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.



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.

No Supercharger in Warrington

For the first time on my regular trip to Wales there was no charging pit stop available in Warrington.Oh dear what to do and with an 82 year old in tow?
Well Chademo it is.But first I tried to have a rest at the Warrington hotel and charge up with the type 2 cable.Very slow but least we could continue until well into Wales.

First Chademo pit stop in Wales with the Chademo adapter.I was prepared to pay £6 per half hour as these are the new charges imposed by Ecotricity (don’t get me started!).So smooth as anything Cherokee adapter connected to Chademo pistol grip and adapter into car charge point.Everything working! Now get the IPhone app fired app and wait for the pennies to be deducted and nothing…..free? Well it looks the app crashed and the machine has no connectivity to Internet!


First free charge.But what on the way home?

Well I calculated that if I would take the last A55 Chademo charger I would make possibly to Leeds supercharger, but no such luck.Just out.But what is this.No charge again.Error message no connectivity but it’s charging! Well I am on 206 miles now and no charge but lots of Electrons!!!

Thank you Ecotricity.I can go home now!Just need to fight my way through the traffic now!Not looking good on A55 and M56 but ok on M6.

Watch this space how I get on!

What Cable for what Charge point?

I will try and explain which cables are for which charge point that you come across when you are out and about.I have already explained which cables and adapters I carry.Here I will put them in context.This is a guide for Tesla owners and for owners of other cars like Citroen C-Zero, Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf cars.

1. Charging at Tesla Superchargers 

The cable that you need to connect your car to a Supercharger is an integral part of the Tesla charge point .The cables need to be very thick.They deliver 90 kW or 90,000W. A Tesla can be charged by a Tesla Supercharger in about 60-90minutes from 0 to 250 miles.NO other car but a Tesla (as of August 2016) can charge at Supercharger.

2. Charging at Chademo chargers

For a Tesla to charge at a Chademo charger you need an adapter as the Tesla has a type 2 Socket which is much smaller. Chademo chargers plugs are huge.Chademo chargers are the 2nd fastest charge points and are giving out about 50kwh and can charge a car at 100 miles per hour.These chargers are dotted around the country and you need zapmap or Plugshare to find them.They are coloured orange on Plugshare and purple on Zapmap.You find them also on Motorway service stations.Ecotricity have started as of August 2016 to charge at £6/hour.However the Genie network in the Lake District are charging less.Chademos are fitted with their own cable so you don’t need a cable.Chademo chargers usually have 3 power outlets.One is a DC 50KWH CHADEMO plug.The second power outlet is usually a lower capacity AC socket rated at 22kwh or 43kwh.For this you have to use your own Type 2 cable and can usually be used simultaneously.(Please see under 3 what a type 2 cable is).The third power outlet on a Chademo charger is a Connector for a BMW i3 type car.

So this is why the Chademo adapter has to be big as well.

Here we have a Tesla plugged into a Chademo charger at a Motorway Service Station.

The silver plug that you see, can be inserted into a Leaf or a Citroen C -Zero without an adapter and will fill the car up to full in about 45-60 minutes.

Chademo charging screen at a Chademo charger on the Motorway for Citroen C-Zero and other cars.

3. Charging at Slower chargers like at Car Parks and Park and Ride or Supermarkets

These chargers are called Type 2 Chargers and are usually only providing a charge rate of 7kwh.This means about the same charge rate as at home, so about 10-20 miles per hour.For these you usually need to supply your own type 2 cable.

This red cable is a Type 2 cable.

4.Charging at Home

Of course the most important part is how do you charge at home.Well with a Zoe, Citroen C-Zero,BMW I3 and Tesla you actually get a home charging point and appropriate cable.

Tesla supplied “command socket” for charging at home.

This is the charge point we have chosen for our Citroen C-Zero and both our charge points are put in Garage as both our cars are kept in the Garage over night.

5.Charging at Holiday Cottages or Emergency charging where there is only a Household sockets

These are the cables and adapters I used to charge at a holiday cottage from a 13 amp socket.It will charge at under 10miles per hour.

Almost six month with two Electric Cars

How did we manage with two electric cars and NO petrol being consumed by my wife and I for our commute to work and shopping trips and a few journeys to Somerset, Wales and Lichfield.Quite long journeys from County Durham!None of us did never run out of electricity or needed to be on the back of a tow truck.We always found enough charge points and also found plenty of opportunity to charge the car overnight in a holiday cottage. I even managed to find a B&B with an electric chargepoint designed for electric cars.

