Simon: Sales & Marketing
Further Adventures in an e-Car
I want you imagine: you are about to start a 275-mile, 6 ½ hour journey in your petrol car. However, you must refuel first as you only have a range of 40 miles. You find a petrol station on your satnav that is 18 miles away and proceed to this only to find that the petrol station isn’t complete and there is no fuel present, “isn’t complete” is a polite way of putting it; you arrive at a cleared piece of land with various markings to indicate where the station will eventually be but nothing else. But your ok, you should have over 20 miles left but now your dashboard only reads 8. You check the satnav for another station nearby and are in luck; its 5.5 miles away so you will have 2.5 miles to spare. You head towards your new destination and after about 5 miles your car starts to tell you to ‘refuel immediately’ as your range is now zero, thankfully, however, you manage to crawl into the station and find a free fuel pump. It is an unmanned station but that’s fine: You have the app you just need to top up your credit, easily adding £20! Your relief is short-lived however as after 30-mins of wrestling with the app the pump wont work. There is another free pump nearby but this one only delivers the fuel slowly - a teacup full of petrol every 10 minutes - and the app (which you have managed to get to work) says it will take 12 hours to refuel fully. You check your satnav once again and discover that there is yet another station 10 miles away. You decide to fill up with 15 miles of fuel (always have a buffer) and make the perilous run.
45 minutes later you head off to make your third attempt to refuel for your 275-mile journey and make it at the next station with 0 miles to spare only to find that both are in use. After a 45-minute wait during which time you share refuelling horror stories with one of the other drivers, you are ready to refuel. This unmanned station uses a contactless card (debit or credit) and you proceed to refuel; card works, refuelling starts, then stops. You repeat this for 5 time over the next 20 minutes without success so call the helpline (props to Instavolt as they answer the phone, unlike MOST other providers). After a further 20 minutes the operator gets it all working and using your card you begin refuelling. Whilst waiting for the charging to complete (this one will take 90 minutes) you have a suspicion which is fully justified when you discover you have been charged £75. The operator informs you that a £15 charge is taken in advance of any charging session, but don’t worry you’ll get it back within a week (now that’s a license to print money!).
Having paid another £15, with your car fully charged, and having travelled under 30 miles in over 4 ½ hours, you set off on your journey. Trouble is you have 230 miles to go, and the car says it can only do 223 miles, fortunately the plan was always to stop after 2 or so hours for a break and to refuel the car. Your destination is already programmed into your satnav, and it is only 140 miles away. 2 ½ hours later you arrive at your destination, a reliable station with lots of fuel pumps, with 30 miles spare (you do the math) and drive straight to a free pump. You have the app which usually works and Ionity once again prove faithful providing you with a full tank of fuel in an hour for about £10, you set off on the final leg of your epic marathon.
The remainder of the journey is quite uneventful, and you arrive home after 9 ½ hours, £140 poorer.
As an electric car owner this kind of nightmare occurs regularly, speaking to many other electric car owners my experience is not atypical. Can you imagine having this kind of issue with petrol cars? I guess in the early 20th century those who graduated from the horse carriage to the horseless carriage might have had a similar experience, yet this is 2022, not 1922. With our governments objective to get everyone in electric vehicles within the next 10 to 15 years I quote the inimitable wisdom of Private Fraser who served with the Warmington-on-Sea Home Guard in WW2, “We’re doomed!”
PS: To pre-empt comments to this missive:
I don’t drive like a bat-out-of-hell, I use all the electronic doohickies to make my journeys as economic as possible.
The journey in my previous car, a very nice hybrid, was only 240 miles as I didn’t have to go out of my way to find a charging station. It also only took me 4 ½ hours.
Yes I know it is much cheaper (at present) in an electric vehicle, but that is no compensation for spending 5 hours longer on a journey.
I did eventually get all my money back after exactly one week.
And finally, I do wish I still had my evil hybrid car!