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May 2020

 

Why is lockdown like running an electric car?

 

It sounds like the start of a corny one-liner from a dodgy stand-up comic, but the two are more alike than you might think. I’ve worked from home as a freelance journalist for more than 20 years so, the joys of home-schooling aside, I thought that lockdown wouldn’t be all that different.

 

Not venturing far beyond my front door for days at a time while working is never preferable, but hasn’t been that unusual, especially during busier periods in the past. When those un-Wanderlust tendencies are enforced however, it’s a very different matter. That lack of choice and lack of options making it more stressful than usual.

 

What’s that got to do with driving an EV? Earlier this year, I undertook a substantial journey in the UK in an electric car. The idea was to demonstrate that electric car ownership and driving one can be as easy as you want to make it. And by and large, it was. We rapid-charged at 50kW locations throughout the two days and it was, thankfully, reasonably simple.

 

The problem though was exactly that lack of choice. During any long drive, it’s likely that you’ll want to stop for a coffee/ snack/ toilet break (not necessarily in that order) at any one time. But in an EV, that stop to charge becomes a necessity not an option. And for far longer than a simple fill up as with a petrol or diesel car.

 

A good example was at the end of our journey. It was early evening and I had a long drive home, so needed a full charge before setting off. I skipped the first rapid-charge point in favour of maximising my distance home. The second point I visited was broken as was the third, while the fourth had three cars already charging.

 

I was starting to get worried. I had 15 miles of range left and 140 miles to get home. Thankfully the last nearby rapid-charge point was vacant. A full 90-minute charge while I grabbed something to eat meant I could then finally make my way home, rather more stressed than I had been earlier. That similar lack of options, the same as with lockdown, had made it far more difficult than I thought.

 

 

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