By The Time I Bought My Lunch The Car Was Charged

Rapid charging

One of the concerns about owning an EV is what happens if an unexpected trip comes up and the car isn’t charged.

I’m 4 months into 30kW Leaf ownership now. My daily use as a driving instructor works well starting each day with a full battery and charging for an hour at lunch time on the 5.5kWh public charging post I use. Usually finish the day with about 30% battery.

In the last 2 weeks my father has been taken ill and ended up in hospital a couple of times resulting in unexpected 100 mile round trips to visit my parents. I also had a holiday which involved a 160 mile trip each way. On the way home I had to divert to my parents house adding A few more miles to my journey.

Because my concerns were more with my Father I didn’t really think about range or charging. You get to know how far your car goes and where all the charging points are on regular journeys.

By the time I’d bought my lunch the car was charged (Veggie Pasty of course)

On the long trip for a short holiday I’d planned stops to charge on route. In reality those were convenient stops anyway as I needed to use the toilet and/or I needed coffee and/or food. The rapid chargers are fast and usually by the time I’d bought a coffee the battery was nearly full.

My trip was from home in Southsea to Devon. On the way home one particularly pleasant stop was at Thruxton race track next to the A303 where they have a Genie Point rapid charger next to the Jackaroo Cafe. A nice place to sit in the sun with some lunch while the car charges. Something I simply wouldn’t have done in an ICE car. I’d probably have had an overpriced sandwich and coffee at roadside services.

There was one interesting encounter with some chap aggressively shouting at me at an Ecotricity charging point “what’s the point of those the electricity has to come from somewhere” My response of “windmills” just made him shout the same thing louder a couple of times. I watched him drag his knuckles along the floor to his diesel car.

With both long and unexpected journeys I simply got on and drove the Leaf, I’m really enjoying EV ownership.

Recharging Point Made

EV charging sign

At last the urban charging bay is complete. There is a now little plate by the charging space I use saying “Electric vehicle recharging point only” this little piece of metal means ICE cars will get a ticket if they block the space. Portsmouth Council have confirmed this in an email so I shall report ICEing using the myPortsmouth app.

I feel a bit bad reporting ICE cars, however, on reflection, if I went with a number of other drivers and parked by all the pumps at a petrol station leaving our cars there for a few days the consequences would probably be worse than a parking ticket. I guess our cars would be towed away and the police might be talking to us.

urban ev charging
Urban Charging

The consequences for an electric instructor not being able to charge is lost money, damaged reputation and the possibility a pupil might not be able to do a test.

The final stage of Portsmouth’s urban charging scheme being effective is enforcement. It will get the message out there that bays are for charging. Especially as there seems to be a bit of hostility out there towards EVs and angry objectors will block the bays if they can. As you would guess I don’t understand the anger towards electric vehicles. They’re not badly affecting other people’s lives in any way and are benefitting them with zero emissions from a vehicle in their city.

I’m looking forward to being able to plug in when work is finished without having to go to the rapid charger for 40 minutes. Point made.

Urban Baywatch

I’m becoming obsessed with a parking bay! The one I use to charge with the new Ubitricity charging points in Portsmouth. There’s a problem in so much as it’s not quite an EV charging bay yet.

Diesel Van Electric Bay

Just over two months into Nissan Leaf ownership and it’s fabulous. The car is smooth, quiet, fast and the running costs are about 15% of putting petrol in my previous Toyota Auris Hybrid. There’s no way I’d want to go back to an ICE car. Being an early adopter of running EV on public charging in Portsmouth has brought it’s frustrations though. I will say mainly caused by ICE cars but also because Portsmouth City Council seem to have fallen apart completing the on street charging project.

There was the media launch for the charging points on the 8th March and over the next couple of weeks the roadside charging points were installed. However, the parking bays weren’t marked out so, predictably, ICE cars continued to park by the charge points. After a few days frustration at not being able to charge I chased the council, made a fuss on social media and got answers, more like excuses really, resulting in confirmation the bays would be painted and finished between 23rd and 26th April.

initially the lettering “ELECTRIC VEHS” was painted haphazardly across what would be considered 2 parking bays with no lines to show the front and back of the bay near where I live . Needless to say the area near the charge post was ICE’d regularly. One particular car makes a habit of parking with the charging post half way along their car and so near that even if I can get close it’s difficult to plug in. This was the reply I received from the Parking Department when I reported it through the myPortsmouth app.

