I love my electric car! It’s nippy and smooth to drive, all at the same time. Somehow it seems to glide effortlessly along and I can weave in and out of traffic very easily. I use it for all my local errands – family shop, trips to the gym, plus the never-ending Mum-taxi drop offs and pick ups……At night, I plug it in when I finally get home and it is fully charged the next day, ready to go.
I rarely use up more more than 30% of the battery going about my usual day, so I don’t really have any concerns about the battery life. It took a little getting used to on longer journeys into London – I learned to drive just a little bit slower to conserve the battery – although when we get our new Nissan Leaf next week, it will have a longer range and I can then really put my foot down😉. The free congestion charge and almost free parking in Westminster always make up for the extra 5 minutes in the car!
Most of all, I enjoy the engine quietness and the ‘smug value’ that comes from knowing that I am doing the right thing for my children by not adding more polluting emissions to the earth’s atmosphere. On top of that, it makes financial sense – a new car (let me say that again, a new car – I have NEVER had a new car before!) for just a little more per month than we previously paid for fuel. It’s a no-brainer for me.
Working out exactly where you can park an EV for free in Milton Keynes has for a long time been tricky. At some charge points you have to be plugged in to get free parking but not at others, and it’s never been clear to me which is which.
However things have improved significantly recently as a new scheme has started (7 July 2016) which allows you to park for free in any parking spaces in Purple Zones, which seems to be most of them, so long as you register first.
The process is pretty straightforward (though a completely online system would seem to be more appropriate):
You’ll need proof that that your car is an ‘Ultra Low Electric Vehicle’ (‘fuel type’ is ‘Electricity’). Ideally get a copy of your V5C registration document. This should be sent to you if you bought the car (e.g. on PCP). If instead you leased the car you can request a copy from your leasing company (they keep it as technically they own the car). Alternatively i’ve heard that you can just take a copy of the car’s details from the DVLA website, though I haven’t tried this approach myself.
If you can, scan the form and the proof of electric fuel type and email it back to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If not, you’ll need to post them to the address on the form (you would also need to do this if the car is not a plug-in but a vehicle with emissions between 75 and 100g/km like some hybrids and eco cars and you want to pay by cheque. Whereas electrics, plug-in hybrids and some hybrids with emissions below 75g/km are free to register, vehicles producing emissions in the upper band pay £75).
I applied about a week ago and my parking permit has just arrived back – I’m impressed at how quick it was. You receive an A4 letter, part of which is the tear-off permit. You also get a self-adhesive holder which sticks inside the windscreen.
All that remains is to attach the permit inside the car and you’re ready to park almost anywhere in Milton Keynes (you still need to avoid the high priced Red Zones).