The EV life isn’t al­ways so EZ

It doesn’t take much to dis­cover just how frag­ile our charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture is.

CAR (UK) - - OUR CARS - By Jake Groves @_jakegroves

CHARG­ING IS less has­sle than some make out, but still re­quires se­ri­ous fore­thought and isn’t with­out hic­cups. I’ve been us­ing the Leaf for air­port runs, swish­ing silently to Heathrow for some early-morn­ing flights, qui­etly hop­ing that there will be a spare charg­ing bay to leave the Leaf chow­ing down on some kilo­watts in while I’m away. I left the Leaf at Heathrow T5’s short stay car park – it’s pricey, but it’s the only of­fi­cial car park with any EV charg­ing sta­tions, hosted by Pod Point. There are only four EV bays in the whole 3000-bay multi-storey, and none else­where within the ter­mi­nal’s of­fi­cial car parks. Ter­mi­nal 2 has 26, while T3 and T4 can both serve only four cars at a time, all in short stay park­ing.

Any­way, I luck­ily nab a space, plug in, con­firm the charge on the Pod Point app and head off to catch my flight. An hour later, just as I’m sit­ting down for take-off, the Nis­sanCon­nect app no­ti­fies me of a ‘suc­cess­ful’ charge which has added just eight per cent, tak­ing the bat­tery up to 28 per cent (around 40 miles). Not enough, as my jour­ney home is 96 miles and that as­sumes there won’t be sig­nif­i­cant de­lays or road­work di­ver­sions, and doesn’t fac­tor in a heavy right foot. I had to hit ‘con­firm charge’ four more times on the jour­ney to make sure I had enough power to get back home on my re­turn – not ex­actly stress-free.

EVs should come with an ad­vi­sory to en­sure you’re handy with a smart­phone. If you’re plan­ning on mak­ing the switch, sign up for ac­counts on Ecotric­ity, Po­lar and Pod Point ahead of time on your smart­phone. It’ll save you faff come charg­ing time when plug­ging into one of the three big­gest charg­ing net­works in the UK.

Zap-Map, the app that plots charge points and uses Waze-like crowd-sourc­ing to warn of non-func­tional or busy charg­ers, is a big help in stay­ing ahead of the curve.

Plenty of EV users have used the app as a way of mak­ing their feel­ings known about the in­suf­fi­cient num­ber of charg­ers at key spots such as air­ports, and now I know ex­actly what they’re talk­ing about. The in­fra­struc­ture is im­prov­ing hugely, but there’s still quite a way to go.

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