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How Can LEAF owners avoid wait times at fueling stations?

Are there ways to avoid getting stuck while traveling away from home in your Nissan Leaf? With pre-planning routes, are refueling challenges eliminated or can they be reduced significantly? Have you ever needed to refuel and got to a location only to be disappointed because an EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) was already being used or had an ICE (internal combustion engine) car parked in that spot?

Imagine driving up to the gas station and seeing two Nissan LEAFs parked in front of both gas pumps? Imagine the outrage and imagine the results of this action taken out on the EVs in this circumstance. It doesn’t happen on the other side of the fence yet it does and sometimes by Electric Cars themselves parking in EVSE spots that are not charging. That's shameful.

What to do?

Based on my considerable electric car driving experience (over 40,000 miles in my Nissan LEAF) and driving an EV since 2008 (self built), I can help you minimize the chances of this happening with a little forethought and planning.

So if you are planning to go outside your EVs range, please consider the following actions to help reduce the likelihood of this occurrence.

Use a mapping application to plan
Start with Plugshare or other useful EVSE mapping application. This is your staring point. Plan your route first here.

Notify the Location
Call the location and tell them you are planning on coming and when. This is extremely important if you are planning on stopping at a car dealer for a charge. I have had mixed results this way. I called both times. One dealer was extremely helpful, the other was not. So if at all possible, don’t rely on dealers however if they are the last resort you don’t have much choice.

Weekends are Special
Don’t travel on a weekend when nobody is around. Car dealers are closed on Sundays. If you get commitment from the dealer, make sure you have access to the EVSE on a Sunday, then you are more likely to have success.

Bring backup equipment
Bring an EVSE with you. Take the one off the wall in your garage and bring it with you with a 240v 50 amp NEMA 14-50 connector. Campgrounds are great spots and can be backups if you have a situation in which you get stranded.

Plan for 2 Supply Equipments
Always plan for two EVSEs at 30% of range left. Better to be safe then stranded. If one EVSE is closed due to inconsiderate people or other issue, have a backup planned.

While all these planning steps can help reduce your refueling headaches, this does not guarantee your travels will be trouble free however you are much more likely to have a successful trip.
This one happened 17 miles from my home after a long trip and this ICE parked right in front of my local CHAdeMo charger. Lucky for me I have a back up J1772 EVSE about 3 miles down the road so I managed to get home in spite of this person.

Also see:
Nissan Leaf goes wireless: shows wireless charger in work
Why range anxiety is not a real problem
Nissan answers questions about optimally charging the Nissan Leaf


Turbofroggy (not verified)    June 6, 2015 - 11:15PM

You have a typo/correction here: "Take the one off the wall in your garage and bring it with you with a 240v 30 amp Nema connector"
"Take the one off the wall in your garage and bring it with you with a 240v 50 amp NEMA 14-50 connector. When using an RV park as a backup, always check first if they have "50 amp" service."

Douglas Stansfield    June 7, 2015 - 3:47PM

Thank you. We appreciate your feedback here at TorqueNews from loyal readers such as yourself! Keep coming back and commenting. We always appreciate help here as times are fast moving these days and sometimes we miss things but strive to do the best we can!

JP White (not verified)    June 8, 2015 - 12:48PM

I chuckled when I read your rhetorical question.
"Imagine driving up to the gas station and seeing two Nissan LEAFs parked in front of both gas pumps?"

Just recently I took a gas can to the gas station in my LEAF to get some ethanol free gas for my lawn mowers.The Ethanol free pump is off to one side close to the air compressor and vacuum.

I had just finished filling the gas can and was washing the windscreen of the car when a guy pulling a boat on a trailer leans out of his window and asked me if I could move so he could fill his boat. I said sure, let me put my gas can in my trunk and I'll be on my way! He responded "Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were getting gas!"

So apparently its OK to block the space if you are 'getting gas', he probably thought I was just washing my LEAF's windscreen and wanted me to move out of the way. Presumably he didn't like the fact he thought I had 'EV'd' his space. I wonder if he realizes the same level of inconvenience when ICE cars park in EV spots?

lda (not verified)    November 17, 2017 - 7:33AM

>> Always plan for two EVSEs at 30% of range left.

My (possible flawed?) understanding is that the ESVE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) is the connection to the charging station. That is typically a cable, such as 110 trickle, 14-50, J1772, or Chademo.

This owner of a 2015 Leaf with 24 kW battery does agree that there is planning involved our "Town Car", including a backup plan if a charging station isn't available for any of several reasons (in-use, ICE'd, in-operative).