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This is a question EV owners often get, usually after the inevitable “so how far can you go then?” I now respond “so where do you fill up your fossil car”?

Overnight I charge at home because it’s the cheapest, most convenient place to do so. But I never had a diesel pump at home – and managed OK with a diesel car. Maybe people familiar with ICE cars think that EV’s take too long to fill up, but that’s no longer the case, and they don’t require you to watch, so you can do something useful! Many people manage just fine without home charging. As the range of EV’s gradually increases, along with charging speeds, having a home charger will be less of an issue.

For example my Leaf can do up to 85 miles. With a 50 mile commute it needs charging every night. However the Ioniq can do up to 150 miles and the soon to be released Kona EV, 300miles+. Clearly these don’t need charging once a day.

Finding a charger is easy with apps like ZapMap, which gives locations and status of 17,000+ chargers. Not all of these will fit any given car, just as a petrol pump isn’t suitable for a diesel. It’s not that long ago that not all garages had even one diesel pump!

It’s always most convenient, and also cheapest, to charge while you’re doing something else. Only once have I had to queue for a charge, and very rarely go out of my way for a charge. “Destination charging”, giving from 30-40 miles per hour connected, is the most convenient way. It’s often free, too. Remember you rarely need to fill from almost empty to full, the average “rapid” charge is actually more like a half-charge.

Two real examples of out-of-battery range trips:

  1. A 150 mile motorway trip, using almost 50% charge to get to the destination 75 miles away. We charged while parked up for £1.20, and returned to a full car for the return trip.
  2. An 160 mile round trip, rapid charged at an Instavolt charger after 70 miles and had breakfast. Before I had finished eating, the car was full again. Cost? Zero! (introductory offer from Instavolt, would have been £4- which is still half the cost of a diesel).

When I had a diesel car, to hunt down the cheapest fuel I had to make a special trip into town to Tesco’s. The very idea seems madness now. To burn fuel to go and fill up, polluting as you go – rather like how fossil fuels are transported across the globe 🙂

To give you some ideas, in recent months I have charged at:

  • Shopping centres or supermarkets, frequently I’m the only car, with 4+ chargers to choose from, eg PodPoint and Polar/Chargemaster;
  • Leisure centres, sometimes even with rapid chargers eg Instavolt;

Insta-Devon

  • Motorway services, eg Electric Highway;
  • Filling station – potentially a horrible place to spend any time, this one had a McDonalds around the corner.

Charging does have its issues – you need to choose the car carefully if you expect very fast rapid charging; and it’s unfortunate that the charging providers don’t share a card or an app, or all support contactless yet- so you really do need a smartphone and a collection of apps.

Also- don’t expect to rock up at a Tesla supercharger and plug in unless you have a Tesla! Apparently Tesla “white label” EV chargers can work with Type 2 cars, but I’ve not managed this successfully yet.

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