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I've made a couple of very long multi-day Leaf journeys this year, one of which was 1600 miles right around the UK in 12 days. I've had a few days of some 350 miles in under 12 hours, and never run out of power: so here are some thoughts on keeping it easy and getting from A>B quickly. Some of these are probably old hat to experienced EV drivers, but we do get lots of newbies, so this is for them.

1) never rapid charge above 80% - 90% when on the move unless you really need to or simply have loads of time. The last 20% takes ages.
2) phone ahead (on a weekday, working hours) to get the latest info on the electric highway, don't rely on zapmap service status - or any other online information - as it is often out of date
3) When using single or unknown rapids - try to charge every 40-50 miles on average - always keep a decent reserve for Plan B (which is either the next rapid or a Type 2)
4) Figure out a speed that gives you a 20% remaining margin of error for your car - conditions can change. On motorways 55 mph seems about optimum cruising speed, but when you have a reliable charger ahead then 65 mph is fine.
5) In rural and remote areas, aim to stop overnight at friends houses, youth hostels or B&Bs - they are much more laid back than hotels about charging your car. Use the brick overnight, and carry a ten metre extension lead to drape through windows or whatever.
6) If you don't get a charge from any charger, be persistent and methodical, it can often take a few tries. One common and puzzling error is to leave the charging timer on: always switch it off on any long trip.
Carry three main cards: CYC, Ecotricity electric highway, and Polar - plus any regional network cards required - such as the SSE card in Hampshire.
7) Don't panic when going up long hills like Beattock summit or Shap fell - you will lose a lot of power but gain much of it back downhill.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
email at [email protected].

call on 01453 761455 between 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday.

You can also follow Twitter page @ElecHighway to get updates on new installations and other updates
 

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Personally I'd recommend "lorry" speed as minimum in good conditions. That will be in the 55-60 region depending on the vehicle. the leaf speedo underreads by 10%. 60 otherwise. less than this and it can feel dangerous IMO. Adapt accordingly. If destination not achievable consider dropping off to a slower road, though bear in mind the gain from slower speed may be balanced by more braking.

I can't emphasize #3 above. always have a backup. If you have phev/rex, that's it. If pure EV you NEED a plan... Double failures that you don't know about before setting out can occur but are much less likely.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I use a strong, thick extension lead designed for outdoor conditions with rubberised plugs - B&Q should do them. A bright colour or white is a good idea so people don't trip up over them.
 

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Excellent tips.

For stress-free driving I always recommend finding a speed that other road users aren't travelling at - slightly faster than the lorries, but slower than the kamikazes in the outside lane.

We also take my "tea kit" with us on journeys - everything we need for a cup of tea while charging without paying service station prices. Most rapid charger locations won't let me use my ghillie kettle (which I use when out & about at work) but a flask is still pretty good.
 

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Good tips. If there is a short leg I sometimes charge to less than 80%. The slowdown in the charge rate comes in below the 80% level and I feel that the battery temperatures stay under control.

This is less of a tip and more of a warning.
Don't get caught out on the return journey. When everything works on the way out don't assume it will be still working on the way back.
and
Don't be lulled into a false sense of security when you get closer to home. Do the same research as you would for travelling to remote parts.

Things are getting easier now. In the 15 months since I started driving electric there are many more rapid chargers available. Of course a lot of them are overpriced but still make an excellent option for Plan B. Also the increase in the number of EV drivers makes the reports on Plug-Share much more up to date.

If I am venturing into the unknown I always remember the "De-ICER" A 10m type 2 cable which will get you a charge in most circumstances where the bay is ICEd (albeit you cannot leave the car charging unattended.)

Off to Cornwall soon to put some of this into practice.
 

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Excellent tips.

For stress-free driving I always recommend finding a speed that other road users aren't travelling at - slightly faster than the lorries, but slower than the kamikazes in the outside lane.

We also take my "tea kit" with us on journeys - everything we need for a cup of tea while charging without paying service station prices. Most rapid charger locations won't let me use my ghillie kettle (which I use when out & about at work) but a flask is still pretty good.
And if you're sitting in the car with your brew, you can top up the heater at Ecotricities expense (y)
 

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I like the idea of a tips thread for long trips but let's be sure we quote which tips apply most to which cars. Some are Leaf (or possibly including passively cooled battery models) specific, like monitoring battery temp.

I totally agree with the keeping enough in reserve to get to the next charger (just incase your planned one has failed). But on the flip side the Zoe for example charges hardest and fastest the more depleted the battery is. It also charges hard all the way to 95%. I've never encountered a battery overheat issue, but my last big trip I did do a couple of 20mins max charge from @20% to @80% ands topped earlier as I knew there were charge holes in my trip.

Also Zoe seems to do well at 60mph on Dual roads, but 65mph feels safer and only knocks maybe 5miles off your range if driving steady. I was stopping every 55-70miles.

Oh my top tips are if your doing a return trip same day check the other carriageway services chargers while your charging. Ie charging southbound then check northbound for your return leg.


Next top tip plan alternative charging regime on the way back. I did 160miles and err'd on side of caution outward by charging 4 times but only twice on the way back when I was happy with my technique and weather and state of chargers.

Finally tweet to the charging provider every successful charge. I tweeted Ecotricity at every charge, then they have live status updated which can be shared with anyone else passing that charger.
 

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Discussion Starter #13

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I quite often use a method we call 'rapid hopping' for longer journeys and we've never been left on the side of the road. All the staff here do it too, we rack up some serious miles - I'm suprised we've never had to rescue anyone!

Basically, stop at every charger on your route and top up to 80-85% then move on to next charger. We're often no more than 10 minutes at each charger and have gotten away with a fair few 'double failures'.

Keep an eye on twitter using #ukcharge in the search bar.
 

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55 mph on the motorway is not safe!
That's a very interesting claim to make - although you aren't unique in making it.

There is almost no evidence to support it. Plenty of rhetoric, but not much in the way of empirical data.

For example, confused.com did a survey in which about a third of respondents said that they had a near miss "caused" by someone else driving too slowly - but how many people would actually admit that their own error caused the near miss? A survey in which people are free to apportion blame in subjective circumstances is not reliable evidence.

On average, just over 140 accidents a year are caused by driving too slowly (or so says the Transport Department) - out of a total of about 5,000,000 accidents per year. That makes "driving too slowly" statistically insignificant as a cause of accidents.

It's also worth making a Google search to see what is out there with reference to the safest, slowest motorway speeds. General opinion seems to regard anything above 50mph to be safe. The only danger is morons traveling at high speed without paying attention to what is in front of them.
 

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Minimum speed in most European countries on the motorways is either 60 km/h (37mph, for example Germany) or 70 km/h (43mph, for example France). Many vehicles aren't allowed to travel faster then 80 km/h (50mph) anyway... I drive a small truck (7.5T) for work, and never exceed 50mph on the motorways unless overtaking someone who drives even slower. Which happens several times a day :D
 

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Conflicted Ecoworrier/Petrolhead
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Mine tip would be to stick a portable honda 2kVa genny in the boot, or buy a Rex ;) You wont necessarily need it, but if you do you'll be glad you had it ;)
Whrn you look at it like that you realise what Good value the REX is. 25kW for £3k vs 2kW for £2k!
 

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@EVPotential:
Is it really only 3K pound extra in the UK? In the Netherlands the difference between REX or not is 4.500 euro list price (3.290 pound at current exchange rate), but now or very soon you have to pay more vehicle tax (road tax), more company car tax, less subsidy on the purchase of the car... All because the i3 REX is not a zero emission vehicle.
 
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