Long Distance Road Trip in our 2013 Nissan Leaf

We drove up to New York for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago in our other car and were disappointed by he cost of travel. Between gas and tolls we spent about $130 (not including gas while driving around NY for the week we were there.). Now it is time to do this trip again in our electric car and avoid as many tolls as possible. We will use the New York State thruway. It will save more time than the money saved is worth.

The Car:
2013 Nissan Leaf SV.
75 mile range according to EPA
80 kW (110 hp)
24 kWh battery (33.7 kWh = 1 gallon of gas)

The Trip:
Rockville Maryland -> Kingston NY.
With tolls – 320 miles
Minimizing tolls – 360 miles

The Rules:
60 MPH
Only charge at FREE charging stations
Only pay for NYS Thruway = $2.76
Avoid all other tolls including roads, bridges and tunnels

Here is the route.

Charging Route to New York

 

Each yellow pin represents a charging station.  While the final destination is a charging station it is not relevant to this trip.  Each red circle has a 70 mile radius.  This represents the maximum distance I know my car can travel at highway speed with heat, headlights, radio… all aspects of the car running without worry of it running out of electricity.  I can and have pushed the car to over 115 miles per charge.  The best day I ever had, according to the GOM (Guess O Meter) was 122 miles of range.  While the car could achieve a longer distance I have no need to play with fire, aka Range Anxiety.

GOM 122

 

This is where things get interesting.  Previously, we spent about $130 in tolls and fuel for our last trip.  Let’s break it down.

2013 Smart City Flame – I don’t have a picture of it handy so here is a link.  And if you really like that car you can rent it from us. (Shameless plug)

Smart:
5 1/2 hour drive
$59.09 spent on gasoline.  The car gets about 40 mpg but requires 91 octane.

Nissan Leaf:
16.5 – 19 hour drive
$0.00 spent on electricity.

Obviously, the Smart could take the reduced toll option so I will not bother including that.  I will note that it would add 1 gallon of gasoline to the cost.  Gas here in MD is about $2:60/gal for premium.  Is $61.69 worth an extra 11 – 13.5 hours?

The actual driving time will be longer because we averaged 74 mph in the Smart and I’ll only be doing 60 in the Nissan Leaf.  However, I will have about a 3 hour break in between driving for about an hour.

What do to during all that time waiting?!  Sleep, eat, document trip and watch Netflix.

  1.  Plan your trip accordingly:  I will leave Maryland around 9pm.  Driving for about 1 hour to the first charging station to charge up.  (Koons White Marsh Chevrolet)
    1. While charging the heating system is operational.  This lengthens the amount of time it takes to charge, but not hours more.
    2. Sleep while the car charges and set a 3 hour timer/alarm.
  2. I will leave this charging station (Koons White Marsh Chevrolet) around 1am.  Drive for an hour to the next charging station. (I-95 Welcome Center)
    1. This charging station has level 2 and level 3 chargers available for free.  If I am feeling wired I’ll use the level 3 chargers if not level 2 it is and another 3 hour sleep.
    2. Level 3 charging will bring a Nissan Leaf from 0% – 80% charge in 30 minutes.
  3. I will leave this charging station (I-95 Welcome Center) around 1:30am or 4am.  Drive for an hour. (730 New Jersey 68, Bordentown, NJ 08505 )
    1. Heat on – Sleep on = 3 hours
  4. I will leave this charging station (730 New Jersey 68, Bordentown, NJ 08505 ) around 5:30am or 8am.  Drive for an hour to (Realogy Office)
    1. Breakfast?  Maybe I need to pack some food.
    2. Heat and sleep
  5. I will leave this charging station (Realogy Office) around 9:30am or 12pm.  Drive for an hour to (IBEW Local 363)
    1. Charge for about an hour.  I will not have enough electricity to make it all the way to Kingston from the Realogy office.  This charging station is only 51 miles away.
  6. I will leave this charging station (IBEW Local 363) around 11:30am or 2pm and arrive in Kingston around 12:30pm or 3pm

 

I feel like many people will immediately say this is a waste of time.  Something along the lines of  ” Your time is worth more than the amount of money saved.” is what I can hear already.  And to that I say, slow down, enjoy life.  Not everything is about money.  I see this trip as being low cost but also low stress and a quiet few hours to myself.

Once the trip is done I’ll fill in the exact times and miles left including pictures!

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