What did I find essential to take with me on our trips?

  • Chademo adapter for Tesla (£400.00)
  • 50m Extension Lead ( Camping 16A with 3 pin waterproof sockets)
  • Gloves (workmen type so my nails don’t get damaged!)
  • Blue type 2 Tesla cable (supplied)
  • Black Tesla cable for Commando socket and with 3pin adapter (supplied)
  • Ecotricity Card (www.ecotricity.co.uk)
  • Smartphone essential kit? I think so because some charger networks are replacing cards with smartphone apps.
  •  If no Smartphone to hand try http://tesla.plugshare.com/ on your Tesla screen and bookmark it in the Tesla internet browser to find it again.
  • “Charge your car” iPhone or Android app …and register BEFORE you go on trip
  • “Superchargers” app for iPhone (leave a comment or check-in when you have successfully charged)
  • Zap-map for location of all chargers than Tesla own chargers.Filters can be set if you want to know only about chargers for certain cars or networks.
  • Plug Share” app even shows you “private” charge points where individuals might let you charge your car if they have registered.Also leave comments if possible or check -in.

Well I hear you say that will fill up my boot and no space for the kitchen sink?Ah- Of course the Tesla has a Front Boot and you can easily store all the that in there and have plenty of space in the boot for your normal luggage.Our Citroen C-Zero has the Chademo Charger already built into the car and it transpires that it has a second tank flap which opens and you will find the socket in there.
What else have I learned? I feel richer, because we have saved a lot of money on petrol and the monthly credit card bill has gone done! I also think we have “saved” time because the car is ready every morning for duty and no unscheduled stops before or after work for “going to the petrol station and waiting in a queue at Tesco”.

We also feel enriched because driving to the shops or to the tip is not costing the environment and that gives you a pod feeling.Have I driven more and not walked?No I think we are more active and getting things done in the garden etc.Also shopping trips are a pleasure as ours cars with automatic gears (well one only) is a doddle and the best thing of all: I have no more road rage!


Picture above shows Chademo adapter in Stockton-on-Tees High Street.

Oops- Well I could have gone a bit further, but this is close enough!

Here on the picture above you can see that Tesla also compares well to other cars on the reliability front, so Tesla have taken all the good bits from European car manufacturing and put that into fully ELECTRIC car.

On the picture below you can see how big the Chademo adapter is.Plugged in at Durham Services in County Durham-and no petrol available there at the moment but plenty of electricity-just like in France (May 2016).

In closing I want to say that it has been a thoroughly stress free experience and driving a car is fun again in a Tesla!

Sustainability and Electric Cars

Has any Electric car manufacturer really holistically thought about the whole ecological lifecycle of their products? Where are we getting all that Lithium from we need for the millions of electric cars we want and should produce instead if today’s Ice (Internal combustion engine)cars?

One manufacturer of Electric cars  (Tesla Motors) have thought about it and I think they are the only ones who have got it right.Here is a documentary that shows what Tesla are trying to achieve in their new GIGAFACTORY in Nevada.From production to Recycling of Lithium and using solar energy for production-surely this must be the future?

Guess what:they even thought of where and how to charge up your car and build a 5000 strong network of a world wide charge point infrastructure free for any Tesla car owner for life ! 

Here is one near me just a few hundred yards off the A1/M at exit 64.


Watch this National Geographic Documentary about Tesla Motors and their new Gigafactory project:

This is why we in our family are supporting Tesla Motors and have bought a car from them rather than from a traditional Ice Manufacturuer .

Did you you know that driving a 100% electric car even if the electricity has been produced by the dirtiest Coal fired power station is still 50% better than driving an ICE car?

Public Chargers -the good, the bad and the ugly.

What is it with people these days?Why do we have to vandalise things.Of course not all of us , but some people in Society seem to think that everything that is standing around and is in a public place is fair game for a kicking.

Why am I writing about this?Well I have been on some scouting missions around the Northeast and found several Public charging points not working.I wanted to find out where my wife could charge her Citrien C-Zero on shopping trips in and around Co. Durham and Teesside as this car has only a max range of 50-60 miles.

So what did I find:

The ugly

  • Sainsbury chargers in Sedgefield and Durham not working.Newton Aycliffe charging points in Town Centre removed ( because of constant vandalism-saw them stripped and rundown before being removed).Charging point at Thinford Living Building only to be used for visitors and Employees and it was blocked by a non charging Mitsubishi OUTLANDER PHEV.However the former Sedgefield District council building car park has a charging point that is accessible but AGAIN one of them is broken.

