KIA Soul EV drives 2,500-miles across UK & Ireland

Earlier this year, motoring journalist Jess Shanahan drove the Route 57 Road Trip entirely by electric car, specifically a KIA Soul EV. The route was created by hotel chain Jurys Inns as a rival to the USA’s Route 66 and it was done in an EV to disprove various preconceptions the general public still have of them. These include:

  • That EVs don’t have the range capability to drive long distances
  • The charging network in the UK & Ireland is not good enough for an EV road trip

According to a recent poll from the AA, just 55% of drivers considered environmental sensitivity as an important reason when purchasing a new car. Only one in eleven considered going hybrid or electric when buying a new car in the next three years. This shows that many still believe that EVs don’t have the same capability that fuel powered cars have but this couldn’t be further from the truth as proved by this road trip.

Using Zap Map to plot the charging points she’d use throughout her journey, Jess averaged 95 miles per charge in the KIA Soul EV which varied depending on her speed and the terrain she travelled on. This was more than enough range to get to the next charger on the network as they were sufficiently spread out enough across the country to complete the road trip. Jess even came to appreciate the time spent charging as it allowed for her to take in the surrounding scenery more.

Of the KIA Soul EV, she mentions that although it’s a heavy car, most of the weight is located underneath giving it a low centre of gravity and “amazing handling through city streets and country roads”. It was also so quiet that Jess had a problem with road crossing pedestrians unable to hear it coming!

The entire Route 57 Road Trip was finished in 20 days, having driven 2,500 miles across 4 countries. It proved that not only do modern EVs have a sufficient driving range but also that a road trip across the UK & Ireland can be done in an environmentally friendly way.

To see and read more about the journey, check out the online journal and video.

The Twizys are back! Electric cars return for New Forest visitors

THEY are being hailed as the perfect way to save money – and carbon. 
Similar #twizy of evmeerkat – commuter moi

A fleet of 26 all-electric cars called Renault Twizys have been launched in the New Forest for the second time in two years.

The multi-coloured two-seaters have a top speed of 52mph and can travel for 50 miles before they need to be re-charged.

They made their debut in the Forest in 2013 but have been off the road for several months.

Now Hire A Twizy, based at Setters Farm in Lymington, has bought the vehicles from the previous operator and is also planning to launch a similar venture on the Isle of Wight.

The “funky” vehicles were paraded at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu – scene of the original launch.

People can hire a Twizy for £49 a day. The package includes free use of all car parks owned by New Forest District Council and a complimentary Brand New Forest card, which entitles the user to discounts in shops, pubs and restaurants across the district.
But the environment is set to benefit just as much as Twizy users.

Chris Beach, owner of Hire A Twizy, said: “The idea is to get people out of their cars and into a sustainable form of transport.
“We’re going to roll out another 20 charging points not only for Twizys but for electric cars as a whole. When you use a Twizy you will never be more than two or three miles from a charging point.”

Representatives from the council and the National Park Authority gathered to celebrate the launch of a new business with a zero carbon footprint.
Anthony Climpson, the council’s employment and tourism, said: “Twizys are great fun to drive – and so silent you can enjoy and really ‘feel’ the Forest in a way you can’t in an ordinary car.”

Ben Fletcher, of Renault, said he was attending an event in Scotland when someone mentioned the Forest’s fleet of Twizys.

“It shows what a great job Hire A Twizy are doing – they are putting the New Forest on the map as a tourist destination,” he said.

“We can talk about how manoeuvrable they are and how easy they are to park, but the chief thing about them is that they’re fun to drive.

“Once you’ve been in a Twizy you will know that they’re the perfect way to explore the area.”

For details call Hire A Twizy on 01590 675675.

AC & DC: Zoe and Leaf: 8 people London to Cotswold’s #evRoadTrip @OldSwanMinsterMill and LegoLand Windsor

First of all, a little disclaimer: All views are my own and personal. i am a keen EV driver since 2012 days and all/any criticism is based on my own experience and similarly, improvement recommendations may already be in place for all those in the upgraded models. This is not to dissuade you from any purchase or lease option for either of these models.