Hi

Thank you for your email regarding an Electric Charging Bay.

Unfortunately these bays are not enforceable until there is a plate next to the bay and the bay is completely painted.

Kind Regards”

This prompted me to send more emails to contacts I’ve built up and also to the councillor who chairs the Transport Committee. She has chased up somebody else and I received the answer that the bays will be correctly marked and enforceable within the next couple of weeks.

The charge point is behind the black car

It’s a shame such a good scheme is initially ruined by bad planning and organisation in the road signs and markings department in Portsmouth City Council. If EV owners cannot get to the bays to charge then they won’t charge and the critics of the scheme will use this to say it’s not working and potential EV owners will be put off buying a car seeing bays being ICE’d.

Would I go back to an ICE car because of these frustrations? Not at all. I’m an early user of the scheme and councils are not renowned for their efficient bureaucracy. I’m optimistic it will get sorted. My frustrations are almost entirely caused by selfish ICE car drivers ignoring the markings on the bay. The further frustration is the failings in the councils bureaucracy and planning but as soon as the bays are correctly marked tickets will be issued and the message will get out not to block the EV charging bays.

It’s Electric and Automatic

I,ve been teaching in automatic cars since 2006 and moving to the Nissan Leaf electric car I find it has much in common with my previous automatics. Learners notice no difference in driving it and lessons are the same as in a fossil fuelled car, except for the wonderful smooth silence you get with electric cars.

Electric cars are automatic, aren’t they?

The Leaf has things you’d expect from any automatic car. On the drive selector there’s Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive as you would find in any automatic car. Selecting Drive or Reverse makes the car creep along when you release the footbrake. So no rolling back on hills or having to master clutch control as you would in a manual car. Hill starts are a thing of the past.

Conventional Behaviour

Electric cars behave just like a conventional automatic car. They are designed this way for familiarity, however, electric cars have no gearbox. Yes, you heard correctly, no gearbox. Electric motors are so powerful they’re connected directly to the car’s wheels. An electric motor will deliver full power the moment it’s turned on. Unlike a piston engine that sucks in air and fuel, ignites it to make a small explosion, coughs out fumes to build up to full power. It then peaks and needs another gear to continue.

With no gearbox in an electric vehicle there’s no need to manufacture a manual electric car. The instant power of an electric motor makes the car quick to move from a standstill. Electric motors are reasonably simple devices and only have one moving part compared to a fossil fuelled engine and gearbox with about 800 moving parts plus oil and coolant. Consequently there’s little to maintain on an electric car.

Automatic driving lessons in the Nissan Leaf are much like any other automatic lessons. The car, while behaving like any other automatic, is an elegantly simple piece of engineering.

Electric Driving Test Passes

Electric Driving Test Pass 1
Shannon the first electric pass

This week has sen the first two tests in the Electric Instructor Nissan Leaf at the Portsmouth Driving Test Centre. Both were passes.

First Time Pass

The first test was Shannon who passed first time after four months of weekly lessons. She was looking forward to the weekend when she could go car shopping.

Second Pass

Electric Instructor test pass 2
Erin the second electric pass

Erin took her test a couple of days later and passed with only one driving fault. Beating test day nerves she was looking forward to a drive in her Mum’s brand new car when it’s delivered.

For me as an instructor the Leaf is doing it’s job well. It’s all quite normal and yet so much better. The car is quiet and smooth making lessons a very calm experience.

Congratulations to Shannon and Erin. Enjoy safe driving and your new found freedom.

Electric Instructor visits Air Ambulance

Electric instructor and helicopter
SDIA Members with the HIOWAA helicopter

Last weekend, along with other members of our local instructor association, I visited the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance base at the Thruxton race track in Hampshire. Our association, SDIA, are raising money for the air ambulance and they kindly offered to show us around.

EV Journey

The journey was a round trip of 108 miles from home in Southsea, Portsmouth. Being entirely on motorways and fast dual carriageways the Leaf could have made it there and back without charging if I’d been prepared to arrive home almost empty. This is where range anxiety starts. I wanted to enjoy the drive without a constant mentality of driving to save miles at the end of the journey. Owning an electric car doesn’t have to be like this. So I was going to enjoy the drive at normal motorway speeds using the cruise control as I would in any other car. 

A look at Zap Map showed rapid chargers on the way. With a short diversion Southampton M27 services has Ecotricity chargers. Sutton Scotney services n the A34 and a Genie Point at Thruxton itself. Then checking out PlugShare revealed new Genie Point chargers at Weyhill services on the A303 near Thruxton.

