Blue Ridge Mountain Expedition

A few weeks ago I took my 2012 Leaf SL on a ~300 mile road trip to visit a friend.  My friend lives on the other side of two mountain ranges in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina USA. Take a look at the route (one way) with charging station locations* and elevation change profile that I calculated using


Chargers were few and far between but the Leaf performed admirably and had no issues that were the fault of the vehicle although I did have a leak in a tire due to a bit of road debris.  Totals for the adventure follow:

Total Miles driven on entire weekend trip: 319

Total Miles driven R/T: 220

Charging Time total for 319 mile trip: 22 hours (includes Lvl 2 and Lvl 1 overnight)

Charging Time total for R/T: 8.5 hours (Lvl 2 x 4)

Charging Time totals for entire 319 mile/3 day trip: 30.5 hours (includes Lvl 2 (8.5) x 5 and overnight/day Lvl 1 (22) x 3)

Maximum sustained speed: ~65 mph

Minimum sustained speed: ~30 mph

Time spent behind the wheel during R/T: ~7 hours

Time spent behind the wheel for entire trip: ~9 hours

Lowest Elevation: 1702 feet above sea level

Highest Elevation: 4563 feet

Total Elevation gain: 11,602 feet

Total miles regenerated for 218 mile R/T:~100!

Total cost of electricity for entire 319 mile route: ~$2.00!!

If I had driven my 1999 Toyota 4Runner the trip would have taken less time but it would have cost me ~$70 in gas and I would not have had so much fun!

I filmed the entire trek then compressed it down into the hour long documentary video linked below so sit back and enjoy an epic mountain adventure in a Nissan Leaf.


*Charging station information added to mapmyride map using Photoshop.


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Road Hazard!

On Day three of our Leaf ownership I drove the Leaf to work only to look down at the back tire and see this…


Somehow a 3.5″ rusty old bolt had made its way into my left rear tire!

I was a bit put out with the situation but at least it didn’t happen while we were driving across Tennessee!  The tire was not flat or leaking air and from the location of the bolt I deduced that it would probably continue to hold air until I could get to the tire shop.  I went on to work and later in the day I slowly drove the 12 miles to the tire store–as I drove down the mountain from work I could hear the head of the bolt hitting the road with each revolution of the tire–click, click, click–I was sure that the tire was going to blow out ant any second but somehow it made it to the shop.  Once there I noticed that the bolt had pushed its way through the rubber of the sidewall and it looked like this…yikes!


One of the employees said  “that is not fixable, you will need a new tire.” and then “I have never seen that before, how did that happen?” You know when they say that it is truly bizarre.  They looked up the Ecopia and said that they did not have one in stock but could get one by 8 am so I was forced to drive the car the 6 miles to my home on the other side of town.  On the way home the air pressure light finally came on in the middle of town so I was forced to stop at my friend Dave’s business and ask him for assistance.  First we tried a can of fix-a-flat but it malfunctioned and would not work.  We then went to a nearby auto parts store and picked up a can of Slime which I put into the tire…


Dave then provided me with an air compressor to inflate the tire and I was on my way home–THANKS DAVE!


The tire held air overnight and the next day I went back to the tire store and they replaced my “old” tire with a new Ecopia…


And I was back on the road.

The old tire was not old at all…it only had 1800 miles on it!  Luckily, I called Nissan and they put me through to Bridgestone who said that there was a warranty remaining on the tires so they gave me a 50% discount!

Day three of Leaf ownership and already a bizarre accident…hmmm…some might say it was coincidence…others may call it an an omen…I just call it dumb bad luck.

As for the Leaf, it suffered no ill effects form the ordeal and still preforms optimally and I have not paid for gas in over 1000 miles!