This Spring and Summer, I have experimented with long distance driving up the Hudson River Valley from New York City.. I have made numerous trips (each about 250 miles round trip), using different strategies.. Some strategies worked better than others.. I hope that the following descriptions are helpful.
Starting from Long Island, NY. Using the chargepoint or plugshare system, I decided to slowly leave the safety of my range distance and explore as many chargepoint "stations" as possible to see if I could rely on them to power me so that I could get back home. With a full charge, I drove from Long Island to the Bronx and Westchester, and almost up to Albany, and visited as many stations as possible on the chargepoint map...
Strategy (1) - USING CHARGEPOINT STATIONS - In my limited experience, chargepoint stations had a more than 50% failure rate. I found working chargepoint stations that were inaccessible for many reasons, like - (1) Charger was in a gated community where you needed a key to get in, (2) Charger was on a VA hospital (federal land) and guarded by a gun-toting Federal officer that was ready to plug me if I trespassed, (3) Charger was "free", but located in a "paid" parking lot and you had to pay $10 to get in, 4) Charger was located in a parking lot of a Zoo, and you could only use them after you "paid" admission to the Zoo, (5) Charger was part of a "pay for service" network that I could not access, and finally (6) Charger was present, but I was ICED out and unusable. VERDICT - on Percent of success of chargepoint stations - FAIL... Although chargepoint stations are found on the website map, there really is no screening on how accessible they are to a long distance traveler. Success stories - I found a great chargepoint free station in a hospital parking lot supervised by a parking attendant, and found several great Chargepoint "paid" stations in the college at New Paltz, and only paid $0.67 to charge up!! PS - CHADEMO stations which are highly publicized on the New York Throughway on the "I LOVE NY" website are a rip-off, as they charge $8.00 to plug in!!
Strategy 2 - USING NISSAN, FORD, CHEVROLET, VW, AND BMW DEALERS AS FUELING STATIONS. This was the BEST, and most reliable way to travel. When planning a trip, make a map of all the car dealers addresses and phone numbers, AND CALL AHEAD. Visiting Car dealers, I unfortunately found THREE Nissan dealers that I visited that were OUT OF BUSINESS! When calling, Ask for the service department and ask if they have a "working, outdoor" charger in their parking lot. If they ask you why, do not explain, (because they may want to only service their customers). Just say, "I would like to charge there", say thank you, and hang up.... Tips for charging - 1) Plan your charging during business hours for several reasons. First, many dealerships turn off power to the chargers when they are closed. Secondly, they can move cars if you get ICED... Thirdly (and most important) while you are waiting to charge, you can innocently mingle with customers in the dealer waiting room, use their WIFI, drink their free coffee and bagels, watch TV, and use the restrooms... ***NOTE: Several Nissan dealers have a CHADEMO charger, and you can be on your way in as little as 40 minutes!!
Overall long distance tips - 1) call ahead, and find good, reliable places to stop.. With a reliable place to charge, you can push your car to its maximum range without worry, and save ALOT OF TIME in finding, and waiting in deserted places, with nothing to do. 2) Invest in a J1772 extension cord (20+ feet long) so that you will never be ICED, or not be able to reach the charger because the Car Dealer parks cars all around the charging station. 3) Without CHADEMO, charging Level 2 on a long trip is... TIME CONSUMING due to having to wait about 1 hour of charging for every 30 miles of driving... HOWEVER, it was the MOST FUN driving to distant places with my little leaf... AND IT WAS ALL FREE!! And you can catch up on watching movies on your Ipad while you wait... 4) ALWAYS ASK THE DEALER IF THEY HAVE CHADEMO CHARGERS!!
I hope write-up this helps long distance wannabees in the future!!