The beautiful 

  • Durham Services 50Kw (50 miles/ hour)charger is in full working condition and used a lot.
  • Stockton High Street great 50Kw fast charger and working.Used a lot but great for shopping.
  • Spennymoor Green Lane council offices.7 kW and only does 20 miles an hour but one side is working.
  • Used ZAP Map and found postings of users and zap admin very helpful and accurate to give me the state of Public Charging points.
  • You still need RFID cards from Podpoint, ecotricity and CYC to get around the public charging points.
  • Most of them are free and it’s like an adventure to find out about these charging points.

 Stockton High Street 

Stockton High Street Fast Charger     
  Sainsbury Sedgefield


Regular trips to Wales and always with a smile!

Well I have been to the Supercharger in Warrington now for the fourth time and it is still a joy.Its a busy old charging point.At 11:30 on a Saturday one of the charging stations is occupied by a white Tesla with black 21 inch wheels.Looks nice but my blue looks more sophisticated!

This time we had a sandwich at the hotel and by the time we even walked from the car par to the lounge round a few corridors the car was already 30 miles fuller than when we left it!After 1h:10 the car was charged to 227 miles.Wow! Another record. 


So off to Barnsley on Wednesday.We’ll see how the Tesla charging points in Yorkshire are.

Today I impressed somebody again with the capabilities of a battery operated car.A friend of ours looked terrified and amazed at the same time when I accelerated from 0-60 in 5 seconds on an empty straight A Road.No wheel spin -no unsafe feeling-just sheer amazement at the capabilities-he said :I never knew an electric car can do this!He climbed back into his Audi A6 and still was shaking his head when he looked at the Tesla and he said again:What a beautiful car!

Other quotes were: What 2.8 seconds to 60 in a P90D -a battery operated car?I had no idea that this is possible on a car that cost less than a basic Porsche 911.Yes it has 750 BHP.About 500 BHP from the electric motor at the back and 250BHP at the front and it can still go for 270 miles at around 70 miles per hour.It almost can get you from Darlington to London on one charge.

First Public Charging or Have Nissan got it right?

Here we are again with another instalment of my “first times” experiences.

I am planning a trip to Wales and that will be another “first ” for a long trip experiences, so I thought I try the nearby Public charging points before exposing myself to any humiliation by ending up on a low loader because I run out of charge and could not get a Motorway services charging point to work.

Anyway I chose the Durham Services high capacity charging point along the A1/M. It was located almost right in front of the entrance to the shop and eateries.

Tesla are a bit like Apple, they have decided that the “industry standard” charging cables are not “intelligent” enough and do not fit with their  design purposes (small and neat), so they developed their own.This however means that you have to get an adapter for the industry standard charging points out there which of course costs extra and are quite expensive, because they got ” intelligence” ie a chip and software in them.Nissan however have gone a different way in their LEAF.They stuck to industry standard and have incorporated two sockets into the car design for the most used public charging points.One Socket for Fast Charging and one for normal at home charging.

We ( my father and I ) arrived at the Durham Services charging point and I unpacked the CHADEMO Adapter bought at the Tesla Manchester Service Centre, when we picked up the car for, the first time.

So here I am looking at the LCD screen of the public charging point and the the machine says: “Please select AC or DC charging.” Good question – what do we need?Well the engineers that decided on how to design a public charging point (not a charger as that is build into the car!) also decided that the plugs should look different for AC or DC charging.So I looked at my CHADEMO adapter and it was clear it meant we can only use DC charging. This was easy to what came next however.

The next thing the machine asked:”Please identify yourself and swipe your NFC card passed the black marked area”.So I got my ECOTRICITY NFC Card out of my wallet and swiped it passed the identified black marked area and success it said:” Please insert your charging cable to start charging”. Ah- not so fast! We had not connected the CHADEMO Tesla  adapter to the Public charging cable. So I gripped the CHADEMO Tesla Adapter with my right hand and the Public charging cable with the left and tried to fit them into each other.

Well both cables are about the thickness of a petrol station hose and have a similar Pistol Grip.At first glance they should have fitted together easily and like a glove.Well nothing fitted together and I had to let go of  both items and put them on the floor.

After inspecting both items separately I suddenly realised that these clever engineers had come up with another clever design to help the “stupid” public to make charging “idiot” proof.They inserted groves in one part of the plug with corresponding ridges on the other.So there was only one way to fit these two together ( probably in order to not disturb the polarity of the DC) .


