Drivers you meet at EV chargers are generally a friendly bunch and happy to spend time chatting – usually to bemoan the state of the UK’s charging infrastructure.
Once that’s out of their system, such chats often break into an impromptu, good-natured game of Top Trumps.
Drivers of Jaguar, Kia, Polestar and Tesla EVs will all happily compare ranges, charging times, dynamics and prices. It’s all good-natured fun, with drivers really keen to learn about other cars. But I would feel left out, because I never found another EV driver who particularly wanted to know more about my Citroën ë-Berlingo M.
Sure, it would attract plenty of glances when I pulled up to a charger, but more of the incredulous than admiring kind. People might have wanted to know whether it really was electric, but they didn’t really care about its battery or range. Until it happened.
It was at Membury services on the westbound M4, and the lovely couple were heading back to west Wales in their Nissan e-NV200 Combi. They needed the load space of a big MPV, and when they had decided to go electric a few years back, the Nissan, with a 40kWh battery and a 124- mile official range, was their only real option. They regularly visited family near London and knew a stop at Membury for a full charge would just get them home. But with their e-NV200 charging at 22kW (it’s now offered with an optional 50kW fast charger), it was a long fill. Still, they had a flask of coffee, a stash of biscuits and a relaxed attitude.
When checking his charge level, the man glanced over at my ë-Berlingo. First he admired the size and load space. And then… “How big is the battery in that thing?” Boom. I gladly reeled off the Top Trump stats: a 50kWh battery, a 174-mile WLTP range and a 50kW charging rate. His jaw dropped a bit. My pride swelled a bit. And as he recalculated how quickly he could achieve his London to Wales trip in a van-based MPV, so I re-evaluated my perspective on the ë-Berlingo.