My last blog post reported on a trip I did in my Nissan Leaf and how a fast charger failed at a Nissan dealer. I was very critical of the lack of reliability of the fast charger in that its failure resulted in me having to have an unexpected overnight stop.
The overnight stop didn’t bother me. The extra cost didn’t bother me. I did the trip knowing up front that if a fast charger failed then this would be the outcome. It happened… so what.
The point of me doing the trip was not to prove that long trips were not practical. The point of doing the trip was to prove that they are practical. It all kind of backfired!
So, am I wrong is saying that the fast charger network is not reliable right now? Should I have even been doing that trip at all knowing that a charger failure would result in an overnight stop? Should any Leaf owner be expecting to make road trips using the Nissan fast charger network? These are all questions that my trip raised. I don’t have the answers.
I think that the overriding message that must be made here is that the Nissan Leaf was not ever designed to make these kinds of trips. It has a usable range of 70-80 miles and so no… trips of many hundreds of miles may not be considered wise right now. I accept that. A charger failed on me and so I must accept the only option… an overnight stay… and I do accept that 100%
I think I was really trying to make two points in my previous blog post.
The first is that there is actually nothing wrong with Nissan Leaf owners making these kinds of trips. If the chargers work then these trips are very possible. Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield of www.allcarselectric.com has proven that many times. She has successfully travelled to London, Norwich and other places from her base near Bristol without needing an enforced overnight stop. No one buys a Nissan Leaf to drive these kinds of distances. If they do then they have bought the wrong car. However, occasionally we might want to and so the fast charge network will definitely allow us to do that – when it works.
My second point is really about what happens if it doesn’t work – as in my case. I am not bitching about what happened to me. I only did the trip as a test anyway but my bad luck says no more about the reliability of Nissan fast chargers than her good luck does. However, my bad luck should serve as a warning to other Leaf owners wanting to make similar trips because my example shows it can go wrong. A charger failure may never happen to you but if it does then an overnight stop is almost inevitable.
The purpose behind my road trip report was simply to report what happened and to warn others of the potential consequences and nothing more. Not to have a gripe. Actually, in a rather sureal way, I am glad it happened to me on that particular trip because the overnight stop didn’t affect me. I now know that in 2 weeks time, when I must be 100% sure I will arrive in London that day, I cannot take the Nissan Leaf. Pity because the reason for me driving to London is to take part in a focus group on EVs!!!
Was I wrong in reporting it as I did? I don’t think so. If it helps others come to the conclusion that I did… don’t drive your Nissan Leaf on a road trip requiring fast chargers if you cannot accept a possible overnight stop. If an unexpected overnight stop is OK with you then go right ahead… it probably won’t happen but if it does then you will have a plan.