End of the freeloading

The EV world was thrown into anguish and outrage as converters suddenly realised that they would no longer get free power from Ecotricity, the motorway charging people.

It all kicked off with the early release of an app which stated that instead of free power all round, they would have to start paying £5 for each 20 minutes of charge. Cue outrage, hand wringing and abject fury from some whilst others just shrugged having expected charging for some time. I am part of the latter group, however even I was surprised at the prices. The main concerns thrown up by the community were:

  • The charge was time based therefore a car that could charge at 50Kw/h would get more power for their money than one that could charge at 22Kw/h (like my Zoe)
  • Ecotricity have a monopoly on motorway service stations and for many EV’s, it would make longer journeys far more expensive than even a moderate diesel-sipping alternative
  • One aim of the charging charge was to stop the Hybrid plug-ins (yes you lot PHEV owners!) from hogging the chargers in order to get their 20 miles of electric power
  • The hogging aim was still going to be there are Ecotricity were offering free charging to their domestic power customers (unfortunately they are around £50 a month more expensive for me!)

Anyway, Ecotricity have been friendly with the EV community over the years and they got an earbashing with the news filtering to the mainstream – this all happened late last week.

And they listened. Sort of. The charges have now been amended to £6 for 30 minutes which is more suitable for me (means on my Edinburgh Airport run, 30 minutes on the way there/back will help me complete the journey easily – if I don’t use the free chargers at Halbeath that is!).

Then came the second wave of anger. As many high-users switched over their domestic power to Ecotricity to continue getting the free charging, it was noticed that deep in the T&C’s was a limit of 52 charges per year. Cue chaos! Bit of an iffy trick to push people towards their power to get free charging and then hide a limit deep in the T&C’s, but then again you should always read the small print. You do don’t you? 🙂

 

After all the green-anguish it won’t affect me at all really. I think I have used an Ecotricity charger four times in the first six months and each time that was during a trip to Edinburgh. I can easily top up elsewhere but it is definitely the beginning of the end for free charging in the UK. Charge Your Car still have many free chargers in Scotland but surely they will also switch to a paid revenue model now that all the grants have dried up.

Which brings in another point. All these networks have grown due to massive subsidies – and now they are going to screw us just as much as the petrol companies do. No getting away from the corporate greed – paying for your power is fine, paying a fair price should be a requirement. I pay 10p/Kw at home, Ecotricity would charge me 60p/Kw.

Driving Electric – Six Months In

so we have had the Zoe now for just over 6 months. During that time we have covered just over 4,000 miles and to be honest, this would be a lot more if it wasn’t for the stupid decision we took when purchasing to limit the mileage to 8,000 per year.

So as I know a few readers are interested in the whole user experience, a few key notes:

  • I estimate that we have probably spent under £50 on electricity at home during those 4,000 miles. It does help that I can charge in work so I assume others will find their home power bill does increase.
  • The longest journeys I have been on have been to Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports, between 120-160 mile round trips. Both were done quite easily with the charging network although no scottish airports have off-site (read cheap) parking with EV facilities.
  • I haven’t really had any ‘range anxiety’ although I have noticed some EV drivers hogging the chargers. Specifically the two charging points down at the Harbour in Arbroath as there are always Leafs there charging for 12+ hours. Must be locals who have decided to just park and charge their rather than outside their homes – annoying for people who need to charge though!
  • I have had two issues with the car. The first was a fault that was with the car when I picked it up but fixed very quickly under warranty. The second was when it wouldn’t start one day after parking up for a few hours however leaving it locked for 10 minutes to let all the relays and motors completely power down and reset seemed to fix it and I haven’t seen it again.
  • It is comfortable and actually quite fun to drive. Sure it is an auto but with an electric motor all the torque is there constantly so you can really shoot away at the lights and annoy the hell out of BMW/Audi/Nova GTI drivers. They tend to catch up around 30-40mph but the initial acceleration is great.
  • During the winter I could probably get 70 miles from a full charge with careful driving. As it warmed up I could probably get over 100.
  • Tailgating a lorry on the motorway seriously reduces the battery usage! The range meter (which is pretty inaccurate) can actually go up!

