Charging Electric Barcelona

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The Barcelona Merry-Go-Round

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

Getting the CHAdeMO plugged in

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

Rapid Charging In Barcelona

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

Heading south towards the market

There were seven or eight charging bays

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

EV charging Barcelona

Moving On To The Airport Barcelona

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

charging electric barcelona

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

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

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

Successful Rapid Charging – 2018 Nissan Leaf

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

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

Leaving Rosie at home for a few days

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

Les Angles in France. 

Easy and Free Charging Electric Cars In Barcelona

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RFID cards and apps for activating charge points

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

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

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

Lots of charging possibilities in Sant Cugat de-Vallés

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

Easy and Free Charging Electric Cars In Barcelona

Meeting other 2018 Nissan Leaf Drivers

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

Rubí Charging Electric Cars

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

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

Free is always nice!

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

Finding another Barcelona charge point on the way home

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

Keep Looking for More Chargers

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

Done for the day

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

Excellent charging facilities in Barcelona, but??

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

Road trip to Barcelona checking out electric vehicle charging points

Even though the day was a little bit damp and rainy I decided I wanted to get out of the house and have a drive in my 2018 Nissan Leaf. look for some Rapid Charging Barcelona.  I had been wanting to go and check out a few public electric vehicle charge points in Barcelona for a while and today was the day. The first planned stop for the day was in Granollers which is on the north side of Barcelona. The charging point is not far away from the motorway and looks like a good point to stop on a journey back from the airport.

On my last trip to the Barcelona airport to collect someone I wasn’t able to use the AMB charger because I didn’t know how to use the application. I needed to ask some people on Twitter or Facebook how to do it. I was trying to press buttons when all I needed to do was to slide a tile from the right to the left to get access to the switch. Now I know how to do it, it’s as easy as pie. Next time I go to the airport I’ll be able to use that charger with ease. There’s always the possibility someone else could be using the charger or I don’t have time to wait. It’s for this reason I’m looking at other rapid charging barcelona ssibilities on the flight path from home to the airport.

A list of rapid charging Barcelona possibilities in Barcelona

On this particular occasion, I wasn’t able to add to the list of charging points. The public CHAdeMO charger in Granollers was out of service. It looks like it was new and had never been in service. It didn’t show any signs of wear and tear from being used. Maybe I should send an email to the Ajuntament for Granollers and asked them when it’s going to be available. When it does become available it looks like it would be a good place to stop. Easy to get in and out of and a safe place next to sports facilities in the town. So I had to move on to my next port of call.

Just a short hop to the next public electric vehicle charger in Barcelona

I checked out where the nearest charging point was and that was at Santa Perpetua de Mogoda. Following the directions from the GPS in Waze it took me about 20 minutes. I first of all drove past the entrance to the car park where the charger was situated. There was a sign-post saying there was a charger there but it could only be read when coming from the opposite direction. I had to go to the next roundabout, do a U-turn and come back. The charger is situated in a car park next to public buildings including a library. I was able to get into the library to use the facilities. Charge your car in Barcelona.

Activating the charger and visiting the nearby shops

One of the good things about driving an electric car is the chance you get to stretch your legs while the battery gets charged. I spent about 20 minutes to half an hour walking around the town nearby. I saw there were plenty of supermarkets, restaurants, cafés, and bars in the vicinity. During the day and late until the evening many of these places would be open and available. Not a bad place to spend 30 to 60 minutes while you’re waiting for your car to fully charge.

DC and AC chargers in the car park

In the car park there was the DC charger for the CCS and CHAdeMO cables and plugs. That was for two of the parking bays for electric vehicles. Next to that there was another charger, a fast charger with two Type II charging sockets. So if someone was using either of the DC charge points you’d still be able to plug in and get a lower rate charge at the other charging post. I didn’t try out the other charging post, but on the front if there were QR codes. I suspect these work in the same way as the charging post in Tossa de Mar. Scanning the QR code take you to a website where you can activate after signing up. Either that or you can download an app which allows you to activate the electric vehicle charging point.

Checking out more chargers in Barcelona

The day was still young and I decided to continue further. I wasn’t far away from Barbará de Vallés. I used PlugShare to find where the electric vehicle charging point was situated. I used the button within the app to get directions from Waze. It didn’t take long to get to my next destination.

On arriving at the charging point I found it was occupied with a Renault Zoe on charge. I wasn’t too bothered about getting any electrons from this charger because I just wanted to know if it was in operation. Seeing this Zoe being charged confirmed that it works. It’s an AMB charger and I’m confident in the use of the application now. There was also a Type II charging post in the next parking bays in front. I could have plugged in there while waiting. I saw in the rearview mirror the driver of the Zoe was being a gentleman and unplugging his car. I gave him a friendly wave as he drove away. This allowed me to reverse into the parking spot for the CHAdeMO charger and plugged-in. Rosie was only charging at about 20 kW and I suspect it was down to that level due to the fact there was still 70% or 80% of charge in the battery. The charging always slows down when you get to the higher levels of percentage of charge. The temperature of the battery was still only about halfway. With my charging done it was time to move on and get some food.