The easiest thing to do was to get to Thruxton and use the rapid charger in the car park. Initially I didn’t want to do this even though it’s the most sensible option because Genie Point charge a £1 connection fee on top of the 30p kW for the charge. This extra pound makes the electricity more expensive for half a battery full, it took 14kW. Then I had a talk to myself and told myself that even with the connection fee the cost of fuel is still a fraction of that I was paying for petrol. Running an EV can make you stingy.

I went for the easy option and used the Genie Point rapid at Thruxton. There was a small second box there as well with 2 type 2 connectors for slower charging. By the time I’d said hello to fellow SDIA members my battery was full. So I disconnected and we were taken to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance base at the aerodrome in the middle of the race circuit.

Air Ambulance

Members of SDIA have embraced fund raising for the Air Ambulance with a lot of enthusiasm. From our visit it’s easy to see why. Our goal is to raise £7,500 in 2019 which is half of a day’s running costs. The Air Ambulance is an essential service for Hampshire which is funded entirely by charitable donations.

Before we started raising money for the service I thought the Air Ambulance was simply a helicopter that got people to hospital quickly, they are so much more than that. They are teams of paramedics trained to a higher level than ambulance paramedics along with A and E consultants. These teams respond quickly travelling to where they are needed using the helicopter and two cars. It’s like taking an A and E department to the scene.

HIOWAA Helicopter in actionThe helicopter is equipped with a stretcher and can take patients quickly to hospital. A life saver from remote rural areas which can’t be accessed by ambulances. It’s also a vital service for the Isle of Wight where they rely on trauma centres on the mainland and where a slow ferry trip is out of the question. It’s  able to land in a an area the size of a tennis court and capable of night flight. Space is cleverly used with seating for the medical team around a stretcher that rotates and pulls out of the side door.

HIOWAA training room Training is important to the Air Ambulance crew. We were shown a room with a dummy laying in the middle of the floor and projectors hanging from the ceiling. The room can simulate different situations for training, such as a noisy night club or building site, by projecting onto all four walls.

I’m pleased to be part of the SDIA fund raising effort this year helping to keep this vital service operating. We have lots of events happening. Myself and two other SDIA members, Tanya and Peter, are doing a 5K run at Eastleigh Airport on the runway. After entering I wondered what they did with the aeroplanes. Then it was pointed out to me the run is at 4:00am!!!

It was a pleasant day catching up with fellow SDIA members and motivating us to raise more money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. The journey was pleasant in the Leaf. Electric cars are so quiet and smooth it makes motorway journeys a pleasure. Charging isn’t an issue and keeping the car charged is easy and convenient. Yes, charging an electric car is convenient. The public charging infrastructure is constantly improving making running an EV on long trips easy.

The Day Portsmouth Launched on Street Charging

Electric Instructor Charging Nissan Leaf

The on street chargers in Portsmouth are being installed. It resulted in me attending a launch for the media at the first charge point installed as well as being interviewed on the radio.

Lamp Posts Charge Cars

This is really good news the charge points are going in. The one across the road from me is still two green paint marks on the kerb with red paint marks on the pavement and lamp post, it should be installed over the next week.

The first of the 37 has been installed and Portsmouth City Council arranged a media launch with council employees, the councillor and representatives of Ubitricity involved in the project attending. Oh, and yours truly had an invite. As a result of this invite I also had an invite to do an interview on the Julian Clegg breakfast show on BBC Radio Solent the same day.

On the Radio

Electric Instructor at BBC Portsmouth
My Radio Moment at BBC Portsmouth

My day began with a visit to the BBC Portsmouth studio in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth’s dockside shopping and entertainment destination. I left the Leaf in the underground car park connected to a Polar destination charger and went to the studio. It’s above a row of restaurants with a glass front facing out towards the busy entrance to the port. There was a room to one side where I sat in front of a microphone with headphones on linked to the Southampton studio. Then I was live on air. It was a unique experience. Every time Julian asked a question I had a moment when my inner voice said “oh no I have to say something sensible”. Despite this it all went well.

First Charge Point Installed

Electric Instructor Portsmouth EV Charging
From left to right: James Everley (ubitricity), Hayley Chivers (Portsmouth City Council), Glen Arnold (resident) Colin Martin (resident), Alexi Stone-Peters (ubitricity) and Cllr Lynne Stagg (Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transport).

