To find out what it is like to do a road trip in a short-range MINI Electric, Mike kept a journal of his return trip from Lincoln to Swansea to give some insights into what life is really like driving an EV beyond its WLTP range.
I am Mike, a full-time driving instructor in Lincolnshire and I have been teaching automatic driving lessons in a fully electric car for two and a half years, first in a Renault Zoe and now in a MINI Electric. Here is how my road trip went in a MINI Electric.
Friday, September 17
It’s an early start as my eldest daughter is moving to Swansea University and we are due to be there at 1 pm. My alarm was set for 6 am. We set off before 7 am and I have a full charge and have been preconditioning. We reach Corley services where we are pleased to see the bank of Instavolt chargers with plenty of spaces.
In Lincolnshire, I have not yet seen a charging location with more than 2 chargers. We plug in my MINI and go for breakfast, planning to be here to charge to 85% which should take less than 20 minutes. Breakfast takes a little time to be prepared, so when returning to my car its at 91%
Leg 1: 75 miles with arrival SOC of 38%
Charge 1: 26 minutes and costs £5.52
Next stop Leominster for another Instavolt stop with a chance for a coffee and snack. This leg will see us leaving the motorways and seeing more of the countryside, a far more interesting drive and also a balance between driving speeds and charging time. There was some very nice scenery through Herefordshire.
We arrive at Leominster and head to the chargers to plug-in and something rare happens. The Instavolt charger gave an error message so I swap to the adjacent charger and message Instavolt with the error code, they reply a little later. I leave with 79% charge.
Leg 2: 71 miles with arrival SOC 44%
Charge 2: 14 minutes and costs £4.06
Now we are good to drive to Swansea passing the north side of the Brecon Beacons and expecting the drive to get even better as we head into the Welsh hills. We were not disappointed, it was a very nice drive. We decided to have something for lunch before heading to the University, this gives a perfect opportunity to charge up to 89%.
Leg 3: 76 miles with arrival SOC 32%
Charge 3: 28 minutes and costs £6.59
It’s onto the University to move my daughter into the halls on campus. Parking is a nightmare as there are so many others moving in as well. I leave my daughter after 5:30 pm and head back to my car. I am camping tonight near the Brecon Beacons and plan a little splash and dash on the way out of Swansea. The queue of cars at the drive-through has blocked the car park entrance so I decided that I would continue to the campsite.
Leg 4: 25 miles with arrival SOC 66%
Saturday, September 18
It’s an early start so I can be home around lunchtime. After a cuppa and a croissant, I pack my tent and head off. It’s a bit chilly this morning and my car was not charging overnight. There was a slight concern I would be low on charge for my planned stop at Leominster as the batteries in the car had been cooling down overnight.
Within half an hour any concerns had disappeared as the cooler batteries were not making that much of a difference. The GOM on the MINI is very pessimistic, I have 65 miles to travel and my car claims to have 64 miles of range. Yet I drove this distance yesterday without issue. I charge up to 93%.
Leg 5: 65 miles with arrival SOC 18%
Charge 4: 42 minutes and costs £8.66
For the next leg, I am going to travel further and try to go almost 100 miles to Loughborough. I can then have a splash and dash charge to get home. Due to traffic, my sat nav takes me through Birmingham and its clean air zone which is free to drive through in an electric car. I arrive in Loughborough with more charge remaining than I expected.
Leg 6: 98 miles with arrival SOC 29%
Charge 5: 28 minutes and costs £6.06
I stayed too long again, I was hungry and leave with 97% charge and no worries about getting home. It takes less than an hour to get home and I arrive just over half charged. But again, the queue for the drive-through made getting to the chargers tricky. Maybe this is the only issue I have with the Instavolt chargers but they are still my favourite network for planning longer journeys in my electric car.
Leg 7: 44 miles with arrival SOC 54%
Total mileage:454/Total cost: £30.89