Charging the car while on the magical mystery tour of IKEA

When I arrived in the parking area for IKEA I had to ask somebody where the charging points were. Often you find the charging points are close to the entrance, but not on this occasion. I had to drive the car towards the exit of the car park where I found about half a dozen Type II sockets. I was impressed to find that number of sockets available. It was also good there were no cards needed and it wasn’t necessary to register with IKEA in order to use them. A good strategy by IKEA to encourage people to drive to their store with electric vehicles. It takes a long time to get around the magical mystery tour of the furniture store. It’s for that reason using the type II charging points, also called destination charges, is a good idea. When I got back to the car after spending money on plates for the kitchen at home, I had a fully charged car. It was then time to drive home.

rapid charging barcelona

Onto the busy motorway to drive home.

The traffic on roads is always worse when the weather is wet. The motorway by Sabadell is always busy and may have been slightly busier due to the rain. I joined the queue of lorries to get to the next junction in order to turn off for Girona. It was an easy journey home and I decided to pull into one more charger on the way back. There is one which is only 15 minutes away from home in Vidreres. I was keen to try out this charging point even though it’s only a Type II charger. In any case, it was good to stop because I was feeling tired and my eyes were getting heavy. This charger would be useful on the way back from Barcelona if all of my other attempts to add some power to the battery had failed. If I got down to 2 or 3% in the battery and I wanted to give it just that little bit extra so I could breathe easily on the way home, I could do so.

There is very little in Vidreres, so not much to entertain you if you need to stop there. There are a couple of places you could eat or get something to drink. In any case, it would be just a good place to stop in an emergency to add a few percent of power to the battery. The charge point was well marked with green paint on the floor for the parking spot. There was a cover missing from one of the sockets on the charging post. Hopefully, that’s not going to lead to a breakdown in the near future.

Rapid Charging Barcelona

Electric Car Charging Barcelona

The trip back from Barcelona ExpoElectric

Charging in Sant Cugat

Electric Car Charging Barcelona – When I go on a trip to Barcelona and I have enough juice to the battery to get me home I still want to put the car on charge. On the way back home last time, I found a charger I hadn’t used before in Badalona not away from the IKEA store. It’s a good idea to search for all the free charging points around Barcelona. I want to know how to find them. I’m not really used to driving round the city, but if I’ve been to a place once I can find it easier the second time around. Using free charging whenever possible is useful as it helps to keep the costs down running an electric car. So far I’ve used rapid charging points at Sants bus station, AMB Sant Cugat de Vallés, Finlándia at Mataró and the one at the Nissan dealership next to La Maquinista. I did also find an IBIL charger where I had to pay, but I was grateful at the time to find something that worked. I like to have peace of mind knowing I have options for charging the car.

electric car charging barcelona

Unsuccessful attempts Electric Car Charging Barcelona

I have also found charging points around the city and not been able to use them. I got to a charger at Diagonal, but was beaten to it by a Renault Zoe. There’s a charger near to the airport I wanted to use but was unable to at the time due to the app having no instructions. I know how to use the AMB app now. There’s another rapid charger in Sant Cugat de Vallés for which I have an RFID card. I’m not sure if it will work for me because once again I was beaten to it by a Nissan Leaf. I didn’t want to wait 30 mins while the other guy charged up. So I went elsewhere.

Mataró charger broken

Then there is another one in Mataró by the beach I wanted to use, but it was out of order. I can try that one again another day with electric car charging Barcelona. The charge points in La Maquinista shopping centre were out of order for my last two visits to the place.

La Maquinista

There are some roads I use more often than others in Barcelona. My idea is to try out as many of these charging points on those routes as I can. I have four or five on a list I plan to try out as soon as possible. The important thing is to test out which RFID cards work or if they will work with an application on my iPhone. Save me some time messing about trying to activate a charger if I am in more of a hurry on another day. Electric car charging Barcelona can be made easy.

How can charging be improved

What would be nice, is if the charge points where we have to pay, worked with a contactless credit card. I can see this will be the way to go in the future. It has to be easier to use all chargers than it is at the moment. For the chargers that are free it would be super just to drive up and plug-in without having to mess around with RFID cards. The Nissan dealerships should make their chargers more accessible. Stop putting them in workshops or behind locked gates. I’m sure they’re keen to sell more electric vehicles and hiding chargers is not the way to do it. To have a network of chargers will ease the minds of new electric vehicle drivers wondering how it will work out charging on longer trips. This premise of a network of chargers has been proved by Tesla.

Electric Car Day-Trip To Cadaques

Rosie Goes to Roses

I managed to remember to plug the car in overnight and left the house with one hundred percent of battery. The plan was to drive to Roses using the scenic route. Using the motorway would not have been much quicker, but would have led to the car using more electricity. The scenic route was much more pleasant to drive and enjoy. Lately when I’m driving and using the GPS I sometimes take the wrong turn. When on a small road trip like this I embrace it and enjoy the magical mystery tour I find myself on. I find it interesting when I end up going through small villages I would have missed otherwise. So on this trip, we ended up going through some rural landscape I would have not seen.

Arriving in Roses

Followed the GPS correctly and went through some small and half pedestrianised streets in Roses. I was sort of expecting to find the electric vehicle charging point on the outskirts of the town. I was wrong it was in the middle of some shopping streets. That’s what happens when you to see one photograph showing one view of the rapid charger. This particular rapid charger was easy to spot as it was right beside the road. Extra easy to spot because it had tape all around it saying it was out of order. There was a sign on the LCD display saying it was out of service. At the time I thought there were no other charging points in the town. So we just went driving towards the beach to find a place to park and have a short walk. Would have gone down by the beach except it was too windy and sand was flying all over the place. So the decision was made to go to the town on the other side of the hill, Cadaqués. Roses is quite pleasant but Cadaqués is more picturesque. I could have checked other applications I have for finding electric vehicle charging points. At that time I just went with using PlugShare.

