the car because the dealer didn’t say anything about there being a time limit on the government incentive money. This makes the car much more expensive to buy. This is why had to put an official complaint into the customer service department of Nissan. I got a phone call before the weekend from a nice man who said he would try and do something to help me out. He said he would contact the dealership and talk to them and then get back to me. Now it is Tuesday and I’m still waiting.

No Other Buying Options

I did hear there was a Nissan Leaf available for sale in another dealership. I rang them up but the model is the cheaper version with less of the good technology. I might try ringing other Nissan dealers to see if they have any cars available. I’ve got the money burning a hole in my pocket and am still deadly keen to purchase such a gorgeous, well-equipped electric car. I’ve just rang the main dealer in Madrid and he told me there are no cars available for sale in Spain. There’s just a long waiting list and if you made a new order now you wouldn’t get the car before the end of the summer.

EV20Q Podcast 11 – Chris O’Connell

The Nissan Leaf and the vineyards of Oregon

Cork DorkToday for the podcast I was talking to Chris O’Connell from Oregon. He’s originally from California, but likes it in Oregon because it suits his outdoor lifestyle and his love for wine. Chris manages a couple of vineyards and obviously in the context of this podcast he’s an aficionado of electric vehicles. Chris previously ran hybrid vehicles and is delighted now to be driving a Nissan Leaf 2018. This car particularly suits his driving requirements and driving style. It is true to say that Chris will go back to driving a gas guzzling large vehicle for the long trips, but I think his wife has a big say in that department. As we know, it’s possible to do longer trips in a Nissan Leaf, but you might have to stop more often and do some planning. A Leaf doesn’t have the long legs of something like a Tesla with its large battery. The other thing to consider of course is the infrastructure. The availability of rapid chargers along a route says whether is going to be viable or not. This is something I’ve found out with trying to plan a trip to Madrid and there not being sufficient chargers between Zaragoza and Madrid. I’m still sure it would possible to do the journey, but it might be necessary to ring beforehand to a tourist information for a town along the way and ask if there’s anywhere in the town where it’s possible to plug-in an electric vehicle. Getting enough time plugged in to add just 30 or 40 km could make all the difference.

Getting used to the Technology

I talked to Chris about my recent visit to Barcelona to have a test drive in a Nissan Leaf. I told him how weird it felt to let the car come to a stop behind traffic which is stopped in front. It seemed like it was necessary to hover the foot over the brake pedal just in case. It probably just takes time to get used to this automated type of driving. It didn’t seem quite so strange to use the Pro Pilot Assist and have the wheel turning by itself as the car drove itself around a bend in the motorway. The other thing which concerned Chris and myself was the possibility from time to time needing to drive a different car without this marvellous technology. You might have to remind yourself that you don’t have intelligent cruise control available. It’s kind of the same thing when you’re driving the Nissan Leaf maybe you haven’t switched on the Pro Pilot. Instead of it driving you around the bend all it will do is warn you when you drive out of the lane. I suppose there is the other safety technology you find in the Nissan Leaf which is the anti-collision control. As a last resort the car could stop itself from crashing into the car in front. I don’t think I would want to rely upon that, but it’s nice to know it’s there just in case.

Different countries different options

Chris and I discussed the differences between the versions of Nissan Leaf dependent upon country. In North America they tend to get the option for electric seating. The car will move forward and backwards as well as up and down electrically. In Europe we don’t have that option and you need to use the manual levers provided. I’m kinda wondering if the battery temperature management system in the cars due to arrive in Spain will be different from those going to Norway or the UK.

Saving money by driving electric vehicle

Chris told me the Audi car he owned previously was costing $350 per month. He’s decided to change to the Leaf and enjoy the smoothness and silence of driving an electric car and paying a similar amount. At least this option is much better for the environment. This is something which is often an important consideration for drivers of electric vehicles. After spending so many years driving vehicles polluting the atmosphere it feels good to be in a more environmentally friendly car. Chris has solar panels on the roof and some of his driving is completely free. It must be extra nice to be driving along totally powered by the sun. I’d love to put solar panels on my roof, maybe one day.

Long distances in the Nissan Leaf

Chris drives quite a lot of miles in his car and has done over 4000 miles in the first month of ownership. However, the longest journey in one day has been about 130 miles and he still had about 20 miles left in the battery at the end of the day. On another journey of a similar length Chris had to make use of a charger part way on the journey due to terrible weather conditions. When you have wet and slippery roads you do tend to get poorer energy efficiency when driving whatever sort of vehicle. Having a little top up along the way it might stop you from having a wee bit of range anxiety.

Oregon Cork Dork on Twitter

She’s Electric El and Wino – WNO Nissan Leaf

She’s Electric – Elinor Chalmers – El

El has been driving her Nissan leaf 24 kWh model for about two and half years and was introduced to electric vehicles by a cousin Ewan McTurk. By choosing to buy the vehicle from the dealership she went to before for previous Nissan cars she gave herself a longer trip back home after buying the car. Jumping into the unknown of having to stop and fill the car with electrons on a regular basis to make sure she got back home again. Today this would be like second nature to El, She’s Electric. The number plate of the car prompted a friend to call the car Wino. It isn’t a big drinker of cheap plonk.

