I arrived back home this afternoon after a final 150 miles from Stroud. I had a superb breakfast in The castle Hotel, Taunton while the car charged until I had enough range to get me to my last fast charge of the trip at JFE Nissan, Exeter.
This has been a glorious trip. Now, I must make it quite clear that this is not the kind of trip that many people will be making in their Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is a great car… no, that is not too big a word for it… I know this is a great car. However, let’s be honest here… it has a realistic range of about 85 miles and it needs DC fast charging available mostly (but not only) at Nissan dealers and only available when the dealer is open. Yup, it is early days and there is a long way to go before trips like this will be easily achievable. But that takes nothing away from it. For most people and for most journeys the Nissan Leaf will be a perfect replacement for a petrol or diesel car at least as a second car.
However, that said, this trip does show that with the right charging infrastructure even an electric car with a 85-100 mile range between charges can do any trip that a petrol/diesel car could do only it does it better.
Most of my electricity was free from the locations I charged at but even if I had to pay full price for that power this trip of 1133 miles would have cost me about £32 at 0.12p/kWh. That is ridiculous! Not only that but it would have generated less than half the CO2 that my diesel car would have produced and I got to drive at a more sedate and more enjoyable and safer speed. Yes it too a little longer, an extra 2 days, but you know what? It is worth the extra time if you have it.
One thing is certain though… I am glad to be back home. I am pleased I did the trip but now I am back I am not looking to do any more road trips for a while.
So, it is clear that we need more fast charging infrastructure. Slow charging points are always beneficial but they will not make a great deal of difference when wanting to make a long trip. Fast charging will be a deal maker. Fast charging infrastructure in the right locations will allow us to use EVs of any range for longer trips. I believe we need a mix of slow charging at locations where we leave our cars for hours at a time (home, work, hotels), 22kW/44kW charging where we leave our cars for just an hour or two (shopping, restaurants etc) and fast charging (44kw AC/50kW DC +) on trunck routes and motorways for long trips.
This could happen but it will require a bit of time. Watch this space over the next few years and I am convinced it will happen.