The trip we planned was to go up to the Midlands to test our Renault Zoe on the motorway and various chargers en route in preparation for a longer trip to Manchester and back in September (520miles)…oh and to say hello and have a curry with my parents!
Leaving Newton Abbot with 100% charge (a 245-mile range) we hit the motorway as I worked out our consumption as efficiently as an airline Co-Pilot, while my wife Sadie diligently drove. I calculated that 10% charge gave us approximately 21 miles, this fluctuated with elevation changes through the Mendips, Cotswolds etc. with some 24-mile sections and some as low as 19! So, all was good and we had used less than my estimated consumption at Bristol.
I planned a top-up charge at a free Pod Point in Cheltenham Spa, Colletts Lane, Tesco (Zap Map and Pod Point Apps are very handy and easy to use) because it was just 10 mins off the M5, well over halfway and there are 2 x 22kw and 2 x 7kw chargers there so the chances of getting plugged in straight away were high. As it turned out there was only one other EV on site; Pod Point chargers are very reliable, so easy to use and are often free to boot!
Charging in Cheltenham Spa with a relative!
We arrived with 38% left and topped up in one hour to 85% (15.2kw) whilst we ate our picnic then went shopping for a few bits at the store. We got involved with a few conversations outside with people asking about the car and the three standard questions were asked, ‘How much does it cost to charge?’, ‘How long do you have to wait?’, ‘Does it fly?!’
Anyway, soon we were heading north again, my head in my notes, monitoring speed and consumption and we were getting a consistent 20 or so miles per 10% of charge, so all was good.
As there were no free chargers at our destination in Stafford I topped up again for 1.5hrs (19.3kw) at Gallagher Retail Park, Walsall, on another free Pod Point called ‘Thor’. It’s a newly installed site with 8 x 22kw points and wide bays to park in. I can be a bit of a geek as I check on Google Earth and survey the charging sites to know where they are in the car parks, it helps, trust me! Gallagher is a huge retail park with Next, Curry’s, IKEA, Pizza Hut, Smashburger and Costa coffee and we got straight on a charger. We went to Next at Home, Sofology and had a cuppa at Costa whilst the Renault Zoe was munching quite nicely on 22kw of power.
Leaving there with 95% charge we headed to Stafford via our favourite Wimpy at a glorious sunny evening on Milford Common where we used to visit and play as kids. We arrived at our Premier Inn (no chargers here yet!) approx. 207 miles from home with 78% charge.
Destination successfully reached, Premier Inn, Stafford
Overall, we travelled no faster than 72mph, sitting mainly at 65 on the M5 with air-conditioning on low. The journey was comfortable and extremely quiet and the Renault Zoe performed exceptionally. She is surprisingly stable on the motorway, a smooth, quiet and comfy ride, we were in no rush and kept at 65ish.
We had the air con on low even though it was a warm day as the Renault Zoe uses a heat pump. It is very efficient even though it’s powered by the traction battery whilst everything else, radio, sat nav, wipers, lights etc. come off the 12volt battery. It is widely estimated that using the climate control costs you around 5% of range i.e., 10-miles on our 207-mile journey.
Two days later we headed home topping up once again (16.3 kW) in Cheltenham to 72% knowing I needed 58% to get home. We worked this out by looking at how much charge we consumed between the two places on the way up. We hit traffic south of Bristol but this only added to our range as our speed was reduced and we were using the car’s ‘B’ and ECO modes and arrived home 192-miles later with 14% charge and a 41 miles range left!
I am now confident that when I head to Manchester in September we can reach Gallagher (166-miles away) to top-up to get to Manchester and top-up again on the way back whilst we shop at IKEA!
I plan using Pod Point’s 22kw chargers on my journeys, they are mainly located in supermarkets and retail parks just off the motorway, I also plan back-up 7kw chargers in the surrounding area if I’m unable to get on the Pod Points.
My favourites places to charge are Pinhoe Road, Exeter for charging before arriving home, Dursley, Cheltenham, Wednesbury, Stoke, Altrincham and Stockport, all just off the motorway or A roads and all have more than four chargers. This is true for most Pod Point retail sites however their destination sites normally have less.
We hope you found this trip report useful and our one piece of advice would be that indefatigable planning is the key to a stress-free longer journey with your EV.
Glen & Sadie
Twitter – @EV4NAbbot