The very rough guide to the NC 500

After 30 months of owning our Tesla we finally are going on a Road trip.

The NC 500. It took me a couple of days to look on Booking.com and the Tesla destination charger map to find some hotels as we set ourselves a budget for the B&Bs we wanted to stay at.In the end I booked some direct and some with Booking.com.

A few of the hotels with Tesla destination chargers were very expensive and I excluded them.Why?Well Scotland has a network called the Chargeplace Scotland Network and it is free.All you need is an account with CYC or Charge your Car and also a £20 RFID card.Your Account needs to also have a verified payment method via debit or credit card.

I also paid £35 to become Member of the NC500 explorers club, which gives you a map and two hard copy booklets.One is the “Rough Guide to the NC500” and the other one is the “NC 500 Passport”.

The Route in the passport is Anti clockwise and I prefer actually the clockwise route.

How did we get on?

Well in the Tesla it is a doddle as you have over 200 miles to play with So we did Home-Abington-Aviemore-Dingwall on the first day.350 Miles.A little long but works out fine as we only had 5 days.

You can find quiet spots on Motorway Service stations .Here at Abington Welcome Break in Scotland.

On our first night we stayed in the Turloch Castle Hotel in Dingwall and it has 1000 years of history.There is a 55kw Free Charger in Dingwall town centre.Easy to find with PlugShare.Do the Ghost Tour after Supper at around 9 or 9:30 and Graham is a great raconteur of the history of Turloch Castle and the Davi(d)son family.

On our 2nd day we went to Rogie Falls(highly recommended) and saw our first live otter swimming in the falls hunting.

After Rogie Falls we went to Attadale Gardens.Great but a little small but just about worth the £8 Entry fee.Beware on a Sunday only open between 14:30-17:00.DIY café only!Yup you make your own tea or coffee and leave money according to the price list in the “Honesty Box”.

After Attadale Gardens we headed for Gairloch and the distance was a little long as we forgot to charge in Torrington but managed.Other EVs beware.No other chargers between Torrington and Gairloch.

Book a Seaview room in the Gairloch Hotel and you will not be disappointed!Worth the extra few pounds! Shower and toilet in a little cupboard but no matter big enough! Have a walk on the beach and it is also worth it.We had dinner in the glass extension and staff are very good – food is a mix of good hearty restaurant food.

From Gairloch we made our way to Ullapool and charged up.Also a sea voyage was beckoning.Catamaran and sedate or RIB and bone shaking?The choice was taken away from us as the Rib operator was not ready for the season.What?Hottest week since records began? Anyway the Diesel powered catamaran tour was great and really enjoyed the 16 knot speed and comfort of the boat.around the Summer Isles.We saw plenty of seals and a white tip sea eagle.We also stopped at a grotto used in the reformation times as a church meeting point for worshippers in their small rowing boats!Tour lasted for 2 ½ hours and worth it for £35 each.Concessions for children.

From Ullapool we made our way Northwards to Scourie and stayed in the Scourie Lodge B&B with a Tesla destination charger AND a normal charger.We made history the Landlord told us as for the first tome ever two Tesla were charging overnight!Yeah.

Before we got to Scourie Lodge wee needed some dinner and where should we go?Well a sign to a hotel and the view of an emerald bay came into view and we decided to take the plunge and check it out! Good decision as the photo shows it was seafood for me all the way! Kylesku Hotel has gorgeous views over Loch Gleann Dubh.

It was the Vegetarian option for the wife though. Also very tasty.

From Scourie to John O’Groates you really have to have your wits about you regarding driving.Roads vary from single lane to two lanes. Don’t play chicken as people are far too nice and it just makes you feel bad.Some motorbikes need a little education that a Tesla is a big car though.

We visited on our way to John O’Groates a cave which was highly recommended on the NC 500 rough guide booklet.It was great and we even had a little tour deep inside with climbing into a little dinghi etc.Well worth the £7.

We had a little peak at Castle of Mey before settling down for the night and decided to visit it the next day.

We stayed in John O’Groates in the Seaview Hotel and it was a good decision.We were put in the Annex over the road and found a Charger.Yeah again! While charging in Gills Bay we looked for places to eat and came across a very small selection of establishments to eat around such a touristy place.In the end the Castle Arms Hotel.Good Food again served by European waiters which were very attentive and seemed to have gone through the proper waiters school.Would recommend their menu to anybody.

After a hearty breakfast off to the castle of Mey on our penultimate day before driving down to Nessieland!

We arrived after 16:00 in Drumnadrochit and charged up and had two hours to kill while charging the car for free again.So we went to the Loch Ness Monster Investigation Bureau and had a good Media show of the latest evidence for and against the existince of The Loch Ness Monster.If you have are a National Trust Member you get a discount by the way.For tea it was good old fish and chips on the side of the road.

We stayed in the Loch Ness Clansman Hotel and had a beautiful view over Loch Ness.

From Loch Ness it was pretty much a road trip of 350 miles back home.Due to the fantastic weather we were able to have a lovely Picknick lunch gain at Abington Supercharger and we’re soon home again.

Not however before stocking up on great provisions at the Tebay Supercharger and Services on the M6. The farmshop at Tebay is just too tempting.Yeah a few home made breads found their way into the basket again – and some locally made cheeses.

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New Rapid chargers

It seems that without me paying a lot of attention we suddenly got a lot more rapid chargers in our area.

Bannatyne Health Clubs have added a lot of chargers in their car parks for all to use.Usually you have two to choose from and they have both DC CCS and Chademo available.So Ioniqs and Teslas and Nissan Leaf can charge there.At the time of writing all Instavolt Chargers are on free vending. Just swipe your contactless Debit card or credit card on to the area designated on the Charger and your transaction will be authorised.Swiping for ending the session again.

