Time to Read: 5 minutes, 36 seconds

Taking an electric vehicle on Holiday

14 Dec 2019 Share:  
Taking an electric vehicle on Holiday

Time to read: 5 minutes, 36 seconds

Current Full Electronic Vehicles are equiped with Rapid charge connectors and many gasstations on highways now have multiple connectors availble with diffrent charging speeds. Although this sound great. It still is a challenge to plan your trip correctly if you go further than the range one battery charge can handle and plan the most efficient and safe route with as little as possble downtimme on the charging points. Although for Tesla there is a good 120kW DC Supercharger network and older Tesla's models like he Model S have Free Charging for Life on this network. For other brands like the Nissan Leaf EV 2018 I drive this is not the case you have rely on public charge stations. On every vehicle there are diffrent Nominal ranges you can drive on one battery charge and also diffrent speeds you are able to recharge on. For the Nissan Leaf 2018 it's possible to charge 2.2kW on 220V at home without a charging station, 3kW and 6kW on a regular public charging station near Shops, City Centers and local tank stations and at highways the maximum charing speed is 50kW for this car. The range from full to empty should be 255km depending on driving style, Airco use and velocity. The Nissan EV app gives a good estimate on the remaining driving range on the battery level. Also the dashboard of the car gives a good estimate on this aswell. But on every EV its safer to keep in mind that 1kW = 5KM driving distance.

Charging on 50kW what does that mean?

It means the speed the battery is getting refilled. Effectively this is not entirely accurate. It seems many charing stations say 50kW but only offer a recharing speed around 43kW. Fastned gives a good explaination how fast charging works and how it effects your battery life.

Safe plan for recharging on a long trip

So with a simple calculation Nissan Leaf EV 2018 battery of 40KW capacity should recharge on 50kW. 50kW / 60min 40kW = 34 minutes. Sadly the last 10% of the battery recharges almost just as long as recharing from 70-90%. So its not really effective if you want to save time on charging to full every time. Not charging this extra 10% means 20 KM less Nominal range. Also keeping a safe range as spare in your battery in case the charger is unavailable due it's broken, turned of, removed or you simply missed it by taking a wrong turn or missed on 1-way direction on the highway. If you never been on that location before you cannot take a chance to assume this charger is actually there. So taking a safe range of 40KM = 20% battery on the Nissan Leaf as spare and the 10% you do not charge above 90% to save valuable time. It's 70% of the battery you can effectively use. Meaning 40kW 70% = 28 kW = 140 KM range before needing to recharge. 43kW/60min*28kW = 21 minutes. But it seems in France CHAdeMO just charges much slower than that and it took me 45 minutes each time to recharge the 28kW. Effectively 2 minutes to charge 1kW.

Routeplan "A Better Routeplanner - Trip"

My planned trip was a trip of 728 KM and should have been 728KM / 140 KM = 5 stops to recharge. From The Netherlands to the Center of France. Best way to plan this in Europe is to use A Better Routeplanner. For Tesla the site offers an app on the cars navigation system. But for the Nissan Leaf this is not possible. Also, there is no App for Android or iPhone and this disables the possibility to fluently navigate. Also you have to keep it open on a regular browser on your phone for on route planning purposes. Since I wanted to use the navigation system of the Car itself. So, I had to re-program the locations I want to stop at and as Aires (rest locations on French Highways) cannot be chosen as a destination in the navigation system, this was a bit of a pickle.

First stop Belgium! Good looking chargers, nice display with touch screen in dutch and self-explaining location to position your card.

Charger Belgium "Chargers in Belgium"

As said also in Belgium the chargers with CHAdeMO cable do 1kW every 2 minutes on the Nissan Leaf. The cable needs to be locked to the car by a slider that needs to be pushed down. In France this is the complete opposite. In France the cable connects and needs to be unlocked by a slider pushed down. So For me this was quite confusing and at the first stop in France I thought the chargestation was broken and used a slower charge cable. But on the next station it became clear the cable clicked on and locked directly and the slider released it. So I already lost time on charing in the first stop in France on a slower charge with Type2 cable.

Type2 "Type2 Charger"

Since Fast Chargers use a generator to perform faster charging. In France it happens that the generator can be broken or not active and then the station only offer slower charging possibilities. This means either to charge enough to go to the next station or just take a longer stop. Choose a long stop means 4-6 hours what is not very acceptable on a long journey! My mistake was to panic and take a few trips away from the Highway to a few fastcharger at IKEA's and even a 20KM drive from the Highway to a Station that got removed! So my advice is to stop a few times more, and keep on-route to prevent D-Tours! Only use the IKEA shops as a backup location as they do have 50kW chargers. But everyone can operate these, so you have to stay near the car to prevent someone that stops your charge session. This happend to me twice!

IKEA "IKEA Chargers" IKEA2 "IKEA Restaurant"

Eventually the trip of 728KM took me 20 hours! This is totally unacceptable as the planner told me the trip should take me 11 hours. That is 3:30 charging and 7:28 driving. But due to D-Tours and charge stations that took twice the time to charge the battery and charge stations not offering fast charging at all. So even if you get enough time to rest it is a long and exhausting trip! Better get enough coffee on the way and just relax!

Charger France "French Chargers" Coffee "Coffee" Notification "Notification"

Tip: Try to stop a few times more and it seems that all Total stations in France on the Peage Highways have Charges that actually work! So for the trip back I will surely keep a lookout on stopping on those stations.

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