Michelle Fisher swapped her hybrid for an EV car back in February of this year to a Skoda Enyak 60. She is asked by so many of her experience so here we go: I love the car, but I still have issues with the charging infrastructure when I travel outside of my local area. Which to be honest isn’t often and that was why I was happy to commit to an EV as the other car in the household is a petrol one for those longer trips.
First Long Journey
My first journey afar, I was extremely nervous. I didn’t put the heating on as I wasn’t sure I’d make the whole journey on one charge! I was aware that the mileage distance changes depending on how you drive, speeds, weather conditions, etc. As this was going to be a regular journey, I kept an eye out for places that I could charge if I needed to. I was gutted to see that on that three-hour journey, there weren’t any convenient EV chargers on the main road.
Although my car has an official WLTP combined range of 256 miles, I’ve never had the screen show more than 204 mileage range on a full charge. My parents live in Hastings which is a good 135 miles trip. In good travel conditions, I use 70-76% of the battery. I had little choice but to make sure I had a charger fitted at their home to make sure I could recharge during my visit for my return journey.
I am pleased to see the local ESSO in Bexhill there have invested in 6 x 150kw fast chargers recently and I look forward to seeing more of these in towns and cities.
Charging Stations Full?!
But I have found chargers are thin on the ground still and having spoken to others they too are finding this the main problem for them. I’ve heard that at motorway service stations fights have broken out. After all, where do you wait when all three, yes only three stations, are full! Who was next in line? How long will they be charging?
A popular shopping centre, Bista Village, they have a few chargers. So a friend was confident in taking their EV for the day, but they were all being used. The wife headed off shopping whilst the husband waited for an hour for a shopper to return so he could use a charger. You’d think this is the worst of it, but the charge speeds are dependent on how many are using them at the time. With them all being full the electricity outage drops per charge point. For example; if there was 50kw designated and 7 chargers, all in use, each would only give 7.14kw. You’re hoping for a fast charge time with 50Kw but 7Kw could take 9-13hrs to charge back to 100%.
On this occasion for this couple, it took 8hrs to get the charge they needed to return home. They had to sit in the carpark for most of this after the stores had closed.
No EV Charge Points…
Recently I did a trip to Chichester and found that although they say they are committed to developing a cleaner environment throughout the district, there were no EV charge points that I could find in the city centre. Only one 7kw at a hotel on the outskirts. Under further searches, since having left the area there are 3 locations but only 7kw and 22kw and only 1 or 2 in those three locations. A day tripper who needs power to return home again would need to charge about 4-8hrs. God forbid there are more than two of you out for the day visiting the Cathedral!
Why would a tourist location not encourage a better infrastructure?
It is a shame to see that the EV Network has not progressed more yet. Hopefully over the next year or so EV chargers will be more accessible on long journeys across the country as well as in many cities.
In all, I think there are promising articles that say investment is being made but it’s not coming quick enough really. But mainly the problems lie with getting the needed power to the locations too.
What is GF Electrical doing to help?
GF Electrical are working with businesses and properties to help with putting in the framework that is needed. There are opportunities out there; parking for client’s use or for travellers passing by outside of opening hours. Come on Costa and Starbucks, who have taken over venues along main routes! We EV users need to kill time whilst we charge, and a coffee and cake helps the time pass!
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