A Holiday with the Vauxhall Ampera – Day 1

On this holiday we will be staying in our caravan which is already positioned in Taunton, Somerset. The Ampera is not approved for towing and so we have positioned the caravan on a caravan site having what is known as a “season pitch”. This is where we semi-permanently position the caravan on a caravan site for the season, or in our case for the entire year. It means that we can have holidays in the caravan without needed a tow car.

When we positioned the caravan there we chose the site carefully because it was important that we could charge the car when staying in the caravan. After talking to the site owners about electric cars, and having explained how little electricity electric cars actually use, they have agreed to allow us to charge when on site. We have offered to pay for all electricity we use but they want to support EVs in general and have agreed we could charge for free. This is a super offer but I think it important that EV drivers should not take the cost of charging for granted. I don’t expect free charging. If it is offered or if it available then I consider it a bonus but I am always willing to pay a fair price for electricity. Why shouldn’t I? I wouldn’t expect free petrol from my local garage!

Just a word of warning: Some caravan sites have old and creaking site electrics and many of them only have 10A hookups. Before charging at 10A please check with the site owners that this is OK. You can always charge at 6A if you have to. Always err on the safe side.

So, as our accommodation is sorted, and as we have charging available, we can basically consider the caravan in the same way as any accommodation that has electric car charging on site. Imagine your holiday, in a hotel or B&B perhaps, that has charging available… our holiday is a great example of what you might be able to do with your EV or Ampera.

The holiday began at our home in Saltash, Cornwall. The Ampera was fully charged the night before and was ready to go. We put the back seats down flat to increase the size of the boot and loaded it up. It is quite a good car for a holiday for 2 people with plenty of space for a holiday of 2 weeks.

The trip from our home to the caravan was 78 miles of a mix of about 50% fast dual-carriageway and 50% slower but major roads. We ran on battery only for the first 45 miles and then on petrol for the remaining 33 miles using 0.6 gallons and returning about 55mpg when on petrol and an overall 115mpg.

On arrival we had to set up the caravan so the first thing we did was plug in the car to charge. We knew we would be going out shopping later and so even if all we managed was an hour at the 10A the supplied EVSE cable allowed it would help our overall MPG hugely. In the end we managed to get 1.5 hrs of charging and when we did go to the shops, a 15 miles round trip, it meant that we only needed to use a bit of petrol on the way back.

So, the end of the day we had done about 95 miles, used about 13 kWh of electricity and about 0.7 gallons of petrol returning overall about 135mpg. Not bad for day 1.

So we have arrived. The great thing about the Ampera is that now we are here we can do all our local tourist stuff, shopping etc all on battery only and don’t forget… it is these short journeys that are the most thirsty with a normal petrol/diesel car.

4 thoughts on “A Holiday with the Vauxhall Ampera – Day 1”

  1. Hi
    I have an Ampera and live in Callington and thinking of positioning a caravan on a seasonal pitch but I want to go into Cornwall. I have only ever seen another dark grey and white Ampera in cornwall/Plymouth. How do you is it using the adapter and from the electricity in caravan or is from the hookup.

    Thanks

    Judith

  2. It is best to charge the car directly from the electrical hookup socket rather than through a socket on the caravan. I made up a cable that split the outlet from the hookup post into 2… one that went into the caravan and one that went to the car. You just have to be careful not to overload the hookup or it will trip. It only works like that on 16A hookups… the 10A ones won’t have enough power to run the caravan and charge the car.

    Also, don’t forget to ask the site owners permission. We had to pay an additional fee per night. If they charge you too much money then it won’t be worth charging the car and you might as well run on petrol.

    Finally, you know you cannot tow. Not too much of an issue on a seasonal pitch but you have to have a car that can tow to get it there. I had a friend with a Land Rover to help out when we moved ours.

    Good luck!

    PS I am still around Plymouth in my Grey Ampera so perhaps it was me you saw?

    1. Hi
      Thanks for all that info. I think it was you you went along embankment and parked near to Mutley
      Do you have any issues with demisting
      Cheers Judith

      1. Not really but the rear lights always have condensation in them. That is a known problem. It can be fixed by replacing the light clusters but even that isn’t permanent.

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