BC2BC in a Nissan Leaf

Tijuana to British Columbia in a Nissan Leaf in 8 days

A trip from BC (Baja California) to BC (British Columbia) shows an around-town electric car like the Nissan Leaf can handle a long road trip, given enough fast charging stations along the highways.

A San Diego man, Tony Williams, is taking the scenic route to a wedding near Seattle, driving his Nissan Leaf from BC to BC (Baja California to British Columbia) along the West Coast Electric Highway. Because the Nissan Leaf is around-town car, the trip might seem a crazy quest, with a high chance of getting stuck on a remote highway out of power. The rationalist might have just taken an airplane to Seattle, but Williams had a larger purpose in mind. The trip is about more than just attending a wedding, but to demonstrate the value and dysfunction of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure on the West Coast.

With its' EPA rated range of 73 miles, so just how can one take 1600 mile road trip with a Nissan Leaf? The answer is that it takes careful planning. It helps that Tony Williams is a pilot, and is accustomed to careful flight plans with contingencies built in. The easy part of the trip is in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia which are the segments of the West Coast Electric Highway which have been built. That segment of the WCEH has 18 fast charge stations starting at the California border and going north into British Columbia. The California segment of the WCEH has yet to be built, making that segment of the trip much harder.


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No problem. My wife and I have just done London to Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina in our Leaf without any trouble. More than 3,000 miles. Campsites are indeed the answer, our only scare came when one turned us away - never could work out why. Fortunately there was another nearby.
What route did you take- an awful lot of mountains on that trip?
We went UK - Netherlands - Germany - Switzerland - France - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - BosniaH. We did not intentionally avoid the higher mountains in Switzerland, but we wanted to go both to Zurich and Lyon, so this seemed like the right route. The mountains that we went through did affect our range, but not by as much as we feared. Going downhill is a treat, as the combination of not needing power and regenerative breaking means that you get back much of the range that you have expended on going up the mountain in the first place.
How long did it take and what part was the most difficult, seems like something I might do myself
Here in Lexington Kentucky, the local Nissan dealer, Glenn Nissan, turns off the power to all of the EVSE's on their lot. I think it's silly for the only public L2 EVSE stations available in Lexington to be powered down at night, when you might be desperate for a quick hit of juice to make it home. Gates Nissan in Richmond will leave their chargers on, I think all Nissan dealers should do the same, at least until a better public charging infrastructure is established.
I just drove the Great Ocean Road in Victoria Australia, from my home in Melbourne to Lorne return, in 2 days. I admit it is not a huge distance, a 350km round trip, but with no Quick charge facilities in our state, it's the best I could squeeze into a weekend. With more publicity around the adventures like yours, lets hope the Quick charge networks expand to cater for the growing demand. Well done and good luck on your next EVenture.