Living with an electric car should be easy for customers who love planning out their lives and enjoy a pretty consistent routine. However, until there are multiple rapid chargers in every municipal car park, or a reliable 400-mile range on a full charge, using one daily for business transport could be a challenge.
It’s still early days with our Nissan Leaf, and our confidence in its abilities is still growing. Daily commutes to the office have been a breeze, as we detailed last issue. However, for a recent round trip to Luton from Peterborough – a total distance of about 140 miles – I bottled it.
It was a last-minute decision, mind. I had started with a sense of challenge, knowing that the Leaf would only need one rapid charge once my meeting was over to get me home again. So I scanned the internet – Zap-Map and Ecotricity gave me locations of charging points near Luton. However, none appeared to be public rapid chargers, and some seemed hard to access – one was at a local college, another at a rival carmaker.
Recalling that Nissan pledged its dealers would provide charging to Leaf owners, I searched for one close to my route home from Luton, and made contact via its Live Chat service.
A short while later, the dealership phoned me to say yes, I was welcome to call in and charge the Leaf. It’s a plan, I thought, and told them I would be there about 4pm. Ah, responded the caller, who explained it only had a 3kw charger, so a full charge would be impossible. However, as the dealership was open until 7pm I was welcome to wait with a free coffee and get a few hours’ charge into it.
More helpfully, the dealership did point out that Baldock services on the A1 had a rapid charger. But by this point I was losing confidence, and when further Googling revealed there is no single charging operator and I needed to download an app, I backed down and went for diesel power instead. Range anxiety… it is a confidence thing.