Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle long distance Road Trip gone bad
My answer may surprise you. With a Nissan Leaf, you better be really careful to make sure you have yourself well prepared. I’ve traveled over 200 miles one way to a destination in my Nissan Leaf to prove that long distance driving is possible over a year and a half ago. Did I have issues? Yes. Have others had issues with infrastructure? Yes. Is the infrastructure developing? Yes. Is it perfect? No! Can I say that again? The Charging infrastructure is nowhere near what it needs to be.
In my trip, I drove the first leg of the journey the 200 miles with two successful charges at CHAdeMo stops on my trip. I got to my destination about 1 hour longer than it took my wife who was driving my Plug In Ford C-Max Energi.
The return trip was not so pleasant. The trip to the first CHAdeMo was flawless. A beautiful day, the AC blaring and some happy tunes playing on the stereo. We roll up to the first unit that worked fine one week earlier and to our surprise it was not functioning! OUCH! Lucky for me, I had enough excess reserved to make it to a second CHAdeMo location which I had singled out for backup. Murphy was hiding in the bushes as everything that can go wrong did go wrong on that fateful day.
Bad luck for me again. The 2nd CHAdeMo was also down. We found out from a local that a strong thunder storm had blown through and knocked out power to the area. After some frantic calls to fellow EVers (other electric vehicle drivers) we managed to pull into a Level II charger at a Ford Dealer (on a Sunday) with a 5 hour 240v charge remaining. I pulled in with dashes on the range display so we were really close to getting stranded. Needless to say, my trip home was LONG! Instead of a 3 hour trip, it turned into an 11 hour trip saga.
I came across this video today of two gentleman from England attempting a similar long range trip only to find the EVSE not functioning in multiple locations as well. This was a cruel reminder that the infrastructure is not progressing as quickly or as smoothly as the Electric Car roll-out.
We are going to experience some pain here as this roll out continues and I have to say that even fellow electric car drivers truly lose patience when these units are not functioning and you have done everything you can to plan correctly for your EV trip. This is a barrier to adoption that must be fixed or the niche EV market will plateau. American consumers will not be as forgiving.