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This summer we're going to be travelling through France with our Leaf 40, and I'd like to ask if there any up to the minute tips anyone can give for such a trip.

I've seen there are Chademo rapid chargers around, with an attached cable, but I've noticed some of them have a Chademo option with no attached cable, how does that work, would I need some kind of adapter for that?
Should I take a particular cable type with us, or will such adapters be sufficient? If I need a cable, are there places that hire them, rather than buy one outright?
We'll be stopping at some campsites alongside family driving a camper van, so the site will have power pitches. Is it worth an adapter to charge off of those?

And then for the networks, I've seen a ChargeMap card seems to be an essential, and an Izivia seems widespread. Is it worth sorting a KiWhi and New Motion one as well? Are there any things I should know about them, any trip-ups to avoid?

We're receiving the Leaf in March, so I don't yet know if you can change the settings to adjust the headlights for driving on the right, is that possible?

Thanks in advance, and sorry for another France thread, I've seen a lot of them around, but want to be sure we're up to date, especially with Brexit etc...
 

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I've done trips to France in my Leaf 40 a number of times now as I have family over there. Firstly, I haven't heard of any Chademo rapids that don't have an attached cable - I'm not sure what you saw but if it's a Chademo rapid charger it will have a tethered cable attached.

Cards wise, I started with an Izivia and a Kiwhi. I would say I mostly use the Izivia one. I picked up a NewMotion one last year but other than testing it, I don't find I need it as well as the other two. Izivia will cover most of the Autoroute ones as well as a large proportion of non-autoroute (eg. InterMarche supermarkets, sometimes in small towns near Autoroute exits). Kiwhi I use mainly when charging at an Auchan rapid charger but quite a few of them don't require a card now (which also has the downside that anyone can press the stop button and steal the charge cable - happened to me once). I found out recently that my Kiwhi didn't work on the free Auchan chargers and it turned out it was because I had no credit on it. Oddly enough I didn't think I needed credit to use free chargers but apparently Kiwhi charge a one off fee (around a euro or so) every charge session since Feb 2019.

I use the Chargemap app for checking charger status and condition as well as finding them - it works pretty well so I can recommend that app.

Not sure where you are going in France but over the last 7 months I've had problems with broken rapid charger hardware between Calais and Rouen. There is a key rapid at Baie de la somme services which has been broken since before June and was still out of order when I went through two weeks ago (and depressingly, it's next to 4 working Ionity chargers which are CCS only as well as opposite some 10 Tesla superchargers). Sadly this is pretty much the main stop between Calais and Rouen which is a 132mile run (there is one just between Calais and Boulogne but you should be pretty full at this point - charge at Folkestone services or Eurotunnel before crossing). I'd prefer the services because there's two rapid's there and Eurotunnel has been hit and miss as to whether they are working or not. If you are lucky, you can use the Auchan rapid charger at Boulogne but it's a gamble as to whether it will be in use. I have found the free ones at Auchan supermarkets attract a lot of locals who top up for free on the rapid or who pretend to be charging but aren't and just put the cable in so again they can get the parking space. In general the free ones are quite a gamble these days, especially at weekends. If you can charge at Boulogne then you can make Rouen relatively easily. If you can't, then either you limp to Rouen and drive extremely carefully or you hope to charge either at Auchan Le Treport or Auchan Dieppe. I've done it without stopping once in the summer and once in the winter but you will have to be careful - if you need more detail let me know. In Rouen there isn't much in the way of public rapid charging other than the 1 free charger at Ikea which does seem to be working all the times I've looked. I use a hotel in Rouen and use their 3.3kw charger overnight which works well.

The next tricky bit is Rouen to Le Mans - if you go that way. Rouen to Le Mans is 128 miles and the only rapid is after 86 miles at Seés (small town next to the Autoroute). It is another key one but has worked every time I've used it although I did have issues in the summer with it when it needed time to cool down before I could start a charge then wouldn't accept any RFID charging card but it does have contactless payment as well which saved the day). After that it gets a bit easier.

Depending on how far you're going you may get badly affected by Rapidgate. I travel just past Angouleme and have to do it over 2 days to mitigate rapidgate and it still gets me badly but the trip is certainly very doable. Planning is the key. I believe the charging situation is slightly better if taking other routes. To try and keep rapidgate under control I have to drive at about 60mph max on the Autoroute which is paintful. Slipstreaming a lorry will help you significantly but is not exactly the best experience.

