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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking about getting an EV (Nissan Leaf) but I am a little bit concerned about being able to charge it away from home. Most of the time I'll charge overnight, but every fortnight I visit Kingston town centre which is about 65 miles from my house.

Kingston has quite a few charging points, but when I have looked at a few of them they are always in use. Most of them seem to be the slow type of charger too, so I'd need to be hooked up for hours (as will everyone else). There doesn't seem to be any way to book ahead.

Is it reasonable to expect to be able to drive beyond the car's range like this? Or will I need to borrow an ICE car.
 

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Depends where you are going to and from, but generally I'd say do not rely on public charging to be 100% available and working for your journeys. That's not to say don't undertake those journeys, but certainly have a plan B.

Also the maps are not 100% reliable either, not in terms of which chargers exist, or which are in use, so treat as "advice" rather than dead certain information.



Welcome to Speak EV. :)
 

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Depends where you are going to and from, but generally I'd say do not rely on public charging to be 100% available and working for your journeys. That's not to say don't undertake those journeys, but certainly have a plan B.

Also the maps are not 100% reliable either, not in terms of which chargers exist, or which are in use, so treat as "advice" rather than dead certain information.



Welcome to Speak EV. :)
On the other hand, we've just travelled from Milton Keynes to the New Forest in our Nissan Leaf. Despite a slightly hair-raising couple of miles on '---' range, we made it.

They key is to recharge often and have backup plans for when your preferred charge point is free. That way you'll be fine.
 

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I'm thinking about getting an EV (Nissan Leaf) but I am a little bit concerned about being able to charge it away from home. Most of the time I'll charge overnight, but every fortnight I visit Kingston town centre which is about 65 miles from my house.

Kingston has quite a few charging points, but when I have looked at a few of them they are always in use. Most of them seem to be the slow type of charger too, so I'd need to be hooked up for hours (as will everyone else). There doesn't seem to be any way to book ahead.

Is it reasonable to expect to be able to drive beyond the car's range like this? Or will I need to borrow an ICE car.
Welcome !

Public charging can be great, but also isn't something that you can always guarantee to be available, as others may already be using them.
Where will you be coming from ?
When driving an EV, you sometimes have to think outside the box. If you pass a rapid charger on the motorway, then it may be sensible to grab 15 minutes of charge to top it up before you get to Kingston, leaving you enough to get back to the rapid charger on the homeward leg, just incase the chargers in Kingston are unavailable.

But, either way, with some thought, your journey isn't unreasonable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the helpful replies.

I am coming up the A3, so there are only a couple of chargers that I can see on that road, and none of them are fast chargers. To be honest it seems like too much of a stretch for a Leaf, too much hassle if you can't charge and end up having to wait around. I suppose it will get better as more chargers are put in.
 

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Thanks for the helpful replies.

I am coming up the A3, so there are only a couple of chargers that I can see on that road, and none of them are fast chargers. To be honest it seems like too much of a stretch for a Leaf, too much hassle if you can't charge and end up having to wait around. I suppose it will get better as more chargers are put in.
There are rapids at the new-ish services on the M25 at dorking, if you can cut to the a24 instead ?
Might be worth a try on a day when you aren't in a rush to get home, just to try it out ;)
 

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There are rapids at the new-ish services on the M25 at dorking, if you can cut to the a24 instead ?
Might be worth a try on a day when you aren't in a rush to get home, just to try it out ;)
Are the Cobham services rapids actually there? I know they are coming but wasn't aware they have been installed.

I am in that area tomorrow - they would be very useful for a recharge, but don't want to divert there if they are not installed yet!!
 

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I read they were coming, and assumed they had arrived, but haven't checked.
Don't make a special journey on my rather patchy info!!
 

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I read they were coming, and assumed they had arrived, but haven't checked.
Don't make a special journey on my rather patchy info!!
Just wondered if you had a definite sighting of the chargers there! As Ecotricity haven't announced it, I won't risk it tomorrow. I can get by with alternative chargers.

It will be useful once they are definitely there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I've been looking at this in more detail. In the summer I need air con, in the winter a bit of heat. The trip is about 80% on the A3 at 70 MPH, then 15% at 30-40MPH and 5% stop/start city traffic. 65 miles total there, the same back again.

