Robert Llewellyn Drives a Nissan LEAF 407 Miles From London to Edinburgh in 13 Hours

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 38

London to Edinburgh is ~ 405 Miles

London to Edinburgh is ~407 Miles

Fully Charged host Robert Llewellyn took it upon himself (along with co-driver David Peilow) to prove that the Nissan LEAF can make the trek from London to Edinburgh (407 miles) in a reasonable amount of time at motorway speeds with the heat blasting in cold, rainy conditions.

This was no hypermiling experiment.

Instead, Llewellyn and Peilow set out to prove that the UK’s ever-expanding network of public charging stations (particularly of the quick-charge CHAdeMO variety) could support regular travel over long distances in an EV.

The vehicle, a Mark2 (updated European version) Nissan LEAF, had no problems covering the 407 miles in just over 13 hours,  However, the Llewellyn jokingly says “bladder anxiety” was an issue.

Range anxiety?  No, there’s was none of that on this trip.

Llewellyn Tweets Upon Completion of the LEAF Road Trip

Llewellyn Tweets Upon Completion of the LEAF Road Trip

As Llewellyn notes, this LEAF road trip was absolutely free thanks to the UK’s network of free quick chargers.  However, Llewellyn posts:

“At average current UK daytime tariff of 14p per kWh, [the cost] would be £17.02.”

Here’s a rundown of London to Edinburgh journey, as posted to Robert Llewellyn’s blog (link below):

Nissan LEAF Grabs Some Juice

Nissan LEAF Grabs Some Juice

Our total mileage was 407 miles. The charge stops were as follows and at each one we were charging for 25 minutes or less.

Started in London with 19.61 kWh in the battery

  • 1st Charge Newport Pagnell 16.08 kWh
  • 2nd Charge Leicester Forrest East 15.9 kWh
  • 3rd Charge Tibshelf Services 14.8 kWh
  • 4th Charge Wooley Edge services 15 kWh (this one was not really neccessary, see notes)
  • 5th Charge Wetherby Services 10. 06 kWh
  • 6th Charge Aston Hotel 18.06 kWh
  • 7th Charge Hexham Leisure Centre 14.78 kWh
  • 8th Charge Newton St Boswells 16.9 kWh

A total kWh consumption of 121. 58 kWh

Source: LlewBlog

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38 responses to "Robert Llewellyn Drives a Nissan LEAF 407 Miles From London to Edinburgh in 13 Hours"

  1. Ocean Railroader says:

    I think the next challenge for a EV should be to drive from Fairbanks to Dead Horse Alaska on the Dalton Highway in a EV in that between Fairbanks and the Yukon River there is a 100 mile gap between towns. And between the Yukon River and Wiseman 150 mile gap. And then there is the 220 mile gap north of the Arctic Circle to Dead Horse.

    1. Nix says:

      Why? Hardly anybody but contractors ever drive those roads. Who cares about driving on those roads?

      That reminds me of the stupid tests they always do with driving to the top of Pikes Peak. The road to the top of Pikes Peak doesn’t go anywhere. It is a dead-end. Driving to the top of Pikes Peak has absolutely zero practical. You can even take a Diesel-Electric Hybrid to the top, and avoid driving the road altogether…

  2. David W says:

    Congrats on his accomplishments but EIGHT stops over 400 miles? I think he could’ve gotten there a lot faster with one or two fewer stops. I regularly make a 500 mile drive in my regular ICE car in about 7 hours with one stop, averaging nearly 70 mph the entire way. This guy’s trip averages out to a whopping 30 mph. There would probably be less bladder anxiety if he didn’t spend so long making so many stops. I do look forward to the day when I am able to drive my new PHEV on the route I drive. It might allow me to go non-stop but I’m guessing I’ll make at least one stop along the way. While this attempt tries to show how far today’s electric cars can go, I think to many it shows they still have a long ways to go before they can replace regular ICE and PHEV vehicles

    1. I think it shows the opposite. You can own an pure electric car and the 2-3 times a year you have to take a long trip you CAN do it. For the extra 4 hours each trip times 3 trips a year is a small price to pay for owning a car you drive on cheap and sometimes free electricity all the time. And it’s only going to get better. Although I agree if you travel long distances a lot, owning 2 cars in a family, a pure EV and also a PHEV makes sense.

    2. Mint says:

      He mentioned that he did some “faffing”, and I’m sure there was some traffic on the way, too (being England and all).

      I don’t think he was making the case that people who do such a trip regularly like yourself can make a seamless transition to a LEAF. Rather, it was a statement to show that if you only make such a trip occasionally, then it’s very doable in a low cost EV.

      But on that note, did you visit LLewellyn’s blog? A couple posts down, he writes about the EP Tender, which is a little range extender trailer that you hitch onto a ZOE for long range trips, giving it 500km of range. I think it’s genius! Imagine if Nissan dealers around the country stocked these units, and any time you want to go on a road trip, you just drop by and rent it. The only issue I can think of is many people wanting them at the same time during national holiday weekends. But the engine/generator should still find better use than EREVs, and won’t weigh the car down when not needed.

