EV20Q Euan McTurk Battery Engineer

battery engineer
 In this episode of EV20Questions Euan McTurk talks about electric vehicles and batteries. Electric vehicle battery engineer and Electro chemist has a home town of Dundee in Scotland. Related to @Shes_Electric who we have already heard from in EV20Q-10. His daily driver is a 24kWh Leaf and is happy with the service it gives him.

Euan has a Peugeot 106 Electric which is a rare vehicle he managed to buy from a lecturer at the university where he studied. It is a car made in small numbers and was only available for lease. One or two of these slipped through the net and Euan got his hands on one. He also has a Honda hybrid which is totally futuristic looking and incredibly efficient. Only recently has been surpassed for the best available drag co efficient of a car.

Honda Insight Hybrid

Battery Engineer

Euan McTurk is an expert on batteries (battery engineer) he has great advice on how to keep your battery in good condition. Ewan knows all about the internal workings of batteries and how to do tests on them to understand whats happening to the chemistry and heat within the battery. He did that type of work in Warwick in the midlands of England. He’s working on battery management systems with another company doing exciting development on new batteries. During the podcast we chat about the upcoming solid state batteries. Solid state will be more efficient and last longer than the current battery chemistries. In theory they will charge faster and not be killed by the dendrites. Solid state electrolytes will give better energy density which is far better for electric vehicles. Could be still five or ten years away and other battery chemistry could prove to be better and take pole position.

John Goodenough started the Lithium Ion revolution and is still working away at the at age of 94 as a battery engineer. There is a huge momentum for the development of battery technology now. Tesla working on this as is Toyota and other multi-nationals. All going toward moving away from burning fossil fuels and towards using electrons.

Euan reminds us that there were electric vehicles before the oil industry took over. It’s a huge shame that the electric cars were put to one side. If the research had gone into batteries instead of internal combustion engines where would we be now? Was it the invention of the starter motor making it easier to get the ICE car running which killed off the electric car development?

Talking about the Nissan Leaf test drive in Barcelona

Driving the Nissan Leaf Barcelona

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

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

I went to the wrong place and so I was late

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

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Wide roads and a little bit of motorway

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

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

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

Nissan Leaf Barcelona

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

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

Various beeps and warning noises

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

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

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

Other things I like to try with the Nissan Leaf

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

Needs a Longer Test than Nissan Leaf Barcelona test drive


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

Space inside the Leaf

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

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

Testing the Safety Features

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

Apple CarPlay

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

Levels of Leaf Automation

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

The joys of having a minder

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

The Nissan Leaf purchasing experience

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

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

No Other Buying Options

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

EV20Q Podcast 11 – Chris O’Connell

The Nissan Leaf and the vineyards of Oregon

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

Getting used to the Technology

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

Different countries different options

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

Saving money by driving electric vehicle

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

Long distances in the Nissan Leaf

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

Oregon Cork Dork on Twitter

She’s Electric El and Wino – WNO Nissan Leaf

She’s Electric – Elinor Chalmers – El

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

Wino the Leaf

Home charger, who needs it?

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

Dundee chargers

An electric zoo themed wedding car

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

She's Electric

Nissan Leaf city car

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

Electric car owner camaraderie

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

Invited to Tenerife by Nissan

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

 

EV20Q Peter Bernfeld Author and Nissan Leaf Driver

Torchy and Jake

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

Peter drives a bus as well as a Nissan leaf

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

Peter N Bernfeld

Rapidgate and Peter

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

Jake

A trip to the wilds of Orkney

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

Looking forward to taking the pension

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

Peter N Bernfeld – Author

Author Page

Podcast number 8 EV20Q – Rapidgate

Rapidgate and Nissan Leaf buying decisions

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

RapidGate

State of play for my electric car predicament

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

Is Rapidgate going to affect my buying decision?

