Seeking to prove that electric cars can be practical for long distance road trips, a trio of Dutch friends set out to drive 779 miles in 24 hours. Picking a route that provided ample Level III chargers (which will replenish the Leaf’s batteries to 80% of capacity in around 20 minutes), the group achieved their goal. What does it prove? Not a lot, really, except that you can take the Leaf on road trips as long as you have access to Level III chargers after the initial 73 mile full battery range is depleted, and then every 58.4 miles (accounting for an 80% charge from a Level III station) thereafter. Don’t plan on speeding, either, since the best range is achieved by speeds between 62 and 74 miles per hour. You’d best like coffee (or have a weak bladder), because every 59 miles of forward progress demands a 20 minute recharging stop. Win or fail; you decide after watching the video below.
One leg of this year’s One Lap of America event had us driving 691 miles between Birmingham, AL and Joliet, IL. We left Birmingham at about 2:30 in the afternoon and got into Joliet around 1:30 in the morning, our speed limited by rush hour traffic, bad weather and truckers determined to slow down the One Lap entrants by blocking lanes whenever possible. While eleven hours to drive 691 miles isn’t overly impressive, the same trip in a Nissan Leaf (assuming there were Level III charging points between Birmingham and Joliet) would have taken an additional 4 hours just for charging. It likely would have been even longer than that, since our group of cars tried to make time whenever the road was clear. Top speed in a Leaf is around 90 miles per hour, and to avoid incrimination we’ll just say that the Leaf would have been hard pressed to keep up with our caravan.
I tip my hat to Michiel, Wouter and Lars, because they’re as passionate about EVs as I am about ICEs. Someday, the point they tried to prove will be relevant in the U.S., but that day is still a long way off.