Chiang Mai, Thailand, October 15, 2019- Delta’s partnership with Nissan in Thailand means you can have confidence to drive your EV to every corner of this beautiful nation. Last week we joined Nissan Thailand as its Electro Mobility Operator (EMO) to support 80 automotive experts, IT journalists and lifestyle media on the challenge to drive the all-new 40kWh LEAF to the top of Thailand’s highest peak and back on a single Delta AC charge.
Let’s get a close-up look at the action of the LEAF drive up Thailand’s highest peak-Doi Inthanon. We’ll discover how driving the 100% battery-powered EV feels and what you can expect from eco-friendly driving through Thailand’s lush highlands.
Aiming For New Green Heights
Nowadays you’ll get many opportunities to see and drive EVs in Thailand. As Nissan Thailand’s official charging supplier, Delta is supporting test drives of the LEAF in a variety of locations and driving scenarios around the country.
Last July, we supported a week of full-day LEAF test drives in varying traffic conditions across Bangkok and neighboring suburbs to test its extended range on a single charge. Now zipping around world-famous landmarks on a LEAF might be a cool Instagram-worthy experience for urban dwellers, but what about drivers and green enthusiasts who want the thrill of e-mobility in the countryside?
At a height of 2,565 meters above sea level, Doi Inthanon in the Chiang Mai province of northern Thailand was the perfect location to see if EVs are a practical green alternative for rural car owners and the adventurous.
Chiang Mai Challenge
Nissan invited 80 participants, divided into four groups of 20 participants each, to the LEAF Doi Inthanon test drive. From October 7-11 these four groups conducted one full-day test drive each with 10 LEAFs charged by 10 Delta AC Mini Plus EV Chargers.
At the opening ceremony, Mr. Ramesh Narasimhan, President of Nissan in Thailand stressed the importance of this activity, “Consumers often ask how far a Nissan LEAF can travel with one charge, and might have a misconception that it can’t handle long distances or topographies,” he said. “So to put the Nissan LEAF to the test of range, performance, innovation, and comfort, we created this drive that included an ascent on the single-lane road to the top of Doi Inthanon and a 200km round trip to show the vehicle’s capabilities.”
Before each drive, Nissan management and technicians briefed the 20 participants on the drive route, LEAF specifications and unique driving features including a regenerative braking system and e-Pedal technologies. After the briefing, participants could explore a special charger kiosk where Delta’s local EV charging expert showed the differences between DC and AC charging, charging time and best practices covered in our previous article on Delta’s EV charging solutions for Thailand.
Conquering Thailand’s Highest Peak
On the morning of the drive, everyone was excited to hit the road with 10 full charged LEAFs. Delta used 10 of its 7.36kW AC Mini Plus EV Chargers to give the LEAF’s 40kWh lithium-ion batteries a 100% charge for the steep uphill climb. Once we set off, each driver could enjoy the dramatic acceleration and comfortable cruising from LEAF's high torque to get from our starting point at Chiang Mai to the foot of Doi Inthanon.
Things kicked up a notch after we entered the Doi Inthanon National Park. The LEAF whizzed past sputtering diesel pickups and smoothly navigated twisting corners and bends. Zero emissions, low noise and the extra oomph of the electric motor torque all made it an eco-friendly yet thrilling drive. The sounds of the rustling wind and calls of forest birds wafted by us undisturbed as our all-electric LEAFs glided up the mountain slope.
As our convoy neared the peak, the temperature dropped from 30 degrees Celsius at the base of the mountain to a cool 14 degrees with high humidity and some fog. The fresh and pure air of Thailand’s lush highlands was a welcome relief from the hot and stifling smog of the cities. We stopped at a couple of locations around the peak to enjoy stunning panoramic views of verdant mountain ranges and check on our batteries.
Approaching the summit, we found ourselves entering an almost mystical world of clouds rolling over the peak and glorious bursts of sunlight that cut the fog to bathe gilt stupas in a golden glow. Everyone had over 20% battery power at the summit and this power increased throughout our descent with regenerative braking. By the time we returned to the starting point all LEAFs still had at least 20% battery power remaining.
After the drive, Nissan technicians did post-drive diagnostics on the LEAF and Delta experts showed everyone how easy it is to charge an EV. The three drivers of the LEAFs with the best battery performance received special prizes and all participants received a commemorative plaque.
Takeaways for Thailand’s EV Drivers
By conquering Thailand’s highest mountain, Nissan and Delta proved to everyone that EV’s are a fun and green way to drive anywhere in the country. EV owners in the countryside can charge up to 100% with their home chargers before setting off on a mountain drive. Although you will use more battery power during uphill climbs than when driving on flat terrain, the regenerative braking will kick in on downgrades to help recoup some of your power losses.
Once parked, Delta’s AC chargers are easy to use. At home you only have to plug the Delta’s AC Mini Plus charging gun into your EV outlet, wait for a beep and a blinking charging light will start on the charger and the LEAF dashboard. If you are sharing an AC Mini Plus at work, you can swipe your charging card to verify before your charge and the back-end management system will record your specific charging data for billing or other management tasks.
When driving for long distances, you can always stop at a public charging station for a DC quick charge if the battery reaches around 20% power. In Thailand LEAF owners can charge at any of Delta’s DC quick charging stations installed at over 30 LEAF-certified Nissan dealerships nationwide. Dealership stations in this network are set up at intervals within the LEAF’s battery range to guarantee that you’ll always have a charging option at hand.
Enjoying Our Green Thailand
We hope this account of the Doi Inthanon LEAF test drive inspires you to join us on more eco-friendly motoring adventures right here in Thailand! Remember, we are here to help elevate your driving experiences and protect our natural heritage by supporting your shift to EVs as the green transportation choice for you and your family.
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