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

Nissan Leaf Interior

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

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

Nissan Leaf Rapidgate

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

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

EV20Q Podcast 7 Have a BEV Mate

George is a private hire / taxi driver in the south of England – Have a BEV Mate. So I thought it was going to be very interesting talking to a professional driver who drives at least a hundred miles everyday each week. It has to be good business sense to buy a car which will need very little servicing. No need to change oil and filters or replace any of the many moving parts found in an ICE car which could wear out and go wrong. I did ask George what was his favourite feature of the Nissan Leaf and I was surprised when he told me it was the steering. Have a listen to the podcast and find out why. I thought he was going to say the E-pedal was the best thing because in one of his videos on YouTube he got quite excited about using that new technology in the Leaf.

What a cool chat with George of ‘Have a BEV Mate’ fame on You Tube


Rapidgate will have no impact on George

George takes great pride in being a really smooth driver. He’s not one to thrash the car or use excessive acceleration. Either of these things can lead to battery overheating. If you drive so the battery gets hot then you may find on the second or third rapid charge it might get throttled. So instead of 44 to 50 kW being piped into the battery from the charger it could go down as low as 22 kW. Instead of needing only 40 minutes to charge the car for the next stage of the journey you might need to stay for twice or three times as long. George like many people charges the car overnight and has enough juice in the car for the whole day’s work.

Have a BEV Mate

Have a BEV Mate

Rapidgate will not have an effect upon me either. When I’m on a long journey and I’ve driven for 300 to 400 kms I’ve had enough driving for the day. I’ll either be ready for a long two or three hours of rest and relaxation or for a good nights sleep. I am wondering if the high ambient temperatures here in Spain will have an effect upon how far it’s able to go before there is any throttling of the charging by the battery management system. The next version of the Nissan Leaf is supposed to come with active battery management to go with the larger battery. This could make a huge difference and for some drivers it would be better to wait. The only downside with getting this 40 kWh 2018 Nissan Leaf is if it was going to be necessary to sell the vehicle after two or three years. It could be the case that the resale value of this model could be lower due to the problem with the battery. Despite the phenomenal rate of improvement and change in the battery electric vehicles I’m probably keeping the Nissan Leaf for 6 to 8 years. At the end of that time I’ll have no adverse effect if I do decide to sell.

Bessie the dog

George and BessieSeeing as George’s wife lives in Spain for a few weeks at a time Georges kept company by Bessie the dog. While we were recording the audio we had a few moments on video so George could introduce his four-legged friend. In a couple of parts of the interview you may hear a sound of tapping which is the claws of the dog skittering along the wooden floor in the house.

There’s much to love of the 2018 Nissan Leaf

In the podcast George tells me which are his favourite features of the car. You can also see this in his videos on YouTube. He goes into great detail with what he likes and why he likes the various features of the car. For someone who’s driven so many thousands of miles over the years it’s good to see him getting excited about the new technology. Even though we have driver assistance and to a certain extent automation of driving coming, there are still features of the Nissan Leaf which make him smile a couple of times during the day. Basically, it’s a lovely car to drive.

EV20Q Podcast 006 – Halldor Sigurdsson

Halldor Sigurdsson has owned four Nissan Leaf cars at this stage. He’s managed to get his hands on the latest version of the car. He is keen to find out how you use the E-pedal for getting some fun driving round the bends. He tells me he has two sets of wheels for the car. He runs with the 16 inch wheels and winter tyres for part of the year and switches over to 17 inch tyres when the weather gets better. I think it’s true that you’ll get more miles per kilowatt/hour by using 16 inch wheels so you have to wonder why Nissan puts the 17 inch wheels on the better models of the car.

Lucky Nissan Leaf 2018 Driver

He was lucky in being able to get the latest car because he went into the dealership to test the car and bumped into somebody who’d ordered more than one, but had changed his mind on one of them. So instead of having to wait for months like the rest of us he was able to take over the car ordered by this other person.

Halldor has few stories about his test drive with the car. He tells us how the emergency braking system on the new Nissan Leaf was able to prevent a bit of a bump happening.

He is driving a Nordic edition of the car which comes standard with the heated seats and heated steering wheel in the launch model. These are extras you have to pay for in other countries.