Then later the same day to the media launch at the first roadside charging point. The key people who have made this happen were there. It was a proud moment for all involved. I was interviewed by Portsmouth CouncilPortsmouth News and the local BBC TV crew which involved me being on BBC South Today news reports the following Tuesday. They filmed me arriving and driving into the charging space with my driving school roof box on the car. Another inner voice moment “no pressure, don’t hit the kerb”.

Building Charging Infrastructure

These charging points are a significant statement of intent by Portsmouth that it recognises the future is in electric vehicles. If people want to live, work and use cars and vans in a city like Portsmouth where off street parking is rare, a charging infrastructure has to be built.

The solution is elegant. Sockets in lamp posts. If the lamp post is to the back of the pavement small roadside posts are installed by the kerb and wired to the lamp post under the pavement. They’re easily used by scanning a QR code on a plate on the street lamp or by plugging in a special Smart Cable bought from Ubitricity. Using the smart cable means Ubitricity recognise the cable for billing so charging starts immediately and the electricity is priced at a lower rate. Scanning the QR code requires payment details to be entered on your phone. Updating to LED street lamps makes this all possible as there is spare capacity in the infrastructure to charge cars because the LED lights consume a lot less electricity.

Early Adopter

Electric cars have been with us a few years now so I wouldn’t consider myself an early adopter of the technology. The cars and vans that are about to be launched show the car manufacturers commitment to an electric future with a lot of longer range more mainstream models. I do, however, consider myself an early adopter of an electric car, in an urban environment, without permanent off street parking, an emerging public charging network and using it for driver training.

Doing a reasonably high mileage these charge points will make a big difference to my life as an EV owner. For nearly a month now I’ve had to rely on the single rapid charger in the city and sit in the car while it charges for 30 to 40 minutes daily. Returning home and connecting to an overnight charge will make my Leaf as convenient as using a fossil fuelled car, probably more so. The roadside chargers are the reason I bought the Leaf and I’d like to congratulate Portsmouth City Council for the initiative and hope this is the beginning of an EV future for the residents of Portsmouth and Southsea.

The Cost of Electricity for an EV

Free EV charging
Free Charging at Ocean Retail Park

Two weeks of running my 30kW Nissan Leaf as a driving school car I’ve got a reasonable idea of the cost of electricity for an EV. I’m using public charging and relying mainly on rapid charging until the roadside chargers are installed by Portsmouth City Council. While a lot of my motivation to run an EV is environmental there has to be a cost saving to make it worthwhile.

In the first two weeks of ownership I’ve done a 137 mile Journey on motorways and dual carriageway, a few local trips with a majority of use being driving lessons. There were two rapid charges on the long trip which were high priced electricity and the rest using Polar chargers in the city.

Electricity Costs

  • Polar £13.55
  • Ecotricity £3.66
  • Genie Point £7.28
  • Total £24.49
  • Total Miles 623
  • Pence per mile 3.93

The Ecotricity and Genie Point were relatively expensive single charges at 30p per kWh for the Ecotricity and 20.945p per kWh for the Genie Point with an additional £1.00 connection charge. They were, however, based on main highways and an essential facility for a long drive. The Polar charger is a local rapid and this is multiple charges at 10.8p per kWh.

As a comparison with a car doing 50 miles per gallon, 50 miles of electricity has cost £1.96 comparing with a Gallon of petrol currently about £5.40. Or looking at it another way it’s equivalent to 137 miles a gallon. A significant saving even relying on the public charging network. If you have off street parking and an economy 7 electricity tariff these costs could be even less.

All of the energy used has been from green sources according to the suppliers websites which means that total emissions for the 623 miles has been zero. A very small contribution to help slow climate change and improve the air quality in Portsmouth and Southsea.

Free Fuel

Since I compiled these figures I’ve also used a couple of destination chargers. These are slower chargers based at retail destinations. One at Ocean Retail Park in Portsmouth where I spent half an hour in the shops and plugged the car in resulting in 15 miles of free fuel. The second at West Quays in Southampton. A shopping trip to Ikea resulted in a few hours parking. Plugging into the free charger took the battery from 55% to 98% and parking cost £3.20 which I would have paid for in a fossil fuelled car anyway.

I’m presuming these chargers are free as an incentive to attract people to shop there. Whether we have to pay for them in the future remains to be seen. The charging units at West Quays are very simple with a mechanical on and off switch rather than starting with an app or contactless card. They would all need upgrading to be able to charge for electricity.

