Daily Archives: April 4, 2017

In Praise of the Ecotricity Charging Network

Last week I took a bunch of friends to a concert by the progressive rock band Haken. The round trip distance from Northampton to Nottingham was 150 miles. So, even in the new i3, I knew I would need a charge or be constrained to keep my speed low.

With a bit of Googling I settled on parking at the Victoria shopping centre as it had a charge point. On arriving we plugged in and I started a charge using an old Plugged in Midlands card.

The concert was great and Haken were in fine form. However afterwards we returned to the car to find the charge had failed. Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to monitor its progress on my smartphone as the location had no signal.

So we went to Plan B and stopped off on the way back at Donnington Services to top up on the Ecotricity rapid charger. Although we might have gotten away with just a ten minute charge, there were signs saying the M1 was closed further south so I gave it a  good 20 minutes instead.

After a coffee and a Danish we were on our way. It turned out that it wasn’t just the M1 that was shut but also the main alternative, the A5, so we had to divert a long way out via Rugby.

The i3’s range was more than up to it though and we got home with charge to spare. The trip took place after going to work earlier in the day so the i3 had done 200 miles in a day without trouble. And all for £8.70 in fuel costs (the daytime charging at work in Milton Keynes).

TRO to launch UK’s first Electric Vehicle Experience Centre

TRO has been appointed to launch the UK’s first ever Electric Vehicle Experience Centre in partnership with Chargemaster.

Opening in Milton Keynes, the EV Experience Centre is aimed at educating consumers by demonstrating the value of electric vehicles.
TRO’s retail division is responsible for the design and production of the EV Experience Centre, which will feature a number of engaging technologies to enrich shoppers’ showroom experience.

Pictured: TRO has designed the first of its kind Electric Vehicle Experience Centre, launching in Milton Keynes in spring

Ben Taylor, retail director at TRO, said:

“We are thrilled to be spearheading this innovative initiative in partnership with Chargemaster. The new store reflects the automotive industry landscape and the dramatic increase of consumer interest in electric cars – plug in power models are appealing not just to dedicated environmentalists but a much more mainstream audience. The project embodies several areas of TRO’s capabilities – melding our expertise in retail, automotive and digital spheres.”

Chargemaster is responsible for the running and management of the store for its five-year duration.

The EV Experience Centre is to be delivered as part of Milton Keynes’ £9 million ‘Go Ultra Low’ Cities programme, which encourages the uptake of low emission vehicles – with a target of 23 per cent of all car sales being electric or plug-in by 2021.

Source: meetpie.com


Fife-based eRally Motorsport have built the first electric rally car, a Renault Zoe which is charging into Formula 1000 in 2018.

The prototype car will be used in junior rallying, for 14 to 17-year-olds, after being tested in the senior division this year.

Thanks to help from Business Gateway Fife, eRally, which is based just outside Rosyth, has created a sponsorship package that has already attracted Aberdeen’s EC-OG. Further deals are currently being sought which would help the company reduce the car’s price tag from £15k to under £10k.

The sponsorship deals, alongside a commitment from RCI Financial Services to supply a number of donor vehicles to the team over the next 12 months, will also help keep them on course to launch the eRally Championship in Scotland within the next three years.

Jean Hay, co-driver and project coordinator at eRally Motorsport Ltd, said:

“We now have a complete package – a rally ready car and sponsorship deals on offer. Although the number of cars RCI Financial Services Ltd’s will supply to us at a discounted or subsidised rate has yet to be decided, having them on board will help us showcase electric car rally driving to the nation.”

Fraser McKee, Business Gateway Fife, said:

“We’ve provided eRally with information on how to run a rally team as a business. Getting the pricing structure for sponsorship correct was crucial and with our help they now have packages that will attract the right companies”

eRally’s electric rally car is the brainchild of former British Rally Championship and current Scottish Rally Championship driver Ellya Gold and Tristan Dodd, Chairman of Formula 1000.

Although the original idea for the car arose in 2006, it wasn’t until Tristan approach the Motorsport Association with the idea of producing an electric car for youngsters to drive last year that approval was given.

The prototype eRally car is powered by a 65kw motor which provides a maximum torque of 220Nm – double the torque currently used in the junior section. The 20kWh lithium ion battery gives the car a competitive range, when driven flat out, of around 25 miles.

Renault has recently launched a new 41kWh battery pack that will effectively double the range of further eRally cars built for customers.

Read more: BQ Weekly