Keeping the battery in good condition

In this podcast he talks about his regime for keeping the battery in good condition. Every now and then he will run the car battery down to the turtle mode. Fully slow charge the battery after that and then take it for a long drive. He tells me that the mechanics of the garage have said he must be doing something right because his battery is in tiptop condition. We get a little bit technical talking about batteries and why it’s a good idea to give it a rapid charge now and again if you are normally only charging it on the slower charger at home.

Long journeys in an Electric vehicle

It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on taking his car on a 600 km journey from Norway to Lithuania. He’s been able to do this before using his Nissan Leaf with 30Kw/hr battery. Halldor reckons it’s going to be much easier to do this with the 40 kWh Leaf. He found that there are more charges for the car popping up for journeys like that. Electric vehicle route planning

Leaf Spy Information

How door makes full use of the application Leaf Spy. When he gets to carry plugs in the Bluetooth dongle and leave it plugged in. Using the pro version of the android application he is able to make adjustments to the software basics of the car. You can change how long the lights stay on for the follow you home feature.

Buttons and Gadgets on the 2018 Nissan Leaf

He reckons if you love technology you’re going to love this car. Halldor is extremely fond of the buttons and gadgets available, such as the automatic headlights. The pro-pilot assist is amazing even during the winter when the camera can’t always see the lines on the road. Even though it’s an fantastically usable feature you do still need to keep your eyes on what’s going on as you drive. When you get stuck in traffic it’s handy to have this feature to keep you moving in stop and start traffic. No need to touch the pedals. Driving bliss!

Charging the Nissan Leaf

During our chat in the podcast we talk about the home charging possibilities for the Nissan Leaf. How long it takes to charge up the car depending on the power rating of the charger.

Enjoy the podcast

Have a listen to the podcast and get the whole story, there’s good information there. A discussion with a Norway-based EV driver who originally comes from Iceland. Hear what what happens when you completely run out use and you’re only 500 m away from the charger.

Spread the word

Do check out the Facebook group for the 2018 Nissan Leaf. You’re welcome to join the group if you’re going to get a new model of the leaf this year. Also have a look on the Facebook page EV20Q podcast. If you enjoy the podcast please tell one or two of your friends and go to the iTunes page and leave a review or a rating. This will help to get the podcast out there in front of other people interested in driving electric vehicles.

Listen to an EV20Q Podcast with a Tesla and Renault Zoe Driver

EV20Q Podcast 005 – James in Scotland Lemon-Tea-Leaf

More 2018 Nissan Leaf

In this podcast I’m talking to James who lives in Newcastle and the North of England and in Scotland when he is there for work. I met James through the YouTube channel in which he talks about his experiences with the 2018 Nissan Leaf. James, like myself loves to get into the nitty-gritty of the actual driving and usage of electric vehicles. It’s not enough to watch a video review of a vehicle with just the basic information and not enough detail. When a reviewer says that you can get 150 miles from a full battery there are other questions to be asked. We need to know information like the ambient temperature. How full is the car, is it carrying a lot of weight? Is the journey all motorway driving or does it take in a lot of driving uphills? James covers this sort of information in his video blogging about the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

2018 Nissan Leaf

Can you use the heating when driving a long journey?

One of James’s videos looks at whether you need to freeze to death while driving an EV. In the older Nissan Leaf vehicles it might have been necessary to turn off the heating to save energy to use for the miles. I’ve seen videos of people driving the 24 kW and the 30 kW Nissan leaf cars and they’re bundled up with big jackets and woolly hats. Even after that they probably still suffer from cold feet syndrome. The good news is with this latest Nissan Leaf there is a much more efficient heating system for the car. It works in much the same way as the refrigeration on the back of your fridge. Not only that, there’s also the heated seats and steering wheel. In some countries this is an extra and other countries you get it as standard. The Nordic countries do tend to need a better heating system in a car!



In my own Nissan Leaf when I get it, I will have the heated seats and steering wheel even though most of the year I won’t need it. It’ll be very useful to have during the wintertime and especially if I do longer trips. This is because I like to be toasty while driving while my wife sitting in the passenger seat prefers a cooler climate. I’ll be able to turn on my heated seat and be happy while having a happy co-pilot too.

