So after getting used to my usual routes to Manchester, Bolton and around Coventry as well as a couple to North London, it was time for a longer trip, the 262 miles to our holiday house on the Solway Firth. It is normally a 5 hour journey including a break - this was going to be longer.
So after getting used to my usual routes to Manchester, Bolton and around Coventry, it was time for a longer trip, the 262 miles to our holiday house on the Solway Firth. It is normally a 5 hour journey including a break - this was going to be longer.
We set off from Coventry at 2pm with 100% charge, the plan was to get to the Holiday Inn at Haydock, but my passengers bladder required a stop at Knutsford, so rather than stop again I decided to re-charge there - 23kwh for £7.05. That put us back to 90% charge, but the question in my mind when setting off at 4.15pm was whether we could manage the 91 miles to Tebay. The range indicator claimed we could travel 140 miles, but we know that on a Motorway that difference will soon come down, with the cruise control set at 70mph, we were soon at a point where Tebay was 70 miles away and now the anticipated range was down to 110 miles, so I reset the cruise control to 65 and now the 40 mile difference was maintained and even began to slowly creep up. Until we started to climb Shap and then the gap started to close again, I brought the cruise control down a few more mph but still watched the differential close. When we arrived at Tebay the battery was indicating 15% that's about 25 miles - and if this one doesn't work the next charger is 20 miles away. However, it was working, and even better was on a free vend, so the best Service station in the country just got better. We headed for some food and left the car to refuel.
We were now 83 miles from our destination, with a battery that had charged to 85% before the automatic cut-off at 45 minutes. We could have reset the charger to draw down some more - but it was already 7:30 and we would rather get on up the road. The plan was to recharge again in Dumfries. Power would be available at Southerness, but sometimes it can trip when overused and I wasn't sure how it would respond to charging a Leaf, hence stopping in Dumfries was a precaution. In Scotland the largest network is Chargeplace Scotland, it requires a separate access card or the CYC app, which I have but it often doesn't work. Before setting off I had spoken to CYC and they had confirmed that if the app was showing error I could phone them. So once we had found the charger on the Crichton Trust in Dumfries we connected via phone, all very easy at that time of night and this one was an intentional free vend. The only problem was that a 50 kw unit was delivering at just 22kw - a longer stop the we anticipated - but a lovelly place to walk the dog. And so about 9:30pm, after a 7 1/2 hour journey, that included 3 stops, we arrived at Southerness. If we include the cost of charging to 100% at home, the cost of the journey was just £13.45, compared to the £70 it would have cost me in a petrol car. The added cost is the extra 2 hours of journey time.
The next day I plugged into our nearest socket and the car spent the day gently recharging.
The return journey was three days later, we weren't going all the way home. Just 155 miles to Bradford. As we headed into Dumfries the car started bleeping and a big yellow warning light appeared on the screen - one tyre was down to 30psi, it should be 50. Time for an old-fashioned petrol station for a bit of air, but an inspection of the tyre found a nail in the centre. I wasn't at all sure where the nearest tyre centre was, but my passenger - far more observant, pointed out that we passed it every time we came through Dumfries, an hour later we had a repaired puncture and were back on the road. Tebay southbound has a row of Tesla chargers, but nothing for the rest of us, and so we are sent out through the no-entry service road, to go over to the northbound side and back to our charger still providing electricity for free. The next leg, just involved a short spell on the motorway before we joined the A65 for a scenic run across the Yorkshire Dales. Our next stopping point would be Lidl at Bingly. A new Podpoint charger providing free electricity, a lovely park to walk the dog around whilst my passenger sought out cake from Lidl and pizza and chips from the town. A great stop. That journey cost us the 15kw we topped up with in Southerness - so about £2.50
The next day we spent a pleasant morning in Saltaire, and then headed for Leicester. Just one stop required at Holiday Inn, Derby for 25kw - cost £2.40. In Leicester we topped up from our sons electricity supply - so free to us and he gets enough free rides to make a little contribution! And then home, another little adventure over.