The LEAF Home Charging Station Equation
It's been a few weeks since we got our 2013 Nissan LEAF home, and I thought it was time to discuss our approach to home charging.
Prior to purchasing the Leaf, I had the chance to speak with someone living nearby who was using a Leaf in about the same way I would be. He was commuting not too far every day and had some interesting thoughts about charging.
At the time I spoke to him, I was assuming we would invest in a level 2 charger for home. Besides being a fast charge, the thing looks like such a cool gadget that I thought it would great to have one. Anyway, this gentleman's use case was so similar to mine that I figured I might learn something from his experience.
What he told me that day was that for more than a year he was getting by just fine by using the 110 trickle charger that comes with the car. In fact he was not actually plugging it in every night! That surprised me, but it gave me something to think about as we prepared to bring our Leaf home.
So at that point, our assumption changed. Since the car became available quicker than we had thought, we decided we would try to make do without the level 2 charger, and see how it went. The major advantage to that approach was that we wouldn't have to spend what was likely to be thousands of dollars for the power run and the unit itself.
(Our challenge with plugging the vehicle in, by the way, is that we do not have a garage and so it is a complicated power run from our breaker box to our driveway.)
So now it's a few weeks in. How are we faring?
The first week of use, there were a few 60+ mile days but its important to note those longer days were every OTHER day. Since then, my commute has tended to be about 20 miles total per day on average. During the entire time, there was only one night where the trickle charger and the time on charge did not allow me to completely fill up the car (and it was after one of those 60+ days.) I should add that I am leasing the car, and so I am filling it to 100% and not holding at the 80% mark recommended for long-term owners/battery life.
In fact, now that I'm in a more regular use pattern of 20 miles per day or less, I am not even plugging the car in every night! Though we still have thoughts that it would be helpful to be able to charge the car quickly in an emergency, it really feels like using 110 alone will be enough for us.
One custom thing I did do, was to create a box to protect the charging brick from the elements while having it plugged in. This is probably not necessary but it feels better than to have the brick sitting in the rain at night.
Again this is a 2013 LEAF and if generally you'll be using the car less than around 50 miles total per day, and have a normal overnight charging time frame, the 110 trickle charger will be just fine... or good enough for you to get the car home and evaluate it from there.
Still loving my Leaf!