Given the costs of the payments on the Kia that I traded in, along with fuel and tax costs, I have probably saved £900 over the first six months against when I was driving the Kia (£100 a month fuel, £15 a month tax, £30 a month loan payments).

EV’s. Highly recommended.

Now I just need to get a promotion so I can afford a Tesla 🙂

Brexit – apparently yay!

Firstly let me apologise to those friends of mine who voted for Brexit; I probably had a bit of a rant at you on Friday but this was purely down to the shock of the result.

With that out of the way, I have had time to consider what the country decided last week and whilst I was scared on Friday morning, my fears started to dissipate the more my mind returned to rationality. This wasn’t due to a reduced concern about the complete shitfuck that leaving the EU would supply but more to a reduced expectation that anyone would actually trigger Article 50.

‘But democracy’ I hear the Brexiters cry.

Yeah. That.

But I’m in Scotland and our majority was to stay. Whose democracy do we go with?

That’s another hot potato for another campfire but even if Scotland do remain in the Union, will any Conservative PM actually trigger Article 50 without understanding all the potential outcomes? Within hours of the result being declared we had leading Leave campaigners distancing themselves from the misinformation they built their campaign around.

Uncle Nigel, that relative we all have who is apparently great to have a pint with and desperately tries to keep his racism in check but we all know he is an obnoxious git and only speak to because he is Nan’s favourite and we are concerned she might have a heart attack if we tell her her son is a complete twat, yeah that one; anyway, Uncle Nigel instantly dismissed the mahoosive poster on their ‘Bus of Hate’ suggesting they spend £350m a week on the NHS. 135660He was soon followed by various other astonishing U-turning politicians dismissing claims that immigration would be reduced and that ‘taking back control’ was on the agenda.nigel-farage-backtrack

 

And then came the hate. And the racism.Racist-flyers-posted-in-homes-of-Eastern-Europeans-in-Cambridgeshire-after-Brexit-vote-683448

Of course, not all Brexiters are racist – only a tiny minority are as was seen in the news VoxPops on Friday; however there is an argument that all racists voted Leave.

We watched as the theory of evolution was trashed by idiots stating they didn’t realise what they were voting for, cockwombles saying they voted Leave to get rid of the muslims and spunk trumpets wanting to change their minds. We watched as the Brexit voting Cornwall asked for the EU funding to be replaced, Boris telling us that the markets had stabilised whilst traders were jumping out of windows behind him and the pound dropped quicker than gravitys influence on those traders.

Let’s be honest, it is a clusterfuck of such proportions that only the British electorate could create. This being the electorate that gave power to the pork loving premier and his never-get-tired-of-punching-in-the-face fiscally challenged lapdog Osbourne.

And then it got worse as our Prime Minister decided that after leading us into such a gargantuan shit-ton fuckup, that it was all getting too hard for him before resigning to probably spend time amongst lucrative city directorships and watching re-runs of Peppa Pig in a dark room with the Kleenex close-by. One positive was that Osbourne disappeared but his smugness unfortunately reappeared after the weekend to deliver his portent of doom – increased taxes and lower spending.url

Thanks Sunderland.

And Wales.

And everywhere else that believed the Leave campaign nonsense.

But we are where we are. Which is up the shittiest creek in shitty-creek land without even a canoe, let alone a paddle; struggling to stay afloat whilst swallowing…. You get the idea.

What next? Well, at least we have a strong opposition to help us start negotiations with the EU.

Oh.

Fuck.

I console myself that both my adopted homeland of Scotland and my city of birth Liverpool, both saw sense with the majority voting to Stay. I also console myself that Scottish politicians from the scary-as-fuck First Minster, through the scottish-as-fuck Alyn Smith showed those jobs-for-the-boys nepotistic idiots down south how true politics and statesmanship (statespersonship) is done.

I’m no longer worried, but I am going to purchase a mountain of popcorn and watch the fun (if inflation hasn’t made it most costly that my house that is!). I just don’t see any Prime Minister having the guys to actually trigger Article 50 (apart from Gove because he is a complete and utter <<insert your profanity of choice here>>) although if it does happen it is likely to trigger the break up of the Union. Either that, or a Braveheart style battle in true Battle of the Bastards mode of which there can only be one winner!

