In October I managed, for the first time ever, to drive 300 miles one day in my Renault ZOE. I like to think that puts me in the ‘elite club’ of long distance electric car drivers!
Of course, I’m not the first ZOE owner to join – at least two other members of the MyRenaultZOE forum (Timbo and Surya) beat me to it. Nonetheless, I consider it an important personal achievement, more significant than my previous record of 360 miles in a weekend.
It’s not just that it was a good distance but that it was actually done on a business trip. With an electric car I travelled half the length of the country, arrived on time for a series of business meetings beginning at 1030, and drove back home afterward. All without drama – though undoubtedly with a debt of gratitude to the excellent rapid-charging infrastructure we have in England.
I left home in Northampton at about 6.30am (marked ‘A’ on the map) and the first stop was at Stony Stratford (‘B’) near Milton Keynes to pick up a colleague. We headed south down the M40 then A34 towards our destinations in Southampton and Portsmouth.
I had originally planned to charge at Peartree, near Oxford, on the A34 but it was out of action so we went to Plan B and carried on to Chieveley Services (‘C’). Filling up took no longer than a typical coffee and loo stop and we were on our way again.
I had hoped to charge again before Southampton but time was tight so we went straight to our first meeting (‘D’), and then on to another meeting in Portsmouth (‘E’). Rather than risk a drama heading back up low on charge, I decided to top up at IKEA (‘F’) in Southampton.
This turned out to be the only pain of the day – by this time it was evening rush hour and we wasted a lot of time stuck in traffic on the way there. Having charged, however, it was then just a simple case of retracing our steps back up north. We did another coffee and loo stop at Chieveley, then we drove to Stony Stratford, and then I drove the last leg back to Northampton.
I got back home having driven about 280 miles. Following some local errands and other driving I finally put the car back in its garage, and on charge, having driven nearly 303 miles since leaving earlier that day.
It was great to have driven so far in one day on electricity, and producing no emissions, for a fraction of the cost of a fossil fuel car. The initial charge was on Economy 7, and all the public charges were free courtesy of the Ecotricity network. Even better, all the electricity used was renewable, again courtesy of Ecotricity.
Best of all, I was able to claim a mileage allowance for the business trip from my employer. I was paid at a standard rate of 40p per mile, so actually received £112! A good day all around.