One year later… and has it gotten any easier ?
Even though there was not as much of a difference as we had hoped, there has been progress. Especially in the Netherlands, where there is a well developed network of rapid (and non-rapid) chargers. There’s no more “range-anxiety”, even on trips near or beyond the car’s range, since you know you’ve always got a way of getting home. As a result we’ve seen quite a few other electric cars on the road! A big thanks to “The New Motion”, for giving us our RFID card that gave access to all the chargers on their network, and on the other networks. And we’re also grateful to the ANWB, who were all the same one of the first to install rapid chargers in handy locations.
In the UK, there’s the “Charge Your Car” network, which has expanded quite a bit since last year. Unfortunately there are several networks in the UK, and all need their own RFID cards. There’s no interoperability between them. Because of this we weren’t able to make a planned detour through the west of Scotland. There were charge points, but we simply didn’t have the right card. 🙁
In France there has been some progress, but it is slow. The Nissan rapid chargers at the IKEA stores are an excellent idea. They are well situated along major roads, and they cover most of France. We’ve used them twice on this journey. Apart from that there’s Leclerc and Auchan supermarkets that have installed charge points, and there’s quite a few public car parks that have now got sockets (usually in the train station parkings). What is lacking in France is an association or company that manages a “network” of chargepoints, and paiement etc.
We even hope that one day, all this will work accross Europe! Currently you need quite a collection of RFID cards to get around…
We’ve also noticed a lot of progress in the on-board navigation system in the LEAF. The chargepoint information now seems up-to-date (which was definitely not the case last year), and we were able to completely rely on it for our journeys, without needing to plan too much ahead.
For the trip itself, we’ve decided we much prefer the relaxed way of travelling, where we take minor roads, and visit places while the car charges. Even though this does mean you don’t get anywhere fast, and you do feel you’re travelling all the time. The initial idea of doing Paris->Rotterdam all by motorway, driving from rapid charger to rapid charger, is much more stressfull and not as enjoyable. But you need to have the time for this, and that’s not for every year… 😉
To end this post, after 2 years and 30.000kms we’re still very pleased with the car! Here she is in Scotland!
And in France…