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What is it like to go on a long road trip in an electric car? Along with a fellow CNET colleague, I set off
on a 500-mile journey around England to find out.
was a 2015 Nissan Leaf Tekna, currently the most popular all-electric car in
Britain and similar to the top-of-the line Leaf SL model in the US.
Our planned route would take us from London to the Peak District and back again, avoiding major cities and the main motorways where charging points are easy to find.
The top bar on the Leaf's dashboard shows the balance between using power and regenerating power through braking.
The old university town of Cambridge is a beautiful place to stop on a road trip.
This Nissan showroom in Cambridge had a rapid charging dock.
Our overnight charging point was in the beautiful spa town of Buxton, in the Peak District. It just happened to be my home town.
With 14 miles of range in the car, we were able to take it on this winding route through Goyt Valley.
Waiting behind herds of dairy cows is not uncommon in the North.
The range dial was on zero by the time we arrived at our charging point in Oswestry.
charging point in Oswestry wasn't working. With no power to drive to a
different charging point and no ability to charge here, we had no choice but to
call for roadside assistance. An hour later, a tow truck arrived to rescue us.
The error message on the Ecotricity rapid charging dock.
Back on the tow truck to a nearby Nissan showroom, where both charging points were out of order, and then to the town of Shrewsbury.
We eventually got towed an Asda supermarket in Shrewsbury with charging points in the car park. However, due to a malfunction, the charging point locked our cable in place -- without charging the car.
I risked a drive to another nearby Nissan showroom. I made it and was able to charge the car, returning later for the abandoned cable.
The drive from Shrewsbury to Leominster took me through some of the most stunning scenery. It almost made me forget how much trouble this road trip had been so far.
I had to wait two hours at the medium-rate charger in Leominster.
I found a rapid charging point in the car park for Winchester's County Council building.
The last part of my journey looked like this. I had to double back
to the town of Warwick -- instead of heading south to London -- after a charging point in the town
of Moreton-in-Marsh wouldn't work.