Rapid Charger Roses

Over the hill to Cadaqués

The drive over the mountain is an extremely twisty and bendy road. It’s extremely popular with the motorcyclists because it’s such fun. Slightly dangerous though when they’re going a little faster than they should do. So while sitting down to eat lunch I did check out other EV applications. I looked into New Motion, Plug Surfing and got lucky with ChargeMap. There are no available charge points within the picturesque Cadaqués, but I did find another one available in Roses. When entering the town I had driven right past it. At the time I was concentrating on seeing which turn I needed to make at the roundabout, looking for that broken charger.

The bay of Cadaques

Crowd source duty in Plugshare

This charge point in Roses needed to be added to the PlugShare app. So after driving back in that direction we went in to try out the charger. It is right in front of the large tourist attraction, Cuitadella and in front of the beach. There are two parking spaces and two Mennekes sockets on a post. Within a couple of minutes I was hooked up and charging having activated the charge using one of my RFID cards. I think it was the one from Girona that did the trick. Rosie was not in great need of charging up at that time so only stayed long enough to prove the charge point worked. During that time I added it to the PlugShare app, leaving a tip and some photos. Crowdsourced information is a wonderful thing!

Roses Type 2 charger

Onwards to Figuerés to test a rapid charger

Not long after getting Rosie, we were on the way back from a trip in France I wanted to charge up in Figuerés. The charger was showing on PlugShare, but still wasn’t fully commissioned. When I got there it was all boarded up and the whole tree-lined square was like a building site. This time, there were still works taking place in the square, but the charge point was in operation. Due to the traffic coming around the corner and the positioning of the 2 electric vehicle parking places it was a little awkward reversing into the spot.

The RFID card which worked with this machine was the one from Barcelona Live. I would have expected the one from Girona to have worked, but it didn’t. Girona is closer, maybe I’ll have to contact the Ajuntament and ask them to add that electric vehicle charging card. I didn’t try any of the other cards I have.

A Shave and a Haircut

Not too many facilities within that specific area of Figuerés. You could use the hairdresser across the road from the charger. In the time it takes to get a short back and sides you could come back to a fully charged car. Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf only needed a few minutes of charge time. Especially seeing as when we first connected it was pulling in 46 kW. This is the highest rate of charge I’ve seen on a rapid charger so far. So stayed there 10 or 15 minutes and then headed back home. I arrived back home with 48% charge left in the battery. The charging while out on the road was free. So I conclude that the cost of driving 216 km of the day trip was about €1.75. Once again I left Rosie plugged in overnight so the next day she would be back to 100% again.

Electric Car Charging Barcelona

 

How to charge your electric car on the road.

In previous posts I’ve suggested it’s a good idea to have a plan A and Plan B and maybe even a plan C. Always give yourself enough wiggle room to get to another charging point. It’s for this reason when you pull into place and have the opportunity of collecting some electrons, it’s a good idea to do so. It could just make the difference between arriving at the charge point later in the day or having to take a trip on the flatbed of shame. Graze charging is taking advantage of every opportunity to plug in the car on the journey.

Having seen pictures of the inauguration in Figuerés of these two charge points I was sure at least one would be working. I still had the option of driving to Girona to add power there. At no time was I in danger of being stranded. Range anxiety didn’t even figure into the plans for the day. All in all a successful trip out in Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

Public Charging Points Around Barcelona

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I started the day in a completely disorganised way. I didn’t put the car on charge the previous night, so didn’t have a full battery leaving home to go to Barcelona. Not at all worried because I had enough juice in the car to get to the city and there are plenty of charge points. Providing they are working of course and not being used by somebody else. My plan was to go to the Apple Store at La Maquinista and take a chance that there might be a delivery there of the latest Apple iPhone 10 S Max. I decided to take the coastal motorway, an easy drive to the shopping centre. When I arrived I thought the place was a little quiet. It was only when I arrived at the Apple Store and it was closed, I found out it was because of a festival taking place in Barcelona. I also wasn’t able to plug in the car at the public charging points in the underground parking. Out of order!

public charging points La Maquinista

Decided to keep driving towards the Apple Store in the centre of the city at Passeig de Gracia. I checked beforehand on the web, it was open. I set up the GPS for the charging point near to the store. Not a difficult drive, but I didn’t find the charging point. I suspect it was boaded up as were the street vendor stalls due to the festival. During these festivals there are a lot of fireworks thrown around. For a couple of days everything is covered up and protected. I was also on the wrong side of the road to see it or easily pull in and check it out. I kept on driving and when able to, stopped to have a look at the PlugShare app for the next available charge point. The best one in front of me was the charger at Diagonal. Just a few minutes of driving and I was nearly at the public charging point ready for some EV charging.


Renault Zoe – EV Charging

As I was turning the corner to get to the public charging points, I could see them in front of me. I also saw a Renault Zoe. Flamin’ Typical… I thought… Zoe was in front of me and I pulled into the second of the charging points and took the one behind. I wasn’t too pleased to see a notice on my charge point to say it was out of order. The man with the car in front moved the out of order notice to one side and plugged in. The guy had local knowledge – The charger he pulled up to was in perfect working order. He told me the one I was at, had been unavailable for months. Now to decide what to do next. Wait for 30 minutes for the guy to come back and leave so I could take his spot. The other option was to try another charger nearby. I went with the second option which according to GPS was only about 15 minutes away.

