Owning A Nissan LEAF Without A Home Charger: Is It Possible?


What’s it like owning an EV without a charge point at home?

YouTuber Lemon-Tea Leaf is a Nissan LEAF owner who currently rents a flat in Edinburgh with no access to a charging point. So, it’s not as if he’s just holding out on the purchase of an EVSE or stuck using Level 1 charging. There are many people out there that really have no possibility of charging at home. Many of them simply don’t invest in an EV. This video sets out to prove whether or not it’s possible to get by without a home charger.

Lemon-Tea Leaf takes a different approach here. Of course, you can use public charging stations and keep your car charged if you can’t charge at home. However, it’s not nearly as convenient as charging at home, since it takes some time and you’ll find yourself idle. He’s been dealing with this for five months and has become quite a pro at it. Now, he’s decided to spend three weeks documenting what one can do while the car is charging, along with how to take advantage of a “free” charge, or “free” parking, etc.

For example, he uses the time to do his grocery shopping or go to a movie, which just happens to include free parking at a free charger. If he hadn’t purchased the movie ticket, he’d have to pay to park (along with killing two hours without a movie to watch). He also explains something he refers to as the CHAdeMO beer run.

As you can from the video, he has to spend quite a bit of time finding places to charge and things to occupy his time while charging. In addition, he’s out driving around, using energy, and spending money that he may not have spent if he was able to charge at home. This whole situation wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the EV offered a longer range. However, there is still not a large selection of affordable, long-range electric vehicles available. Thankfully, this is only temporary.

So, as expected, the answer to the headline is … Yes, it’s surely possible. Is it convenient? Definitely not. This is a situation in which one might consider a plug-in hybrid until there is a charge point available near their home. Some hardcore EV fans denounce PHEVs, but we always point out that everyone’s situation is different. A plug-in hybrid is a solid stepping stone to EV ownership and may be the only reasonable option for some people.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

Video Description via Lemon-Tea Leaf on YouTube:

Nissan Leaf 2018 – Can you own an EV without a home charger? So for a month, I documented what I did while charging and how I pass the time. We’ll find out if you can live with an EV without a charge point.

 Nissan LEAF US

2018 Nissan LEAF
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36 Comments on "Owning A Nissan LEAF Without A Home Charger: Is It Possible?"

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It’s totally possible. If you drive no more than 40-50 miles a day.
If you drive more than 50 miles a day, you’ll eventually start running a “charging deficit” (drive more miles per day than you can replenish overnight charging on 120V).

Did you even read the article before commenting? This isn’t another article about someone charging with only the provided charging cable (plus they live in the UK where that cable charges on 240V anyway). This article is about someone who has NO home charging capability at all. The only charging they have access to is public charging. Basically it says, yes it can be done, but its fairly inconvenient.

Whoops, thought it was about having no L2 home charging. My bad.


That’s what the weekends are for 🙂

Yeah you can do the same for a Bolt

Yep Bolts are great if you are going to try and go charger-less. THere are about 90% as many CCS chargers as there are Chademo. Great choices.

It’s the 100 miles range EVs that need to be charge everyday

Not necessarily. MY wife has a 2016 Leaf and she commutes about 35 to 40 miles roundtrip every day. She charges about 2 hours every other night. We usually get about 120 miles for each full charge but we try to keep it in the 20-80% charge range to maximize battery life. Great car. Almost 23,000 miles now. Great car. Someone on facebook said they needed a car for 10 mile daily commute. I recommended a 2011 LEAF. The last car they will ever need and they will save so much money they need to start planning their trips to Portugal.

We do just this currently while building our next home. 3 km to the shopping centre with free 11 kW chargers. No problems. Twice the distance wouldn’t matter.

There you go, enjoy your EV, it could last a lifetime.

Loving the positivity and kind words. Thank you.

EVs you need to charge every night are really made for a surburban life. Plenty of people lives in cities but still need a car, and don’t have access to a plug. They can be parking on the street, or sometimes the cost to add a plug in a condo parking might be way to expensive.

Long range EV finally open the possibility to own an EV in the city. Montreal just installed a lot of charging spot on-street, which make them widely accessible and you can use them only once a week or so.

There needs to be a push for condos and apartment buildings to provide at least 220vac charging at all dedicated parking spots. This will not help the people who have to park on the street, but will open up the market for many who live in cities.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Problem is, who’s going to pay for the electricity? The landlord? Most likely not.
A “Managed” EVSE will cost waaaay too much for the landlord to consider.

Passing on the cost to the renter will probably result in the parking spot/EVSE not being used due to cost when they can hitup Free EVSE’s.

Basically if the landlord won’t make any money on it it’s not worth the effort.
I know because I have talked to a few about it.

Propping up a free one would incur complaints about people leaving their cars there forever and hogging the spots. Not worth the headache.

In come cases, connection can be made to the switch box in the apartment. It involves using a cross-connect jumper box unless the specific parking place is always assigned to the specific apartment – not any different from block-heater outlets in arctic climes.

I agree that an apartment/condo landlord probably isn’t going to want to bother with the hassle of dealing personally with installation and monthly billing for the power used.

That’s why we need service providers to handle all that. Back when cable TV was a new thing, it was virtually unimaginable that landlords would provide cable TV hookups for their renters. Now, it’s virtually unimaginable (at least in the U.S.) that they would not.

In South Korea, EV-Line uses ordinary 220v outlets equipped with a RF on/off switch and a scannable barcode to allow “smart” portable EVSEs to access any outlet so equipped. EV-Line handles billing. (See details at link below.)

I see no reason some enterprising startup couldn’t do exactly the same here in the U.S. That would make it easy for apartment owners to provide EV charging service in their parking lots, so long as renters have assigned parking spaces. Let the service provider handle installation and billing.


