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Hi to all,

Came across your forum the day after purchasing our first EV - a 2011 Nissan Leaf. We bought the car from the Nissan dealer in York which, when travelling up in our old car, showed it was 56 miles from our home address and which was nearly all dual carriageway.
All went well with the handover etc at lunchtime and so, before heading back south to North Notts, we stopped in York for lunch. At this point our range was showing 72 miles - Fine we thought!
However getting in the the car after lunch things rapidly turned from excitement to the dreaded range anxiety. It was now dark and raining so lights and windscreen wipers on. Our first problem was the dealer had valeted the interior of the car using a wet vac system. Two adults and three children soon got the car VERY steamy inside. The screen soon became dangerously obscured so the windscreen fan had to be turned on. That triggered the navigation warning that we would not have enough range in the battery to get to our destination. Into Eco mode.
As we had not received any of the RFID cards that I had ordered yet from the various EV charging point providers I thought it best to leave the major dual carriageway route and go for the shortest option, which would hopefully provide some stop / start / braking to help the battery a little. The fan went off and we headed cross country through the villages. 51 miles to go with 56 miles range. Time to slow right down.
The moisture retained in the car after the valet was causing a real problem but I still couldn't chance putting the windscreen fan on as I knew it would mean we wouldn't get home. Fortunately, my wife had a couple of tissues..
Our backroad route eventually brought us back onto the A1. Now it was very dark and very wet. If I had driven too slow I would have been a danger to other vehicles so took the speed up to 50mph and tried to find a lorry I could slipstream. No such luck on a Saturday evening.
21 miles to go and 21 miles on the range did not look good. Our only option was to divert to the in-laws and grab some electricity to give us a few miles more on the range. We diverted and plugged in for some 40 mins giving us on extra 5 miles on the phone app I had installed.
We lightened the car by leaving 2 children with their Grandparents(!) and set off for home. Took the shortest route which included some single track roads but eventually arrived home with a few miles to spare.

That was last night. The car was put on charge and as I write now has 100% showing on the phone app. I've turned on the climate too the help dry out the car so we'll see what our day 2 experiences are. Good ones we hope!
 

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Hi,

I hope your 2nd day goes better! I wonder how fast you drove before you diverted off the A1? I'm very interested as I have a similar journey to do in a couple of weeks when I pick up my Leaf from the dealer in Croydon.
My plan is to stop at fleet services for a rapid charge which should give me enough range to then make it back to where I live near Marlborough in wiltshire. Plan b is the Winchester rapid charger.

Anyway let us know how the next few days go!
 

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Hi Neil and welcome to the forum.

Sorry to hear of your experience last night. Your story makes my blood boil inside because your range issues and anxiety was 100% predictable and preventable if the dealer had given it half a thought. Dealers are putting new EV drivers into EVs without any consideration for the fact that people need a bit of extra knowledge than a typical ICE. However, you seemed to cope with it admirably.

Obviously you are a new EV driver and so you shouldn't be expected to know this stuff but an experienced EV driver probably wouldn't have attempted that trip, or if they did then they would have expected to use the "plan B" of the in-laws from the start.

How stupid of the dealer to use wet vac when he knew you would be driving it on the edge of the range to get home.

He should have been very clear that 72 miles estimate was probably nearer 50 miles max given the time of year, weather etc. I get the feeling that you left the dealer with more than 72 miles estimate but then drove to York. Well even so, the dealer should have given you suitable warnings and suggested that you plan on having a bolt hole of the in-laws from the start. He shouldn't have let you leave the dealership unprepared IMO.

At this time of year I never plan on doing any single leg of more than 60 miles with a 2011 Leaf. You will need power for demisting and heating and so 60 is my max planned range and even then only if I stick to around 50-55mph, there are no major hills and I have a 100% charge. I have known my real range to be less than 50 miles in winter.

It sounds though like you did all the right things to get you there... slow down if safe to do so, take a shorter, perhaps slower, perhaps less hilly route, turn off all unnecessary power drains, lighten the load by dropping your kids off by the side of the road ;) ;)

All in all a good job for your first run. Trust me... it isn't always like that! I have done over 23,000 miles now and I have only had that kind of anxiety-creating trip once or twice and always it was preventable with a little forethought. Range anxiety is real for new owners but it soon evaporates with experience and a bit of planning.

One small bit of info that might help you and others regarding regenerative braking... to get the absolute max range out of an EV then you want to try not to use the brakes at all... not even regen. Drive in normal D mode (not B or Eco). Try to find the position on the throttle pedal where you are just coasting and not using power and not regenerating it. That is the throttle position you should try to be in as much as possible when slowing down - coasting to a stop. Of course, in that position you will slow down on the flat but then you are slowing down by not regenerating at all and that is the ideal situation. Using regen is better than not but it still wastes a bit of energy. Obviously, this has to be done with care because the cars behind will probably get frustrated with your apparently slow progress but when there are no cars behind then you can do this and you will get the best range. It might make the difference between getting there or not if you find yourself in that position again. :)
 

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@JoeK1973 Welcome!

I expect you are getting excited now aren't you? Please don't let any stories of bad experiences worry you. With a little bit of planning your experience will be marvelous!

Firstly, as it is your first time I would not totally rely on any of the rapid chargers actually working when you arrive at them. They have been a bit flakey lately so you should plan accordingly.