The irony now is that most people are agreeing now that should the UK leave, they would have to negotiate a free market deal which would also require agreement of free movement, taking on some of the EC rules AND with a payment which would be similar to our current net payment. So status quo without the ability to change.

Yeah, well done nuggets.

 

Brexit, yay or nay?

I’m voting REMAIN.

…because I appreciate the equality laws the EU force us to have

…because I also appreciate paid maternity and paternity leave

…and a maximum 48 hour week

…and holiday entitlement

…and pension entitlement

…and equal rights for part time workers

…and consumer protection law

…because I like to travel without the hassle and cost of Visas

…and I appreciate the sustainability rules put in place to reduce climate change effects, including Europe 202020

…along with recycling and restrictions on chucking our shit in the landfill

…because I like to be able to send students to other EU countries to enhance their studies

…paid for by the EU

…along with lots of other things such as a slice of the Dundee Waterfront Redevelopment costs

…and Liverpools redevelopment all those years ago

…because I understand how the EU works and that the decision makers are elected

…and I also understand that we have many decision makers in the UK that are unelected

…because I also know that Britain was built off the back of immigration

…and colonial control but we tend to ignore that part of our history

…and you know what, I like immigrants. They put back far more into the economy than they take

…and they can’t come over to the UK and claim immediate benefits

…and they tend to be less aggressive

…and they aren’t the ones you see pissed on a Saturday night in our cities

…actually, I’m more scared of those who are scared of immigrants, then I am of immigrants

…I’m also scared of right wing racists

…because I understand that if we leave and want to have access to the single market, we will STILL have to pay in and allow freedom of movement but we won’t be able to make changes. Just like Norway and Switzerland

…and that is a bloody ludicrous situation to be in. Same as before but with no say?

…because if the thought of the UK being outside the EU was scary before, it is even worse when you think that Boris, Gove and IDS could be in charge

…because IT IS A BLOODY STUPID IDEA

…because I haven’t seen a single cohesive argument why we would be better leaving

…and by coherent, I mean one that isn’t backed with nonsense

…because the thought of TTIP seriously scares me and as our own Government are keen on it, I believe only our EU partners can halt it now (go France!)

…because I love our NHS and don’t want to see it privatised

…likewise our education system

…because as we have already lost our energy, transport and telecoms publically owned organisations which were sold by the Tories to line the pockets of themselves and their buddies

…because if the vote is Leave, on Friday the pound will plummet and the economy will go into shock

…which is likely to lead to even most ‘austerity’

…apart from those who can benefit from such events, like financial speculators

…because I can never agree with what the Daily Mail and Sun tell me to do

…because the problems we face in this country are down to our bad government decisions and NOT due to immigration or the EU/EC

…because it doesn’t cost us £350,000,000 every week

…because 75,000,000 Turkish people will not be able to arrive on our shores shortly

…because I want to see the faces on all the racist, Britain First pricks on Friday morning when they have lost

…because I don’t want to see the smug faces on all the racist, Britain First pricks on Friday morning if they win

…because mine is one of the 3,100,000 British jobs linked to UK exports to the EU

…because I work with lots of Europeans and I count them all as my friends

and most importantly,

…because my daughters future is much more important than mine

a love of airports (not Charles de Gaulle)

I’ve been lucky in that I left school with a few A levels, spent a few years stacking shelves before falling into a job which allowed me to travel. I have probably spent 500+ hours in airports over the years and unlike many other people, I find them fascinating. The concept that all these people are in one place at the beginning of the day, and spread out across the world at the end of the day just intrigues me. Yep, I’m a big airport fan. Apart from Charles de Gaulle.

Whilst I love being in airports, like everything else on this planet they do tend to piss me right off, mainly due to the fact that whilst you would think that customers (ie passengers) would be the priority of an airport, we are in actual fact at the very bottom of their ‘giving a shit’ list. Seriously, every airport has now turned into a form of Disney where every security checkpoint leads you into an interminable, wibbly-wobbly route to the departure lounge through the duty free shop, similar to how every ride at Disney exits through the bloody gift shop. It’s like Ikea, once you are inside you can’t get out and any possible short cuts are blocked by over-tanned orange sales staff trying to sell you various pungent aromas from the latest name to reach celebrity via showing their genitals whilst getting out of the back of a stretch limo at the latest Who-The-Fuck-Are-You awards ceremony.