Public Charging Points at the bus station in Sants

I had already tried using this EV charging point previously. It hadn’t worked for me because I didn’t have the correct Barcelona EV charging card. This time I had more options available including the Barcelona Live electric vehicle charging card. I knew how to find my way to the car park with the charging point at the bus station. No one charging and the electric vehicle charger was in operation. In fact, there are two charges at this public charging point. We need more charging hubs in Spain so more cars can plug in at the same time.

Estacion de bus Sants

Within a couple of minutes I was plugged in and sucking in the electrons. Well, more to the point Rosie was using the Public Charging Points of Sants. The charge was coming in at 38 kW and at one point hit 40 kW. The level of the battery had gone down to 21% but there were still enough kilometres in the car in case I still needed another option. Not this time! I sat in the car and twiddled with my iPhone and before I knew it had been there for 45 minutes and had the car battery up to 90% charge. The rate of charge had dropped to an insignificant level by then so it was time to move on. I also had been in contact with Greg Oliveau who lives in a small satellite town of Barcelona to the north. Suggested we might meet up for a cup of tea and ended up going to meet him for lunch. On the way found out it was possible to share your present position using WhatsApp. Met Greg at the charging point in his local town.

EV charging at Sants Bus station BCN

Financial decisions affecting public charge points

Cabrils have put in EV charging with a Type II connection and a Shuko connection. The only people who can use it are residents of the town. They don’t seem to have noticed or have seen the argument suggesting it might be useful to allow passing motorists to use the charger. When you stop at charge points you need to wait for some time for the battery to charge up. The driver of the electric car is likely to go for a walk to use bars, restaurants and shops in the area. So why not make the charger universally available as an incentive for people to visit and spend money? The cost of the electricity being used is minimal and there is no need to be tight. Drivers of electric vehicles would be happy enough to pay for the charging anyway. It would be a good idea just to have the electric available at cost.

Chatting to another 2018 Nissan Leaf owner

Greg had had his car just about as long as myself. He bought one of the 2.Zero models, he went for the black one rather than the Jade frost colour. He’s extremely happy with his car although we disagree about the usefulness of Pro Pilot Assist. I think Pro Pilot Assist is marvellous and I use it all the time. You have to understand it’s there to assist and not to completely take over. When I’m using this sort of automatic driving feature I am driving, but just letting it help me. I find it cuts down on the stress of driving and I feel less tired when arriving at my destination. I know if you’re going above a certain speed it will not take the tighter corners. For driving on motorways and for main roads it is excellent. Not as full-featured and as fancy as you’d get with a Tesla, but then nowhere near as expensive either.

Greg Oliveau

Installing a holder and a Lightning Cable for your phone

Greg showed me how he had his iPhone wired into the car. It was much neater than the way I had done mine. He was using a holder attached to the windscreen with a suction cup. The 1.8 m lightning cable was routed under the steering wheel and for the most part, is out of sight. Just a small section visible where it plugs into the USB of the car entertainment system at one end. Then enough available at the other end to plug into the bottom of the phone. I set this up similarly in my car and I’m happy with the way it works now. Especially now I have the iPhone XS Max with the Face ID. It is positioned so the phone can see my face when I am in the driving seat.

I was able to inform Greg about the application Leaf Spy Pro and how I have the ODB2 dongle connected in my car. I use an extension cable and I’m able to tuck the dongle away underneath the dashboard. It’s good to have it out of the way and unseen. He was impressed with how you can get a list of trips you’ve made in the car in a spreadsheet using this setup. It’s necessary to bring the application to the forefront on the iPhone to make sure it is recording each of the trips. There’s a huge amount of information concerning the battery and the electricity used for each journey you make. You could even say there’s too much information.

Uneventful trip home

I did try to use that charging point in Cabrils. I wondered if it would activate using the Barcelona Live chargecard. It didn’t recognise my card and you do need to have the card from the local council. I didn’t need any charge  at public charging points anyway. I was able to head home and arrived back at the house with plenty left in the battery.

Another trip to Barcelona on the following day to actually get the new iPhone and more public charging points.

Best EV Charge Map Applications

My preferred application for finding charging points is Plugshare. I do have a number of others I have downloaded and I’m trying out. Electromaps is one people like to use here in Spain. I find it is a little bit slow to populate the map with the chargers and the Newmotion and Chargenet applications are similar in that respect. Lethave a look for the Best EV Charge Map Applications.

Best EV charge apps

 

Charging near Barcelona airport

Network Specific Apps

Some of the applications are specific to certain networks. Newmotion is very good if you are travelling in France but not so good if you’re in Spain. Nextcharge is another application I like. Plugshare is probably the best as it has a wide the range of charge points. Even so, it’s a good idea sometimes to look at other applications if the place where you are is seemingly scarce of charging points. EV box is another network which has its own application. Electricity providers like Iberdrola have applications showing chargers. IBIL is a small network in Spain with an app and is for chargers on the Repsol forecourts.

NewMotion app

Best EV Charge Map Applications NewMotion

Plugshare vs Chargemap

I’ve just been checking out Chargemap which seems quite a useful looking application. It’s not totally up-to-date with the chargers in my local area. At least it seems possible to add charge point as you can with pleasure. It gives it more of a chance of being up-to-date with new charge points. Plugshare lets you do the crowd share of information for charge points too.

