March 2018 Update – The 2018 Leaf 40 appears to have issues with repeated rapid charging,  for example see Twitter posts tagged #AberdeenEVRace . In a contest between the Leaf 30 and the new 40, the Leaf 30 won! We have yet to see what response Nissan have to this. My guess is that it’s related to throttling the charging back due to a battery temperature limit.

Sanity check: I have not done this test for real…yet! This post contains my estimates for efficiency for the new Leaf 40.

I often hear the comment “electric cars are fine for commuting…but what about long trips?”

Now that we are a 100% EV family, the time will come when we want to do a long (200+ mile) trip in the Ioniq. How long will it take and how does it compare with the Leaf(s) and in a diesel?

Now we didn’t go 100% electric without some research, and videos like Bjorn Nyland’s on the Ioniq charging capabilities led me to consider this car, which on paper, with a 28kWh battery, doesn’t sound too impressive. It’s the same useable capacity as the Leaf “30”.

However, to cut a lot of spreadsheets short, the combination of the Ioniq’s rapid charging speed advantage, and efficiency at high speed, counts for a lot.

There’s a lot of assumptions in this data, not least the efficiency for the Leaf 40 – I used figures that are a bit better than the outgoing model, based on my real life tests in my last blog. For example, at 70mph I used efficiency figures of 3.8 mi/kWh (Leaf 40) and 4.3 mi/kWh (Ioniq). I assumed using using 80% of the battery capacity since in reality you might not charge to 100% except for home slow charging: nor might you have a charger available when the car happens to run out of charge.

Anyway, this is how it looks on paper, and I’ll aim to test this in real life, if not in a Leaf 40 then in a Leaf 24, before long:

Green denotes driving, red stops for charging (and/or coffee in the case of the diesel). I have trimmed the last charging stops in the EVs, because I wouldn’t buy any more expensive motorway power than I need, any more than you’d choose to buy expensive diesel on the motorway.

Chart 1: using Ecotricity’s existing 41kW “rapid” chargers in all cases: the Leaf 40 is the quickest EV to finish- but only by 10 minutes. The Ioniq beats the Leaf30, despite having similar battery capacity.


Chart 2: using the upgraded true “Rapids” which we hope to see in 2018; using 50kW for the Leafs and 70kW for the Ioniq. The faster charging on the Ioniq means it just beats all the Leafs (28kWh car beats 40kWh car!) – but again only by 10 minutes.

The Ioniq’s lead over the Leaf 30 is increased.


Chart 3: using more of the charge for the first segment, some more time can be saved. The Ioniq can do the trip in 2 charges, and the Leaf 40 stops for less time on the last charge. The Ioniq is only 21 minutes behind the diesel.


I also looked at the other Leaf models at 50,60 and 70mph: this does not adjust for reducing the time of the last charge stop, nor is there a stop at all included for the diesel. Kind of a worst-case EV-ICE comparison, if you like. It does show that you’ll have a quicker journey overall if you drive at 70mph and charge as needed.

The bottom line from this graph is that you’ll take just over 4 hours in a diesel (with no stops- not realistic with a family) or just under 5 hours in an Ioniq, because of the the stops for charging. That one hour advantage for the diesel is less if you need to stop; I certainly would want to stop during a 4 hour trip.

The main message here is that the Ioniq 28 probably compares very well to the Leaf 40; and has significant advantages over the Leaf 30. Don’t buy an EV just considering battery size- look at real ranges that the car can do! It would be like buying an ICE car based on the fuel tank size: probably a nonsense 🙂

What about costs? I’ve heard rapid chargers are expensive to use?

At Ecotricity rapid chargers, if you’re not an Ecotricity customer at home then you’ll now be charged 30p per kWh. You’d probably start using a fully charged car though, so I’ve assumed a 7p/kWh off-peak rate for the first part of the trip.

Ioniq 28:  £1.56 + 47kWh on rapid charges £14.23 = £15.79

Leaf 40: £2.21 + 47kWh on rapid charges  £14.23 = £16.44

Diesel: 300 miles at 55mpg and £1.25/litre = £30.95

(or Petrol: at 45mpg £36)

The EV saves you at least £14 on “fuel”. That alone might be worth the 21 minute later arrival (see Chart 3)!

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