As per my pervious post and indeed snaps…

Here goes, starting with a preface,Loading Buggies into a boot of an electric car
My In-laws have descended for a family wedding, here in our sunny and beautifully Hertfordshire, and whilst all wedding related ads are done, dusted and in-between it would have been a good idea to take them out to our gorgeous English countryside. Where better than Cotswolds and the like. But wait, there is more, sister-in-law and their family would certainly need to join as well and their children, for none-other than LegoLand flying visit as well.

Now, you know me, it’s 8 of us now, never mind the luggage and buggies for two children, and I’m not all too keen on 8+ people carrier, not that you can rent one our like so for a sensible sum. Dedicated 16 seater with 20mpg is a definite no no. so Two cars? Perhaps. Continue reading AC & DC: Zoe and Leaf: 8 people London to Cotswold’s #evRoadTrip @OldSwanMinsterMill and LegoLand Windsor

An #EV Drive to [The #EV hole of] Essex… for the very last time [READ]

You know when you plan your trim in your electric car, presumably, you Do have an electric car and you Do drive distances….

It’s the usual places, Zap-Map, Electric Highway maps, just to ensure you Do have the charging facility at your destination?

Well, i did too. And my route, from London’s Brent Cross to Braintree basically shows One RapidCharging point,ChargeYourCar Essex which i can really use – at the Destination – By ChargeYourCar. (George Yard Car Park
Pierrefitte Way, Braintree, CM7 1RB)

 

The Route

google_route

 

google_map_route Googlemaps Looks pretty straight forward, 57 odd miles a single way. So return trip (round-up) is 120 miles. That Stop in Braintree better work! I mean, there is no other way alternative. All rapid Chargers, – Ecotricity supplied (accessed 24/7) or otherwise – Thank you Nissan Dealers(accessible 9-5pm) – are not that close.

Zap-Map shows a …well, a black hole of Essex. If the Braintree RCDC is broken, im stuffed big time. So far, ChargeYourCar app is showing, (along with the website version) said that it is online and active – “Good News Everyone!”.

Zap-Map

So, we’re set for a roadtrip!

ChargeYourCar_Essex
ChargeYourCar Map

Annoying thing: there is no information about opening or closing time.

 

CYC_1 CYC_2

 

Never mind, – i’m thinking “council car park”, i’m thinking “24/7 access”. And finally, i only “am thinking…” that bit once i’m already close, 2 miles away and it’s nearly 7:30PM.

 

What really happened?

Wow, well, First of all, – and in “general”, nothing sinister. ChargeYourCar location really does exist.

I found it. its relatively easy to use. Its 43KW feed. So be prepared to wait 40 odd minutes if you arrive on near-nil.

The Bad/Cons of this Charger: First of all there is a “closing time” for this location. opening hours are 7am something  – still not sure, until 7:30pm. The closing time – just, just – is when I arrived. I was promptly flagged by a parking team and advised that i should be leaving now – its Closing Time!

Oh Joy! Not.

Personally, i still find it incredible that who-ever decides to have a rapid charger – indeed one-amazing-convenience-charger for electric car – ironically to be PAID by the travelling EV driver (yes, this charge was meant to cost me £5 – a fair amount unlike £7.50 SOME charging companies arbitrary charge EV Drivers) – oh yes, – have Closing Time.

I mean, its bad enough they are too few and far between but like “cinderella”, we – EV drivers are “allowed” to drive and charge our cars on all our #ev trips during day-time only. This was incredibly infuriating.

I went onto Council Website as well, to get FYI on this charger – who knows – maybe i missed the “opening hours bit”.

First, the news article, then i came across the Electric Car Charger [proud] announcement on Braintree Council website as well. Electric Car Charger in Braintree

Braintree Council EV News

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing. There is Zero information about any opening or closing times. That explains why ChargeYourCar charging map was blank on that as well – There is missing information.

Simples. And Whodunnit? #badReporting and #badPolicy #notImpressed and indeed #veryDissapointed

So what happened to me?

Well’ first of all “interview” the parking attendant – who eventually was very kind enough to let me stay 21 minutes to get extra 37% range  – yes, that is really poor and slow charging compared to Ecotricity’s Electric Highway – “hello 75A charging *speed*”.

They have said they have never seen an EV charging in that bay – even hearing that in 2015 – and yet somehow, i am not surprised.

I did charge just long enough as much as i was welcomed. I thanked the Parking Team, made my leave, as all the lights were switched off and multi-storey i was locked up. ouch. close car.