Even relying on public charging I can see the Leaf is going to be significantly less expensive to run than a fossil fuelled car over an annual 20,000 miles. The  roadside charging points Portsmouth City Council are installing will make life a lot more convenient than using the rapid charger. Slower lower rate charging will be kinder to the battery long term as well.

A Week of Electric Lessons

It’s been an interesting first week of teaching in my Nissan Leaf electric car. Learners really like driving it and it brings up some interesting thoughts about teaching in EVs and what effect they will have on our roads.

When first encountering the MK1 Leaf Learners are impressed with it’s slightly whacky looks and the high specification interior, it’s the higher Tekna specification with a full leather interior. Turning it on brings up the space age display with lot’s of information about charge and range not seen before in a car and it sings a little tune. The speedo is a large numeric one so easily seen once it’s pointed out. Having come from a hybrid car, my learners are used to silence when pressing the power switch. I don’t really consider it a start button when a motor doesn’t start.

Quick and Quiet

The two things that immediately impress in an EV are the lack of noise and the immediate delivery of power from the electric motor. Learners notice the quietness which makes it a relaxed learning environment, especially for the more nervous pupils. They also notice the immediate delivery of power, some of them like it too much.

Electric motors deliver their maximum power the moment they are turned on unlike internal combustion engines that build up to maximum power sucking in  and exploding fuel then progressing through gears. Even in Eco Mode the Leaf is quick to accelerate at urban speeds. 30MPH seems to be reached instantaneously.

Learning in an EV

Learners are driving with low end acceleration in EVs that was only expected in powerful fossil fuelled cars. As driving instructors (I really don’t like the word instructor, so old fashioned, we train and coach now) we have to train learners to deal with the instant power of an electric motor by encouraging more gentle use of the accelerator, especially when moving off.

They need to understand the expectations of the motorists around them and plan for it. The way a learner in an EV drives is different to a learner in a manual fossil fuelled car. Most motorists pulling up in the right hand lane at traffic lights probably expect to pull away ahead of “the learner” and get in front of them. It’s a bad attitude around a vulnerable road user but common. Little do they expect to see the driving school car disappear into the distance before they’ve got their clutch to bite. We need to consider the possible responses of drivers around us.

An EV is so smooth and quiet the sensation of speed can be lost. Both the learner and Instructor need to monitoring the speedo more thoroughly. Over the years I’ve developed an instinct to know roughly how fast a car is going without looking at the speedo. Even in the Hybrid cars where engine noise was minimal and often not directly related to the speed of the car. As instructors we sense the noises and vibrations. EVs have no noise or vibration from the motor, it’s a different training experience.

Within 5 minutes of driving my Leaf from the dealer I knew there was no way I’d go back to a fossil fuelled car. Teaching in the EV is so much better and pupils love the experience as well. I guess I am Electric Instructor now.

 

Ready to Fight Range Anxiety

It’s the one big factor most people are concerned about when they think about running an electric car, Range Anxiety. Facing a trip which is longer than my battery range in the first day of Owning my Nissan Leaf I was about to meet Range Anxiety head on.

I’d picked up my Leaf the previous evening. While still waiting for the slow charging roadside points to be installed in a few weeks by Portsmouth City Council, I’m going to be relying on the city’s only rapid charger at the Isle of Wight ferry port to charge the battery. I’d visited it the evening I picked the car up to fill the battery before my trip.

Before becoming an EV owner I was always of the opinion that I’d never run a petrol car ignoring the petrol gauge causing me to run out of petrol in the middle of the road so why should electricity be any different. The car provides plenty of inormation about the battery usage and range. Zap Map has lots of information about charge points for a journey. I was ready to face Range Anxiety head on.

 

First Big EV Trip

The trip was from Southsea in Portsmouth to Guildford to have the dual brake fitted to prepare the Leaf for teaching. On the way there I was detouring to Basingstoke to visit my parents. An estimated trip of 131 miles with a realistic fully charged battery range of 110 miles. I’d studied Zap Map and knew where rapid chargers are along the route.

After the previous evenings rapid charge I started out with 94% battery and an estimated 114 miles on the Estimated Range Meter, known as the Guessometer, or  GOM. Getting in the car and turning it on  produces instant heat to demist and warm the car on a chilly February morning. Already I can see an advantage of the roadside charging points when they’re installed. The battery will be charged to 100% and the car can be demisted and warmed up using the timer before I get in.