The pistol grip now mad a clicking sound and the press button thingy on the top also clicked into a locked position and both items were firmly connected.Hurray we were ready to plug it all into the car. Oops – nothing was happening! At this point the charging port of the car should open to reveal the socket in the car.Well I got in the car and opened the charging socket manually ( mental note: open charge port on car before leaving car at public charging point).I insert the CHADEMO and public charging point contraption into the car and nothing was happening, again-this time I was expecting a light to come on to show that the car was ready to accept the plug and we started charging.Mental note: Activate charger only once you have put charging cable and adapter together. Yes, I had to identify myself at the LCD screen of the charging point again as it had TIMED out!

Finally I was ready to charge and we got juice into the car, so the LCD screen on the Charging point and in the car confirmed. PHEW!

Here is the same procedure with a Nissan Leaf: Open front flap on bonnet of car.Identify yourself at charging point.Take cable from charging point and plug it into the socket that fits.Wait for car to be full of charge for 1:30 or 2:00 hours.Unplug and continue journey.

Our next stop on this trial day was the Tesla owned Supercharger Station somewhere near Washington Services.I remembered that on my Satnav in the car there was a shortcut button for Tesla Superchargers.So precede it and the Washingtin Suoercharger Station came up as a destination and I chose it and if we went to experience that.

I can only say :What a difference! Just like at a Petrol station of old! Get out of car, Get Pistol grip and press button on Pistol grip to open charge port, connect to charge port and watch juice flowing into car on car’s LCD screen at 280 miles/hour of 45 minutes to full charge.

  I think enough capacity for some more TESLAs to join the fun. 
Just look at the difference in juice that is coming out of the TESLA supercharger point in comparison to the Public CHADEMO charging point.

EV Salesmen – or if you are new in a job do you let people know every 5 seconds?

What can I say about today? Do I name and shame or because it’s the Internet I keep things as anonymous as possible?

Well I think I better leave it anonymous as possible and name no first names or even last names.

My wife,my father (80 years old but very spritely and likes the entertainment!) and myself, we all went Electric Car shopping.Yes.I know we got the Tesla, but we thought we could afford a runabout for the wife and as a commuting tool.The requirements were that it had to be cheap and cheerful and small.

So I made an appointment last Monday and today is Thursday.This becomes important for the story! So we headed off to Durham and visited a well known french car dealership that were offering a good deal on an Electric Vehicle.

We were greeted by a nice young chap who straightaway proclaimed that he knew almost nothing about electric cars and was only in the job for 2 months.Groan! I made an appointment on Monday to purchase an Electric car on Thursday and I get a VIRGIN! Unfortunately it was not one of Richard Branson’s sons or employees.

After about 20 apologies or so again professing that he had not absorbed all the information about EVs (they sell one Modell) he organised a valuation of the trade-in vehicle and organised a Test drive with a trainee salesman(who also had no clue about the finer details of their EV offering).

The highlight of the day was definitely the test drive of the EV.The car was fully loaded with four adults and it pulled away nicely from the junction and the roundabout.It also kept speed nicely on the motorway.It had a good easy to understand screen with a digital display and not cluttered but nice and clear.It was very similar to the Nissan Leaf-just smaller.No wonder because it was basically the little brother of the Nissan Leaf-it was the Renault Zoe in Dynamique Nav spec.

To top everything I have ever been used to in the craft of salesmanship we were told after the test drive that we would not be given a definitive price and it trade-in figure as the “Manager” in charge of Electric car sales is not “in” today.Would we mind to come back on Saturday.Well after a good drule of the sales staff over our Tesla pictures we bid them farewell.

I decided as it was almost afternoon to make it a day of watching another salesman applying his craft-so we went to the other French marque that sells the bottom end of EVs.

But here we saw a master at work.The salesman was about 15 or 16 ( so it seemed) but he was excellent.He was there in a flash -literally growing out of the ground right before us while we were looking at a used C1 combustion engined car as an alternative. 

Within 5 minutes of talking to him he organised this car to be ready for a test drive AND organised a trade-in valuation while we had the test drive.Unfortunately the 3cylinder 1.0 l C1 was as gruff as the gruffalo on a bad day! So no go.But not only had our master salesman (Remember he was 15 or 16 by looks) got us a trade in price but also had got a list of used EV cars we might be interested in.To my delight he also stated that the trade-in value could be used towards any of their cars -higher value or lower value.No excuses ever crossed his lips He was well trained and supported by the people around him and I believe he was not that long in the job-just as much as his colleagues from the other French marque.

