Just over a year ago I set off on a bleak December morning from Oxfordshire to Edinburgh in a 64kWh Hyundai Kona Electric SE. The idea was to take the first affordable EV with a decent range (£35,145 after PiCG at the time) and get there without having to jump through any early adopter-type hoops. It’s not a once every six months trip either, it’s one I do a few times a year.
The Kona Electric was easily up to it and would have managed it with two rapid charges each way (which take the battery to 80 percent in rapid mode, rather than 100). It was a near disaster because six of the eight Ecotricity DC rapid chargers I stopped at during the entire 690 mile round trip, didn’t work.
In January, I did the trip again to see if anything had changed apart from the car, which this time was a Kia e-Niro with the same size battery as the Kona. As before, I’d got an idea of which services I needed to stop at from Zapmap and the Ecotricity Electric Highway apps. I also made a note of Polar chargers near the motorway just in case I ran into trouble with Ecotricity again. This time my other half was with me, plus a puppy and I couldn’t risk getting stuck in the cold weather.
We left with the trip on 11,834 miles and a 24 hour charge from a domestic socket, a predicted range of 233 miles and the temperature outside, a nippy 6°C. I’d found with the Kona that the predicted range never quite lived up to the promise and I’d end up at a charge point with less remaining range than expected. I put it down to the fact I was doing a steady 70mph on the motorway but a delivery driver told me recently he found that generally, EVs range predictions were optimistic at around 1.2 miles for every mile actually travelled.
The first stop was 118 miles away at Knutsford on the M6 with the temperature still at a chilly 6°C. The remaining range on the trip computer was 133 miles, a difference from the predicted range of 115 miles which tallied almost exactly with reality. I’d made good use of the adaptive cruise and the Ecotricity charger worked, delivering 24.1 KWh for £7.23, 30p/kW in around 45 minutes and with the range now topped-up to 204 miles.
Next stop was at the usual – Tebay Northbound. This time the numbers suggested the e-Niro was being slightly pessimistic, so we’d used less energy than it anticipated and were left with 199 miles. Again, straightforward charge with Ecotricity costing £7.80. We stopped again at Abington services on the M74 before heading off across the borders to Edinburgh, not because we needed to but because I wanted plenty left for the return trip across the borders. Accessible rapid chargers are extremely scarce at our destination, the pup needed a pee-stop anyway and the charger at Abington was on free vend, so we took 25.2kWh while we were at it. We arrived on the outskirts of Edinburgh with 150 miles range left, so two stops would still have been comfortable.