Chuy1530 wrote: ↑
Sat Feb 13, 2021 1:28 pm
Got my leaf yesterday. A 2018 SL, which is the exact model I had kept my eye out for for a while but they rarely seemed to come up used (which is a good sign I think.) Got a good deal on it, and it’s my first EV.
I love driving it, and this may be a specific gripe about the dealer I bought it from, but I’m going to gripe anyway. I had an awful night and I’m glad I love the car so much because otherwise I would be very upset at the whole thing. Also, I recognize this is mostly my own fault for not pre planning
, but if you’re buying your first EV or know someone it is these are good things to make sure they know.
I live about 60 miles from where I bought it, which is fine, the range easily exceeds that. But when they handed it over the range was only about 40 miles. I asked if they could quick charge it and their quick charger was out of service. They had a level 2 charger but it was 8PM and I couldn’t wait a few hours to drive it home. And I had already driven there and back twice (first time there was a nail in the tire so I couldn’t test drive it) and had no interest in doing it a third time. The salesman showed me the button to find a charging station and off I went.
Well, first thing I learned is that button is worthless. I could pretty much tell that just from looking at the place names. I tried one, it was closed, so I moved on. I googled around a bit and found the ChargePoint map. Lots of places nearby (I live near LA so we have good charger accessibility.) Cool. I drive to the first one. It’s in a parking garage which is closed. Another one. Same thing. Another one. Same. My range is dwindling and I know nothing about the area I’m in. My stress level is extremely high.
Finally I see one listed as being at a gas station. Alrighty then, now I know what to look for. I go and notice there is no spot for a credit card. I didn’t know you had to have an app, and the internet at that station was awful, but I get it downloaded and get signed up. I plug it in and use my phone to get it started aaaaand it gives me an error. Something is wrong with the station. I also notice something I hadn’t thought about: this was a level 2 station. I had assumed that a gas station would be level 3, because in what use case is someone leaving their car for several hours at a gas station near nothing to charge? Grocery store, mall, shopping center, sure. Gas station?
So I give up on that one. Even if I get the error cleared I can’t sit there all night, it’s already past 9. I’m pretty damned panicked. Then I figure out how to see the level 3 stations in the ChargePoint app and find one at another gas station a few miles away. My range is 20 miles now.
So I go up to it and am very relieved to see that it seems to be working and it is level 3. I go up to it and try to use my phone the same way I did at the last one, but this is an EVGO station, not a ChargePoint (despite finding it in the ChargePoint app) so it doesn’t work. But there’s a credit card slot! But it doesn’t work unless you are already signed up. So I download and sign up for another app and honestly at this point if I could’ve rewound the day I just wouldn’t have bought the car. That’s where I was with it.
But I get signed up, get it plugged in, and thankfully it finally works. I get charged up and have a great drive home. The cruise and lane control are amazing. The power is better than my gas car had. Just love the car.
So anyway, I should’ve researched more on the mechanics of using an EV. I thought I had done enough, and for my driving it to and from work (my wife has a gas car for any longer trips) trickle charging at home is more than enough. I thought I had time to figure out the charging outside the home. But there’s what I wish I had known:
You’ll need an app to find charging stations
A lot of stations in the ChargePoint app are closed or inside parking garages. I still don’t know if there is a way to filter that.
You have to make sure the station has the level of charging you’re expecting. Don’t assume it’ll be fast charging.
You have to be signed up for the app of the station you’re using, they may not just take a credit card.