Hi there Toronto and Eastern Ontario Leafers;
As the days go buy I smile a bit more as I look at the range displayed on my dash after a full charge at night with my L2 charger. When I got the car in January 2014 I was quickly into -25C weather and even my 65km drive to work and back could be a challenge (although I never needed a tow). In January
I might see the range at 130 and then quickly deteriorate to 95 within 3 minutes of hitting the highway. So I was carefull to preheat, use cabin heater to a minimum and care seat and steering wheel heat to the max. I also stayed down around 80kph on the highway. (well it was often slippery anyway). Usually when I got home I had about 20 km left. If I had extra capacity I either heated more or drove faster.
Now as the months went by and the temperature rose up to -10, I was driving faster and sometimes getting home with 30 to 40 km left. My main guage to look at was the battery level: 50% is important when you need to do a return trip without charging at work.
Now into May I can say that the full charge range displayed is 160km or higher! I could easily have 50-60 km to spare at the end of the day. I remember when the battery temperature guage was always stuck at 2 or 3. Now it usually sits at 5 or 6.
I ventured out on some trips where I would need to recharge elsewhere. First I went to Kingston where the Nissan dealer has sold a few Leafs (including mine) and the one way distance is either 75km (by ferry) or (95) by 401. When I go the longer route I go faster 90-105kph on the 401 and usually get low battery warnings on the 401 just outside Kingston. When the car recharges (~2.5 hrs at dealer) it is good to plan things like visit local shops/mall, restaurant or movie. Some are a bit of a hike (walking is good exercise, but 15 minutes in cooler weather may be pushing it). Now that it is warmer, I use a folding bike that fits in the trunk. The salesman chuckle a bit, but it gets me where I want to be in around 5 minutes.
My latest trip was to Kitchener/Waterloo (~300km) through Toronto. I made several stops and was cautious on the way over, driving slower (90/100kph). I stopped in Coburg (BestWestern has many hotels with chargers) and charged for free; but made use of their restaurant and wifi. I also stopped in Whitby and then Pearson Airport: Nissan HQ and was pleased to use their new L3 charger. (charged from 20 km to 120km=80% in only 20 minutes!!) Wish we had those at all Enroute stations down the 401. As it is Enroutes don't have a single charge station!!! I also stopped in Milton's new Tim Horton that has 2 L2 chargers. Perhaps Timmy's could put a few L3 stations in... I would probably put on 10-15 lbs. Then while I was in Waterloo I charged at the Nissan dealer and the Connestoga mall (only 1 charger there). The trip took 12 hours!
On the way back I was more experienced (less cautious). I figured if I was going to recharge I might as well use all the electrons and drive a bit faster and spend more time parked. The return travel time was 9 hours. I would say that if you have an L3 charger on your trip perhaps such a cavalier attitude might be fun, but when you hit the old L2 chargers.. you pay the price, perhaps waiting an extra hour to get the electrons back that you so frivolously burned.
In summary, these long trips are not so good unless to like to explore the charge points or plan activities like picnics, shopping, movies or bike rides (if you have one like me that folds up and fits in the trunk). I don't thinks I would do the Waterloo (300km) trip again with a Leaf unless they had more L3 chargers at Enroute stations. You should also consider the predicament you will be in when more Leafs's are in 'trip' mode. You may not only have to recharge, but also wait for another car (or 2 ) to complete charging before it is your turn!
Better to rent an ICE, or retire
and take your time.
ps still great for daily commute. probably saved $1000 on gas so far.