Electric Car Road Trip in a Nissan Leaf

EV20Q Podcast
Go to iTunes or wherever you get your podcast and search for EV20Q. Subscribe to the podcast and get it delivered automatically as soon as there is a new episode. RSS Feed / Subscribe Android / iTunes Link / Anchor

EV20Q Podcast 49 – Révéo Charging in France

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

A Surreal Charging Point on my Electric Vehicle Road Trip

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

Leaf in the Dealership showroom

Crossing the Border into France

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

electric car road trip

Collioure Tourist Trap and Charging Spot

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

electric car road trip - Collioure in France

EV Hole Kona Electric Driver

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

Transport and Fuel – It’s All About To Change

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

Shopping and Charging – Or Not

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

Overview of the Electric Car Road Trip

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


Nissan Leaf long-distance driving and Rapidgate


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

Optimum Driving and Charging

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

2019 Nissan Leaf Coming Soon

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

What Improvements Would I Like to See

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

Join the Facebook Group
Gen 2 Nissan Leaf Owners and Anyone Interested in the Latest Leaf

Electric vehicle cross-border driving – Or not?

The Podcast
Do us a favour and go to iTunes or wherever you get your podcast and do two things.
1. Subscribe to the podcast and get it delivered automatically as soon as there is a new episode.
2. Leave a review of the podcast. It helps to get the podcast known in the podcast world. It is as good as telling someone else you know about the podcast. (Tell a friend directly too if you like.)

Another RFID Card

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

Getting blocked at the border

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

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

Testing rapid chargers in Figueres

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

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

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

Charging point facilities

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

Activating the rapid charger in Figueres

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

 EV charging Catalonia

Taking advantage of free electric

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

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

Join the Facebook Group
Gen 2 Nissan Leaf Owners and Anyone Interested in the Latest Leaf

EV Public Charging – In Charge in France

EV public charging France – All the Options

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

Thank goodness for Newmotion

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

My latest trip to France to a small town called Céret

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

Autumn driving an electric vehicle through the foothills of the Pyrenees

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

Each EV charging point seems different from the last

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

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

The cost of charging electric vehicles using EV public charging

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

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

I wuz Robbed…

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

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

Join the Facebook Group
Gen 2 Nissan Leaf Owners and Anyone Interested in the Latest Leaf

The truth about using electric vehicle public chargers

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

Plugging in at the dealerships

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

Travelling home from France

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

EV public charging

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

My costs for the daytrip

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

EV20Q Podcast
Go to iTunes or wherever you get your podcast and search for EV20Q. Subscribe to the podcast and get it delivered automatically as soon as there is a new episode. RSS Feed / Subscribe Android / iTunes Link / Anchor

My Electric Car Charging

The Podcast
Do us a favour and go to iTunes or wherever you get your podcast and do two things.
1. Subscribe to the podcast and get it delivered automatically as soon as there is a new episode.
2. Leave a review of the podcast. It helps to get the podcast known in the podcast world. It is as good as telling someone else you know about the podcast. (Tell a friend directly too if you like.)

Excuses to drive my electric car

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

my electric car
My Electric Car

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

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

Charging my electric car at a supermarket equiped with destination chargers

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

My latest trip to Barcelona

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

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

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

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

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

Tea and carrot cake

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

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

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

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

Still some more checking and testing to be done.

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

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

Charging my car in Barcelona

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

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

Moving on and finding another rapid charger

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

Not far away Otto Diesel – Nissan dealership

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

At the Otto Diesel Nissan Dealership in Barcelona.

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

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

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


Charging Electric Barcelona

The Podcast
Do us a favour and go to iTunes or wherever you get your podcast and do two things.
1. Subscribe to the podcast and get it delivered automatically as soon as there is a new episode.
2. Leave a review of the podcast. It helps to get the podcast known in the podcast world. It is as good as telling someone else you know about the podcast. (Tell a friend directly too if you like.)

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

EV20Q Podcast
Go to iTunes or wherever you get your podcast and search for EV20Q. Subscribe to the podcast and get it delivered automatically as soon as there is a new episode. RSS Feed / Subscribe Android / iTunes Link / Anchor

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

The Podcast
Do us a favour and go to iTunes or wherever you get your podcast and do two things.
1. Subscribe to the podcast and get it delivered automatically as soon as there is a new episode.
2. Leave a review of the podcast. It helps to get the podcast known in the podcast world. It is as good as telling someone else you know about the podcast. (Tell a friend directly too if you like.)

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.