Wino the Leaf

Home charger, who needs it?

@She’s Electric – El is unable to charge at home so uses public chargers. This proves to be absolutely no problem at all in Dundee, Scotland. Where most of us can be amazed and give a little bit of a cheer when we see an electric vehicle, in Dundee it seems you’re tripping over them. There’s a whole fleet of electric taxis running around the town. It’s got the point when it seems absolutely normal seeing electric cars just about everywhere. It will be a while before that’s the case in the rest of the world. El has shot a short video showing a bank of around six chargers in Dundee and she tells me there is another new set of chargers only five minutes away from where she lives.

Dundee chargers

An electric zoo themed wedding car

I think it’s only people who have a deep love of animals who would get married in a zoo and that’s what El did. She also rides horses and likes cats. I imagine now and again the electric Leaf has to accommodate a bale of hay. Between her cousin and Nissan they arranged a Nissan Leaf to be wrapped with pictures of animals alongside those immortal words ‘Just Married’. What a fantastic addition to the perfect wedding in a zoo.

She's Electric

Nissan Leaf city car

For the most part El uses the car for short journeys. She has taken trip down to Middlesbrough which is about 150 miles which was no bother at all for the car. She’s Electric Elle has plans to make the trip to the Isle of Skye and also has Orkney on her list of places to go to.

Electric car owner camaraderie

El has met up with other electric car drivers. She was able to provide electrons and a trip around Dundee to James who was driving a Twizy from Scotland down to Hinckley in Leicestershire. At that time of year such a journey is only for the masochists of this world. The Twizy is a fun car from Renault meant for very short trips as shown by the lack of windows and proper doors. During the interview El mentioned a number of times the massive help available in the online community for drivers of electric vehicles. It was this which gave her the confidence to buy her Nissan leaf in the first place.

Invited to Tenerife by Nissan

El was invited to Tenerife by Nissan to test drive the new 2018 Nissan Leaf. Along with a few other social network connected PV enthusiasts she was able to drive to the top of the volcanic mountain Teide on the Spanish island. After being initially wary, she was able to get used to driving on the right side of the road. Nissan used the facilities of ITER which is a Centre for Renewable Energy. The place has a large number of wind turbines and eco-designed buildings festooned with solar panels. I’ve put it on my list of places to visit. Enjoy the podcast and the chat with She’s Electric the EV driver in Dundee, Scotland.

 

EV20Q Peter Bernfeld Author and Nissan Leaf Driver

Torchy and Jake

Torchy the Battery BoyIt’s a story of Torchy and Jake. Torchy was cherished and pampered but was thrown aside when Jake came on the scene. Jake could do tricks Torchy couldn’t even dream about. He was stronger and had more energy. It was inevitable Torchy had to move aside for the new love of Peter’s life. Jake can go on for longer and run rings around the old guy. Being able to do more for himself like staying within the lines on the road almost without assistance. Little tricks to save himself from crashing into the car in front due to sensors. He even has an extra camera or two in various places to see front back and sides. It’s no wonder Jake is the new companion to Peter out on the road.

Peter drives a bus as well as a Nissan leaf

Peter occasionally wants to stop for passengers standing waiting at the bus stop when driving past in his Nissan Leaf. Peter needs to be deprogrammed in order to better enjoy civilian driving.

Peter N Bernfeld

Rapidgate and Peter

Peter didn’t find out about rapid gate until after the brown stuff had hit the fan on the social networks. He’s not too worried about it and thinks he will probably still have bought the Nissan Leaf despite the rapid charger problem. Like myself just about all of his driving is covered by the abilities of Jake. When you’ve driven so far in your Nissan Leaf it is only right and proper to take a decent amount of time to rest and recuperate. Let car get back to fully charged in its own sweet time before travelling on your way to your destination. Take a chill pill and relax until you have enough electrons back in the car to continue your journey.

Jake

A trip to the wilds of Orkney

Last year Peter did a road trip to Orkney and was present when Robert Llewellyn did a presentation. There’s lots of great renewable energy projects taking place in Orkney. At present they produce 120% of the electricity the island needs. Due to the size of the cable connecting the mainland they’re not able to export as much to Scotland as they would like to. What they need is as many electric cars on the island to soak up the free energy. Most of the energy produced is from the wind. There’s always plenty blowing across the barren landscape of Orkney. There are also tidal and wave energy projects taking place. Lots of different tests to see which is the best way to produce renewable energy.

Looking forward to taking the pension

Peter is going to treat himself to a road trip in the Nissan Leaf when he qualifies for the pension in the UK. He tells me it’s coming up soon and is looking forward to a trip to the north of England. He’ll be able to do some more testing of the charging capabilities of the car. One of the things he wants to try he is doing what’s known as a splash and dash. This is where you don’t spend a long time at the charging point and you put in a small amount. Just enough to get you to the next charger and do the same again. It’s possible the battery won’t overheat as much with this method, although the jury is out on this project. It needs to be tested and perhaps Peter is the man to do it. It’s possible there is more heat generated when the battery is full and that’s why we are thinking with this way of travelling and charging on a long trip might mean you can go for longer distances without running into rapidgate.

