A roadtrip to Vorarlberg Austria

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Well-known member
Jul 19, 2023
The main reason I registered here on this forum: is to share my experiences, with other Nissan Leaf drivers. Especially if you like me, bought it second hand and ofcourse have some degradation.

On Monday Ieft on a roadtrip to Austria: with being the main challenge, to drive a cheap as possible and also follow energy efficient routes. Because a 40kWh Nissan Leaf, doesn't have the greatest range. Mine has about 200km of range and 15% degradation.

So I departed on Monday from the city Heerlen in the Netherlands, and the first stop was IKEA Koblenz. Google Maps told me it was 162km driving, however by using Via Michelin I was able to find a more economical route. Cutting the distance down to 150km, so 12km's less.

Surprisingly I arrived with still 45% left at free quick charger from IKEA Koblenz: sadly, someone found it funny to press the emergency button on both quick chargers. Which meant even though we where there at 10, we couldn't start charging until 10:45 so we lost 45mins.

Lucky one Tesla driver left: at 10 a clock, there where already three Tesla drivers at the quick charger. I was the fourth EV, and could only take the type 2 cable. But one Tesla driver gave up, whereas other just didn't move there car and kept the charger cable locked. So that made me change some of the charge planning on the second day.

The second quick charging stop was at IKEA Manheim: I was able to directly park my car within reach of the CHAdeMO cable, however again a Tesla was charging forever with the CCS. I waited for a bit and saw that the Tesla already was almost full, so I simply stopped the charging session.

Because the way I see it: these Tesla's are just blocking the quick chargers for ever, so I decided to be a bit rude. Normally I wouldn't do this, but IKEA Germany doesn't impose a reasonable time limit. Actually there isn't a time limit.... so sometimes in life, you shouldn't be to kind.

The next day we still had 300km to go until our end destination in Vorarlberg Austria: we drove the region called Montafon, and there are a lot of hills. So I wanted to be sure to have enough battery juice.

My travel plan was to charge at IKEA Ulm: but when I found out, that only the CHAdeMO plug was working. Which would be a good thing for a Nissan Leaf.....

However having the experience that many EV drivers simply block the (quick) charger, after discovering it isn't working for their vehicle. So that would mean, that most likely I would find EV's blocking the charger. Making it impossible to charge and waste a lot of time.

Using the German Lidl Plus app, I figured out there where plenty of CHAdeMO quick chargers at the city of Ravensburg. So instead of charging for free, I choose to pay € 0,48 kWh and received almost the full charging speed. Instead of the 20kW, of which the IKEA quick chargers are limited to.

If if wasn't for the bad charging infrastructure network in Austria: then I would have driving in one go to the hotel. However the hotel being at 1500m height, meaning 16% battery consumption for traveling 5.5km up. And this was also the distance to the closest public charger, which would have been very impractical. It would take 15 mins up, and 15 mins down.

I discovered that I can gain 7% of battery back, so it doesn't matter to much if you get with like 30% above the hill. Once you go back down, you going be able to regenerate quite a lot back. After driving today 18km for some short hiking, I actually arrived at the destination with almost the same battery percentage as when I left.

But 15km before arrival, we simply did a second quick charge at Lidl Austria. Which has a better rate for fast charging, than Lidl Germany. Also no need for the Lidl Plus app, which can be a pain in the *** to configure as a non German.

So instead of wasting a lot of time going to the public charger: I just charged 20 mins at Lidl, going from 32% to 80% and then I arrived with 57% at the hotel. Overall the charging stops, and following B roads to reduce energy consumption. Still increases travel time quite a lot, but atleast you get to see many nice places along the way.

Saturday I'm going to visit Ravensburg: after quick charging there, I noticed that it's really a nice city. So then Saturday we going so some sight seeing there, and use the 22kW type chargers from Lidl. Which are at € 0,29 kWh, only you need to pay the parking after 1 hour. But that's only € 1,50 and in such a city, you almost can't escape of having to pay parking.

For on the way back, I have included more (quick) charging stops at Lidl/Kaufland: because only Lidl has a lot of CHAdeMO chargers, whereas the German discounter Aldi. Only has CCS and Type 2 chargers. So using chargers from Lidl, can be really convient and it's cheaper in comparison to other places.

