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

EV20Q Podcast 4 – Aaron Russell EV Driver

I became aware of Aaron Russell EV Driver through the YouTube channel in which he describes his experiences of his new Nissan Leaf. He’s put up a number of videos about his 2018 Nissan Leaf Journey starting with the basics of how to make an order for the vehicle. He has worked his way through the booking the installation for the level 2 charger. He then moves on to the episode five in which he describes the actual collection of the vehicle from the dealership. I was impressed with the amount of detail Aaron goes into with his videos delving into the various aspects of owning and driving a 2018 Nissan Leaf. This is the sort of information beginners or interested parties who know nothing about electric vehicles need to know. Interesting for more seasoned EV drivers too.

Aaron Russel EV Driver

Covering the questions people have about electric vehicles

In the podcast Aaron talks about the process he went through with his first rapid charge. We all know how to use a petrol pump. Getting into using new technological devices such as a rapid charger at the side of a road is going to be a little bit strange at first. It’s interesting to work out how to get the necessary RFID cards and phone applications in order to access the energy pump of electrons. The reason Aaron has been able to do such a good job of explaining the details of running an electric car is because it is his first car and not just its first electric car. Many of us over the years have grown up using petrol and diesel vehicles and now there’s a new generation of drivers coming through. No messing about with filling up cars with dirty, smelly, dangerous fossil fuels, new drivers going straight to EV car ownership. Aaron also finds out how you have to stop the charge using the app if you started it that way. Can’t just hit the button on the charger.

EV Driver Using a Fast Charger

EV Driver – Get out on the highway, get your motor running

It’s one thing to use your new electric vehicle to do daily journeys to work and back. Aaron is able to use his car for two or three days without needing to plug it in. So it gets more interesting when you decide you want to do some longer journeys. Listen to the podcast to find out about his experience of the range of the vehicle during trips on the motorway. When you’re new to electric vehicles it’s important to know you’re going to reach your destination. We don’t want to have difficulties reaching the next charging station. It’s obvious if you’re going faster in a motorway/highway situation, you’re going to be using more energy. That’s the same whether you’re using carbon-based fossil fuels or if you’re using electricity. It’s not just speed you have to take into consideration. There is also the temperature of your battery, and how that works out with the ambient temperature. Cold batteries give fewer miles. We also can get more miles or kilometres as an EV Driver if we don’t have to use vehicle heating systems.

Getting the best from the Nissan Leaf technology

During the podcast Aaron and I were able to talk about the technology available within the Nissan Leaf. Aaron is obviously a tech-head as we discover in his YouTube video about how to set up his Amazon Echo device to control his car. He is able to do things like check on the state of charge and start or stop the climate control for the car. Having the cabin of the car nice and toasty ready for the EV Driver when you leave home or work is much more comfortable for the driving experience. This also affects the range of the car if you can heat the car up while plugged in and therefore not using the battery for this purpose. One of the good things I’m looking forward to with my Nissan leaf is being able to use the seat heaters and the heated steering wheel. In cold climates it’s more necessary to have good car heating as we don’t always want to just add an extra jumper when the weather gets a bit chilly. We should have good comfort levels in a car we are paying so much for.

Other evidence of Aaron’s love of technology was shown in the fact that we could communicate over email using encryption. This is something I recommend to all email users at the Good And Geeky website.

A Happy Nissan Leaf Owner and EV Driver

I’m totally jealous of Aaron and his experience with his new 2018 Nissan Leaf. As I write this I’ve still got three or four weeks to wait before I get mine. In the meantime, Aaron is loving the car whether it’s using it for normal day-to-day use or longer road trips. Enjoy your listen of this podcast there is useful information in it for new EV users. I think we can all learn something from Aaron’s experience.

EV20Q Podcast Now on Stitcher

Downloadable to listen in more places

To get the podcast out into the wide world in these to be in as many places as possible where people get their media content. With my previous podcasts I just put it on to iTunes and had the player on the blog post for the episode. It now seems like a good plan to make sure the podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts from. I have submitted it to Tune In and also to Stitcher. If there’s anywhere else you’d like to see added to this list then send me a message in the comments below. I want to put it into Google Play but at the moment I’m just getting a message saying it’s not available in my country. I’ll try creating an account somewhere else to see if I can get it added to the Google play podcast list.

