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Renault Zoe 2013
Road trip introduction
My last long journey was from my home town of Ledbury to Morecambe in my Renault Zoe Expression Nav Q210 with a summer range of just over 100 miles. The total journey distance was 193 miles which meant I had to make at least one stop to charge on the way. I stopped to charge midway at a motorway service station and charged up using an Electric Highway Rapid 43 kw charger. I was on my way to Renault DSG for the sixth birthday of the Renault Zoe Owners Club as DSG is one of our club sponsors. The charge took about 30 minutes which allowed me time to have some refreshments and to use the facilities as well. So by the time I had partaken of some food and drink and used the facilities the car was fully charged and ready to complete the journey. A pleasant and non stressful journey and the same on my return journey as well.
Planning & preparation
I normally use two apps to plan my journeys which are PlugShare and Zap Map which show me where all the chargers are en route and from that I can work out distance to each charger and if they are working or not, especially on Zap Map. I use the route planner which is an integral part of the app and it lists my chargers after I have put in the start and finish and also shows me how recently they have been used and if there are any faults. I can they select my chargers accordingly or if I pick the facility the app will choose them for me and list the journey for me so that I can program my sat nav. Pretty straightforward really and of course with the newer EVs the range is so much better that in some cases where I have to stop to charge, if I was driving the new one then I would not have to stop at all between start and finish. So journeys in an EV now are much simpler and less stressful than in previous times and with newer EV models.
I tend now to charge at Rapids only on long journeys and it costs me around £5 for a full charge and it normally takes between 30 to 40 minutes. When I am only travelling locally I tend to charge about once a week at the local Tesco Pod Point chargers which are free. I only live a two minute walk from the chargers so I tend to leave the car plugged in and walk back home and get on with other things whilst the car charges. I can check on the charge levels from time to time using the Renault app which shows the current state of charge.
The EV itself
My Renault Zoe performs perfectly well and is in fact a great little car for both local and longer journeys. It is a very comfortable car to drive and easy as well. It has power steering so is easy to manoeuvre. It also has a facility to control maximum speed and cruise control. So if I come to a speed restricted area I simply turn on the speed limiter and set it to the speed limit. And on the motorway I set the maximum speed I want to do and set the cruise control to maintain it. I can also charge my mobile phone whilst driving as well and use Spotify to link my mobile to the onboard infotainment system so I can play my own choice of music through the media system. It makes for an altogether pleasant and relaxing journey whether it is short or long. Also, having a traction drive that requires no gear changes makes it even better.
Road trip conclusion
My journey was very successful as is every journey now and as the Zoe is my only car, all my journeys are done stress-free and for very little outlay for fuel (electricity). EV driving is now my way of life and has been for the last six years and I have only been able to charge at public chargers as I cannot charge at home because I do not have access but if I could it would make owning an EV even simpler. One thing is for certain I shall never go back to driving an ICE car again.