Can you use pro pilot assist for city driving?

In the car I have at the moment I use the cruise control as much as possible. Unfortunately it’s not intelligent cruise control as I’ll have in the 2018 Nissan Leaf. James was trying out the Pro Pilot Assist driving in a Scottish city and was finding it to be quite successful. Even if it’s not seeing the lines on the road and driving for you, you still have the intelligent cruise control. The only thing is to remember when you’re coming to a roundabout and there’s no car in front you will need to temporarily turn off the cruise control. If there’s a car in front all you have to do is to steer round the roundabout going at the same speed as the car you’re following. The other good thing about the pro-pilot assist in the city is when you’re stuck in traffic. If the traffic is stop and go and you’re stopped for less than three seconds, when the car in front starts to move again the Nissan Leaf will follow. If it’s more than three seconds the best thing to do is to hit the reset button on the steering wheel. That will get you going again and keep you a safe distance from the car in front.

A good chat with James about driving electric vehicles

I think you’ll enjoy the podcast listening to our chat about driving EV’s. There are some good practical tips within the podcast. I even got inside info about how many car had been made so far in the Sunderland factory.

Help the Podcast grow

If you could go to iTunes and leave a review for the podcast I would appreciate it. Either that or just leave a rating because it all helps in getting the podcast found by new listeners. The podcast is now also available on Tune in and I’ll try to get it on to Google and Spotify when I can.

Not just about the Nissan Leaf – Podcast with Paul Shadwell and his Tesla.

Delays at Nissan due to popularity of 2018 Leaf

2018 Leaf – Not a Happy Bunny!

Yesterday I made contact with the salesman at the Nissan garage again about my 2018 Leaf. I wanted to find out what date is the last day of the 120 days allowed for the government incentive money. He said he was with customers and would ring us back soon. This salesman is a bit of a disaster when it comes to making contact because he didn’t ring us back. It’s not the first time I’ve tried to contact him by email, text message or even phone call and have been a bit disappointed.

2018 Leaf

Whatever with the colour

I’m thinking I need to know this final date for the government incentive money so I can mark two weeks and one week before that date. I don’t want to get to the final day and have no date of delivery available for the 2018 Leaf. I can’t lose the government incentive money. At two weeks to go I’d like to give an extra push to the salesman in Nissan to sort the problem out. Either renegotiate the dates for the cash or work out some way to make sure I get my car within the time period. I would consider taking the same model but in a different colour. I would hope that if the colour was one of the colours that requires extra money to be paid I wouldn’t have to pay the extra. I’d consider having the white car with the black roof if it was the only one available. I still think it’s a shame that the blue available in the United States and Canada is not available here. I don’t want to have a lower specified car. When spending this sort of money and being prepared to get the top of the range you might as well have exactly what you want. So there is only a little bit of leeway with regards what colour I’d be prepared to have.

2018 Leaf inside

2018 Leaf – Who’s a lucky boy?

Now that it’s three months since I originally put in the order for the Nissan 2018 Leaf I’m starting to get irritated by the delay. I guessed I’d to have to wait until the end of March for the car although I was hoping it might arrive earlier. Now we are at the stage where I still don’t have a delivery date. The car could arrive at the beginning of April or right at the very end of April. Knowing my luck, they could come up with May as a delivery date. That could be a complete pain in the arse if it means I don’t get the benefit of the cash help from the government. Why on earth there needs to be a 120 day limit on how long the cash is available for is a complete mystery. Typical red-tape rubbish you find here in Spain. Will I ever get my 2018 Leaf.

Using the Social Networks

I have tried to make contact with Nissan via the social networks about the 2018 Leaf. I sent a tweet and also a Facebook message to Nissan Europe. I’ve also sent something to Nissan España. I don’t really expect to get anything coherent back in reply. I don’t suppose for one minute they’ll give me a definite answer. I will be left having to get back to the salesman Dani at the dealership in Barcelona and keep on his back to come up with the goods. 2018 Nissan Leaf Group on Facebook