RFID cards and App Options

It’s a good idea to have as many or if ID cards and applications to help you find and use the vehicle charge points. This is because of charges which may be out of action for whatever reason. Also there is the possibility that an RFID card you have might not work when you want it to. You need to have a Plan B and a plan C to take into account The various difficulties you might run into when on a longer journey.

Electric Car Charging

How many long trips are you likely to take?

For 95% of the time you won’t need to use any of these applications or RFID cards because you’ll be charging up from home. Looking at the options I have for charging in France 🇫🇷 I feel confident to go on a long journey going north from Catalonia. I don’t feel quite so confident for travelling around Spain 🇪🇸.

Here is a list of all of the Best EV Charge Map Applications I have on my iPhone to find charge points.

  • Plugshare
  • Newmotion
  • Nextcharge
  • Chargemap
  • Electromaps
  • AMB
  • Plugsurfing
  • IBIL
  • OpenChargeMap
  • Chargepoint App
  • Easy Charger
  • KiWhi Pass
  • Chargenet

That’s quite a few. Mostly I look at Plugshare first. Newmotion if in France. I used IBIL twice in Barcelona before I had the Barcelona Live card and had worked out how to use the AMB app to get free charging. When I do my long trip around the Iberic peninsular the Iberdrola app will get used. Their 200 charge points are still to be installed. Impossible to sign up using their app. Better to do the trip next year when there will be more chargers installed. I’m still looking for more Best EV Charge Map Applications.

Good things in apps

  • Chargepoints which are in operation now. Rather than coming soon.
  • Crowdsourced information – better up to date information.
  • Trip planning. Plugshare and Nextcharge do this well.
  • Apps which let you activate the charge point.
  • Apps with information about cost of using the charger.
  • Apps with information on how to use/activate the charger.
  • Apps which show the chargers quickly on the map.
  • Apps letting you reserve or book a charger.
  • Live information showing state of charger. In use, reserved, broken
  • Links from the charger info to map apps for directions.

EV Charging Barcelona – Trip to Salt mines Cardona

Day Trip to the Salt Mines of Cardona

Wasn’t sure if we were going to go on a trip to test EV Charging or not. So we ended up started out a little bit late. We really could’ve got out of the house earlier if we had made a plan. The idea eventually was to go and visit a salt mine in Cardona. The salt mine is in the direction of Lleida in a town called Cardona. I wanted to stop in one of the charges in the outskirts of Barcelona. My wife wanted me to drive instead via Vic and pull in to Manresa to charge up. Because we were late starting we got to Manresa when the dealership was closed and we couldn’t gain access to the chademo charge point. So we spent the time getting something to eat and having a look around the town. It wasn’t a particularly nice place. Old industrial buildings and lots of roadworks. There was a view across the river and the railway tracks which was a little more interesting. There was a big impressive building looking out across the small valley. As you might expect it was a religious building connected to the Catholic Church. The country is full of the iconography of the death cult.

Manresa

Leaf on Charge – Not Mine…

When we got back to the dealership I was disappointed to find an old style Nissan Leaf parked there. Fortunately, the time it took for me to move the car into place ready to get charging after he had finished they arrived back at the car and moved on. I think we had about 50% of the battery left and it was quick to charge up to 75% before we continued with the journey. The next stage of the journey was only about 40 km to get to the town with the salt mine. The whole journey was on good roads with interesting landscape views all the way. Forests on both sides of the road most of the way.


Salt Mountain Visit – No EV Charging

A minibus which took us down to the mine entrance. We went past the mountain of soil and mining junk which had been removed from the ground over many years. The salt on the ground made it look like it had been snowing. We were told there was a huge seam of salt going about 2 km down into the ground. When they started to dig it up, first they took out the sodium chloride ordinary salt. It was later they found other types of salt. There was manganese salt and also the potassium salt. It was the potassium salt which is more valuable due to the fact it could be used to make explosives. It was a fairly interesting visit with views of the stalagmites and stalactites of salts in the tunnels. It wasn’t as stunning to look at as the caves we visited in France last year. By the time we had finished with the visit it was time to start driving home. Next time we have leave the house earlier and have a fuller day of travelling. There was a castle in the town which we took pictures from a distance, but didn’t have time to go and visit.

Rosie in the Salt mine car park

Where to charge the car

There was some discussion as to whether we should go back via Manresa and add some charge to the car there. For EV Charging Victoria reckoned it would be better as from then we could drive back home again in one hop. My preference was to drive into the outskirts of Barcelona and use one of the chargers available there. It turned out she was right and it probably would have worked out better. On the other hand, it was more interesting for me because of the way things worked out trying to get plugged in in Sant Cugat de Vallés. I did notice my wife was becoming an expert at looking for charge points and working out the routes. A good navigator for our electric vehicle trips – Road Trip.

Blocked EV Charge points

The first place we stopped was where I charged up before using the AMB charger last week. Disappointed to find there was a BMW i3 already parked there. So we moved on to go to the charger at the other end of the town. It’s only took 10 minutes to get there. As we were driving to the charger I noticed a Nissan Leaf in front of us. I had a premonition this Car was heading to the same place we were going for some EV Charging. Unfortunately I was right! The Nissan Leaf pulled in to the charger I wanted to use. He was planning to be there for 30 minutes. I tried the RFID card I’d been sent from the Ajuntament to make use of the slower Type II charging. I should have been able to use this at the same time as the other EV driver was using the DC charging. I was disappointed to find the card didn’t work. It failed to activate and I didn’t want to wait for 30 minutes to try it again for the DC plug. So back to the other charger and hope that the car parked there was going to move.