The biggest issue seems to be that all the chargers in central Kingson are the crappy 3kw standard plug variety, except for a couple of 7kw ones. Even the 7kw chargers take 4 hours from flat. Why is it that so much useless charging infrastructure has been built? Why would anyone bother installing a 3kw charger?

Given that it seems that the trip is not such a good idea. If I were unlucky and fond that the couple of 7kw chargers were unavailable when I arrived I'd be stuffed and have to stop again just for charging on the way home. It wouldn't be too bad if there were fast 30 minute chargers on the A3, but I can't see any.

I'm not sure what to do. I want to buy an EV, but I make this trip every fortnight and would have to borrow an ICE car for it. Can't afford a Tesla after being screwed by their false prices. Gah.
 

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I worried about this a lot and chickened out and got a PHEV. I think of it as being in training for a BEV and now have a Zoe on order for delivery in November whilst I get to grips with the charging networks. There is a lot of informed supportive advice on these forums which has been very helpful.
Driving at 70 mph on the A3 could seriously damage range, though Leaf owners would be better able to give you an idea of this. I think there is an app which estimates your Leaf range at various speeds which demonstrates the impact of speed on range.
 

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The trip is about 80% on the A3 at 70 MPH, then 15% at 30-40MPH and 5% stop/start city traffic. 65 miles total there, the same back again.
That's going to be very tight. Cruising at 70mph canes the batteries...

Even the 7kw chargers take 4 hours from flat.
Only if you paid extra for the 6.6kW on-board charger.

Why is it that so much useless charging infrastructure has been built?
We're still trying to work that out...

Why would anyone bother installing a 3kw charger?
Because if you work (or are on a major shopping bender) there, you plug the car in at 9am and by 5pm it's fully charged.

fast 30 minute chargers on the A3
Ah, those things are called RAPID chargers. Confusingly the 7kW chargers are called FAST chargers.

I want to buy an EV, but I make this trip every fortnight
Without wishing to sound like I'm taking the mickey, do actually have to go to Kingston? Can you not go somewhere nearer?

Can't afford a Tesla after being screwed by their false prices.
Eh? How?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Without wishing to sound like I'm taking the mickey, do actually have to go to Kingston? Can you not go somewhere nearer?

(Tesla)

Eh? How?
There are some places I need to visit in Kingston, yes. I suppose what frustrates me is that it should be possible to do. I'm thinking about emigrating to Japan anyway, and my friend there who has a Leaf has absolutely no trouble with this kind of thing because chargers are everywhere and they are fast. He doesn't worry about range because he knows he will always be able to charge up quickly if needs be.

The UK, as always, is way behind the curve on technology. At best we see a token effort, a 13A socket so someone can tick a box and claim they are now green and sustainable, even if it's next to useless for practical purposes.

As for Tesla, Elon Musk said that you could own a Model S for $500/month. The UK site said £450/month... Okay, allow for rip-off UK prices and higher taxes. Turns out both of those were lies though. You can only get down that far if you include savings verses a really, really inefficient ICE car, do really high mileage and waste an hour a month filling it up yet somehow the plug just magically finds its own way into your Tesla. Oh, and it doesn't include their really expensive servicing package which you need to keep the car in warranty.
 

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It wouldn't be too bad if there were fast 30 minute chargers on the A3, but I can't see any.

I'm not sure what to do. I want to buy an EV, but I make this trip every fortnight and would have to borrow an ICE car for it.
Having driven a Leaf myself for the last 18 months, covering 22,000 miles, I find that you need to be prepared to drive just a little bit further to locate chargers on occasion.

Back in May Cobham services on the M25 was mentioned. This does now have two rapid chargers in place. It is a single service site, meaning that you can visit it, and then return the way you came.

Diverting off the A3 will, according to my Tom Tom, add 5 miles to your 65 mile journey. A five miles detour, once a fortnight, to pick up a (currently) free rapid charger is not really a problem, in EV travel terms. Much shorter time than charging at a 'fast charger' in Kingston, and far better and cheaper than borrowing an ICE car!
 

