Road trip introduction
This trip was for a holiday in the Cotswolds with the Tesla Model 3. Approx. 120 miles each way plus a few hundred miles over the week.
Planning & preparation
I had previously had a bad experience with contactless payment, so this time I signed up for several apps in advance: Instavolt, GeniePoint, Osprey, Shell, ChargePoint, BP Pulse and Pod Point. For navigation, I downloaded PlugShare, ZapMap and WattsUp. Signing up for the apps is a chore: some ‘need’ your address & phone number – why? Few work properly with iOS autofill, so you have to type everything in manually. Only Instavolt seemed to get it right, working with TouchID and Apple Pay.
I was pleased to find that RFID cards are free from Shell and ChargePoint but GeniePoint wanted £9! However, I subsequently found out you can pair any RFID card (e.g. Tesco Clubcard) with your GeniePoint account which is actually rather cool. Most annoying was £10 minimum charge to ‘activate’ GeniePoint and ChargePoint accounts. It was £5 for BP Pulse and £1 for Instavolt. This practice needs to stop. Message to charge point operators: please ensure that signing up from a mobile app is as simple and quick as possible! Autofill, TouchID, password generation, etc. There needs to be the absolute minimum of typing & tapping to get the charge session going.
Initial charge at home to 100%, easy peasy. No charging at destination, battery >50%. Morrisons 10 mins from destination with GeniePoint 50kW rapid. Got provisions, +12kWh in 20 mins. Top tip: if you are new to GeniePoint make sure you disable Auto Top-up *before* you do your first charge. 40p/kWh is already steep enough, however they took another £10 on top. I only added 12.5kWh and ended up £15 down on the deal. Visiting a tourist town, 25% battery and needed a decent charge for the next journey. Found a sensibly priced Pod Point 50kW rapid at Lidl. It was occupied, so waited 10 mins for it to become free. Got a full charge (+56kWh) for £14 over 90 mins. Visited the town in the meantime.
In a rural village with 40% battery but top-up needed to get home. FREE parking & charging at Tesco. Left it there 6 hours, +35kWh. 4 outlets, so didn’t block anyone but still felt slightly guilty. Worst charging experience so far: BP Pulse 50kW. Attempted to pay by contactless, not working, attempted to download app no joy. Pouring down with rain, no shelter, gave up. Fortunately, destination B&B was kind enough to let me plug in to their wall outlet overnight. Best charging experience: Tesla Supercharger. Was a bit tight on range to destination, needed a stop anyway. Not a fuel station, proper hotel. Decent coffee. +37kW in <20 mins, free. Over 500 miles/hour! Perfect.
The EV itself
The Tesla Model 3 was faultless. Comfortable & relaxing to drive, no range anxiety. Only irritation is the Tesla sat nav doesn’t know about non-Tesla chargers. I wish they’d integrate ZapMap or PlugShare, for example.
Road trip conclusion
It was a huge success but taking a gamble on single rapids isn’t ideal. If I’d been blocked or encountered a faulty charge point, the outcome might have been different (though I was never far away from an alternative). If the place where we were staying had had destination charging, that would have made a HUGE difference. I wouldn’t have had to run the gauntlet with public chargers and would happily have paid extra for this facility. One day, I guess…