EV Charging

EV Charging or Pretending to charge

The BMW i3 was still in position. After looking carefully I could see the BMW was not actually charging. It was plugged in and pretending. I unplugged his car and was planning to try and find a way to get my car in a position where I could plug-in. In the mean time the owner came back and pulled a face because I had unplugged his car. I complained to him about his parking there and not charging. Also complained to him about his taking up two spaces by parking in the middle of the both of them. If he had parked properly in the first place I should have been able to pull in behind him and plugged in to use the chademo charger. Typical of BMW drivers, they think they own the road!

Needed to get Charged

By this time we were down to 20% left in the battery. I really needed to get something into the car. There were other places nearby where I could charge up and I wasn’t too worried. There’s a charger in Barbará de Valles I had considered using instead of going to the one in Sant Cugat. Eventually we were plugged in and could go into the shopping centre to get food and use the facilities. I was pleased to get another one of those tasty sandwiches I had the last time I came to visit. It didn’t seem as nice as the previous week, but it wasn’t too bad. Spent about 30 minutes charging and put in about 19 kWh of electricity into the battery. This was more than enough to get home. When I arrived back home I still had about 35% left in the battery. Enough battery so I didn’t need to charge overnight as I had enough for work the next day. In any case, I plugged in anyway and I left for work the next day with 100% in the battery.

Cost Of EV Charging

In the morning I left with 100% and I arrived back home with about 35%. During the day I charged up for free twice so there was no cost involved. So effectively we used about 2/3 of the battery which means the days driving only cost me about two euro. It wasn’t a perfect day for electric vehicle driving. I didn’t mind in the slightest because it was more interesting. It does however highlight problems you might run into by driving an electric car. We had to wait for the Nissan dealers to open. The only other charging point in the town was at a Kia dealership. It was probably also closed during the siesta period in the town. I’m also unsure as to whether I could have used it seeing as I was driving a Nissan and not a Kia. I can say the cost of driving approximately 360km was dirt cheap. Happy 20a8 Nissan Leaf driver.

Not a bad day out overall for EV Charging

Looking back at the day and how it worked out. I’m sure we should’ve used the route which we took coming home on the way to Cardona salt mines. We would have wasted less time and seen more of Cardona. On the other hand, we did get to experience Manresa even though it wasn’t particularly nice. As we found out on the way back you have to take into account other electric vehicle drivers. Charge points tend to be singular in the various locations. The driver of the Nissan Leaf was friendly. I was disappointed he beat us to the charging point by a matter of seconds. I should have been able to use the AC charging point on the same machine and I’ll have to try it again with the DC the next time I’m in the area. The driver of the BMW i3 was an idiot. When you go to Barcelona do you can expect to find this sort of behaviour. Bad parking, bad EV Charging and parking etiquette. We could do with proper charging hubs with more charge points available to use in a single location. Like you find in Dundee in Scotland.

Stats for the day

Barcelona Rapid Chargers – Mini Road Trip

The last time I did a trip to the Barcelona airport was just after I got my new car, the Nissan Leaf 2018. I wanted to use one of the Barcelona metropolitan area AMB chargers, but I couldn’t work out how to get it started. I didn’t know anything about the Barcelona rapid chargers and how to make them work.  I was under the misguided belief I would be able to use the Girona electric vehicle card. At the time I didn’t have the card from Barcelona, but that wouldn’t have worked either. It only works with the other Barcelona rapid chargers. I did have the application on my phone and I had registered with the service. Somehow or other though I still couldn’t make the damn thing work. Finally, I asked for help and advice from the Internet and it turned out to be quite simple. All you have to do is to slide something from the right to the left within the application to activate the charger. I had rang up the number on the side of the charger but these people were of no use whatsoever. The people don’t know anything about the charges or how they work. The people on the other end of the phone have no idea whatsoever about the application and it was a waste of time ringing them. Here is a map for the charging points in Catalonia,


Barcelona Rapid Chargers

In the AMB Barcelona rapid chargers application there are 10 chargers providing free electricity to Barcelona EV drivers. These charges are dotted around the city and within the application you get information about the charging points. The icons for the charging points show whether they are available, reserved, busy or unavailable. I’m just looking at the map now and as luck would have it, the one I was planning to use this morning first of all is unavailable. The other one I had considered is at present busy, but will almost certainly be available by the time I get there. It’s particularly useful one of the charging points is close to the airport. Even though it is possible for me to drive from home to the airport and back again on one single charge (it is a little bit tight) I would rather add 10 or 15 minutes worth of charge. This would mean I wouldn’t have to take it easy on the speed during the motorway driving. I’d like to be able to drive normally and not have to do any hyper mile type of driving. Run into a headwind or maybe even wet weather and the energy usage could increase. Or you could have a detour to contend with and that could add more kilometres to the journey too.

Barcelona Rapid Chargers

The Barcelona rapid chargers planned for the day.

I did apply for a card for the charger in Sant Cugat de Vallés and it was even sent to me using a courier. The town seemed quite pleasant and wouldn’t mind giving that a try. There is one of the AMB charges there also. Maybe I’ll try one of the other rapid chargers first and try to end up back there. I’m starting the day with a full charge in the battery. I charged up Rosie the 2018 Nissan Leaf with the Type 2 charger overnight in my garage and we are ready for business. It would be good if I could find something to visit and look at in Barcelona during my trip. Just to make it a little more interesting. There is an amusement park which is outside of the city, out in the direction of Parc Güell. There will be places there I can get something to eat there so that could be a good possibility.

