Forty-five minutes ago, I was drumming my fingers on the steering wheel of my petrol Volkswagen Golf while stuck in a queue at my local filling station.
Now here I am at one of the UK’s busiest public electric vehicle charge points, and it’s deserted. Forty minutes later, it’s still deserted.
So much for my plan to record a day in the life of a charge point. I swear Chargemaster, the UK’s biggest charge point network that was recently bought by BP, told me this Polar-branded location was one of its busiest. Its actual busiest, believe it or not, is Harvester Flamstead, just off junction nine of the M1. Makes sense, I suppose: busy execs catch a coffee while their Nissan Leaf gets a shot of juice. Twenty-five minutes later, emails answered and calls made, they’re on their way.
I should be there, but Harvester doesn’t want a reporter and his photographer bothering customers. That rules out Chargemaster’s second-busiest location: Harvester Warwick. Which leaves its third: The Runnymede on Thames Hotel and Spa in Egham, just off junction 13 of the M25. The hotel has no issues with our presence, so here I am with photographer Luc, and only a charging point, two empty bays and the drone of the M25 for company.
Then, at precisely 9.10am, a Nissan Leaf slips silently into one of the bays. Its driver, Peter Trapmore, tells me he lives 60 miles away on Hayling Island. He makes the journey to Heathrow airport once a month and is flying to the US today.
“I always top up the Leaf here so that when I fly back into Heathrow, I can go back home without delay,” he tells me.
He’s only ever had to wait once for a charge. “Two EVs charging at the same time?” I say, incredulously.