My Road trip experience

1500km in a 24kw Leaf. My experience chasing the 2020 Leading the Charge Road Trip.

Just got home after being on the Better NZ Trust Road Trip. I did 1500 k in 5 days in a 2015 Model S Leaf with 80% health. Admittedly it was all around the lower North Island where there are heaps of chargers with an average 50 k between them, but I did get longer runs like from Mangaweka, through Rangiwahia, to Palmerston North motor camp which was 101 k. Battery only got hot on the last leg home which was done at pace due to an important family dinner. So longer trips are easier when the weather is cold.

Beautiful sun the whole trip, and some "interesting" roads, like the Akatarawa from Waikanae to Brown Owl, which was windy, lots of storm litter, narrow, and full of locals not expecting another vehicle on the road!

Being in a 24 Kwh Leaf, I had to leave earlier than the other EVs to get there at the same time, so lots of 6.30 am starts, but I usually had the chargers to myself until around 11 am. Lots of chats with other EV owners in places like Bulls, Waiouru, and Taupo. Thanks to people like Maureen and Mike with their lovely 62 Kwh with e-bikes who were on their first long trip, and Adaba - hope you got to Wellington after we got the Taupo Unison charger working again.

The Leaf performed really well, the SOH went from 80% to 86% over the journey, so I had a little more range for a while. I know it will drop back once I'm home.

So, if you're thinking about a trip away, plan carefully and enjoy the experience. Leafs are great fun.

Photos and text by Stephen Hobo-Tuck

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