So how did that plan work out in real life?

I stayed off the motorway to begin with. I headed down towards Barcelona rapid chargers on the A roads. The GPS wanted me to get onto the motorways from time to time, but I stayed on the road going through the small seaside towns, or not so small, on the way to Mataró.

Charging by the beach -Or Not

The charge point I was heading for what is right by the beach, seaside. There was a small tunnel going underneath the railway and bringing me to the road by the beach. There were plenty of parking spaces and I soon found the parking space for the electric vehicle charger. I could see immediately the charger looked a little bit dead. I got out of the car and pressed a few buttons and was able to confirm that fairly quickly. I was disappointed to find the charger was in operable and I had to get back in the car to look for the next charger. Fortunately, there is another charger not far away in Mataró.

Rapid chargers barcelona

Briefly ICE’d

I only needed to drive inland from the beach for about 20 or 30 minutes to get to the next charger. This was in Carreterra Finlándia. When I got there a large truck was in the parking space. I’ve pulled up behind and there would have been just enough room to use it. I was going to ask the driver to get out of the way. But before I could do so he started reversing back towards me. I had to get in reverse quick in order to get out of the spot before he bumped into my car. Once in position I was able to start at using the charger. This charger was in operation and I could use the Barcelona Ajuntament EV charge card.

Finlandia Mataró

All of the instructions on a small LCD screen were in Catalan. You can expect this with the Barcelona rapid chargers. Some do have options to see instructions in other languages. It was easy enough to follow. The charger and the car did the necessary handshake to activate and for the charging to begin. I got back into the car to check at the rate of charge. The car was pulling in 32 kW. The temperature of the battery was in the middle but it perhaps it should have pulled in more than 32. I didn’t really need much of a charge anyway so I wasn’t too bothered. The point of the day was to try out a few chargers. I arrived at this one with 75% battery still available. On account of not driving at the motorway speeds to get to Mataró I had not used much energy. I stayed at the charge point long enough to bring the battery up to 86%. Then it was time to move on to the shopping centre nearby. I needed to make use of the facilities in and have a little look around.

Looking for Vegetarian Options

It was getting towards lunchtime but I didn’t find anything suitable for a vegetarian to eat in this small sized shopping centre. The last time I visited the shopping centre was quite a few years ago and I remember being disappointed then. So after only about half an hour it was time to move on to my next destination.

GPS Magical Mystery Tour

For the next destination I decided to let the GPS guide me. Sometimes it is easy to just miss a turn when there are multiple choices at a roundabout. I’ve pulled off one junction to early from the roundabout and ended up going on a magical mystery tour. Considering I was not in a rush I didn’t mind in the slightest. The GPS was guiding me on roads away from the motorway is because I had set that up in the settings. I ended up on tiny country style road visiting small villages. You would not believe you were so close to the metropolis of the coastal towns of the Costa Brava near Barcelona. It was a pleasant and interesting fun drive. I did get a little bit bored with it eventually. I was glad to get back onto the main AP7 not too far away from the Circuit of Barcelona motor racing track. I had a bit of a distance to drive to get to Sant Cugat de Vallés. Needed to make up some time.

Barcelona chargers video

Activates with an app

There is a AMB charger right next to the shopping centre. My plan was to try this charger which I had tried to use before. Last time I was unsuccessful because I didn’t know how to work the application. I had to ask for instructions on Twitter. I found out I needed to do a swipe from right to left on the listing for the ChadeMo charger connector. On my second try the charge activated and we were in business. The charge once again was going in at just over 30 kW. It was time to go and use the facilities again and to find somewhere to eat. Once again the vegetarian eating possibilities were slim. I did manage to find a place selling sandwiches and there was one vegetarian possibility. It turned out this was an excellent choice as it was exceptionally tasty with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. I was a happy vegetarian. When I got back to the car there was a Smart Electric car pulled up to use the AC charger. My 2018 Nissan leaf had company. My car was charged to 98% and was now pulling in only a small amount in terms of kilowatts.

Using the AMB App

Using the AMB App

Fluid plans for the day

I had wanted to go to another charger in the same town. I had the RFID car dividable to use it. There was no point in trying it out due to the fact I had charged up so much using the AMB charger. I hadn’t planned to stay so long at the previous charging point. So due to a tasty sandwich my options had changed. The only thing for it was to get back on the road and head home.

Easy drive home

After the visit to the Barcelona rapid chargers It was an easy drive home on the motorway all the way. I only stopped once for a short break. I arrived back at the house with 60% of charge in the battery. I left with 100% and both of the chargers we used were free. A rough, in the head calculation of the approximate cost of the electric used, 40% meant that the days driving, about 250 km cost me only €1.20.

Red Rosie 2018 Nissan Leaf

Mission rapid chargers Barcelona

Aside from finding one charger out of operation it was a successful mission. I had intended to try out a couple of the charging points to see what options I would have for charging in Barcelona for free when going to collect someone from the airport. I now have a couple of chargers I’ve tried and used successfully. The one at Mataró would be easy to get to with a divert from the Motorway.

There is an AMB rapid charger right next to the airport. Next time I go to the airport I will make sure to use that one. A good day with the Barcelona rapid chargers.

Plugshare Charging Points in Barcelona.