EV20Q Podcast – Mike Ward in Jersey

Talking to Mike Ward about EV’s and the Nissan Leaf

Mike is in the fortunate position of having three electric cars in the family. Indeed, extra fortunate that it is three Nissan Leaf vehicles parked on his front drive. He runs the Facebook group ‘I Spotted a Nissan Leaf’ which is where you can send a photo or just make a post to say you have seen a Nissan leaf in the wild. It’s a bit like ‘EV Bingo’ for just one make and model of car. It’s all a bit of fun really!

Nissan Leaf

A New Nissan Leaf Is Ordered

We talk about how Mike has taken the Nissan Leaf 2018 model for a drive and has put in an order for the car. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets his car before I get mine! He decided the features upgrade available on the new model are sufficient to make it well worth swapping one of the older models for a new Nissan Leaf.

The Channel Islands and Bergerac

Mike lives on the island of Jersey which is off the French coast, but is a part of the UK. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit because it always looked so picturesque in that TV series with a detective who drove around in a nice red old car. The series was called Bergerac featuring the actor John nettles and the car he drove was a 1947 Triumph. John nettles later wanted to live on the island but found it impossible to do so.

Jersey and Electric Vehicles

He tells me he’s seen three or four Jersey registered Tesla’s on the island. The small islands are perfect for the smaller vehicles and especially if their electric. They tend to have narrower roads and you can’t really clock up much mileage going from one end of the island to the other. Mike says there are quite a few electric cars registered and there are electric car chargers in many of the car parks. The car parking and the electric car charging is not terribly expensive. It would be mostly useful for tourists to the island because it would be difficult with a car like the 2018 Nissan Leaf to run out of range. When he tested the car he had it for a day and was unable to use all of a full battery. Mike had to give the car back with 39% still left available.

Old Smokers on Jersey

I was surprised when Mike told me that there is no MOT test in the Channel Islands. In the UK when a car is over three years old it needs to be tested every year. This isn’t the case in Jersey or Guernsey and because of this it’s likely to find old smokers pumping out more CO2 and particulates than would otherwise be the case. If a vehicle is still running the owner is less likely to change it. It can be costly to put a car through an MOT, sometimes to the point when it’s better to just upgrade to a new car. It could take some time and maybe a change in the regulations for the changeover from internal combustion engine cars to electric vehicles in the Channel Islands.

Listen to the Podcast

In the podcast we talk about plenty of other things as Mike is knowledgeable on the subject of electric vehicles. With three Nissan Leafs on his drive it’s unlikely if he’ll ever go back to driving an ICE car. He has said he will use a plug-in hybrid car for a long journey he is planning to make due to his experiences last time when going through France.

EV20Q Podcast featuring Paul Shadwell

I took great pleasure in interviewing Paul Shadwell for the EV20Q podcast to talk to him about his electric cars. I’ve interviewed Paul before on a podcast about using Mac and other Apple products. We also met at a Twitter meet up in Liverpool, England. A good guy to talk to about the Renault Zoe and the Tesla Model S.

Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe is a gateway drug to electric vehicles

Paul tells me they visited the Renault dealership to check out available cars. The salesman showed them the Renault Zoe electric vehicle and after a short test drive, Paul and his girlfriend were hooked. Living in Switzerland means it’s necessary to drive up hills and Paul was amazed that the little Zoe exhibited good acceleration in these situations. It wasn’t too long after living the Renault Zoe electric car experience Paul checked out the Tesla model S. With the longer range available with the bigger and more luxurious car it would be perfect for longer journeys. He did do a couple of slightly longer journeys with the Zoe that maybe is better suited to using around the town.

Charging the cars

It seems there are plenty of Tesla Superchargers around Switzerland and in fact there are superchargers dotted all around Europe. They are a maximum of about 200 km apart and many of them much closer. We discussed how easy it is to plan a journey using the software in the Tesla. The in car navigation system will show all of the superchargers on a route. This made it easy for Paul to drive the car to Disneyland in Paris. He’s also done trips to the UK and to the south of France in the Tesla.