First Rapid Charge with Ecotricity

The first leg of my journey to Basingstoke along the M27 and up the M3 taking me past the services at Winchester where there is rapid charging. I arrived there having done 36.9 miles leaving 49% battery with an estimated range of 59 miles. I didn’t really need to stop at this point as I would have passed Fleet services on the M3 after visiting my parents. With hindsight, a wonderful thing, a stop at Fleet would have been the best thing to do. Charging an emptier battery would have meant I would have only stopped for one charge in the whole journey.

An objective of the day was to learn about using rapid chargers making the stop at Winchester a useful one anyway. Confronted with an Ecotricity pump, part of the Electric Highway, I was pleased I’d already registered with Ecotricity and downloaded the app. It was simple to charge. I read a QR code on the pump with the app and instructions on the pump screen walked me through the process.

Rapid charging gets a lot of electricity into the car in a very quick time. If you can get your mind around it. The charger is charging at 50kW/h. Thats the power consumed by about  17 electric kettles. It charges very quickly up to 90% in the Leaf then the car reduces the charge rate to be nice to the battery. The last 10% would take a lot longer to fill so I left Winchester with 90% battery and an estimated 89 miles range and approximately 94 miles to do.

In Basingstoke Mum made me a cup of tea then I took my elderly parents for a ride in the Leaf. They thought they were in some sort of a spaceship.

Lunch Time and Dual Pedal Installed

On to Guildford where the dual pedal was fitted by Clive of Trade Vehicle Modifications. while I grabbed some lunch at a cafe nearby. The journey so far to Guildford from home was 86.2 miles. I could have got to here without a charge. As I drove away from Trade Vehicle Modifications I noticed a Shell garage at the end of the road with a banner inviting in EV drivers as they had a rapid charger. Hindsight again, I could have got to here without stopping then charged once to get home. It’s all a learning experience.

I left Guildford with the remains of my charge from Winchester, a battery level of 41% with 52 estimated miles. Not quite enough to get home so another quick charge would be needed. Then a few miles down the A3  I saw a signpost saying 38 miles to Portsmouth. I looked at the GOM to see 39 miles left. Could this be Range Anxiety about to raise it’s head. There was a moments thought that there were only two possible Rapid chargers on the route home hopefully without faults. I concede, a moment of Range Anxiety.

Genie Point Rapid Charge

At Liphook services there is only a charger in the northbound services and I was heading south. An easy drive off of the next exit past the services and heading north got me to the Genie Point rapid charger in a Starbucks car park. I’d travelled 104 miles with a battery at 22%, 29 miles on the GOM.

As with Ecotricity I’d already registered with Genie Point. They use a login on their website to get the charge started rather than an app. There was a few minutes of head scratching as the charge wouldn’t start. Then I realised the account needs a prepayment so I had to top up my account. Once done the car charged quickly. It was a lovely unusually warm day for February. With no facility to plug the car in overnight when I got home I decided to bask in the sun and charge to nearly full so I had enough juice to last the next day as well. I spent the time wisely with the Leaf’s manual working out the cars systems.

I took the charge to 100% in in 41 minutes. Total electricity from the charger 20.58kw, two thirds of the 30kW battery. The estimated range was 126 miles. I happily drove home with the Eco Mode button off enjoying the silence and power of an electric motor. Arrived home with 70% battery and 92 miles range left. Total miles travelled 137.2. All of the journey was made using renewable energy and while the rapid charger electricity is expensive for electricity its significantly less expensive than petrol.

What Have I learnt?

What conclusions can be drawn from my first long journey in the Leaf? When I can charge overnight using the relatively slow 5kW charger Portsmouth Council are installing in the street the car will be be preheated while connected to the power and will start off with 100% battery giving a useful few miles extra. It will also mean the last rapid charge on route can be shorter because the car will plug in when it gets home.

Did I suffer range anxiety? With a bit of better planning this would have been a one stop journey rather than stopping for a charge at the first opportunity, mild Range Anxiety maybe. Even in a petrol car I would have stopped at some point on a journey this long for 20 minutes. As a driver trainer I would say that after two hours of driving any driver should stop and take a break. On that basis there’s not much difference between using Leaf compared to a fossil fuelled car. Getting used to a new way of fuelling a car can cause it’s moment of Range Anxiety. However, once I got used to it and was travelling in a very quiet car with instant power at the push of the accelerator I realised there’s no going back to fossil fuelled cars.