Recently I experienced myself how hard/easy it was to fast charge an EV while on the road. To be specific, I drove a Nissan Leaf, and that excludes the Tesla network which to me is the most accessible.

The Nissan Leaf uses the ChAdeMo charger, and had a partnership with the EVgo network, which was the one I used.

I had to drive to a very remote town in western massachusetts and needed to drive back to Boston the same day. Its one-way distance is 150 miles, and my Nissan can drive up to 180 miles in one charge.

I had to drive somewhat slowly because I know if I drive faster than 65 miles per hours I will not get the stated 180 miles. I needed the extra 30 miles to drive to the nearest EVgo charger once I reached my destinations.

Fortunately everything worked according to plan – up to the point when I reached the EVgo charger. I immediately was hit with a few issues:

  • Its card readers did not recognize my EVgo card, nor my regular credit cards. After many trials and searching on the Internet, I decided to use the EVgo app to activate the charging session. It worked, after much long wait. Finally.
  • The ChAdeMo charger too bulky and heavy for a regular consumer to handle. The cable with also huge and unforgiving. I had to muscle the charging connector into the port. This was just unacceptable. Most female drivers will not be able to do that.
  • I had a very difficult time unplugging it after the charge was complete. Again, that was partly due to the heaviness and bulkiness of the charger. Partly it was due to the design of the disconnect button, which was not very responsive.

The good news was that it charged quite fast, with peak rate of 50kw – still slower than Tesla’s 80-350kw rate, but already 10x faster than level 2 chargers. I was able to do some grocery shopping while the car was charging, so the waiting time was not totally wasted.

In sum, EV charging has become much easier. But range anxiety remains, especially for EVs with a smaller battery but need to travel to remote areas. But with the current electrification trend, charging EVs will become easier in a couple of short years. I hope I am right.

Oh, by the way, ChAdemo has to go. CCS connectors are not much better either. We need a better charging experience that is as good as charging a Tesla.