A great resource if you need to do a lot of driving and need a quick charge in the Darlington or Durham area.There are certainly not a lot of Rapid chargers in Durham and Darlington area as I have reported earlier.Durham Services Rapid Charger has no CCS adapter and the charger at the Holiday Inn on the A1 near junction 59 is permanently off.

Travelling with an EV (Electric Vehicle) and what I have learned

I am now owning my Tesla Model S for 30 months and my Hyandai Ioniq for 12 months.It is time to reflect of what we have learned so far.

Yesterday I was traveling to Leeds and I was mightily impressed. P&R (Park and Ride) facilities are great at Temple Green and Elland Road.

Lots of slow chargers (11 at Temple Green and 6 at Elland Road plus 1 Rapid 55kw). Charger).Even with a Nissan Leaf 2.0 or a Ioniq you can easily travel the 70mes and charge for £1 and get filled up for the way back.£3 for the buses into town is very good value for Money.

Don’t forget your CYC card though.Activation by app was not offered on the slow chargers.

Are electric cars only powered by coal?

Who says electric cars are dirty and powered only by coal! My new Zappi Charger uses surplus solar energy and pumps it into the car! The best bit is that Chancellor Hammond paid for 75% of my Zappi! Thank you all you other nice taxpayers for my new charger.Also it works really well with our 4kw solar panels and input gets monitored all the time by Harvi.Available under OLEV.

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Zappi and Harvi, not my new imaginary friends, honest!

Ŵe have a Solar PV array of 4kw and 2 electric cars.I also recently had a disaster with my Rolec charger outside. It blew up and damaged a charging cable. Luckily it was inside the warranty period and I got my money back for it.So we now have a new charger called a Zappi. Here is the reason why we went for a Zappi charger.

Every kWh to charge my car cost me 12 pence.If I feed any surplus energy, that my house does not use, back into the grid I only get 1 pence back.So I am making a 11p profit if I feed that surplus energy into my car.That is the economics that the Zappi is build on.Even though it is called the “FEED-in Tariff” it is actually the worst named sound bite ever.

There are two parts to the Feed-in Tariff.One is for you generating power with your Solar PV array and another part for “feeding” that back into the grid.

Everything you “generate” you get 59 pence (highest part) irrespective of you using it in your house or “feeding” it back to the grid.The smallest part (only 1 pence) you get for putting it back into the grid.So it actually makes no sense at all to feed anything back to the grid but use it yourself.Of course you need to be at home to be able to do that.

However this is where Tesla Powerwalls and Ikea batteries come in.If you are not at home with your car feed the extra solar (surplus) into a battery or your hot water cylinder and you have hot water in the evening when you come home and have a “free”bath!

The makers (myenergi) of Zappi have a gadget for that called Eddi.

The diagram in the picture shows you how it works.

I have Zappi and Harvi here installed at home.I need Harvi because it is a wireless unit.My Zappi is installed a little bit away from the house ( on a brick pillar)so I could not get a cable for monitoring the house electric supply easily to it.But if it is installed in the garage or outside of the garage you don’t need Harvi.It Just gave me more flexibility.

You need an approved Zappi installer like the Phoenixworks.com to install it all for you though or to help you to find your bespoke solution.Search on YouTube for Zappi and Fully charged and other UK based youtubers have reviewed the Zappi.It is a UK based company who have crowd funded this invention to bring it to market.

What is Hypermiling

Friday 9th March 2018 – On my way from home to Penmanmawer to bring my father-in-law to his beloved Wales to meet friends. On the way I noticed on the Tesla Supercharger map that Warrington Supercharger had a Failure .Had to Hypermile from Chorley/Charnock Richards Supercharger  to Penmanmawer and back again as no other Superchargers available on that trip.Made it with 17 miles to spare.200 mile return journey with a Model S 70D-not bad going!Never went under 60mph but had one or two small traffic jams that helped.

Altogether I travelled 430 miles in 11 hours.However I made an unnecessary stop in Tebay Services on the M6 as I did not want to arrive with an empty Battery.So 10 hours is fair and not sure it was much slower than with an Ice car.

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The third EV in the household

First impressions of our new Huyandai Ioniq.

Finally the car arrived today and I am very impressed.It was fully charged and showed 130 miles in range.The seats are comfortable front and back.Interestingly no gear lever but 3 different buttons for changing from P to Drive and reverse.Another button for the Parking brake?Why do I need a power button?Why do I need to power the car on and off? A little too many buttons coming from a car which only has three buttons.

Very smooth ride on A roads and also in town and on dual carriageways.From 75 miles to 130 in 2 1/2 hours charge on 7kw charger – not bad.Big boot space and big space in the bag.Love the golden stitching and trim around the leather and some of the console area.The blind spot warning in the mirror is great., but I find some of the functions not very easy to turn on and off.Need a bit of practice.Satnav great!Love the different options for chargers.Search by network or by adapter or by type of charger rapid or slow etc.Even got speed camera warning built in.

What the heck does the boot button do on the key remote?No lifting tailgate.Just for locking the boot? 

Grey plastic front looks better than on demo car.

Key fob looks nice and expensive and also happy that two are supplied.

Keyless entry the same as copied from Toyota .You have to press button on front doors to unlock and lock car.Progress over pressing remote?Not sure.
Like the automatic folding of mirrors and the automatic dipping of mirrors for reversing.Like the grid on the rear camera view.Good angle and very clear view.

Like the automatic seat sliding backwards when driver’s door is opened.

Questions: Not seen a built in Alarm mentioned anywhere.Can’t see any ultrasonic sensors inside the car?Not seen anything in settings.

Apple Carplay only via USB cable-very strange?

Why is the passenger seat completely manual.Sorry Hyundai this is a little stingy for £30,000 and top of the range model.