Your whole strategy should be one of "belts and braces" until you get to understand the capabilities of the car and how rapid charging works. This trip from Croydon to Marlborough is an easy trip in the Leaf providing you follow a few simple steps. I will describe how I would do it but of course it is your car and only you know your attitude to the risks. So please don't feel that I am telling you to do it like this. Pick and choose what you want from what I say to suit how you want to do it :)

So, rule number 1... leave 100% charged! This may sound obvious but it is amazing how many people don't. If you are unfamiliar with the car and the range then why leave with less. If it means plugging in to the rapid charger at the dealer before you leave then do even if the dealer says you'll be fine. You might be fine but why risk range anxiety when you don't have to?

Don't drive past any opportunity to rapid charge. If your route takes you past a rapid charger then stop and charge back up even if you don't charge to 100% the time taken to charge up at all will reduce any anxiety you might have if you need to divert for an accident for example.

If you need to heat the cabin because it is cold outside then put the cabin heat and A/C on while it is charging. That way you will not reduce your potential range to heat up the cabin from cold. It takes a lot less power to keep the cabin warm than to heat it in the first place.

Make sure you have coats and hats, and perhaps gloves and if you are in any doubt about the range then wear them in the car. Then you can turn down the temperature on the heating and just occasionally give the demist a blast to clear the fogging. I normally have the heating and a/c off when range is an issue and only give the demist an occasional 30 sec or 1 min blast to clear the screen. Obviously if range is not an issue then I use it normally!

Finally, and this one is probably the best point of all, have a back up plan at every stage. Knowing where you are next going to charge and knowing it is definitely in range given the conditions and you won't have any anxiety! If you are diverted, a charger fails or some other incident means you cannot charge at your intended location then decide as early as possible what your options are. The earlier you stop, take a look at the map, see if you have other options, the better and the more options you will have. This doesn't happen often. In 2.75 years and 23,000 miles I have only been recovered once and only been diverted one and then I had enough power to get to my charging location.

So applying this to your trip to Marlborough I would not plan on using Fleet / Winchester. You will have far more options and flexibility in the event of uneventualities if you went via the M4.

For that first trip I would plan on:

1) Round the South Circular to Heston M4 - charge to 80% min

2) Down M4. Options to charge are:

Reading
Chieveley
Membury

If you know they are working then you could easily miss out Chieveley.

3) Then down the A346

But then again... you might want the excitement of Fleet/Winchester although you may struggle to get from Croydon to Winchester on a single charge at this time of year that is why the M4 route is much better for an EV newbie :)

But that is the thing about all this... now we have the option. Just a few months ago we didn't as the Electric Highway wasn't yet built. :)
 

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@Paul_Churchley Thanks for the welcome, and for the advice, perhaps the M4 is a better bet!

I'll keep this short as I don't want to hijack the OP's thread so hello, thankyou again, and I'll say hello properly in another thread soon. :)

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to @Paul_Churchley for the wise comments and advice.

Day 2 has certainly been a better experience with the Leaf. Plus the sun has been out so I've been able to get some fresh air into the car and help dry some of the remaining moisture.

I really don't want to knock the dealership in York. They were courteous, polite and not at all pushy. They also admitted that mine was the first used Leaf they had sold so it was a learning curve for all of us.

To answer @JoeK1973 regarding our dual carriageway speed before hitting the side roads, I guess it was around 60mph to 65mph.

I will certainly follow the advice given above and definitely would have made use of the charging points en route yesterday if the RFID cards had arrived in time. Seven plus days does seem a long time for them to arrive. I just hope I've picked the most popular ones.

Thanks again for the welcome!
Neil
 

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I really don't want to knock the dealership in York. They were courteous, polite and not at all pushy. They also admitted that mine was the first used Leaf they had sold so it was a learning curve for all of us.
Point taken Neil and I don't want to suggest that the dealer is a bad dealer. I am pleased to hear that you have had a good buying experience... something that cannot be said of all dealers.

It is more that ALL dealers seem to have a blind spot about taking the responsibility of educating new EV owners on at least the basics... or not to be more accurate :)

I genuinely believe that the dealers must start to take it upon themselves to learn more about the products they are selling and to make sure that new owners leave the dealership at least prepared for what they are buying. Almost none of them have proper product knowledge and I say that from first hand experience of visiting a lot of them on my travels.

I am not criticising York... any more than almost all others and if you had a good experience with them then they are doing something right aren't they :)
 

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Welcome to Speak EV. :)

Glad you managed to get home, and sorry it was so hairy for you!

There seems to be quite a difference between the experience of Gen 1 Nissan LEAF owners and my personal experience in a Gen 2, but with the second hand prices so good I would probably advice most people to go for the Gen 1, not least as it has a few things our Acenta (middle of the range) doesn't have.
 

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We have a gen 1 Leaf, and as far as I can tell the fan on the window does not take any power from the man battery unless the heating/AC is on. I have had the temperature down as far as it can go (16 degrees) and turn on the fan. This will tell you that your range is less but it doesn't increase the power usage (I have checked this using the electricity usage from the leaf, when you look at the right hand top meter) . I could be wrong, but our experience is that the fan itself is taking the power from the 12 Volt battery as does the lights etc.
 
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Either from the 12V or so low a power draw that it doesn't register on the meter :)

Whichever way it won't affect range much.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We have a gen 1 Leaf, and as far as I can tell the fan on the window does not take any power from the man battery unless the heating/AC is on. I have had the temperature down as far as it can go (16 degrees) and turn on the fan. This will tell you that your range is less but it doesn't increase the power usage (I have checked this using the electricity usage from the leaf, when you look at the right hand top meter) . I could be wrong, but our experience is that the fan itself is taking the power from the 12 Volt battery as does the lights etc.
Thanks! Never thought this would be the case. I've just been adjusting the fan speed all the time - forgetting about the temperature.
 
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