My Leaf arrived on Tuesday. I went for a drive, parked up to set the radio and figure out the other important gadgets and immediately had someone knock on the window wanting to know about the car! Once Chris was home we went out for a drive together and I treated her to a visit to Aldi so as to try out the free PodPoint charger. I had already installed their app so it was simple enough to use - but the time we spent there wasn't long enough to fully re-charge, so once home I parked up in the garage (we had spent the weekend creating space) and plugged into the ordinary socket - I needed it fully charged for Wednesday.
Wednesday was to be the first big adventure - a journey to Bolton to see parents, then to Manchester for City's match and then home again late at night. The M6 was busy and very wet. A good opportunity to play with the cruise control and watch the battery. I arrived in Bolton with 30 miles of charge still left and headed for a car park where it was advertised that there were chargers - they were there but CYC's app wouldn't work and the telephone number provided was constantly busy. I had also begun to realise that the charger was a 7kw one and that even if I managed to connect it would take too long to charge. So decided to head for the nearest advertised rapid charger at Rivington Southbound Services - the problem is I had to go north first, at which point I realised that I would be better going to Nissan in Chorley - Nissan provide free charging for all their vehicles. There I found a rapid charger, but I couldn't get it to work until someone came out from reception to help me. Once I had 75% charge I decided I had to go - I was already a couple of hours late for getting to my parents and I wanted to spend some time with them. So I disconnected the charger and thought I better just have another try at connecting it myself where I still found I couldn't get it to work - reception were busy, it was getting late - so I headed off worried about whether I had a problem with my rapid charger connection.
Leaving Bolton for Manchester, I knew I had enough charge to get to my usual parking spot - the worry was what I would then do if I couldn't get the rapid chargers I knew were on my route home to work. The traffic was awful in the middle of Manchester at which point it dawned on me that I could use a car park there that had 7kw chargers and at least it would have a 3 hour charge whilst I was at the match. So, making good use of the Sat Nav I parked up next to a charger - the problem was it was CYC again. This time I got through on the phone, explained I couldn't get the app to work - she was aware of the problem, but as it is a free charger she was able to make a remote connection and tell me that the access card is better than the app!
Arriving back at the car 3 and bit hours and 6 goals later. It was 75% charged - enough to get me home if I was careful with speed. The car park cost £11 and the electricity was free! I checked out one or two other possible charging spots on the way out of Manchester and then headed South. Approaching Stafford Services I was ready for a break and decided to try the Electric Highway rapid charger there. Which was when I discovered what my previous problems had been - the instructions said "don't touch the yellow button" - which of course I had been doing! This time it connected easily and started charging. However, rather strangely it hadn't asked me for any means of payment - checking the app again I discovered that it was a free vend! Looking at a website the next day it seems that if they are out of communication with their own network then they default to a free vend- I do like a bargain! Now I had enough power to get home without having to manage the battery too much.
So my first long trip was certainly a bit of an adventure, with a few worries along the way - but I've learnt some lessons and the cost? £2 for the home charging and £12.50 for car parking - that works out as 5p per mile. Considerably cheaper than my old car would have been. The next trip is Manchester on Sunday - lets see if I've learnt enough lessons to make it more straightforward!