I think he won my wife over and she might go for his car-subject to test drive.This car is however a C ZERO and we’ll see how this story unfolds.Watch this space!The car is on its way to the Northeast so once we had a test drive next week you will be the first to know.

Unfortunately both salesman could not figure out what capacity battery either of these two cars have in order to calculate a realistic range.The brochures are actually really bad, but I will dig deep into the depths of the Interweb to find the answer.


December ’15 to January ’16 – The First Month with the Electric Car

Our Tesla is just amazing.I am glad we have not chosen one of the more powerful models.It is almost too fast for UK Roads.One can just not imagine the “off the line” surge of power that this car delivers if you just tickle the throttle.Other drivers on roundabouts are just baffled by the quick approach that the car can make to their position on the roundabout.AND I have to be really careful to take it slowly.Speed limits of the various commuting roads we take in the morning are very quickly exceeded.Luckily the car displays the current speed limit of the individual road on the screen of the dashboard.Nothing left to chance in this car.Also the cruise control with distance control keeps tabs on the car in front and adapts the speed to the car in front and a preset distance.That makes commuting in morning traffic on the A1 /M quite fun and easy as the car automatically slows the speed down via energy recovery braking gently to the speed of the car in front.

What are the lessons to learn after 4 weeks with the Tesla Model S.Well the car like all cars has it quirks.Entry and exit like a sports car, door frame a little low and a little tight but maybe that is just my frame.But my father with a smaller frame also finds it more like getting out of a sports car than getting out of a limo.However driving is fantastic.Feels like an S-class Mercedes.Car is similar size to a BMW 7 Series and an S class Mercedes.Quality of trim and seats fantastic.Everything electrically adjustable: seat cushions go up and down and even the lumbar controls are electric.Steering wheel adjustable electrically in all directions up,down and in and out.Finally I got my automatic and manual foldable mirrors back again (electric of course).Especially useful when the road gets a little tight with oncoming traffic on little bridges around the rat runs in Durham.Today my wife said that she really likes how the climate control keeps the temperature without creating a draft! 

I think there are more options on Radio stations than I can cope with: Spotify, DAB, FM, INTERNET Radio,AM, Bluetooth with my iPhone Music.Somtimes I like to just play Pop songs from the 80s or 70s or just country music, a mixture of German and English.All possible with this car at no extra cost to me.Yes I can listen to a whole arsenal of international music at not extra cost as long as 3G signal is available.

So far I did not need to use the “public” charging network but I am prepared.I got a Chademo adapter in the car and of course three of the most popular NFC charge cards (Ecotricity, CYC, Podpoint), so we’ll see how it goes when I have to use them.So far my charging has all been done at home but we got trips planned and I am getting to grips with the maps to find my chargers on the way.At the end of January I am planning a trip to Wales and that will be quite an adventure.Hopefully I will make it to the Supercharger 150 miles down the road and then into Wales and back again via that charger.I am hoping to make it via the A66 and M6 so we’ll see.A1 and M62 South and West look hopeless at the moment with all the road works.So we’ll see and I will post an update.


Why did we choose a Tesla Model S and not a Nissan Leaf?

Well what I have haven’t really talked about is why did we choose a Tesla Model S of all the electric cars around. In my opinion there is just no choice.None of the current cars are currently offering  what Tesla offers:

  • Tesla has a Europe wide free to use super charger network.From Artic Circle to South of France and Italy.On average every 100 miles a charger that charges your car to full in 1 hour.
  • Free installation of at home charging equipment (outside of UK Government incentives) called the “blue command socket” via Podpoint installer.This gives you 20 miles/hour charge.
  • Only fully electric powered car with over 200 mile range on one charge.
  • 8 year battery warranty and no leasing cost of battery
  • Free roadside assistance/recovery
  • Free loan cars
  • Chademo and home plug adapters available to plug into 3500 UK charger network.Mostly free of charge.
  • Free 3G Internet build into car for life
  • Free software updates to car for life   
  • 4 wheel drive option with electric motor between front wheels and back wheels
  • 7000 Batteries in the floor pan of the car.Car designed as fully electric.low point of gravity.excellent road handling.
  • Range of Models from 328BHP and 250 miles per charge to 750BHP and 350 miles per charge.
  • Insurance cost reasonable for a high value car.Fully comprehensive and Business use at £500 for a 50 year old living in North of England with 5 year no claims bonus.

