You've probably heard of the Renault Twizy. In fact, you may even have seen one scooting along your local high street covered in the local estate agent's branding. But I bet you've probably never heard of a small British firm called Symphony EV.
To be brutally honest, neither had we, but when it came to charging our own shiny new Twizy, we were left scratching our heads. We'd had a brace of Twizys only three years ago, you see, and we'd quite forgotten that they were charged via a three-pin socket rather than a public-infrastructure-standard Type 2.
Something needed to be done. Convincing the facilities department at our head office in Twickenham to move their equipment to uncover our car park's single 230V socket worked once, but I could sense that it wouldn't be fine tomorrow. Or indeed, ever again, which - naturally - sent me scurrying to Google. And who should pop up? You guessed it: Symphony EV.
The people at Symphony had already seen this coming and were worried that a whole host of early electric vehicles – not just the Twizy – were about to become redundant after the standardising of Type 2. This led them to design and develop the Electrosymph, a simple but effective adapter with a three-pin socket on one end and a male Type 2 socket on the other.
There's not a lot to it. You plug it in, the Twizy recognises the process has been activated and it begins whirring away like usual as it takes on charge. The adaptor appears to be popular, too, because Symphony reports that a large shipment has already made its way to Barcelona, where the Renault Twizy is a far more common sight thanks to the city's warmer climate.
At £261, the Electrosymph isn't cheap, but it seems to have the market to itself at the moment. It's also far safer than attempting to rig up some sort of home-made adaptor, which a worrying number of people on EV forums appear to be attempting in the name of saving a few quid.
The Electrosymph is a simple but effective solution, then, and it is good to hear company director John Robinson upbeat about the future of Symphony. The company produces a wide range of EV charging cables and adaptors, all designed and produced in Britain. The next stage of its business plan is even more exciting, because it's working on converting ancient London taxis from diesel to pure EV in search of lower urban emissions and maintaining the charm of such iconic transport. Watch this space.