Peter N Bernfeld – Author

Author Page

Podcast number 8 EV20Q – Rapidgate

Rapidgate and Nissan Leaf buying decisions

Since I made my last video where I may have mentioned Rapidgate I went go to the Hyundai garage to check out the Ioniq. I also sat inside a Hyundai Kona. I was impressed with the Ioniq with its level of trim generally of high quality inside the car. I didn’t like the layout and finish of the dashboard as there was some shiny silver on the steering wheel which looked very cheap. I didn’t get the warm and fuzzy feeling I got from sitting inside the Nissan Leaf. It did look a really good car though and I was half tempted. The salesman at the dealership rang up the following day with a very good deal which was almost too good to miss. The only problem is the car will come with a 28 kWh battery. This would give a range of about 30 km less than I’d get from the 40 kWh battery in the Nissan Leaf. With the state of play of chargers in Spain at the moment that 30 km could make a big difference. Will I arrive at the next charger or end destination or not? I liked the inside of the Hyundai Kona, they had a petrol version in the showroom. The shape of the car and the inside of it was top-notch. The fully electric version is not yet available to the public. There are just one or two only available to the motoring press at the moment. I don’t know when it will be available, but if it came before the Nissan Leaf of mine arrives at the dealers and it was well priced I could possibly jump ship.

RapidGate

State of play for my electric car predicament

I’ve calmed down since my last video I put on YouTube about the non-arrival of my Nissan Leaf. You have to admit it’s very disappointing when you are told one thing and you get your hopes up, only to have them dashed the following day. The salesman has given me a definite date of May 31st and when you think of it as two months away does seem a like a long time to wait. If I think about it as about seven weeks it doesn’t seem so bad and time does tend to fly by. Perhaps time doesn’t go quite so fast when you’re waiting for something, but still!

Is Rapidgate going to affect my buying decision?

A previous podcast guest called James – Lemon Tea Leaf has done tests regarding the effectiveness of charging at rapid chargers with the Nissan Leaf. It seems to confirm the findings of the guy called Jonathan who was driving in a 40 kWh Leaf from Leicestershire to the top of Scotland. His journey was three hours longer than two other drivers driving an Ioniq from Hyundai and the old 30kWh version of the Nissan Leaf. The Nissan Leaf owner Peter has also tested his Nissan Leaf to see if it’s affected by the rapidgate problem. Even though he’s generally happy with the Nissan Leaf he’s very disappointed to find the car does dramatically slow down the level of charging on the third rapid charge of a journey. The car will charge up about half as fast as it should do in order to protect the battery. Nissan have said this is a design feature and not a fault with the car.

Nissan Leaf Interior

After finding all of this information and seeing how far drivers can go in a new Nissan Leaf of 2018 I’m not worried at all. I don’t drive long distances and I’m not in a hurry to get to places either. A place I go to regularly for vacation is about 300 km away and I could get there with one-stop or possibly two stops. The reason I might need to make a second stop is because the last third of the journey is driving up a mountain. According to the Nextcharge app I would arrive there with 4% battery left if I did it with one stop in Perpignan. That assumes I will only charge up to 80%, but if I put more in I will have a bit more of a buffer. When I’ve driven 300 km I am most definitely ready for a long rest.

I could possibly drive as far as 400 km and that would surely be as much as I would want to drive in one day. This is well within the range of the Nissan Leaf 2018 with the 40 kWh battery and the Rapidgate limitation. With a full battery at the start of my journey I could drive up to 240 km although you’d want to keep it to 200 km to give yourself a buffer. With a rapid charge up to 80% the second leg of the journey would give another 192 km maximum or maybe 160 km if you work with a buffer of 30 km. So that in theory would give a journey length of between 360 km to 392 km with just one rapid charge. That’s within the range of kilometres I’d want to drive in just one day.

Nissan Leaf Rapidgate

If I did want to go further and extend it to one more rapid charge I’m still not going to run into the Rapidgate problem. Unless the warmer ambient temperatures say otherwise. If I can do a second rapid charge at the same speed as the first one I could add another 160 km which will take me to just over 500 km and again is more than enough driving for one day. Even if the second rapid charge was slowed down by the battery management and took twice as long it still wouldn’t bother me. I would be ready for a longer break from driving even if it was twice as long as some people would expect.

So it is for these reasons why am keeping my options open regards the Nissan Leaf. I have a countdown app on my iPhone and it’s telling me today I have 53 days to wait for delivery of the car. There is always the possibility that Nissan will under promise and over deliver. I’m forever optimistic and hopeful! There is still the chance at the end of May the Hyundai Kona will have announced prices and delivery dates. Today I heard that the Spanish government incentive money for electric cars will start again in June. If the price was right for a 40 kWh Hyundai Kona I could possibly consider it and change my mind. Try again to get the incentive money discount. As things stand at the moment I would still be very happy to have a Nissan Leaf to drive here in Catalonia.