I was in Finland last week. Beautiful country filled with trees and lakes and trees and lakes and lakes and trees. And a few more trees. Lovely, friendly people; great public transport and another country that I can tick off my ‘does a Big Mac taste the same in every country?’ scientific survey. (The answer is yes so far). Anyway, I flew to Finland from Aberdeen this time. Just for a change. I’ll mention the journey in the EV later on, but anyway I’m at Aberdeen and as usual, decided to get a greasy breakfast from the local Spoons/WhateverChainIsBig. The grease was good however I made the mistake of taking a table by the window as for some reason I didn’t spot the massive number above my head; I was sat next to a bloody gate. All this meant that everyone who started to queue up for the 7:50 to Humberside (does Humberside have an airport and is it actually a place?) was staring at me munching down my eggs and lorne sausage. Not that I cared – as mentioned previously, I would never see them again as they spread out across the globe by the end of the day. Or spread out around Humberside anyway.

Did you know Aberdeen airport has a smoking area? Either did I, but I found it. Awesome.

WTF? You have to pay a pound to open the fucking door? Not sure if that is genius entrepreneurial spirit or not? Anyway, there was a guy waiting outside for someone else to pay the pound and like a mug, I paid. I didn’t realise until I got inside that the trick was to just knock on the door. The guy who was waiting and followed me in didn’t even volunteer 50p to cover his cost. Then he started vaping.

I should also mention that it was another great experience with KLM. How one side of a partnership can be fantastic (KLM) whilst the other part (Air France) be a bunch of incompetent fuckwits I will never know. Bu they are.

As I said, I travelled to the airport using the Zoe so charged it overnight and set off. The airport was right at the edge of the range and given my late return flight, I hoped to give it a charge in Aberdeen which would provide enough to get home (no off-site airport parking places offer chargers yet). After a quick rapid charge at Asda I left the car. On the way back, I gave it a small top-up at Asda before setting off home but I miscalculated a little and as I got within 5 miles of home the car started going mental with lights and alarms and a big ‘you are running out of battery you muppet’ warning. Fortunately I managed to eek it home with around 3% remaining. Its the closest I have got to running out of battery but the adrenaline definitely kept me awake after being awake for nearly 24 hours!

 

 

 

Three months in…

Three months in to Electric Vehicle ownership and there isn’t that much to add to what I have already written! The car is performing well and done over 2000 miles although with an 8000 mile per year limit (I’m regretting making it so low already), I still have to use the old Volvo from time to time.

Maybe I should be become Chancellor as whilst stupid old George ‘face like an arse’ Osbourne seems to be cocking up his budget and missing all his savings targets, mine are pretty much spot on if not greater than expected. From the Kia that I traded in, I estimate I am saving around £150 per month which is pretty damn good. I don’t miss anything from the Kia apart from maybe the heated seats but with summer coming, who cares. With the seats down it has enough space to take a few bits down to the skip and the boot is big enough to get down to the shops – even considering how many bags we buy when all we go in for is bloody bread and milk!

Next week I’m flying from Aberdeen and taking the car. I can make it up there on a single charge but as no Scottish airport parking places have chargers yet, I may as well give it a charge just before dropping it off so it will be reasonably full when I come home. I can’t be arsed getting off a flight at 22:00 on a Friday and having to add another 30 minutes to my journey home charging!

One moment of stupidity recently (well just one I am going to mention anyway) involved me making the effort to stop the Volvo looking like a outdoor khazi for seagulls and more like the comfortable, elegant, Swedish soft top cruiser that it was sold as. Meg cleaned it and I got it all nice and shiny with polish and elbow grease. The outside looks great but the inside and especially the leather shows its 135k miles! So I bought some leather restorer to make the seats look nice again. I bought the cream coloured restorer as the seats in the car I have had close to three years are cream.

Two days later, the cream leather restorer arrived.

I looked at the Volvo again.

The seats aren’t cream.

They are fucking grey.

In the whole time I have owned that damn car, the seats have been cream. As soon as I buy some stuff to make it nice, they change to grey.

