An electric start!

To be fair, I’ve been away a lot lately and so haven’t had the time to really get organised for the arrival of my electric car… and with that disclaimer aside, let me regale you with the tale of my first foray into electric vehicles…

Today, I picked up my Renault Zoe EV – very chuffed!

Renault Zoe dash


Now, I haven’t had a home charger installed yet (been travelling for the last month) so I just figured I’d charge it at the public charging stations to get by until I can get a home charger installed (free charger fitted by British Gas included with Zoe purchase).

Besides, with a published range of 130 miles and my daily round trip commute of 15 miles, I figure I can go a few days at a time without a charge. Easy peasy!

Not so! So I pick up the car from a somewhat under-informed dealer (guess they haven’t sold too many of these Zoe’s yet), in a bit of a hurry because of some paperwork delays amidst a very busy day, and head off. Battery fully charged (I had asked the dealership to make sure, ‘cos I knew I was going to be charger-challenged for a bit) and had and indicated range of 72 miles – which I figure is acceptable, as the car is brand new and hasn’t had a chance to work out its range and usage patterns yet. But I expect more from you once you get to know me, Zoe, much more!

Started feeling a bit of the dreaded range anxiety on the way back to the office, so I decided to check out the pretty decent navigation system to find a public charging point close by, to give the charge exercise a bit of a test. No worries, navigate to the charging point closest to my office, arrive there and….. nary a charging point to be seen. Park the car (not going to chew up the battery driving around looking for the charge point) and take a walk to see what I can find. Ask some local dudes who eventually give me a vague idea, and set off in the car again (maybe 400m away).

Sweet! Find the well-hidden charging point a good distance from the sat-nav’s indication, and…. there’s a bloomin’ Nissan Leaf plugged in to the one point there. Never mind, at least I know where it is, and I take the opportunity to examine it more closely… when I realise that you need some sort of RFID badge to access the thing. Nobody told me about any RFID <blank stare>.

So apparently I have an electric car – but no way to charge it. Doh!!