The Tortoise and the Hare (Part 2)

Following on from my previous post about my trip down to Oxford with my two sons, I thought I’d just report on the return trip, to show that it wasn’t just a fluke.

We had set off from the Park & Ride on the Saturday evening with a full (100%) charge, and then driven a few miles to our hotel, so when we woke up on Sunday morning, the LEAF still had over 95% battery remaining. It was a cool, crisp morning, but the sun was out, and it was dry. We drove back into Oxford along Cowley Road, and picked up my brother from his accommodation in the centre, near to Somerville College. We had decided to visit the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, about 40 miles north of Oxford.

The journey up the A4260 to Banbury, and across to Gaydon took in some fine scenery. We arrived at the museum a little after 10am, and went inside for a look around.


It was particularly interesting to see a couple of old EV projects:


Th!nk City car from 2001 – Top Speed 56mph – Max Range 53 miles



1972 Leyland-Crompton Electricar – Top Speed 33mph – Max Range 40 miles

After looking around the museum for a good 3 hours or so, we said goodbye to my brother, and headed off on our journey home. We drove up the M40, to the M42 and onto the M6. We were all feeling quite hungry by this time, as it was about 2pm, so we stopped at Hilton Park Service Area (14:05) and plugged in the LEAF on the rapid charger.

We had covered 97.2 miles on the charge we’d got at the Park & Ride on Saturday. There hadn’t been as many trucks on the motorway, what with it being a Sunday, so we’d lost the aerodynamic benefit, and had to push our own way up the motorway. But we still had around 11% remaining in the battery when we plugged in.

We went inside the services for lunch (Burger King this time, the diet begins tomorrow…), and came out 37 minutes later to find that the battery was now 94% charged (with 113 miles showing on the “Guess-o-Meter”). We unplugged, and set off on the motorway once more.

We cut across country from the M6 via the M62, M60 (bit of a delay here, thanks to some heavy traffic), M66, and finally over the hills toward Burnley, and then on to Colne and Skipton. The last few miles were a bit of a challenge – to get to Skipton, you have to go over a hill which is 1200ft high. As we left Colne, we had 10% charge remaining, with 9 miles still to go, and a big hill in the way. But by keeping the acceleration steady, and of course thanks to the fact that once we’d got to the top of the hill, it was pretty much downhill all the way to Skipton, we arrived back at home (17:30) having covered 114.7 miles, using less than 94% of the battery.


It was VERY low charge though, and I wouldn’t have liked to have driven many more miles with both the Estimated Range Meter, and “—%” battery flashing at me. Of course, I could have stopped to charge on the M6 or M62, but being the bloody minded sod that I am, I decided to plod on and see if I could eke out the range a bit.

So there we have it, a journey of over 200 miles each way, which thanks to the increased range available in the 30kWh LEAF, and the improving availability and reliability of Ecotricity’s Rapid Charger network, meant that it was completed in no more time than if we had taken a diesel. We charged for free whilst the car was sat at the services (where we would have stopped anyway for food), and for free at the Park & Ride (where we would have parked anyway, whilst we were visiting Oxford), so really, the whole journey cost us just £3.30 in electricity for the charging done at home. The same journey in my wife’s diesel would have cost around £40. #winning


412.5 miles driven. Total fuel cost £3.30! That’s 0.8p per mile!


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