They would have to be coin operated like the laundromat.

My laundry room uses a chip card for use, it would be easy to do the same for charging. Slight fee for charging, keep it low but with a small profit for the building.

Roy, a 120 volt requirement would be onerous enough. And it would be sufficient for a huge portion of the plug in public. And it would cost peanuts compared to 240. Require 4% of new build apartment and condo parking spots to have a simple 120 volt 15 (?) amp plug in order to qualify for a slight density increase…

I worked for a green minded corporation that provided 120V outlets in their parking deck for EV drivers, many of whom lived in downtown apts and condos. This worked well as most had very short commutes and lived near shopping and restaurants. Interestingly the other big group were “Supercommuters” who needed to charge to make it home on the early limited range EVs.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

It’s totally possible for many.
I have not charged at home in 4 months.

There you go, enjoy your EV.

Exactly. Everyone’s situation, experience, finances, etc. are different. Nice, kind words!

Here too. I only occasionally charge at home. In my case, though, the enabling factor is charging at work. If you have that, it’s just as convenient as charging at home.

I’ve run my first 20000km without access to even 120V at home, which was at the time an appartment. I was charging at work and in free chargers along the way. These 20000km cost me a total of 60$. I’ve since stopped counting because I now have 120V and part of the cost is diluted in the electricity bill.

Its totally possible, I actually know a person that had a LEAF and no home charger, but I always recommend people that live in an apartment to check out the hybrids. For example. There are 5 million people in urban Atlanta. There are only 83 Chademo locations, about 63 CCS locations and only 3 supercharger locations. Why make life so hard. Just get a high MPG plug in hybrid and opportunity charge when you can. Chevy Volts and Prius Prime and Ford plug in Energi’s are all great cars. BMWs REX too.

Great news, looks like several charger-less Peeps have chimed in. I admire your sense of adventure and commitment to zero emissions. Saving a wad of cash too. LOL.

We didn’t have home charging of any kind for the first 5 months of owning a 24kWh 2013 Leaf (84 mile range). Yep, we’re adventurous. We don’t drive very much, and it worked for us to charge every other day using public level 2s. Many of them were free. Our Leaf had Chademo, but we never had to use it.

It would have probably been tough in winter. We eventually got access to 120V outlet at our rental condo, and it’s worked for us since.

I own a Tesla Model 3 and have no home charging at all. I live in an apartment in Brooklyn, so far it hasn’t been an issue. THere’s an Urban supercharger 20mins away if I really need to fill up, otherwise there’s chargers at the Whole Foods and at Walgreens. Two road trips so far and found free public chargers to fill up easily. Only one month in but loving it!

I have a few beefs with this video. First of all, I’m sort of annoyed that he never actually showed the charging facilities at any of these places he charged up. I would have liked to see what they were like. But the more important thing is, I would like to know what his daily commute was like. Obviously he has a 2nd Gen Leaf with the 150 mile battery. So, is he charging up once a week and then driving less than 30 miles per day? This is not made super clear. I think this sort of lifestyle may be possible with an EV that has a lot of range, but if you have an older EV or one with under 100 miles of range, I suspect this sort of lifestyle is not sustainable unless your city has a LOT of charging points.

Agree with David Murray on lacking daily range usage data. Home ,work proximity to CHAdeMO, L2 for Lemon-TeaLeaf.Not having a home charger can work if you live near fair priced, or free ones. Depending on battery size,parking limits may leave you under charged at the free charger. Research before buying the EV. Criteria: meets your budget,dcfc port, battery management, and meets (daily)range, weather needs, charging access. Otherwise,one may as well stick with an ICE if the fee to publicly charge had gouging rates like $20 for ~ 93 miles/150km. I have seen a VW dealer charge $20/hour for their L2,not DCFC, deterring use. PHEV without a home/work charger, with(only) j1772 port can be at least a two hour wait to charge if you want to remain in electric mode.

We own a Ford C Max Energi PHEV with 20 miles of range. While we can charge at home we live more than 20 miles from town and 5 miles from some of our local destinations. We do around 60% of our driving in EV only mode which is more than you would think.

Now that plus 200 mile range EV’s are becoming more available we plan on upgrading to one (possibly a Kona) in a couple years. The beauty of this plan is we have a 5.1 kW solar array so our local driving is now 50% to 66% carbon emission free and soon to be 95% carbon free.

We still have a gas truck for RV towing and long distance traveling if we need it. A Tesla is out of our income bracket but would be desirable if we could get one under $40K. We view a PHEV as a gateway drug to a battery only EV and a good option for many people in certain situations.

I admire the dedication of anyone willing to put up with the time, hassle, and expenses involved in using a BEV for a daily driver when they don’t have access to charging at home or at work. But I’m glad this article doesn’t try to sugar-coat how much of a hassle that is.

On the other hand, let’s not buy into the myth that you have to have a garage to charge your BEV. Homeowners can mount an EV charger on the outside of their house, or on a post beside the driveway.

And let us please keep in mind that lack of access to EV chargers for renters is a situation that’s going to gradually go away in the near future. It won’t be that many years before EV charge points at apartments are as ubiquitous as cable TV hookups are now.

No problem unless you live in the South where the LEAF battery wilts in the HEAT and never recovers. It’s the only battery pack with no cooling or thermal control.
Also it can cost a few bucks depending on where you live and public charging costs in your area. So it’s ok for some but not perfect.

We owned a 2015 Leaf for 3 years and have been living in an older condo and have no access for home charging. My wife works 12 hour shifts and plugs into a 110V outlet there. Plenty of time to get enough trickle charge to replenish the battery. Fortunately we also have the option of Level 2 and DCFC near where we live. Having the 2018 Leaf now makes life a lot easier with less charging.