Living in the future…
After what seemed like a lifetime of delays, mainly with the manufacuring process given the worldwide shortage of chips to power all the fancy electrics in modern cars, my new EV finally arrived. I now live in the future…
How do you plug this thing in?
Initially I didn’t have a home charge point. So task one. Figure out how and where I can charge it! Fortunately for me there’s a website for that, Zap-Map . A quick look around the local area and I’m pleasently supprised by the number of public charge points. So one of the very first trips was to a local tesco supermarket to try their chargeing point (which is free to use while you shop, which is nice 😀 )
There’s an app for that
One thing you will quickly learn owning an EV. You need to download a lot of apps to your mobile. Practically every public charge point needs you to have the right one to be able to use their service. For Tesco, that’s podpoint. Podpoints are in quite a few tesco carparks. You need your own cable to use them and they are limited to 7kW (so not the fastest). But still, nice to get a charge while you shop. And the best bit, they are free to use (well, at the moment anyway).
So I plug the car in, click on the right charge point on the app, go through the log-in details, see the green charging light on the dash and next to the cable point and go off to do my shop. When I get back I’m alarmed to see it hasn’t worked. Not a great start. I begin to panic. Maybe people were right. Maybe the public charging network isn’t up to scratch. When I got home I did a little reading. Aparently you need to confirm the charge on their points otherwise you only get 20 minutes of charge. That sounds a lot like what happened, although I’m sure I clicked to confirm (athough it did kick me to the ‘sign-up’ pages at that point… hmmm).
The next day I go back to the same tesco’s to see if I was right. I follow the same process but this time I get a green screen confirming the charge. I go for a long wander around the store (I did all my shopping the previous day) and went back to the car. Fingers crossed…
This time it worked fine. Phew. User error all along. OK, so attempt one not so great.
Next I wanted to try out a supercharger.
My local Asda also provides free EV charging while you shop, but this time it’s a fast charger. DCC, up to 20kw. Cool. Again, you need the right app. Plug the car in, navigate through the app and it’s charging. I was really pleased with how fast this charged. I was in the store for less than an hour and upon returning to the car it was back at 80% charge (I have the car set to stop at 80%, it’s better for the battery).
I tried a few other paid for chargers, Ikea – worked fine (no app needed, just tap a card to use) and instavolt (pain to get to work, and expensive, but it did work)
So while I waited for my home charge point to be fitted I happily found reasons to pop to the supermarket for my free energy. Win for the supermarket (got me back in their stores more than I usually would) and a win for me, free miles 😀
How much does it cost to charge?
The cost of charging and running an EV can be a little challenging to work out. Home charging is always going to be cheaper than paying for a supercharger. To help you work out what it could cost, try this site
So in summary, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to survive without a home charger. Now I have one I still regularly use the free charges you can get in supermarket car parks and try to limit my home charging to just take the excess solar power to top the car up while at home. There’s something that feels super green about doing that 😀