2011 Nissan Leaf at quick-charging stationEnlarge Photo
We love hearing about the weird and whacky things some electric vehicle enthusiasts and early adopters are doing with their cars, but the latest in a long-line of Nissan Leaf-based tests has left us feeling a little perplexed.
24 hours, one car
In a recent YouTube video, a team of intrepid Dutch electric vehicle enthusiasts set themselves the task of driving a 2011 Nissan Leaf for 24 hours straight, traveling from rapid charging point to rapid charging point on the country’s network of freeways.
The reason? To see how reliable the car is and examine how convenient the rapid charging stations are.
24-hour Dutch Nissan Leaf MarathonEnlarge Photo
Or in one of the words of one of the team, “We’re doing this basically out of curiosity.”
Science, practical application or stunt?
While we’ve done our own road trip of 520 miles over two days in a 2011 Nissan Leaf, the Dutch 24 hour endurance test took things to a whole new level, covering 779.19 miles (1254km) in a continuous cycle of driving and rapid charging. Traveling at freeway speeds, we’d expect the car to have been rapid charged at least 12 times, pushing both battery pack and cooling system to the absolute limit.
A test that extreme only proves one thing - that Nissan made a car technically capable of surviving life as a taxicab. Given that Nissan would have carried out its own continuous drive and recharge tests over distances far greater than 780 miles, we’re hardly surprised the Dutch team didn’t break anything.
We get it, electric cars can go the distance
But on the face of it the trip is just another long-distance trip in an electric car. Granted, this one is slightly more zany than many we’ve seen, but any long-distance or endurance trip like this reminds consumers of the very Achilles heel of electric cars: limited range.
2011 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Some electric car advocates argue that successful long distance electric car trips make the ultimate point that electric cars are more than capable of practically any trip you want to make in them, provided of course that suitable charging infrastructure exists, but we’re not convinced consumers are yet ready to entertain long-distance trips that require more than one quick stop for recharging.
Despite our misgivings we have to admit that long distance trips do attract the attention of the media and potential consumers who have never heard of an electric car. The trick of course is to make sure that attention is given to the car, not the distance it has travelled.
At the moment, that is extremely difficult to achieve.
It’s good to know that cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf are technically capable of rapid recharging multiple times every day, but as we’ve said before, Nissan warns that over-use of rapid charging could shorten the battery pack’s life.