We’ve written a few blogs so far talking about how you have pretty much all the infrastructure you’ll ever need if you have a drive, or garage and an electric car. Most electric cars will cover 200 miles with ease and with most employees only driving more than 200 miles once every couple of months, it seems an obvious solution.
However, motoring is all about freedom and sooner or later you may need to charge at a public charge point, or just want to because it can be free and offer extras such as preferred parking spaces or reduced parking costs!
The rumour mill as ever with electric cars is rife with tales of 20 cards needed for a restricted network of oversubscribed charge points trickle-charging your car in the time it takes to teach a small child how to recreate Nikolai Tesla’s early experiments, there is a certain truth in the ‘Betamax/VHS’ point we are at (or HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray for the younger reader) but it is a very surmountable problem with a little knowledge.
How do you Adapt to Life With an EV?
Let’s take the convenience argument first. If you want to drive 200 miles from home and back you have two choices. You can take the traditional model, waste time (and fuel) driving to a garage, waste time queueing for the man in front to do what seems like a weeks shopping before paying for fuel and struggling to work out the intricacies of a seatbelt and then waste more time filling up before waiting for the privilege of parting with £30 to cover your 200 mile journey. Alternatively, you could fill up overnight on your drive without leaving the comfort of your bed. From 4 pence per kilowatt on off-peak tariffs, you can get 200 miles worth of charge for £2!
How Do I Charge An EV?
Once you’re on the road for more than 3-4 hours things do become less convenient but there are still many more options than you would think. In the UK we have around 30,000 charge points, ranging from 7kW chargers giving you around 20 miles charge per hour to 100kW chargers giving 200 miles in 40 minutes. Apps like ‘zap-map’ show at the touch of a button charge points by provider and recharge rate on your route.
The most convenient way to recharge your car is at motorway services, every services in the UK except one has ‘Ecotricity’ charge points which are relatively underutilised. All have 2 types of charge lead making them suitable for all electric cars, most currently charge at 22kW/hour with many upgraded to charge at 50kW/hour. What this means is that an hour lunch stop at the services will typically get you 160 more miles. It’s not as cheap if you’re not an Ecotricity customer at 30 pence per kW, meaning it will cost around £15 to get 200 miles of charge but this is of course almost half the cost of the equivalent petrol or diesel and it’s halved again if you are an Ecotricity customer. To put this in context, if you need to cover 400 miles, you’ll need to make an hour lunch stop and recharge fully at home, but you’ll cover 400 miles for well under £20.
Stray off the motorway network and you’ll save even more. Many hotels, pubs and city car parks have charging facilities, lots of them free of charge!
For the more adventurous journeying to Europe, you’ll find a huge network of 100kW chargers, giving 200 miles extra range in half an hour, Europe is largely joined up from a charge point perspective with only 1 or 2 suppliers offering compatibility over all such as ‘Plug Surfing’ or ‘New Motion’. The UK less so but if you subscribe to ‘Charge your Car’, ‘Polar’ and ‘Ecotricity’ you should have all the network you will ever need.
Yes, having an electric car may seem to cut down some of the spontaneity we associate with the joy of driving but look at it another way, it’s more enjoyable, cheaper and who wouldn’t benefit from an hour break every 3 -4 hours. Best of all, you can use that money you’re saving from the switch to bag yourself lunch on the road – success!
Tags : electric car, Green Motoring, ulev