Just you might need to plan alternative routes, and ABRP is to stupid to do this. So you need to plan it by yourself: ABRP also thinks, I always arrive with almost empty battery. So I don't really use it that much, as it hasn't been very useful. I just plan my charger stops within 160km and preferably not to early.

At the hotel I'm allowed to use my granny charger: when the staff member who has a plugin hybrid isn't there. Because I talked with him, and he explained me. They can't install chargers for EV's here, but I also told him. The Nissan Leaf doesn't have a big battery, so the granny charger would do the job.
Interesting to read about your experiences. I have also used ABRP a bit, but find it to be very useful once you learn to play with the settings a little bit. ABRP tend to be on the pessimistic side when it comes to consumption in my case, so I usually arrive with more % left on the battery than the ABRP estimate. These days though, my longer trips are usually trips I have done before, so I don't really bother to plan them - I just get in the car and drive.

As for the fast charger situation, most CCS-cars these days tend to use Tesla Superchargers which leaves those precious Chademo-fastchargers more available. At least that has been my experience here in Norway. Alternativly they use Ionity which of course is CCS-only. But if none of those networks are around, you might find yourself in a charging queue. If you can, it could be wise to plan your charging stops to a Chademo charger near either a Tesla Supercharger or Ionity location. I charged on a lonely Chademo/CCS-charger last Christmas and got to do so in peace as there was 8 Tesla Supercharger stalls across the road and all the CCS-cars headed there instead.
The journey back yesterday was a total distaster: in our hotel in Austria we weren't allowed to charge. So I left with 46% SOC and because of mainly going downhill, I arrived at Lindau with 29% and travelled 91km's.

In Lindau we went to the Spa for 1.5h and I had the car charging at the AC at Kaufland: however after 1h and 7 mins, the charging all of a sudden stopped. Which was a disaster, as now I only had 39% SOC. So we went to McDonald's and ate, while I connected the car to the AC charger of the fast charger of Aldi Süd.

Again the AC charging abruptly stopped: I took out Leaf Spy, to see if anything abnormal was going on. This wasn't the case and my theory is, that the electricity network can't handle simultaneously AC and DC charging, and that DC always gets the priority. Which also draws a lot of electricity, so my AC charging just stops.

After that I went to quick charge at Lidl Ravensburg, and then I drove to IKEA Stuttgart: however all four spots where taken and just 30 mins before closing time, I managed to get hold of the only working CHAdeMO cable. One quick charger has the CHAdeMO cable removed....

( I wanted to experience charging several times for free during the roadtrip, however on a next roadtrip to Austria: I will stick to the Lidl/Kaufland quick chargers, because those are paid and almost never occupied. They charge € 0,48 in Germany and € 0,40 in Austria. Which is quite cheap actually.)

I ended up charging from 19% until 39% for free: but around closing time, I had a argument with a German Volkswagen ID4 driver: he had the CCS cable plugged in, from the other quick charger. However he wasn't charging, as some kind of error came up. Nevertheless, he occupied the spot for more then an hour.

Then he argued: he was first there, so kinda forced me to stopped charging: as on this point, he was plugging in the CCS cable of the quick charger I was using. Because I know the quick chargers shutdown 5 a 10mins after closing time, so I just decided to let him have this few mins of charging in order to avoid having to argue further with the German guy. So I went to the Kaufland in the same city, to continue my charging.

At Kaufland I charged until 60% and drove to Lidl Bruchsal, arriving at 21:45 with around 30% SOC and only to discover it was already closed. So I drove another 20km, and charged next to highway. I was only getting 32kW on that point and arrived at midnight in Wiesbaden. Today we still have to go 250km, but AC charging during lunch should do it.
I loved reading about your journey. Ravensburg is a cool town, glad you got to see it, and of course around the Bodensee is a nice drive. Still on my bucket list is to see concert at the open air concert place in Bregenz. One day. I've had similar experiences with my 2015 Leaf, but have quit experimenting with long drives. It's so much easier to just take my wife's Subaru and never worry about charging. My car is now strictly for commuting to work, shopping, and things close by.