It’s not just electric cars

Personally, I’m not fond of the large and unwieldy Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Paul on the other hand is an aficionado of those sorts of motorcycles. We talked briefly about the latest news from Harley Davidson to say they are working on an electric motorbike. I’ve seen a photograph of the electric Harley-Davidson and it does look quite nice. I still think that the diehard followers of that type of bike are not going to like it. I would like to ride one of those Zero Electric bikes as they are supposed to be extremely nippy and fun to ride.

Harly Davidson Electric

The Geneva motor show

The Geneva motor show is coming up soon and Paul will be going there to check out the latest electric vehicles. It’ll certainly be cool to check out the iPace electric Jaguar. I’m sure there will be plenty of other electric cars to drool over at the Geneva motor show. I wouldn’t surprised if the the new concept cars are there from Volkswagen. I have already started to save money for the iBuzz which should be on the roads in 2022.

Plugshare or NextCharge

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

Plugshare

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

Next Charge application

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

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

Split your route into sections

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

NextCharge

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

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

How good is Nextcharge?

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

Overview of NextCharge

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

Electric Vehicle Route Planning

Electric vehicle route planning – When I get my electric car, the 2018 Nissan Leaf, I’ll be working for the summer and my journeys are going to be restricted to a short journey to work and back. I only get one day off per week so there are not going to be many opportunities to do longer excursions. It seems a little bit of a shame because I’m looking forward to the fun of electric vehicle route planning. From what I’ve seen so far in videos and read on blog posts it’s a really good idea to do route planning before you set out. You really don’t want to be in the situation of having range anxiety or high and dry without electrons. It’s not going to be much fun to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no power left in the battery of the car. So you need to make sure before you set out there are going to be sufficient charging point on the way. Better still if you can have a number of charge point options. This is to take into account the possibility of a charge point not working and you needing to find one nearby. Or the chargers are all occupied and waiting in not an option. You want to make sure you’re going to be able to complete your journey.

 Electric vehicle route planning

A proper long journey in an electric vehicle

I’d really like to do a journey all around the Peninsula containing Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar.  Electric vehicle route planning is going to factor high in the list of priorities. My starting point will be in the north-east in Catalonia 100 km away from the French border. The plan will be to go south and visit towns like Tarragona, Valencia and Alicante. To keep costs down I will make it a camping trip. I expect I’ll be able to charge up overnight in camp sites. Also want to check out the public chargers along the way to see how easy it is to use these as a traveller. I’ll drive from east to west at the bottom of the peninsula and arrive in Portugal. Then I’ll travel north until I get back into Spain again in Galicia and the Basque country. From there it’ll be just a hop skip and a jump in the foothills of the Pyrenees going east to Catalonia. A good trip with good  electric vehicle route planning.  The journey is going to be at least 2700 km and I’ve no idea how long it will take. I don’t want to have it as a sprint where I don’t get to experience any of the towns and cities along the way. It will be much more fun to stop and explore, especially as I haven’t yet seen places like Bilbao, Sevilla and Granada.

Electric vehicle route planning a trip to Madrid

Madrid is another city in Spain I haven’t yet visited. This would be good as a medium length journey to test out the capabilities of the 2018 Nissan Leaf. How do we go about planning the route to get us to Madrid? Here are some of the possibilities.

  • Use the route planning system in the car.
  • Make use of the route planner in the Nissan EV Connect application.
  • Use Google maps to pinpoint waypoints and then use the cars ‘Nearby Chargers’ feature while travelling. When the car looks like it needs some juice, check to see what’s nearby and then go and find it.
  • Find charging points along your route using application specific to the various networks. Here in Spain there is one I can use called IBIL which has electric chargers in filling stations around the country. (Not many places yet.)
  • There are a number of applications which show charge points from a collection of suppliers, such as OpenChargeMap, PlugShare, NextCharge, ChargeMap and others. Within these applications you can find the charging points to book, use and to pay as well as sometimes being able to plan your route.

Let’s have a look at a few of these applications and make some comparisons. I’m still waiting for the car to arrive so I’ll start with the third party options.