X

A 500-mile journey in an electric car (pictures)

How easy is it to go on a road trip in an electric car? For Road Trip 2015, CNET set off on a 500-mile journey around England to find out.

Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon headshot

Andrew Lanxon

See full bio
road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-18.jpg
1 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Road trip in a Nissan Leaf

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.

Our vehicle 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.

screen-shot-2015-07-30-at-13-25-51.png
2 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The planned route

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.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-13-2.jpg
3 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Regenerative breaking

The top bar on the Leaf's dashboard shows the balance between using power and regenerating power through braking.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-2-2.jpg
4 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Pit stop in Cambridge

The old university town of Cambridge is a beautiful place to stop on a road trip.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car.jpg
5 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Charging in Cambridge

This Nissan showroom in Cambridge had a rapid charging dock.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-5-2.jpg
6 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Overnight in Buxton

Our overnight charging point was in the beautiful spa town of Buxton, in the Peak District. It just happened to be my home town.

screen-shot-2015-08-12-at-14-07-47.png
7 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Touring Goyt Valley

With 14 miles of range in the car, we were able to take it on this winding route through Goyt Valley.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-7-2.jpg
8 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Cow crossing

Waiting behind herds of dairy cows is not uncommon in the North.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-14-2.jpg
9 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Zero miles left

The range dial was on zero by the time we arrived at our charging point in Oswestry.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-13.jpg
10 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Getting towwed in Oswestry

The Ecotricity 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.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-10.jpg
11 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Error message

The error message on the Ecotricity rapid charging dock.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-17.jpg
12 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Getting towed -- again

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.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-16-2.jpg
13 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Another malfunction

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.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-20.jpg
14 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

UK countryside

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.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-20-2.jpg
15 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Leominster charge point

I had to wait two hours at the medium-rate charger in Leominster.

road-trip-nissan-leaf-electric-car-21.jpg
16 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Rapid charge in Winchester

I found a rapid charging point in the car park for Winchester's County Council building.

screen-shot-2015-08-12-at-14-37-14.png
17 of 17 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The final stretch

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.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More
John Cena attends Warner Bros. premiere of The Suicide Squad, in costume as Peacemaker.

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022
zelda-cnet-2.jpg

The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

36 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games
astro-bot-rescue-mission-screen-02-ps4-us-18may18

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More
thor4

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

85 Photos
2023 Toyota Highlander Adds Turbo Power to Lower Emissions
2023 Toyota Highlander

2023 Toyota Highlander Adds Turbo Power to Lower Emissions

25 Photos
Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference
james-webb-seq-00-14-05-10-still002

Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference

12 Photos
Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato Looks Just Like the Concept
Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato

Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato Looks Just Like the Concept

16 Photos