I made up an adapter cable from French plug to English socket so that in an emergency I could use my granny charger - other than testing that it worked I've never needed it.I guess you can use a travel adapter but be very careful that it supports at least the 10 amps the granny charger needs. You may have problems if you plan to charge at a campsite if they don't provide at least 10 amps as you'll keep tripping the circuit. I'm not familiar with camping but I did do some research when contemplating those instead of a hotel and it seemed that there was a fair chance the campsite power would trip at 10 amps the granny charger needs. It seemed that they might only allow 6 amps.

I've not seen any way to adjust the headlamps for operating in Europe - I don't think it can be done on the Leaf.

If you have any more questions just ask. I've done Calais to Angouleme and back about 5 times now in my Leaf 40.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, that's extremely in-depth! :)

I got the notion of unconnected chademos from the Chargemap description of some of the rapid chargers I looked at, They say "Type 2 (Cable attached)", but all the other plug options are missing the cable attached bit, so I was a bit confused. Good to know that's not the case!

I already ordered a ChargeMap pass, but I'll sort an Izivia and KiWhi one as well. Our route is undecided yet, but it'll be mostly going from Caen to LeBlanc (east of Poitiers) and back, if we're lucky with the charging points at the campsites we'll charge at those (is there a widget you can get that confirms how many Amps a socket provides?).

What is Rapidgate, is that about being charged for connections fees more than we ought to be...?
 

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They say "Type 2 (Cable attached)", but all the other plug options are missing the cable attached bit, so I was a bit confused.
I imagine that's because most Type 2 (usually 7kW destination charge points) are socket only, so if a Type 2 is tethered it makes sense to note the difference.
 

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Rapidgate - the saga over a lot of Lead 24/30 owners finding that more than 1 rapid charge in a couple of days / day / halfway resulted in very slow charging rate.
The car was self protecting itself from battery heat issues by slowing the charging rate.
Other cars have cooling battery management solutions to avoid such issues.
The gate part of the phrase comes I think from the large number of affected owners and the lack of initial response from Nissan that they recognised it was a design problem vs users not using the car right/charge station problem.
Happy to be corrected.
 

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Rapidgate - the saga over a lot of Lead 24/30 owners finding that more than 1 rapid charge in a couple of days / day / halfway resulted in very slow charging rate.
The car was self protecting itself from battery heat issues by slowing the charging rate.
Other cars have cooling battery management solutions to avoid such issues.
The gate part of the phrase comes I think from the large number of affected owners and the lack of initial response from Nissan that they recognised it was a design problem vs users not using the car right/charge station problem.
Happy to be corrected.
It was actually flagged up and came to be a thing on Leaf 40s. Early ones were slower over a long trip than 30s due to the energy density of the pack in the same footprint not dissipating the heat as quickly. Highlighted also because the Speedo is more accurate so people were perhaps driving faster.
There is a BMS update available on early 40s and later ones had the new software from build.
 

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I've done trips to France in my Leaf 40 a number of times now as I have family over there. Firstly, I haven't heard of any Chademo rapids that don't have an attached cable - I'm not sure what you saw but if it's a Chademo rapid charger it will have a tethered cable attached.

Cards wise, I started with an Izivia and a Kiwhi. I would say I mostly use the Izivia one. I picked up a NewMotion one last year but other than testing it, I don't find I need it as well as the other two. Izivia will cover most of the Autoroute ones as well as a large proportion of non-autoroute (eg. InterMarche supermarkets, sometimes in small towns near Autoroute exits). Kiwhi I use mainly when charging at an Auchan rapid charger but quite a few of them don't require a card now (which also has the downside that anyone can press the stop button and steal the charge cable - happened to me once). I found out recently that my Kiwhi didn't work on the free Auchan chargers and it turned out it was because I had no credit on it. Oddly enough I didn't think I needed credit to use free chargers but apparently Kiwhi charge a one off fee (around a euro or so) every charge session since Feb 2019.

I use the Chargemap app for checking charger status and condition as well as finding them - it works pretty well so I can recommend that app.