    3. Suprise Cat says:

      Driving 7 hours with a single stop would be illegal for a commercial driver and is very unsafe for everyone.

    4. Tom A. says:

      The above post mentions that the 4th stop wasn’t necessary…but still, even 7 is a lot.

    5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      The point of this wasn’t to say that it’s perfectly OK now, it was a follow up on the trip done a few years ago, showing that now the technology and infrastructure makes the trip possible in a single day in a more affordable car, highlighting advances that have been made. The message is both about the future potential with further advances and the ability of fast chargers to extend range a bit.

    6. John Hardy says:

      “… I think to many it shows they still have a long ways to go before they can replace regular ICE and PHEV vehicles…” As a demo of what is possible today, the Nissan Leaf plus Chademo is not state of the art: it is a modest car with a modest charging infrastructure. Today’s Tesla Model S could do the trip with one charge: and their Supercharger network is more than twice as fast as Chademo . Tesla just drove a couple of these cars from LA to NY in 76 hours.

      It will be 2-3 years before EVs replace ICE cars for the minority of drivers who do regular long distance travel; but as Terry says, for the rest of us who do shopping, commuting and school runs most of the time, and drive long distances a few times a year, this trip shows that ICE engined cars are already toast

  3. Alaa says:

    Try a Tesla

    1. David W says:

      I agree. A Tesla could do it in one stop and easily shave at least 4 hours off the trip.

      1. Are there Superchargers in the UK, yet?

        1. David W says:

          Not there. I mean once they have the network built out everywhere.

  4. Brian says:

    This shows that affordable BEVs have a ways to go before they can truly replace the ICEs (whether in an ICEV or a PHEV). In my hybrid, I would expect a 400 mile trip to take 7-8 hours including a single stop. adding 5-6 hours is not something most people would accept.

    That said, it still proves that, with the proper infrastructure, it is at least possible. If the car had double the range, one would need half as many stops. Also, I would be willing to make that trade-off today just to rid myself of gasoline. I just wish we had that kind of infrastructure. In time, and as technology improves, others will follow.

  5. George B says:

    Good going, congrats!

  6. scott moore says:

    It doesn’t show anything. The mission statement for EVs is to replace day to day driving, and today’s leafs do that. That means as a second vehicle, this and similar cars can take 1/3 to 1/2 of the gas and the pollution OFF the roads. With me, its much more than half. My wife drives to school, a short trip, in our gas ranger, and I drive a fair commute in our leaf, and we replaced most, perhaps %90, of the gas we used, so much so that now I have problems with the Ranger battery going dead.

    And we still do long distance trips, including pulling a camper.

    If you have a jones to travel long distances, keep a second ICE, get a Tesla, or wait.

    747s don’t have floats and can’t land on a lake. I don’t hear anybody complaining about lack of usefulness of that vehicle.

    1. Mint says:

      I think it does do something, because a lot of people turn their nose at EVs because they think it makes the occasional long distance journey impossible, and they want an ICE for that (even when they don’t actually go on such trips). 8hr->12hr is much more acceptable than 8hr->4 days.

      I agree with you that multi-car households can go EV, but a lot of people can’t afford a second car and/or the storage space for it.

    2. ggpa says:

      I agree with your post, and I’d like to add another option where you write “If you have a jones to travel long distances, keep a second ICE, get a Tesla, or wait.”

      There is nothing wrong with renting a car from Avis or Hertz or someone else for the occasional long trip. I think it is genius of Fiat to provide rental cars as part of the EV lease, and I wonder when all the other manufacturers will do the same.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        Nissan did it, Ford did it and BMW will do it with the i3.

    1. Surya says:

      I don’t agree. They have shown what is possible today in an affordable EV with no ‘special’ infrastructure (superchargers). There is a trade-off but I still think it’s a very nice demonstration

      1. Alaa says:

        Just how much will goverment lose in tax revenue in the UK if they allow EV to expand? I will tell you that each litter you buy in the UK you pay 300% tax! Now that is why the UK goverment is not very keen on EV’s

        1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

          The UK government is very keen on EVs, they just aren’t keen on large subsidies. They’ll lose some petrol tax, but they also keep money in the economy. Remember that the UK has Leaf manufacturing and assembly.

        2. Surya says:

          That is not the issue her. Robert and David did a demonstration on practicality of an affordable EV, that has nothing to do with government subsidies.

  7. Aaron says:

    This does show something: It shows that the wankers in Top Gear, who can’t even make it 100 miles without driving to a city without any charging points, are not to be taken as a serious show, even those BBC labels them as an “educational” show.

    1. Ted Fredrick says:

      Top gear is my favorite show.

      1. Nix says:

        Yep, Top Gear is a really good cartoon. It is always good for a laugh. Right up there with the old Road Runner cartoons. BEEP BEEP!!

