“Sorry sir, the keys are locked up and we can’t move it.” The sales staff were very helpful and apologetic but they could not move a LEAF parked in the bay reserved for Quick Charging.
So how did that happen?
I called by for a quick charge one evening after shopping nearby. When I saw the LEAF parked in the quick charge space I figured someone was charging, but then noticed the vehicle wasn’t plugged in and with no one in sight. I inquired within and the dealer staff did their best to help. The salesman looked at the vehicle and said, “It’s not ours, we are working on it”. Sure enough a service tag was hanging from the rear view mirror. The keys to vehicles being serviced are locked away in a separate lockup by the service department, salesmen do not have access to customers keys. I suppose that’s a good thing :-)
Instead I spent 30 minutes drinking coffee and chatting to the staff and customers while my vehicle charged at their Level 2 EVSE. I bumped into someone I used to work with and we exchanged stories about our careers while she was shopping for an Altima.
It’s early days for EV’s and the dealers don’t have their businesses setup to fully support EV’s yet. I’m very glad Nissan chose to install a quick charge unit at Nashville area dealers, I’ve made great use of them, however this experience underlines the fact there is a single point of failure throughout their quick charge network.
Tesla have already thought this through and install multiple superchargers at each location, so if one is out service or blocked by an inconsiderate driver, there’s probably several other superchargers available. Redundancy is key to a quick charge network that is to be relied on. What this experience tells me is that established car manufacturers and dealers have yet to setup a reliable quick charge network. Maybe because they don’t want to. They don’t have gas pumps, they let someone else handle that. But for EV’s to be take off a reliable quick charging network has to be in place for EV’s to become a long term success. Tesla know that and are building their own network, this should assure them of success in the EV marketplace.
The good news is that Nissan dealers do have Level 2 units that can be used in place of a quick charge unit, which is better than nothing. I got home just fine just a little later than I had hoped for, but I did manage to catch up with a colleague from a ‘previous life’.