Life in the Electric Vehicle lane

Posted by Alex Crate on 26th May 2016

Since the majority of car journeys are under two miles many of the perceived barriers to using an electric vehicle just don’t become a reality. However, for those rarer longer journeys how does an EV perform? Our guest blogger, Chris Ramsey, shares his experience of putting the range of an EV and the charging infrastructure to the test.

My interest in electric cars started in 2013, working in the energy industry. I was catching up with a friend about renewable technology and the subject of electric cars came up. I was intrigued, so investigated more by visiting my local Nissan dealer and took a LEAF for a test drive.....I was hooked! 

All the questions about charging infrastructure, charging cards, range and connectors were running around my head. So to test the car, myself and the technology, I borrowed a LEAF and embarked on a 1,600 mile road trip around the UK in September 2013.  Whilst availability of charge point locations was not perfect at this time, I was sold. 

Since then I’ve gone on to buy my very own LEAF, sold my two petrol cars and have had over 30,000 miles of hassle-free electric driving. I also, along with a friend, set a new (still to be officiated) UK record for driving from John O'Groats to Lands’ End in a Nissan LEAF, completing the journey in 27hrs 48mins. A challenge that was so hassle-free, we turned back around straight away and drove all the way back again, breaking our own record in the process by charging fifteen times.

Last month I drove the North Coast 500 route, using the new 155 mile LEAF. The drive saw me head north from Inverness to John O'Groats, across the northern tip of Scotland, then back to Inverness, following the west coast route, via Ullapool. It was been made possible because of the roll out of Rapid Charger installations along this whole coastal route by the ChargePlaces Scotland initiative. My future plans involve driving my electric car around the world in 80 days!

Getting out in my LEAF touring the UK and meeting new people who are interested to know more, is what inspires me to do what I do. So much so, that I started Plug in Adventures, and now document my adventures via social media, along with offering advice and support to would be and current EV owners. 

For me, owning an electric car has now gone beyond doing my bit for the planet or the cost savings - although I’m now saving around £1,700 a year in fuel and road tax (i.e. vehicle excise duty) which is nice. Oh, and not forgetting my heated steering wheel, and being able to preheat the car on cold mornings via an app, which I love.

I’m often asked "Can you drive long distances?" or "Are there enough chargers?" and, as you have read, the answer is ‘Yes!’

Electric cars and the technology inside them have advanced immensely over the years, and I would encourage everyone to visit their local dealer, take a test drive and see for themselves. I did and I have never looked back.