You know what else was close call? Well, my 61% charge apparently was not long enough to help me navigate the “hills of essex”. Nissan’s on board Navigation system classically chimed “you may not able to reach you destination” – home.

I re-routed to South Mimms – 55miles later – Thank you Ecotricity’s Electric Highway, – at least as long as it was online – yes it was.

AND – I arrived, barely, on “- – -” miles and with the warning message of “please find the nearest charging point…”

CYC Braintree charger its 2 bars! at Braintree. this is taking aaaages, 21 minutes and counting..  We're done. Thank you Ecotricity Time to leave Braintree CYC rapid charger made it to Electric Highway on South Mimms OMG i made it CYC Charger

Jesus, Moses and Abraham, but i made it, rolling in to the glowing (and working) screen of ElecHighway’s ABT Charging Point.

Horray!

I plugged in to find i had 3% of battery charge left. Wow. Close call indeed.

Made it with 3% battery charge remaining

 

Getting home, that was another 7 miles. So A StarBucks coffee break, topped up and swiftly and finally made it home.

Boy I have had my heart-pumping adrenaline for a while now. I say #ev trips can be on hold for another week. phew.

——–

Lesson to be learned? EV [especially range extending RAPID] Chargers MUST be ACCESSIBLE at ALL times. of DAY or NIGHT.

[Electric] Vehicles are a convenience, actually – a must sometimes and they are to be driven – guess what, – at convenience At ALL Times.

On Hold: London to Amsterdam by #EV #electricCar #green “Proof of Concept”. Oh Brave #evMeerkatTrip Leg 1&2

 

Update: Following European travel experience update from TransportEvolved, My trip is on hold to enable further, better planning…

 

As the sales of the Electric Cars slowly grow, its inevitable that travelling interCity, or taking the car further out of it’s designated Comfort Zone, venturing well into the Range Anxiety area would not be a novel concept for the few. In fact, considering that More and More #ev buyers are found to be younger and more affluent, and while retaining a good responsible credit rating, still, as i would interpret, – less conservative regarding “pushing the EV limits”. Don’t shoot me down, thats just my two penny’s worth on the topic here. I guess I fall in the same category, and incidentally indeed am willing to test the Comfort Boundaries of Range Anxiety on the inter”-state” #evRoadTrip.

My Plan, if you kept up with my rambling, is to Make it from North London to Amsterdam. Continue reading On Hold: London to Amsterdam by #EV #electricCar #green “Proof of Concept”. Oh Brave #evMeerkatTrip Leg 1&2

#electricCar Travels from UK to France. Registration with KiWhi Network

As some of you may know, planning #ev #roadtrip to Amsterdam from London (return) is nothing short of “good luck, pal. you’ll need it”, – and so i collected much wisdom in variety of forums and kind people on Twitter. I give you the “most recommended” KiWhi Charging Network membership in France.

KiWhi Charging Network. France. Thanks EVMeerkat

http://www.kiwhipro.fr/en/

Registration Guide. (at time of writing assumes you’re a resident in France)
All done in french (or via google translate) will require you to enter obscurer details like “Department of Birth” – Enter 99.
Now, address – enter the KiWhi official office address (10 allée Louis Vincent 53000 LAVAL). Let the kind folks know your actual Home address and they will post your card to you.

More from the Source:

Hi “EvMeerkat”,

You have just to send me your address in order to deliver you your KiWhi card at home.
You have to follow this steps:

1) Create your KiWhi account on www.kiwhipass.fr,
2) Send me your address to send you your KiWhi card. Then you’ll be able to charge your electric vehicle without problem on the KiWhi network in France.

At your disposal.

Best regards,
Xavier Geolier
Chargé de Relations – Relations Manager
xgeolier@greenparksolution.fr

KiWhi Pass Team
contact@kiwhipass.fr

#electricCar Travel to Netherlands. FastNed Network

I have a good luck to come across this @FastNed Tripple #RCDC #RCAC redundant network based in Netherlands, which is installing its 9th out of 200 purposed Rapid Charging Networking in their Country.

FastNed Rapid EV Charging network expansion

This is quite an incredible feat, and Considering i too plan a trip from London to Amsterdam, i wanted to find out more. Here is the response from FastNed;
Continue reading #electricCar Travel to Netherlands. FastNed Network