One drawback of the,Tesla Model S is that you can’t tow a trailer/caravan with it, but in October 2015 Tesla have addressed this problem and have brought out a Tesla Model X which can tow up to 2,268 kg.

The Tesla has arrived-The electric revolution can begin!

Well after 5 months of waiting I got a telephone call from my very friendly Delivery Experience Lady at Tesla that my/our Tesla would arrive before the New Year and we probably could fix a day around the Middle of December.Wow-what a surprise as I had just arranged to pick up my father from Germany for a life in the UK.So I thought Friday the 18th December sounded good or was it? It was the last day of a weekend before Christmas.Usually a heavy day for traffic on the Motorways around Manchester.So maybe best avoided! So we settled on Wednesday 16th December for pickup.

How would I get there?By hire car, train or somebody drive in a car and drop us off? No too far to Manchester and back for one person to drive.So we settle tee on the train but actually there is a hire car place just up the road from the TESLA Service Centre.Anyway how are we gettting from the train station to the Setvice Centre.Well the Delivery experience Lady said.Leave that to us.We will pick you up from the train station!All part of the service.Wow again!

So train booked via “The Trainline” app and wow again what an experience.Touch Id from iPhone implemented on the Trainline app.Great user experience.I like it when things are integrated.£26/per person for a single not bad price to Manchester Airport railway station in comparison to £60 for a hire car plus petrol and hassle.

2 days to sleep and I needed to look at the videos on the Tesla Website to see how a car “without buttons” would drive.I had never driven on my own before and respect to my 80 year old father but his experience is the remote control of the 1970s Nordmende colour TV;Technology has stopped for him since then.

Anyway I watched all the Videos and I had an idea of how this car operates and what do do in customising it regarding mirrors and seats.Also I would have the guidance of a Delivery Experience Instructor at the Service Centre.

The day had come and Tom my son dropped us off at the train station.We collected our tickets from the machine and I must admit that I had not done this before myself and it was quite an experience in itself.I only saw numbers on the keypad,but I had actually an alphanumeric code to type in.The display changed once I inserted my correct credit card and I could type in my reservation code.Well great experience again!The train got extremely quickly to York but stopped outside York.Why?We only had 13minutes to change platforms in York.Well with 7 minutes to spare we actually arrived in York and luckily the Trainline app displayed the platform we had to get to.Wow again.

Well we arrived at Manchester Airport station and were guided to the exit and saw right in front of us a white Tesla.Me,Quick thinking thought that this was our ride and I opened the Door of the car excitedly.Yes it was our ride to the service centre and the driver was actually grateful for the excuse to drive a Tesla and pick somebody up from the Station.

After a tea and visit to the Toilet we were guided to our car. I was shrouded under a dust cover.I am not sure that I enjoyed the drama, but I think Laura the delivery experience Instructor was more excited than us.So we played along and she was aloud to give us her spiel.I am sorry but when I learn a new car I want to play with it myself! This is not a game with spectators.

Anyway she was very helpful but you could tell she used to be a primary teacher.Anyway 10/10 for her effort.

However this could not mask my disappointment that I found an item on the back seat I was not expecting: a middle console.Was this a gift from Tesla?After all this car was expensive.Unfortunately not-it was put there in error .First no Wow!

After we signed some papers we were free to go.Of course I paid no attention to Laura and thought: How do I turn the Satnav on again?Oops- reverse back into parking slot on try again.right Satnav is arrow button on top of the screen where all the apps are.But we wanted to go home via M6 so better to type in Kendall first and then HOME.The pitfall of this comes clearer later…..

Manchester to HOME would be about 120miles so I thought.Well it’s not its 149 miles.This is not dangerous in itself but I did not pay fully attention to Laura-did I?

The Tesla was not fully charged up was it?And we played around with it, and I gave it a few blasts of ludicrous acceleration, and we had no charge card (yet) and I just did not think, because I was toooo excited, and the way we were planning to go was NO Tesla supercharger to charge for free.Not good planning!

So off we went on our trip home via Kendall and Kirkby Stephen and Barnard Castle and …….

Well in Kirkby Stephen – after a forgetful break at the famous M6 Moto Service Station with the concrete indoor bridge over the motorway and the two broken chargers- I suddenly got Range Anxiety.A well known condition known to speed boat drivers (like myself) or electric car drivers(like myself).I suddenly realised we would make it only with a few miles to spare -home, if we were lucky and NO chargers of any sort to rescue us.

