Electric Car Fan Takes 2011 Leaf on 480 Mile Road Trip

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2011 Nissan Leaf drives from San Diego to Tucson (Screengrab from Google Maps)

2011 Nissan Leaf drives from San Diego to Tucson (Screengrab from Google Maps)

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You have to go from San Diego, CA to Tucson, AZ, a distance of around 480 miles.  With a variety of options available to you, which do you choose? 

Most people wouldn’t hesitate to book a flight, and some would even consider the train.  But one electric car fan decided to make the trip in his 2011 Nissan Leaf, turning it into his own week-long road-trip adventure. 

It's hardly the road-trip car of choice. With a range of 100 miles between charges, anyone attempting this kind of trip has to be a hardcore electric car fan. 

That's exacty what U.S. Army veteran Jerry ‘EVJerry’ Asher is. In fact, for him, the trip was the equivalent of a trip to the shops as during 2008 and 2009 Asher toured the U.S. to promote plug-in vehicles and his previous car, a converted Plug-in Toyota Prius named The Spirit of DC.

Unlike our own 520 mile, two-day trek in a 2011 Nissan Leaf earlier this year, Asher didn’t have the use of level 3 rapid-charging along his rout and had to rely on level 2 charging stations instead. Instead of waiting just 30 minutes to fully recharge his car, Asher had to wait 8 hours. 

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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For Asher though, the trip wasn’t about how quickly he could make the trip. Nor was it about proving the Leaf’s limited range. It was about a personal goodwill tour, educating and evangelizing along his route. 

“This car is being put to the test, because it’s really a city car with a 100-mile range,” said Asher. “It was this fun time, leisure trip, and I had no appointments”

Traveling along Highway 80 and Interstate 8 routes, Asher found power outlets and electric vehicle charging stations everywhere from Nissan dealerships through to the U.S. Naval Air Facility in El Centro. 

Admittedly, Asher’s trip was hardly quick but was most certainly the cheapest way of traveling for the time-rich retired sergeant.

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

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With a stop-over at LAX in Los Angeles, flying takes around 4 and a half hours, and costs around $200. Taking the train works out at around $100 and takes 14 hours. 

Until level 3 rapid chargers become so common there’s one every 50 miles or so, we’d advise that a trip like Asher’s isn’t exactly something most people would want to do.  

But with unlimited time, warm weather, beautiful scenery and a good mix tape, could this be the ultimate way of taking a road-trip? Let us know in the Comments below. 

[Arizona Daily Star]

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Comments (9)
  1. One hundred and 50 years ago or so, the Pony Express completed long trips by "recharging" their transport every 20 miles or so. Sure it took 3 days or more to go from St. Louis to Sacramento, but at that time it seemed efficient. Seems to be travel can be about "getting there" or simply "the journey itself." Using a 80 mile range EV to go 500 miles is about "the journey" and with enough time for such experience, one could even run or walk the distance. That such can be done is not a measure of should it be done. IMHO, of course.

  2. I wouldn't attempt this and would take a plane. The Leaf is meant for daily driving. I would rather rent a Chevy Volt for this trip. Take 40 miles per day of driving for charging overnight. Seem much more worth it to me. Good job Jerry of doing it however! I can be done if you have time to do it.

  3. I would rather rent a Prius for this trip. It gets getter gas mileage, and has more space. The only reason you would use a Volt for this trip is if you own it.

  4. Better him than me, LOL.

  5. All credit to him for his sense of adventure, I hasten to add.

  6. Actually ,it sounds like fun .. Sort of like a walk in the rain.. Can be fun or make you totally miserable depending on your outlook and circumstances ..

  7. He is a Pioneer..Good for him!

  8. I'm jealous of the time Jerry has! How wonderful to take in the scenery. As someone who has wasted years jetting from country to country and seeing nothing I might cheerfully swap that for a good long look at my own back yard!

  9. I would love to do this if I had the time. I have put 155 miles on my Leaf in one day just going here, there, and yonder, plugging in when I had the chance (no Level 3 charging). At the end of the day, the Leaf still had more juice left than I did.

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