WTF?

Anyway, I need to change it for grey. Maybe it is just senility. Or stupidy. Probably both.

 

 

 

 

Air France. Why?

Those of you who followed my Facebook over the last week or so will have an idea about the trials and tribulations recently experienced due to Air France, but in the interests of giving me somewhere public to vent my frustration all over again, I’m going to relive the incomprehensible levels of ineptitude again.

So, I went to Genoa. I went to Genoa on business. I went to Genoa for a project meeting; the project being an EU project based around cemetery symbology, cultural heritage, printmaking, performance art, music and digital applications – all with the aim of engagement with youth and both visually and hearing impaired groups. Now I am sure some of you will have already lost sympathy for me, but hold on…

I did try and avoid Air France, boy did I try and avoid them! I begged the lady booking the travel to find another carrier but alas there we no others available with the days/times we needed. As the confirmation came through, a shiver of despair shot down my spine.

Knowing I was flying AF, I decided to pack a change of clothes in my carry-on just in case. This turned out to be a good call as our outgoing flight was delayed due to the AF crew not having enough rest (which is fair enough I guess) which lead to a tight connection at Charles de Gaulle (worst. airport. ever) turning into a near impossible connection. However, after getting off the flight from Edinburgh quickly, I found myself on a bus that drove and drove and drove to the terminal. I swear we must have landed in bloody Belgium such was the distance we travelled. On arriving at the terminal I took one step inside, turned right for Flight Connections and walked another 3 yards, went through a single security detector which took up another 3 yards and turned left to wait for another bus. Seriously. But that isn’t all. No. This is CDG remember. The bus arrived and TOOK ME ALL THE WAY BACK TO WHERE I CAME FROM!!! We managed to catch our flight which was incidentally, on the aircraft NEXT to the one we arrived on, with seconds to spare and with joy in our hearts at not having an 8 hour wait at CDG until the next flight, we sat down and enjoyed the flight.

Arrival at Genoa was smooth. Even better in a strange way was the email I received from AF during the flight stating my bag hadn’t made it. At least I didn’t have to wait for the last bag to be unloaded to realise mine was missing so I headed to the lost baggage desk to have a strained and difficult conversation with a helpful lady who didn’t speak much English (although she spoke more English than I spoke Italian so the language barrier was wholly my fault for being useless at languages. If only I had listened more clearly to Miss Addey at school, rather than lusting over her! Eventually we agreed that my bag would arrive on the later flight that evening although I was then informed that the courier doesn’t work nights. Thank god for the clean pants in my carry on!

My case eventually arrived late the next day and all was well. Until the return journey.

We arrived back at Genoa airport in good time for our return flight to Paris but then heard that fateful bing-bong following by a stretch of Italian which I obviously didn’t understand. The groans and disconsolate looks of my literate fellow passengers told the story though – the incoming aircraft had been diverted to Nice due to a thunderstorm in Genoa. Annoying because as we were being told this, other flights were happily landing in the rain. And so came Air France to the rescue – with silence. Nothing happened for at least an hour until we were told we were being bussed to Nice to catch the flight onto Paris. Outside we went to queue up at the small info desk to arrange new connections, all the whilst we were being told by the staff that the bus was going to be leaving shortly.

Outside, bags in hand – no bus. FFS!

Then a mini-bus appeared. There were 60 of us. FFS!

After an age, a proper coach arrived complete with the grumpiest fucker of an Italian driver. Every case he had to put into the hold was greeted with a sigh, a rolling of the eyes and a (probable) expletive. Eventually we were on the road for the 2-3 hour drive to Nice. Fortunately I was sat next to an emotional Italian chap who spent the journey talking to himself. As we passed through the French/Italian border he pulled over, jumped outside and went for a smoke. Later we hit a French toll booth and his remote charging thing didn’t work which led to a funny five minutes of him screaming TELEPASS to the intercom louder and louder. After nearly three hours of this comedic journey, we arrived at Nice and were helped through the terminal to the plane.

Where we waited.

And waited.

And you know what, I have no fucking idea why we were waiting for so long.

We waited so long we missed our revised connection at Paris – as did everyone else. Muppets.