Not sure where you are going in France but over the last 7 months I've had problems with broken rapid charger hardware between Calais and Rouen. There is a key rapid at Baie de la somme services which has been broken since before June and was still out of order when I went through two weeks ago (and depressingly, it's next to 4 working Ionity chargers which are CCS only as well as opposite some 10 Tesla superchargers). Sadly this is pretty much the main stop between Calais and Rouen which is a 132mile run (there is one just between Calais and Boulogne but you should be pretty full at this point - charge at Folkestone services or Eurotunnel before crossing). I'd prefer the services because there's two rapid's there and Eurotunnel has been hit and miss as to whether they are working or not. If you are lucky, you can use the Auchan rapid charger at Boulogne but it's a gamble as to whether it will be in use. I have found the free ones at Auchan supermarkets attract a lot of locals who top up for free on the rapid or who pretend to be charging but aren't and just put the cable in so again they can get the parking space. In general the free ones are quite a gamble these days, especially at weekends. If you can charge at Boulogne then you can make Rouen relatively easily. If you can't, then either you limp to Rouen and drive extremely carefully or you hope to charge either at Auchan Le Treport or Auchan Dieppe. I've done it without stopping once in the summer and once in the winter but you will have to be careful - if you need more detail let me know. In Rouen there isn't much in the way of public rapid charging other than the 1 free charger at Ikea which does seem to be working all the times I've looked. I use a hotel in Rouen and use their 3.3kw charger overnight which works well.

The next tricky bit is Rouen to Le Mans - if you go that way. Rouen to Le Mans is 128 miles and the only rapid is after 86 miles at Seés (small town next to the Autoroute). It is another key one but has worked every time I've used it although I did have issues in the summer with it when it needed time to cool down before I could start a charge then wouldn't accept any RFID charging card but it does have contactless payment as well which saved the day). After that it gets a bit easier.

Depending on how far you're going you may get badly affected by Rapidgate. I travel just past Angouleme and have to do it over 2 days to mitigate rapidgate and it still gets me badly but the trip is certainly very doable. Planning is the key. I believe the charging situation is slightly better if taking other routes. To try and keep rapidgate under control I have to drive at about 60mph max on the Autoroute which is paintful. Slipstreaming a lorry will help you significantly but is not exactly the best experience.

I made up an adapter cable from French plug to English socket so that in an emergency I could use my granny charger - other than testing that it worked I've never needed it.I guess you can use a travel adapter but be very careful that it supports at least the 10 amps the granny charger needs. You may have problems if you plan to charge at a campsite if they don't provide at least 10 amps as you'll keep tripping the circuit. I'm not familiar with camping but I did do some research when contemplating those instead of a hotel and it seemed that there was a fair chance the campsite power would trip at 10 amps the granny charger needs. It seemed that they might only allow 6 amps.

I've not seen any way to adjust the headlamps for operating in Europe - I don't think it can be done on the Leaf.

If you have any more questions just ask. I've done Calais to Angouleme and back about 5 times now in my Leaf 40.
Hi There
I am going to house sit a chateau in Normandy in June. I have done this trip many times in my Motorhome or by classic motorcycle but the wife wants to do the trip in our Leaf 40.My question is have you found a spare bulb kit for the leaf 40.
 

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Hi There
I am going to house sit a chateau in Normandy in June. I have done this trip many times in my Motorhome or by classic motorcycle but the wife wants to do the trip in our Leaf 40.My question is have you found a spare bulb kit for the leaf 40.
I must admit I haven't bothered to look for one.
 

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Our route is undecided yet, but it'll be mostly going from Caen to LeBlanc (east of Poitiers) and back, if we're lucky with the charging points at the campsites we'll charge at those (is there a widget you can get that confirms how many Amps a socket provides?).
I assume ferry to Caen and then driving, in which case you can probably do it easily enough in one day if you wanted using rapid chargers along the way. If you're going slowly over a few days then campsites may be an option if they provide enough power. I don't think there is a device to confirm how many amps a socket provides. Best bet is to look at the circuit breaker which ought to have a rating on it. Not sure how accessible these are at campsites.