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Looks like the five mile detour may help, also going 65 rather than 70 will certainly help and add only a few minutes to the overall journey.

It really does depend on dwell times, if you are there for hours great, if not, tricky.

With our UK built / gen 2 LEAF I can do 80 miles total trip, in summer with aircon on and in winter with heat on, without really giving it much thought (see my threads "Eco April" and on replacement tyres for an impression of my driving style, or lack thereof).

The overall charge times you quite are not quite true either. If you did about 65 miles with no charge in the summer you could expect around 20-30 miles left of range. That would give maybe two or three "bars" left, and cut down your charging time as you're not going from flat. In fact it's a rare thing indeed to charge from flat I find. You'll likely trim maybe and hour or two off the overall charge time.

Have you borrowed a LEAF and given it a go? Might be the best option, Nissan offer 24 hour drives.
 

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If you can live with 60 mph for longer trips it does increase your range in the Leaf. Often it is impossible to go this fast anyway due to roadworks etc

Sounds like heat is important to you. So important you go for the current model of leaf for the vacuum heat pump, but not the Visia which is the basic trim....this does not have it. The vacuum heat pump means very little loss in range for heating the car and is virtually instant I am told.

Be very careful to specify the optional upgrade to the onboard charger AS WELL as and different to the rapid charging port. The 7kw upgrade means you can charge 30 miles range in an hour at type 2 posts. Your round trip is 130 miles. Should be able to get the extra charge needed in 2 hours or less if you drive with care.

Check all maps....none of them have all chargers. Open Charge Maps, Zap Map, Elecric Highway.

New charging posts are being installed all the time.

Remember the zero net posts. No card needed, and as a customer...having dinner for instance...you can phone ahead and make sure it will be available for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Back in May Cobham services on the M25 was mentioned. This does now have two rapid chargers in place. It is a single service site, meaning that you can visit it, and then return the way you came.

Diverting off the A3 will, according to my Tom Tom, add 5 miles to your 65 mile journey. A five miles detour, once a fortnight, to pick up a (currently) free rapid charger is not really a problem, in EV travel terms. Much shorter time than charging at a 'fast charger' in Kingston, and far better and cheaper than borrowing an ICE car!
That sounds very reasonable. I looked on Zap-Map and OpenChargeMap and neither of them seem to list Cobham services. As Steve says, you need to check Electric Highway too, which I didn't know about. Thanks Steve. As it happens I often go through Cobham anyway.

Does anyone know how busy those chargers are? If I go there on a random Saturday what is the chance I will be able to rapid charge? Again, in Japan you can get live occupancy data and stats showing the occupancy rate at different times of the day/week, but there doesn't seem to be anything like that here.

I noticed that the Bentall Centre in Kingston has just added three charging bays. Fantastic, I thought, except that they all appear to be 13A sockets so not that helpful. I suffer from chronic fatigue so I won't be spending more than about four hours parked there, and the Leaf is attractive because it is so easy to drive (I currently have a manual petrol engine). If they had just installed 7kW chargers I could easily do this. I suppose I could look at ways to extend my time there to say six hours, but that's a lot for me.
 

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On the other hand, we've just travelled from Milton Keynes to the New Forest in our Nissan Leaf. Despite a slightly hair-raising couple of miles on '---' range, we made it.
Although not a Leaf owner, I found the Fully Charged episode interesting in which Bob tested the Leaf battery to exhaustion...and it was quite a few miles after 0 indicated.

May be reassuring in an emergency but I wouldn't rely on it....hence why I went for an EREV. However, I regularly ask places I visit if I can have access to their 3 pin plug (and I carry a beefy extension cable). All a toe in the water for when I finally go fully electric.
 

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On the other hand, we've just travelled from Milton Keynes to the New Forest in our Nissan Leaf. Despite a slightly hair-raising couple of miles on '---' range, we made it.

They key is to recharge often and have backup plans for when your preferred charge point is free. That way you'll be fine.
We went to the New Forest in our LEAF (and back) with the family. Three rapid charges on the way down was a bit OTT but very easy, two on the way back was perfect, got home with over 20 miles range to spare.
 
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