Well here the Satnav came into its own and also the Battery Range Projector/calculator.All spot on! Wow and Wow again.After this I could actually enjoy the ride and the bank up to Kirkby Stephen was a really a joy and pleasure to drive up in this powerful, sporty, sophisticated, extremely well engineered and put together car.

I have driven now in 35 years a Polo,Golf, Audi 100 Avant, several E-Class Mercs and MLs and even the Best one of all: a Merc CLK 350 CABRIO, but this car beats them all! There are surprises everywhere like no buttons on dashboard and the 17inch screen, but most of all is how this car makes you feel.Utter quality and sophistication everywhere!

We got home with 29 miles to spare (as predicted!) Of Course.My father was not so sure however.


How do I find a Charge point for my Electric powered car?

Or an Electric Filling station as some people say.

First of all we have to talk about charging points and their power output.As I understand it there are a few different power outputs for charging points and that means different charging times for your car.

  • 3KW charge points and they charge your car at 10 miles per hour
  • 7kw charge points they charge your car at 20 miles per hour
  • 11Kw charge points they charge your car at 40 miles per hour
  • 22kw chargers they charge your car at 80 miles per hour
  • 50kw charge points they charge your car at 150 miles per hour
  • 120Kw TESLA Supercharger points they charge your car at 170 miles per 1/2 hour.

So how do I find these charge points.There are different companies that offer Maps on the Internet and Apps for your phone or the Navigation systems build into your car.

  • ZAP MAP – Mainly an Internet Map on your computer or your Car Satnav
  • CYC – “Charge your Car” an app for Android and IOS made by a Northeast company.They also are an Interface between chargepoint owners and you as the user as their app also gives you live updates on the Status of each charge point.They also maintain a helpdesk to report problems with a charge point.You can also registered with them via the app and pay for your usage of charge points that levy a charge for the electricity used.You also get a smartcard which is compatible with most chargers.
  • ECOTRICITY – Nissan dealers seem to give out this smart card to their customers.Also they are a Electricity and Gas company that provides you with your power needs at home.According to their Website you will receive free access to charge points if you take out a contract with them for your gas and electricity at home.Most chargers are free anyway so not sure where the saving is.Maybe things change in 2016 but I dont know today in August 2015.
  • POD Point – Pod Point are installers of charge points at home and for companies.We received an Email to contact them from Tesla for installation of a home charging point.They also have a small number of charge points throughout the country.

I have installed CYC on my Iphone and it works great.I just checked again and it even shows live status if a charger is in use at the moment,but it it does not show all chargers.

So a bit of a mixed picture.It looks like you need more than one map to check before you give up on finding a charger in your nearest location!

What is wrong with a Hybrid car?

… Or why I would not buy one!

What is a hybrid car? Well a hybrid car is a car that has a gasoline or Diesel engine and some batteries AND an electric motor as well.Already that sounds like a lot of extra weight and therefore in a car not helping fuel consumption, road holding, practicality.You have to put it somewhere and just as with Gas (LPG) converted cars you need to put the tank and in this case the batteries and electric motor somewhere.So most cars are compromised on space.

So how does this Hybrid car work.Well as far as I understand it the electric motor propels the car only at certain speeds -usually below 40 miles an hour to the range of the batteries usually about 20-40 miles.When the car is in need of more power or higher speeds the Engine (diesel or petrol) kicks in.On motorways and country roads it has been found that the electric motor hardly ever works and in a famous Road test by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear he got only 30 miles/gallon, which is terrible if you think that Golf diesel cars get 50-70 miles per gallon.Are they environmentally friendly-no because the batteries and electric motor are made from toxic material and don’t last that long.(Tesla give 8 year warranty on their batteries! Ask your dealer for the warranty on your electric car you wish to purchase!)

So why are there so many Hybrid cars from Toyota for sale.I think Toyota is waiting and “testing” battery technology life on customers and wait for the hydrogen filling station network to expand in Europe and the world.Apparently they are ready to launch a hydrogen car, but there are no filling stations.

Nissan Leaf -4 Day Test Report

Before we ordered our TESLA we wanted to know:How is life with a pure electric car that has got a limited range in miles.?

Well before I actually got the car handed to me by the salesman from Bristol Street Motors I got a surprise.Each model does not only vary in price according to its specification-each Trim Level also varies in Battery Capacity and therefore ultimately in the amount of miles it can do. Only the top of the range model can do 124 Miles.The one I received for my 4 day Test Drive can only go 84 miles.Oh- a bit of a surprise if you think that the Tesla can do 250 Miles.