  8. John F says:

    Travel along these quick charge pathways will lead to more of this kind of exploration. Call it something like BEV Eco-tourism. It is an inexpensive way to see and explore places in the quiet of your BEV. It is not rushing over long distances to get to a destination. It will be about the journey in comfort with the heat on and with no range anxiety. Towns along the way will want to be recognized as BEV friendly stop-overs with their activities to enjoy. This trip from London to Edinburgh is just the scouting trip for the many others who will surely follow.

  9. ggpa says:

    Does anybody know why they used 122kWh to drive 407 miles? That seems high.

    I am guessing that if you rush from one Chademo to the next there is an optimal speed, and it does not help going faster, because the time you save by driving faster is negated by more charging time at the next stop. Is that what happened here?

    1. JP White says:

      The LEAF is rated at 30kWh per 100 miles. So 4 x 30 = 120. So they used 2kWh too much, hardly significant and probably due to LLF (Llewleyn Lead Foot disease).

      1. Brian says:

        Interestingly 4.07 * 30 = 122.1. So they actually nailed the rated economy!

    2. Tom A. says:

      In the above post, they mention that they ran at highway speeds and it was cold and rainy, so they had the heat on, etc.

  10. Graeme Kerry says:

    The 122kwh for 407 miles works out at 0.29kw per mile which is very good for motorway driving in the winter.

    Nissan offer Leaf buyers 2 weeks free loan of a ice car each year with their Care – Ev Package.

    No car is perfect for every role, the leaf is perfect as a medium distance (up to 50 mile per day, 100 if you can charge at both ends).

    If you drive short distances around town but do less then 10000 mile per year then you won’t recoup the extra expense of a leaf, it’s probably not even worth while paying the extra for a diesel get a cheap small petrol.

    If you drive over 100 mile per day regularly then you probably want a large comfortable diesel saloon.

    If you drive 50-100 miles per day and have a second ice car or only do long distance once or twice per year then the leaf is the car for you. My wife commutes 45 miles per day, and we use the leaf whenever possible, and make good use of the excellent free charging network in the north east we do about 1000 miles per month in in and save roughly £120 per month compared to her old car (1.5dci Megane 50mpg).

    I totally understand why Robert undertook this challenge, 2 weeks after collecting my leaf I drove 240 miles in one day going from Durham to Edinburgh and back for free using 2 of the chargers he used at hexham and Newton St Boswells. I did this to prove I could and to put my wife’s mind to rest that her 45 mile daily commute was not going to be a problem. It also now gives me the perfect response to people when they say how useless the leaf must be.

    I work at the Nissan factory and I therefore know lots of people who have a Leaf, the company put 200 on the employee lease scheme for a very good price. Most owners have a few niggles about what you can and can’t do but most think it’s benefits outweigh it’s limitations. 99% of people who are always quick to write the leaf of as a useless gimmick have never test drove one and have certainly never lived with one.

    With this cold weather finally hitting us I wish my car had the heating timer of my wife’s leaf, I have to spend 5 mins defrosting my car while hers defrosts itself half and hour before she sets off for work. One of the great benefits of the leaf over an ice for everyday driving.

  11. Mark C says:

    Detractors will no doubt scoff at the distance /time being just over 31 mph average for the trip, and claim in an ICE vehicle, it could easily average 50 mph including stops. But, it does show it is possible in a BEV.

    Consider the cost though. At my local rate of $0.13 per kWh, the trip would cost $15.81 in fuel. If I did it on gasoline at $3.25 per gallon, I would have to average better than 83 mpg to spend only $15.81 to drive that trip. I’m good with that. I seem to have a little more time than money.

    1. ggpa says:

      Good luck buying gasoline in the UK for $3.25 per gallon 😉

      1. Mark C says:

        Agreed, nearly all of the world outside of the US taxes gasoline far more realistically than the US. If we included most the costs that “we the people” absorb in other taxes to keep the price of gas / diesel so cheap compared to the rest of the world, we would not have 15 mpg pickup trucks and SUV’s being used by such a large number of single occupant commuter vehicles.

  12. Nix says:

    Or they could have done the same trip in an electric vehicle that is better designed for long distance travel, like Tesla, and filled up just 1 or 2 times.

    Or drive any PHEV and never re-charge over those 407 miles. Then point out how if the PHEV were driven just on local trips 80-90% of the time the rest of the year, the total gas consumption for a trip like this a couple of times a year would be peanuts compared to any gas car’s petrol consumption over a year’s time.

    I’m still waiting for that magazine test drive where they use a Leaf as a replacement for a family’s current ICE second car, and drive it back and forth from work every day for a year. They plug it in each night, and never get anywhere near needing to recharge anywhere else but at home, and always have plenty of electricity to drive everywhere they normally drove in their old ICE car they used as a second car. Then use their primary car (hopefully a PHEV) for longer trips.

    Boring? Yea, but it is closer to how most families would use a Leaf in the real world, than using for 13 hour roadtrips from London to Edinburgh.

  13. Robert P Morley says:

    One could take the train or even fly on this journey, all quicker but still damaging to the environment than using the EV. It is OK to use ICE but when one has to pay £5 a litre for fuel (to start to cover the pollution and environmental damage caused),a little light might come on in the brain to suggest using EV instead!