In Air France’s favour was the reasonably easy way they sorted us all out with accomodation and meals for our unscheduled overnight stay. However when we reached the Campanile it was full and we were pushed to the next hotel (although we still had to go back to the Campanile to eat).

27 hours after we left our hotel in Genoa, we arrived home following an uneventful return from Paris.

Air France – please, never again!

Photo by Jonathan Gross

Addressing the Wombles…

Haven’t posted much recently because all is good and the car is running like a dream and still costing me next to nothing to run!

Mind you, I did see an article on Autocar recently which got on my nerves, not the article but some of the comments from the cockwombles below it. So, to alleviate that Friday anger, I thought I would respond with a ranty-post even though they will never see it. Look, it makes me feel better okay?

The article is here: http://www.autocar.co.uk/blogs/our-cars/buying-renault-zoe-introducing-electric-car-convert if you want some context!

Five Grand Subsidy Ahoy!

It is quite literally. Stolen from the taxpayer, in fact.

–Norma Smellons

Well Norma, you are indeed correct. When I purchased my Zoe I broke into the Treasury and stole £5,000 of your hard earned pounds to go towards my car. Although I am surprised you haven’t mentioned the money I stole from the French taxpayers as well given Renault are (allegedly) subsidising Renault anyway. What a horrendous person I am! Actually no, I take all that back Norma you fuckwit. You may have noticed that the world is getting warmer and we need to do something about it (unless of course you are either a climate change denier or a member of the Flat Earth Society in which case stop reading now and hopefully evolution will catch up to you at some point). Reducing the reliance on fossil fuels is one and avoiding pushing out lots of crap into the atmosphere by transport is another. Unfortunately new technology costs and incentives are sometimes required. I have paid my fucking taxes for nearly 30 years so its about time I got something back in the form of a subsidy to drive a car that whilst not carbon neutral, is a lot better for the climate than the majority of vehicles.

I still don’t understand why I have to subsidise other people’s motoring (if that’s the word). Most days I go to a car-park underneath Waitrose at Canary Wharf where there are 6 Tesla re-charge bays that are nearly always empty even in this glass and chrome cathedral of excessive wealth. As it’s free of charge who pays for it? Is it Tesla, or me again? Genuinely not against electric cars and the technology is obviously coming on leaps and bounds. BUT they are not Green in any way, if take up accelerates we’ll have to build more power stations to cope with demand and, tbh, I just don’t understand the subsidy argument. I live in Mallorca and have a solar array so a little i3 BMW would make great sense I guess but the price is just absurd. I’m sure the Zoe is less expensive but I don’t want one.

–johnfaganwilliams

World class trolling here. The guy lives in Mallorca yet shops in Waitrose in Canary Wharf? What the actual fuck????

Firstly I don’t understand why I have to subsidise London and all the high capital projects that go on there (HS2, Crossrail and all the other shit that will not affect me in any way, shape or form) but I do. Some of my taxes probably paid for your fucking underground car park to be built so you could travel from your home and couple of thousand miles away to get your kale, quinoa and overpriced unicorn milk. Also, you didn’t pay for the Tesla bays you dick – Tesla paid for them.

As for not being green – they are a lot greener than the fucking flight you have to take to get to fucking Waitrose from your house. Sure they aren’t carbon neutral but I’m not sure any transport is, however one of the main charging networks uses fully sustainable power so it is closer than many other vehicles. Demand may well increase but what is the problem with more power, especially if fully green rather than brown power is being generated and used? What is your fucking problem? Your solar array isn’t very fucking green either you tool and it was pretty damn expensive when the technology came out, just like current EV’s and the BMW i3!

Jim Holder and other electric car “owners” are just like Google etc that legally avoid paying their share of taxes. The only reason for most to buy an elctric car is the tax reduction, and tax discount, not desirability of ownership. Until most, if ever, electricity is produced by non fossil fuels electric cars just shift the pollution from the car user, to make them feel good and saintly, onto others. Just like dog owners that take their dog out for a regular walk so they crap on others land and not their garden.