What is Rapidgate, is that about being charged for connections fees more than we ought to be...?
As stated by others, Rapidgate is a term used to describe the slowing down of rapid charging due to the battery pack heating up because it has no active thermal management. Rapid charging maximum speed is determined by the temperature of the battery pack at the start of the charge. There is a software BMS update that raises the charging speed for any given temperature but it does not fix the underlying issue. It just means instead of progressively slowing down the charge, it'll be full speed for 2-3 charges then hit a brick wall of slow charging which is a helpful update if doing 2-3 charges in a day but I have decided it wouldn't help my trips to France where I do 5 or 6 in one day with 2-3 the previous day.

The newer leafs (I believe from late summer to autumn 2018) have that BMS update applied from the factory but I'm not aware of any fundamental improvement to the actual problem - which is no active cooling/thermal management on the battery and the fact that it is inside a sealed box that doesn't cool down very quickly at all (even in freezing temperatures). If you drive above about 60-65mph the battery temperature will slowly rise rather than cool down just from driving and each rapid charge will push up the temperature another 10-15c or so depending on how long you charge for. At 50c the rapid charge speed is limited to around 18-22kw (I forget which, I think it's 18kw at 50+) and that starts to become quite painful. I'm so disappointed Nissan didn't come up with anything better to cool the battery because its such a shame that a pretty decent EV is hurt so badly on long trips (mine is 600 miles).
 

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Is it the speed that heats up the battery or the throttle position? You can do the same speed and be at different points on the power meter...

I think they've wound done the charging speed altogether so it's slower to begin with and doesn't slow down as much later. I think Jonathan thingy the car sourcer said it was now the 3rd rapid in a row that caused the slowing as previously it was often only the second.

Tesla Bjorn did a post fix video which showed the different speeds at different temperatures.
 

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Is it the speed that heats up the battery or the throttle position? You can do the same speed and be at different points on the power meter...

I think they've wound done the charging speed altogether so it's slower to begin with and doesn't slow down as much later. I think Jonathan thingy the car sourcer said it was now the 3rd rapid in a row that caused the slowing as previously it was often only the second.

Tesla Bjorn did a post fix video which showed the different speeds at different temperatures.
It's current drawn out of or put into the battery, so the higher the power meter is in either direction or the faster you rapid charge, the more heat that goes into the battery. Jonathan Porterfield encountered the issue first and is documented on his Youtube channel and as you say Bjorn has done several videos on the subject (I'd love to see a 1000km challenge with the Leaf 40 but I haven't seen one yet and not sure if he'll do one but it'll be worse than 15 hours in my opinion). There is also a table of battery temperature to start charge speed that Schoolboy on here made and has created some Youtube (user Lemon-Tea Leaf) videos about.

Basically to minimise rapidgate you want to minimise the current going in and out of the battery. There are some big hills in France on my route and that means you need higher power to maintain speed which heats up the battery and then going down the other side you have to decide which is most effective - either coast rather than regen and build up speed but you'll lose some of the energy in drag as you go faster, or to regen the energy into the battery but at the cost of putting heat into the battery. All of it is a level of thinking that shouldn't be needed.
 

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The end user shouldn't have to worry about battery temperature. It's like driving an ICE and having to watch the engine temperature and pop the bonnet up every so often to let the car cool down. It's not the 1950s any more :rolleyes:
 

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The end user shouldn't have to worry about battery temperature. It's like driving an ICE and having to watch the engine temperature and pop the bonnet up every so often to let the car cool down. It's not the 1950s any more :rolleyes:
I totally agree in that respect but EVs of pretty much every flavour require compromises. They are improving but we are not there yet. But I think that ICE require more compromises on a daily basis than EVs do.

My understanding of rapidgate is that keeping at 70 the temp rises slowly, 65 keeps an equilibrium and 60 it does cool between charges.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I assume ferry to Caen and then driving, in which case you can probably do it easily enough in one day if you wanted using rapid chargers along the way. If you're going slowly over a few days then campsites may be an option if they provide enough power. I don't think there is a device to confirm how many amps a socket provides. Best bet is to look at the circuit breaker which ought to have a rating on it. Not sure how accessible these are at campsites.
I've found this at Toolstation to cover connecting the granny cable to commando sockets on the ferry or campsites. I'm finding 3-pin to shuko adapters much harder, which is surprising, are there any sites anyone would recommend?
 
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