Electric Car Charging – The Nissan Leaf in France

Last week I went to Perpignan which is not too far across the border from here in Spain. On the way there I was able to do some electric car charging at a shopping centre just before crossing the border and they gave me plenty of range. I was able to do a scenic drive to a natural beauty spot called Gorges de la Fou. One of my reasons to go to Perpignan was to try and get some charge into the car. I knew I would have just enough to get me back home again, but I wanted to have extra as a safety net. It’s also good to grab free electrons wherever possible to make the cheap running costs even cheaper. We went to a shopping centre in Perpignan and drove round the car park at couple of times to find the charger. This is where the application What3Words which is able to pinpoint your position anywhere in Earth using three words. It gets you to within 3 m of whatever you’re looking for. ///paradise.factory.dazzling are the three words you need when looking for the charging point in the car park. You can also use an app which takes photo and puts the  within the photo. At the shopping centre it was a very large car park and it’s much better to have the charging point pinpointed and therefore making it easy to find.

Gorges De La Fou

RFID Cards for Electric Car Charging

I wasn’t able to charge at the shopping centre in Perpignan because I didn’t have the necessary card. I tried to login to the application but that didn’t work either. Having to negotiate a French website to find out what I needed to know while trying to walk around a supermarket with a shopping trolley was destined to be unsuccessful. I had seen website already giving details about how to subscribe in English. I filled in the form and then nothing happened. I later found out it was necessary to pay €24 to order the card. I hadn’t paid any money before and that’s why nothing happened. When I got back home and I was able to use Google Chrome and have the website translated into English I was able to successfully order the card by paying some money. I also send them an email to make sure they had the correct address for the card. This was because the special way to fill in the online form for foreigners to France meant the company wouldn’t have the correct address for sending the card. I’m hoping it doesn’t take too long before the card arrives and I can do some Electric Car Charging in more of Europe.

Electric Car Charging

More RFID cards

I also ordered a card from the Sodetrel which has charging points all across France. I was pleased to order this card for free. It covers a number of Electric Car Charging points on my route to where I take a vacation regularly in October or November in the French Pyrenees. Most if not all of these charging points are the Type 2 cable connection. This will work for my car but it won’t be fast. It’ll be charging at about 6.6 kW per hour which is about the same as the home charger I have in my garage. It’s nowhere near as fast as using a CHAdeMO charger. I’ll have to see if I can get something else to cover more rapid chargers in France. NewMotion seems to have a good network and Plugsurfing has just done a deal with Jaguar Landrover. I have both of those RFID cards and accounts to go with them.

France vs Spain for rapid charging electric vehicles

I’ve been working with the idea of making a trip around the Iberic peninsula. Have been thinking about doing this in October after I finish work for the summer. The plan would be to travel south from Catalonia in the direction of Murcia and Gibraltar. From there I will travel west through Andalucia and going through Sevilla and Granada. Eventually I’d find myself in Portugal and I will travel north until I reached Galicia and the Basque country in northern Spain. From there I’d be heading back east towards Catalonia going through Pamplona, Zaragoza and Lleida. This is all supposed to be a huge test of charging points around Spain. For the fast Electric Car Charging I expect to mostly be using the Nissan dealers around the country. I’d have to stop in some campsites along the way and I’d be getting some overnight charging while sleeping.

International Differences with Charging Networks

The trip around Spain is definitely something I want to do. I don’t think the changing facilities around Spain are terribly good right now though. I know if I want to go to Madrid I would find it difficult even if I went a longer way round. It’s still worth doing the peninsula trip and hopefully feel more confident after I make a few shorter trips. I’ll get better at using the rapid charging connection of my Nissan leaf. It’s not like the English motorways which have the Ecotricity network at nearly all of the motorway service stations. Spain seems to be a little bit slow off the mark for electric vehicles.

How about France and Germany to EV Trip

Maybe I should go to France for the long trip instead. Someone has recently done a trip from Malaga to Paris in a Nissan Leaf. They were successful although I haven’t read all of the details of the story. I’ll have to see if I can find a blog about it because so far all I’ve seen are a set of tweets. With the two networks I’ve signed up for I have a huge number of Electric Car Charging points to work with. Maybe I could find another European trip which would be interesting. For instance, going to southern Germany and back again could be interesting with the travel through France to get there.

5 Replies to “Electric Car Charging – The Nissan Leaf in France”

  1. Mike from Oregon 31/07/2018 at 22:05

    Your 18/7 podcast mentions a random braking issue on your 2018 Leaf that I was experiencing right after purchase. Radar sensor was replaced and all seems well. Read my posts at http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=25516&p=533478#p533478


    1. How are you getting on with your Nissan Leaf now. is the radar sensor working as it should be now?


  2. […] would be nice to see some of these charging points with some sort of covering. To save us sitting in the Sun while charging the car. It would be even […]


  3. […] 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 […]


  4. […] 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 […]


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