Barcelona rapid chargers

Plugshare or NextCharge

Yesterday I was doing more research into the options for planning journeys and finding electric charge points. Someone added ZapMap to the list of choices available in the poll that I put on Facebook in the 2018 Nissan Leaf Group. Someone else asked me to add an application called Nextcharge which I’ve had a brief look at and is fairly impressive. I don’t think any of these type of applications are perfect.

Plugshare

The app that I like the most at the moment is PlugShare because you can put in your start point, your endpoint and then add the charging waypoints along the way. It gives you a notification along the route of how many kilometres travelled since the last charging stop. You can set the vehicle in the settings and then adjust the vehicle range. There are two settings, one of which is a lower number at 190 km for the Nissan Leaf and the other one called Starting Vehicle Range which is set at 240 km. These numbers can be changed in 10km, increments. So you tell the application to find routes and depending on where you’re going you’ll get two or three possibilities. On the map then you will see your route and they’ll be three markers to give you an idea of when you should be looking for a charging solution. When you select sufficient charges to complete the route will see the route split into coloured sections on the map. It’s also possible to see the route as a list. If you go into the area called Me there are charging stations you’ve bookmarked and in the trip planner you have trips you created previously.

Next Charge application

When you first open this application it shows you the nearest stations to you. Obviously using the GPS to locate your position. On mine upon opening up while at home I can see I have a couple of charging stations only 11 km away with the Type II connection available as well as the Shuko connector. Then there’s a rapid charger with a CHAdeMO only 19 km away. If you tap on the button **Directions** you get to choose from the mapping applications you have on your device. I can go to Apple Maps, Google Maps or Waze. If you hit the orange button on the top right-hand corner you may choose **Itinerary**. You only get a limited number of itineraries to use although you can create more by adding to the application, crowd source style.

Using NextCHargeWhen creating your itinerary you have to manually put in the origin. It should really give an option to use current location as your starting point. You then choose your destination and the vehicle, if you haven’t already selected it previously. There is an options button in which you can set the speed and payload capacity by using sliders. Another slider will set the area to search for charging stations and a couple of checkboxes if you want to avoid highways and avoid tolls. It’s also possible to set the desired time of departure or arrival. There are a bunch of other settings for the speed of the chargers, network, access, type of connector. When you go to the next step you get the map with a route and the strange message saying “Click STOP To Start”.

Split your route into sections

Now it’s time to split the journey up into sections based up the use of energy from your battery. There are markers on the route in percentages at 10% increments. When you click on the button STOP the charge points available on the route show up. Choose one of the available charge points along the route. NextCharge assumes you can charge up to 80% battery level before you move on. So you do the same again looking for suitable charge points along the marked out route. There’s information about the charge station and you swipe up to see more. You’ll get to see the hours the charger is available and which type of connections and whether or not it’s public access. It’s a pretty good way of setting up your itinerary for vehicle charging. When you chosen your charging points for the whole of the journey it will tell you that the itinerary is completed.

NextCharge

The next screen shows you the details of the journey with a list of all of the charge points. There’s also a graph to show you the elevation above sea level of your drive along your journey. The next tab along is called Next. There are two choices. One is to embed the route in your website. There is supposed to be code for you to copy. I couldn’t see that in the application. If you want to share the itinerary have to first save it, even though there was no save button on that page. How weird is that? I tried a lot of different application views but I couldn’t find a save button anywhere.

So I left the itinerary planning to go back to the initial application view and then returned to itineraries. Amazingly, there was now a save button. I was then able to share it out as an email with a link which links to a webpage with an option at the top to open up the Nextcharge application. It didn’t work, the map just showed me a random spot in Spain. Clicking on details did show the list of charge points on the route. This hid the map from view, not a problem as the route was still not on screen. There is a little button to the right of the first charge point, I tapped on that to get a screen called Navigate. Hitting that button sent me to the mapping application. It would have been nice to have a choice of which application to use for the maps. Apple Maps is rubbish and I would have preferred to use Google maps or Waze. The flow of using the app is not at all smooth. The rough edges are still showing.

How good is Nextcharge?

Overall it is not that bad. I like the way on the map it shows the percentage left on the cars’ battery when it’s helping you choose the next charging station. It’s not very good at sharing out your itinerary. It only seems to save the latest itinerary you’ve made. It would be useful if you could see a list of previously created itineraries. It’s possible though to bookmark or save charging stations as favourites. The markings for the charging stations on the map show you whether it is available, occupied, unknown, closed for maintenance or just planned. The Nextcharge application is pretty good for finding out where the best charging stations are on your route. It’s also useful to show you where the nearest chargers are to your current location.

Overview of NextCharge

The application doesn’t always show all charge points available. There are a couple of charge points in Girona which I know are up and running, but were not on the map. At least with this being crowd sourced information these other charge points can be added. In fact, it is expected of you to comment, add photos and add information about charging stations whenever you can. Over time the application could get better and it needs to. Improvement is required in the way the route planning and itinerary organisation works in the application. When the charging point is not directly on the route the directions on the map don’t guide you out to the charge point. NextCharge is more for setting it up and then you need to get the route organised in a proper maps application. On a longer route with many stops that could get tedious or messy. The basic operation of the application is a work in progress and requires more work on it. Overall I like it and I can see myself using it despite some of the working areas of the app needing improvement. In some ways NextCharge is comparable with Plugshare. Both apps have pros and cons. I think I’d keep an eye on both and see if one comes out a clear winner either in terms of capabilities or just preference to use when needed.