So first disappointment over what surprises do I have to look out for next ?Well there was no cable in the car for a public charger. So I asked the salesman what do I do if I want to do charge the car from a public outlet?Oh-you want to do that-ok I’ll get a cable for you.(he also forgot to give a Smartcard to access public charge points and so I had to fetch it from him in the afternoon-hey it was a free car for 4 days-how could I complain?)

Anyway I got the car home and got a shock.It takes ages to charge a car from your little 3pin plug home socket.In fact it takes all night from almost nil.So you need a more powerful charger at home-but more on that later.

I used the car for several errands and found that our local public charge point has been vandalised, so I set off to one further afield in a nearby Sainsbury.Oh dear-this one does not work at all and the staff in Sainsbury are totally baffled.It always worked they exclaim.But even after two different smartcards the little hatch on the door of the charge point does not open.Not a good sign.

So to test the car properly we set off on a little tour to a town 40 miles away which would give us (with regenerative braking and economy mode )a way back home without charging.Well it did not work.We did not have enough electric charge left and so had to look in a quite rural area for a charge point.Well I can tell you that we were in Northumberland and had serious “range anxiety “.

A quick look on the “in car Navigation” screen revealed that there were charging points 10 miles away in Hexham and if things would go worse there was also a Nissan Garage! So off we went to go 10 miles to Hexham. Oh dear -we were guided by Nissan Satnav system to the Best Western Hotel Charge point in the Town Centre and … it was not there! In fact the hotel is in the town centre and no charge points on the main road,but on the back in the private car park.I quickly dispatched my wife to reception of the hotel and the answer was that the charge point is only for resident guests! So if we would have a meal could we be a “guest”.Sorry but no meals are served because the chef is on  fortnights holiday!!!! This is August for crying out loud! And it is Northumberland -a tourist destination.So off we went to “find” the other chargers on the map.

This was now with 20 miles left and SERIOUS “range anxiety kicked in! Anyway we went to the main town centre car park in Hexham and we found 5 chargers.Ah-there is one by the tourist information-AND it was occupied by two identical Nissan Leaf cars.Oh dear what to do? Well there was supposed to be one by the Leisure Centre-it looked like behind the Leisure centre on the Map.So out of car park and round the one way system in Hexham again.Nowhere is there access to the Leisure Centre.Back into car park again (10 miles left!!!). Ah Here it is.Hidden in a little corner just by the front entrance in a recessed little alley.No sign no pointer to it.Anyway it was a mahoosive charger! 50Kw.Wow -this will do nicely.Have I got the right cable or connector.Well the Nissan leave comes with two charging sockets and the Big one fitted this charger.But have I got the right smart card.Yes the card from Ecotricity supplied by the sales man was accepted and I plugged the cable/charger into the car”s socket.The LCD screen on the public charger said:Your car will be charged in 47 minutes to full.

So off we went for some well deserved lunch and came back after 60 minutes and found the car to be 85% charged AND all the electricity was for free!Thanks Hexham.

By the way-The waitress in the café told us that you can rent Electric cars in Hexham for free and drive through the country side and not damaging the environment!Well done Hexham again!

This Blog will document my Journey from an Electric Car Virgin to a seasoned owner

I am new to Electric cars and have just purchased one together with my wife -our first fully electric car.

Why have we chosen an electric car?

Well, we wanted something different and also to save money -and also we are actually INTO saving energy and want to help in saving the planet in our little way for our children and grand children.Well 3 years ago we put Solar (Panels) cells on our roof and saving loads of money on our electricity bill and getting 50pence for every 1kw we produce. So we got thinking.What will our next car be? Should it be a Merc,Jaguar,or any other mainstream brand that has an electric car on offer or just a normal diesel or Petrol car?

After a few weeks of research we came across by coincidence our neighbour’s car.It looked like a big Audi A7 and I had seen this neighbour in an Audi before.But the car he was driving today was not an Audi.It was a TESLA.

So we researched the company website and were very impressed.I immediately looked for booking a test drive and again a demonstration event was coming to a nearby town in 4 weeks time.So we booked ourselves on that and soon were driving one of their latest models.

Well it was just great!!Power delivery constant from 0 to 60 and beyond.No tyre squeal -just constant power delivery like a train or like a tram.Very,very smooth,but you got pressed in your seats at highest acceleration.

Wow this was it.It was clear from this moment that we wanted this car.