3 Rapid charger failures in a single trip

Yesterday I drove my Nissan Leaf from my home in Saltash, Cornwall to Bristol. I could have taken the Ampera but it was Sunday and as I had no time restrictions I decided to do it in the Leaf now that the Rapid Chargers up the M5 were repaired.

The trip is about 150 miles each way and I was stopping at:

Taunton Deane
IKEA Bristol

It was raining hard for most of the day.

Going was fine but on the way back the charger at Taunton Deane S failed with a Grounding error. Shucks!

The Ecotricity helpline were good as always but they suggested I talk to the service area manager for his permission to use the service road over the motorway to use the charger on the north. He doesn’t have to give permission but they usually do if you ask nicely (!).

So over to the north… that then failed on me… insufficient input voltage.! Ecotricity again were friendly but what could they do? I just had enough to get me back to Bridgwater (in the wrong direction!).

Bridgwater worked and I charged to get me safely to Exeter. So as long as Exeter worked then I was home.

Exeter didn’t work! 🙁 I arrived with 7 miles showing on the dash and it is raining hard. There is a Nissan dealer (JFE Nissan) in Exeter but already 3.50pm and they closed at 4pm on Sunday. It is a bit cheeky of me to ask but if they wouldn’t stay open for me then I was looking at a flatbed recovery and I would likely have to pay as my home is 50 miles.

JFE Nissan were great and offered to stay open for me. Result!

I got home frazzled but still kicking.

The moral of this story is whatever you do… don’t expect rapid chargers to work and if you are doing a trip where you need to use rapid chargers and you don’t have the time or the stomach to cope with failures then DON’T DO IT!

I will continue to use the Ecotricity network for now but only when I don’t have a deadline or if I don’t want the potential hassle/cost when they fail.

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