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January 20th, 2015 § Comments Off on Dont care how low Petrol Drops. I am part of an Electric Revolution. And it’s still cheaper to drive an #ev § permalink

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April 8th, 2014 § Comments Off on Dont understand why in this 21st century Tech day and age I should ever settle for SUV with measly ~<50 mpg?! If even so! PHEV all the way! § permalink

Trip to Scotney Castle (National Trust)

September 10th, 2012 § Comments Off on Trip to Scotney Castle (National Trust) § permalink

Hello and Hello,

I hope this post will not deter you from EV Ownership(lease), as i intend to be as frank as possible about my experience with my cZero electric vehicle (EV).

Our far away family cousin is visiting us from Down Under, and we thought it would be somewhat appropriate to spend Sunday vising English Castles, parkland and gardens, whether its a tourist thing or a heritage, – it was a beautiful day.

On Full Charge, We set off, en-route, from Brent Cross, via Central London, Streatham, M25, A21, all the way to Scotney Castle.

Naturally, I planned the trip in stages…

Leg one: Brent Cross to M25 Clacket Motorway Services (Rapid Charging Station).

This is some 35 miles but motorway and hills can eat up some charge, hence on arrival to Clacket Motorway Services with some 40% charge remaining.

Typically, as tested, full charge will deliver some 75-85 miles depending on terrain and driving style. We had to opt for higher speeds and uphill at times on M25, so this resulted in poor-er than usual performance. Nonetheless the pitstop itself and location – very timely and Convenient.

Arrival to Clacket Motorway Services (Rapid Charging Station), we found the electric bay frequently used and abused by non-ev users. Despite consideration for clear marking, we found a car parked in well marked EV bay, on arrival. We wont mention if we found out who it was 😉

I reversed into second bay and will have to mention that it didn##Q##t take long to figure out how to use this Rapid Charging facility.

This was great, – specify how many minutes charging you require or “KW limit” to charge until, and away it goes. Very VERY impressive. We barely had a loo break, some nosh, and a quick chat with the Duty Manager, Paul about the EV Charging/use, that the Charging was complete.

Paul was very helpful and friendly and insisted that we were the “The only and likely to be the first person to use this charging station. I have never seen anyone use it even once” . I guess it speaks for itself, we were indeed amused. nonetheless, as impressed as we were with this gear, we were fully topped up and ready to go on.

Leg 2: Clacket Motorway Services (Rapid Charging Station) – Scotney Castle.

With 80% (anticipated) charge (its a limitation) and some 30 odd miles later (or thereabout) – we reached Scotney Castle! Needless to say, the “mega”-hills we had to deal with, three or four of them in fact en-route to Scotney Castle were quite ruthless to our charge.

With 3 adults on board, and 3-4 uphill struggles, where i had to exceed “economy” mode and press on (by the way, when it delivers, – it delivers!) – we reached the castle grounds and car park with some 30% charge (its quite poor), Computer said yes to 31miles of “similar driving profile”, so basically this meant we could* and maybe could not* get back to M25 Clacket Services, and so needed some “top-up” locally.

Once again, we were accommodated by the friendly lovely staff and management at Scotney Castle, who make use of electric carts and indeed have outdoor 13A plain plugs, – yey! I managed to park up close to the building and slow-charge the car while we were visiting the castle, grounds and parkland! It was seriously a beautiful day – see the pictures.

Return trip

Now the return journey, that was quite something.

We left Scotney castle with some 60% odd charge, with car computer reporting some 53 miles “to go”. This is typically enough … to some convenient charging point pit stop once back in london.

Ended up planning for Scotney CastleM25 Clacket Service once again. This would deliver enough juice to get back home and in a good time.

Needless to say, ideal plan never works out, and we made a crucial mistake of taking the Wrong Turn, which sent us back to near Scotney Castle!!! Wasting some 30 miles for this return-waste-trip.

Again, i wont point fingers, alas user error happens.

Sitting at the edge of the seat, doing the best “eco” miles at 45mph uphill on the A road or even motorway while everyone zooms by is sad enough, although needlessly exciting.

Now with 7 miles left on the charge clock and flashing battery icon, we arrived at the Clockwise part of the Clacket Services and found out not-so-terrific news that there is NO second Rapid Charging unit installed on site in itself should have made me cry, (promise i didnt).

Luckily, having spoken to yet another member of friendly and helpful staff, we were allowed to use the service bridge (PHEW!) which brought us to our original Charging Point facility we used earlier on the day.

It was quite an exciting prospect to be “charged up” and on the way in the matter of minutes, – i longed for that coffee and muffin break at the end of this, what appeared to become Close-Encounter first hand, when EV is out of juice.

To our great horror, EnGenie Charging Facility, had a red on the plug-charge, and screen “OUT OF ORDER”.

🙁 i didnt know how to feel about this episode. honest. i admit i was being somewhat evangelical about this EV migration and pushing it to the limit didnt even get close, as we typically were (and luckily) accomodated on all ends of the travel trail.

But finding station, and that, cruicial charge station as such, out of order literally takes the biscuit frankly. Never mind the fact that there is only 1 of those for a LONG miles around, there is only One of those at Clacket Services (either way), – i found out first hand, what its like to be stranded in the full sense of the EV Pessimistic views – “what happens if battery runs out”. There is no support. You##Q##re on your own.

We are lucky to discover (calmy at that) the Citroen Assist, which is located on the Citroen Dashboard, who were helpful to book us in for the free recovery home. 60-90 minutes Later, granted, AA vehicle recovery turned up and we got home in the nick of time.


Lessons learned?

Firstly, Rapid Charging Stations. Ensure if you rely on those (emergency alike) – you find out if they are working first

Try ascertain and/or secure charging at the remote location you##Q##re visiting. That##Q##s a must.

Be friendly. People who offer free charging, – dont have to. So friendly and polite is the way to go.

Having got E-Juice from National Trust – we are truly helpful for their support and understanding.

Similarly to all staff at Clacket Lane Services. They did their best to get us working, even to the point of allowing us use their 13A sockets outside (despite them being offline).

And finally,

Dont Stop and Dont give up.

Boldly go where no other ev user has reached before 😀

PS:note to self: Get A Fast Charging 32A cable and go to Brighton next.


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stranded... and now loaded onto AA recovery vehicle

not much left here...



main reason for the trip


3-pin Charging Facility will do

Update: Left Comments and Feedback about this charging facility and support from all the staff.

Left comments on GreenCarSite, NextGreenCar and ThisisKent

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