Thursday, 31 May 2012

Charging between points

I have just spent the last few days needing to drive back and forwards to newcastle more than once a day. The battery top ups required are  achievable now that we have a 32 amp charging post in the carpark beside the office. It's achievable that is as long as I am the only one using the post. As soon as Ged2 appears for his top up we will both have a timing problem. So the qualification is that I can manage relatively high daily mileages at the minute but probably only because I have a virtually dedicated network at my disposal.
In terms of charging point chats ( this is replacing the "water cooler") I had an interesting 10 minute discussion yesterday with someone I know that quickly moved from electric cars , to battery storage in general   to his own detailed need for an energy efficient flood lighting system all stemming from a little blue car with a wire stuck in its nose.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

multi coloured swap shop

Just been up to Newcastle and back in the Leaf , but in a conversation with a taxi driver taking me and my mother to the RVI ( there is no way to successfully drop Kate off safely while parking and there are definitely no special privileges for EVs in that hot bed of taxi and ambulance activity) he made an interesting point regarding the need for  "pit stop type" battery replacements for taxi drivers if EVs were ever to have any relevance in his working world. His vehicle cost him £25000 and needed to be run almost permanently to make the repayments, fuel costs and a living (possibly a tad on the sob story side).

Thursday, 17 May 2012

quick charge in Thornaby - a building site near a viking settlement

Travelling to Darlington from Sunderland - although it's only about 32 miles took half of my allotted pretend miles - 'electric miles' we know them as. It used up 50 of my electric miles due to driving on the A1 for part of the journey. so i decided to play it safe for the return ( another 52 miles were offered to me on the clock - but I can do without the ignominy of running out of power just before i get home thanks very much. So there's a quick charge point at Thornaby - a bit off my A1 route but only a small detour which would bring me home up the A19. The point didn't show up on my satnav and when i reached the nearby streets i was told that Wylam Court didnt exist, yet. Turns out it's a bit of a building site - just go through the site entrance and you'll find it. So after a tour around among the rows of parked white vans, lo and behold - my saviour - the quick charge point. It's called Electrobay Rapid Charger and it does what it says on the label. 10 mins should be enough and a chat on the phone to Anna while i wait - sorted. After about 8 mins, I said to anna - i'll have to go there's a security chap striding towards me. Mr Lindo he said his name was - and he was chuffed to see the charge point being used, he thought, for the first time. we chatted for quite a few super charged minutes - which luckily arent costing us anything during this trial otherwise i might have had to cut things short. Forgot to go and visit the 'facilities' which were advertised on the charge your car website - toilets and vending machine in the Cablecom reception. Must try them next time; sure to be back. p

Back to basics

For the first time in two weeks I drove a petrol car to Newcastle and back yesterday. It is a very strange experience. There is no regeneration of power whenever you slow down or brake gradually and it genuinely seemed shocking to me to be wasting such potential. The heater filled the car with luxurious warmth without an apparent loss of mileage which was lovely - but then I got to thinking what an inately inefficient machine the petrol engine is to be throwing away that much heat as a matter of course.
I can honestly say that my driving habits in terms of fuel efficiency have been radically altered  as a result of the electric car distance limitations. I'll be investing in a trilby hat before I know it.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Kathleen Ferrier knows of what she sings

Blow the wind southerly is  a beautiful ballad but its basic premise of blowing one home does not seem to apply to electric vehicles. In fact the opposite seemed to be the case last night in that an evening trip to West Allotment up the A19 with a strong wind behind made little difference to the mileage but presented a considerable invisible "wall" on the return journey. However, the wind free tyne tunnel with its uniform entrance and exit slopes seems to present a power neutral consumption zone. Thats useful then.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

finding a mate

for the first time since trialling this car - we came across another leccy vehicle parked at our chosen charge point as we arrived. A range rover based in Gosforth so we were told. We did wonder how far you could go on a range rover's full battery - since our only offers 100 miles and thats when we are driving carefully. Apparently the battery is big enough for the car to go 200 miles - probably no room for the dogs, passengers or whatever else you wanted to take though as the battery must be massive.  Turns out the electricity for this one goes in where the petrol would have gone. makes some sense.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could

I think it is time to talk about so called zero emissions. One only has to refer to Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews to know that nothing comes from nothing ( mathematicians please discuss) . I accept the reality of carbon generated in the production of mains electricity and the transmission loss inherent in getting the stuff to a convenient plug.
However I am trying to get my head around the potential for long term storage that these vehicles might offer. After all they are just large batteries sitting waiting for something to happen and with enough of them about they may provide a useful way of keeping and using intermittently generated electricity.
In retrospect perhaps our strap line of a zero emission journey should have had a question mark after it.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Isnt it great when things just work out. it turned out that there is a charge point right outside the Discovery Museum where we were last night to see the Unthanks.  The Great Hall made a great venue and i was all charged up when i got back out. the concert was great too - i dont only think about cars and charging. pauline

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

time to talk

to calculate journey time anywhere in this car you need to add on 5 mins at each end to chat with the car park attendant or whoever happens to be passing, who are always interested to know what its like to drive.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

highly charged

A trip to Alnwick and Alnmouth needs a 15 minute quick charge at the Willowburn Leisure centre . A 20minute  chareg might have avoided the slight degree of range anxiety with only 5 miles showing on our approach to Sunderland. The seaky silence of the electric car resulted in our approach to the residence of Daisy going completely undetected by this  usually most alert dog.
Electric turny in wing mirrors are a boon while parking in the beautiful but very narrow Percy Terrace in Alnwick.

Friday, 4 May 2012

my left foot
My first proper drive in the electric car yesterday - ie on the roads with other traffic and not just on the nissan test track. Its very easy to drive once you get the hang of the feel of it - sort of suped up dodgem really - although dodgems didnt have reverse gear, or brakes did they?
Great acceleration and then there's the eco tree game - if you drive carefully and regeneratively you are awarded eco trees while you drive - i got one and a half trees today. In the international league i'm pretty well at the bottom - there is a man in japan with so many trees - he must do nothing all day but drive efficiently!
Seems that my left foot is not needed as there is no clutch and the left hand is pretty redundant once you are in gear. Pauline

Thursday, 3 May 2012

To infinity and beyond

Stanhope and back for a site meeting uses almost a full charge with about 5 miles spare. Driving with the equivalent of a 2 gallon tank concentrates the mind on driving economy. There is nothing like the threat of not getting back to the office the instantly adjust your driving style. An hour and a half slow charge outside the office gave enough power to get to Newcastle where I sampled the joys of the Cat and Dog shelter charging point on claremont road while biking to Benton and back. The electric car and a folding bike are a great combo.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Feeding time

Nissan Leaf safely landed and feeding quietly outside the office.
Off up the Wear valley  tomorrow with perhaps an emergency unscheduled stop in Bishop auckland for for a little pick me up.