–campervan

I’m losing the will to live. Just use a green tariff you dick and your argument disappears. Not sure what tax reduction I am getting from my EV apart from saving £15 a month on road tax – £15 a month isn’t enough of an incentive. You really don’t know your fucking arse from your elbow do you, as proven by your dog-walking point. You really think that is the only reason dogs get walked – really? Sometimes I wonder if my own efforts to do my own tiny little bit to be green and give the next generations a planet they can live on is worthwhile – when nuggets like you were there one in a million that managed to get to the egg first. How the fuck is that possible and given ‘survival of the fittest’, how bad where the rest of the sperm if you won???!?!

 

Happy Friday y’all!

Photo by andeecollard

as smooth as…

I was going to finish the title with a reference to a topical news story here in the UK, then I realised it was in serious bad taste so rather head down dark alleyways filled with Frankie Boyle levels of depravity, instead I am going to tell you a happy story.

And it involves Zoe.

And charging.

So, those of you who noticed the last post will know that today was the day I did my first journey in the Zoe which involved charging en-route. Meticulous planning using a combination of PlugShare, ZapMap and Google Maps provided me with a route for my journey to Edinburgh which wouldn’t leave me waiting for the cost orange arms of the RAC man to lift me onto a flatbed. I needn’t have worried as with a full charge I got to Kinross services without issue allowing me the sole use of the fast charger there. Easy.

RBS itself had a charger in its car park that I pre-booked and although it was very, very slow (3Kw I expect), it provided enough over the two hours to get back to Kinross and do another 30 minute charge to get me home. I didn’t see any other EV’s charging whilst there and it was refreshing to plug into a rapid charger and see an extra %age of battery appear every 35-40 seconds. At my age, after drinking a few coffee’s during an event, you need to stop to get rid of it so the stop wasn’t an issue (although I hasten to add that I am not yet at the age where prostrate problems mean a pee can take 30 minutes!).

The journey there took around 50 minutes more than it would have done in the Volvo due to me driving at 60, but it was fine. I even spent 20 minutes harking back to the F1 days and slipstreaming behind a truck which made a marked difference in the range.

So there you go. A good EV journey story. It’s not all faffing around and apart from the £1.00ish of power I used overnight to charge before the journey, the 150 mile round trip will have cost me nothing in fuel (although it did cost £3 bloody 50 for a Costa. Thieving swines!)

Photo by Elessar

Parking woes

Today I headed into Dundee to do some project work. ‘This should be easy’, I thought as I drove down knowing there are a few on-street charging points in the city which also allow for free parking.

Yeah, right! More chance of Trump becoming President…

oh…

anyway,

South Tay Street was my first port of call. When I worked here I swear there were more parking wardens than people walking its 200 yard length. Typically, both charging bays were full; one with a ‘CarClub’ car, the other with a tatty old Fiesta which looked like it didn’t even have a petrol engine, never mind an electric one. Properly ICE’d 🙁 I consoled myself thinking that the culprit would get a ticket for parking in a space which had a massive ‘Electric Vehicles Only’ sign all over it. Hopefully they will get three…

Onwards, there are more I thought as I got lost (again) in the one way system before arriving at Dock Street. Yay! A space. Five minutes later I set off on foot with the high pitched charging sound sending all the local cats running. Five minutes after that I wondered if it was truly free on-street parking for EV’s in Dundee. Google would save me; well it would if my phone hadn’t crashed. Reboot. Another five minutes. Search, search, search.  Nothing. Not a single reference to parking charges for EV. Head battered, I walked back to the car not wanting a £60 ticket like the guy behind me. The confusing thing was that the parking area said 1 hour max, but the EV sign said 3 hours max. WTF?

Anyway, drove around the corner to the multi-storey where I know there are two chargers – and one bay is free. Park. Exit. Swipe card. FFFFUUUUUUUCCCKKK! The previous user had left their charging cable in (obviously it hadn’t been released) which meant I couldn’t use it. By this time my will-to-live o-meter was quite low until renewed by the other EV owner turning up and allowing me to use their space.

So, I managed to get a charge although it did cost £1.90 for parking. Later on, I did find a site that said on-street parking was free for charging EV’s so I’ll know for next time. You live and learn….

As for the image on this post, all I could find doing an ImageInject search for ‘sigh’ was images of the damn bridge. So here is the damn bridge….

Photo by worldaroundtrip