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For half term we went on a family road trip to Paris in our Leaf. Before we started planning we didn’t even know if it was possible and had a lot of questions. So hopefully this post will help others.

The short version: it went really well and we will do it again

The long one:

I started planning a couple of months before the trip, the first question to answer was: Is it even possible, or should we take up Nissan’s offer on swapping for an ICE? Consulting chargemap.com it was clear to see that there were enough rapid chargers on the Calais to Paris route that it would be possible. So then I looked at the comments against each charger to see what my confidence level would be. This changed my route from going via Amiens (A16) to going via Arras (A1), the last time I looked none of the chargers in Amiens were working.

The networks I identified that we would need to use were:

KiWhi Pass

KiWhi Pass for our foreign users

It costs 24 euros to get the RFID card, but then most chargers are free. It’s a bit confusing to sign up (google translate is your friend), but they have created a help page (url above) for foreign users.

Corri-Door network

PlugSurfing - Charge your EV and find Charging Stations

This is a collection of different networks, some of them require a monthly subscription which I didn’t want to do. So I joined plugsurfing.com which costs 10 euros for an RFID card and then you pay per use.

The plan

The approach I took to our route was to have a plan A, B and C for each charge point. So I was always driving to reach a destination beyond our next “plan A”. This usually meant I needed to drive at about 55 to 60 mph.

It turned out that every “plan A” worked and it was pretty easy going. Also the weather was on our side, which helped: dry 16c to 28c.

The route / changers

Stay overnight in Folkestone – we had already done 200 miles to get there.

1: Folkestone Eurotunnel (CYC) 94% - one changer not responding, the other refused to end charge so I had to hit the emergency stop so we didn’t miss our train. I tried to reset it after but it wouldn’t respond. Really sorry to the next person!! – Note, there are plenty of chargers in Calais, so it’s not too much of a worry.

2: Aire de Rely A26 (Corri-Door with plugsurfing) 92% / 11.75 kWh used / 6.27 euros – charger is next to a service station with nice food / coffee etc

3: Ville de Roye off A1 (KiWhi Pass) 97% free to use – this charger is in a lovely little French village. There are two chargers, but it looked like a Zoe had permanent residence at one of them!!!

4: Aire de Vémars OUEST (Corri-Door with plugsurfing) 90% / 13.48 kWh used / 7.62 euros – another motorway service station

This last charge gave us enough to drive to Versailles, then to the campsite in Paris and then back to the charger on the other side of the motorway. The final charge also pushed the battery temperature to one bar in the red.

Summary

We departed Calais at 7:30am and arrived in Versailles at 13:00. Google claims the journey should be 3h 30mins, but I think that is optimistic. As a family with kids we needed to stop at least twice for food / coffee and toilet breaks regardless of charging. The charging took about 1.5 hours but I think 30 mins of that would been stopped in an ICE regardless.

The journey back was pretty much the same as the way there, but we only needed to stop twice. The final charge was at the Calais terminal. However we then continued our journey back to Somerset without stopping over. So 400 miles in one day with 5 charges did put a strain on the battery. Our final charge near Swindon was from 20% to 82% and took 45 mins. The battery pretty much stayed at 1 bar from the max for most of the day.

Happy to answer any questions about the experience and Yes, we will definitely do it again!!
 

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Congratulation on your careful planning and thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

Having wasted many hours at rapids every 60 miles on UK motorways, and agonised between charging stops, the novelty of long distances in a short range BEV has well and truly worn off. Even a 30 kWh LEAF wouldn't have sufficient range for me.
 
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