I have been one of the most vocal complainants over the past year moaning at how Cornwall seems to be forgotten about when it comes to EV rapid charging. Well Ecotricity have finally got around to installing a couple of chargers at Bodmin and Land’s End and so I decided to try them out.
So this morning I set out from my home in Saltash, Cornwall, to do a trip to Land’s End and back to try out to new chargers and to see how the trip worked out.
If you were travelling down the M5 towards Cornwall and were looking to get all the way to Land’s end then until the past few weeks it would likely not have been possibly without at least one overnight stop once you were past Exeter. There is a rapid charger in Plymouth at Vospers Nissan but past Plymouth now this has all changed.
|Victoria Services, Bodmin|
Assuming you are driving a Nissan Leaf, or CHAdeMO capable car, then leaving Exeter you can charge at the Nissan dealer (Vospers) in Plymouth or at the 7kW type 2 charger at Waitrose in Saltash. then it is just 30 miles to the Cornwall Gateway, or Victoria Services as they are known. After that Land’s End is in range but only just for a Nissan Leaf.
I charged up to 90% (245 GIDS) and with a strong wind against I only just made it to Land’s End arriving with just 2 bars remaining. Mind you, the wind really affected me on this run. On the way back it was easily in range and I arrived back at Victoria Services with 4 bars so with a 90% charge it should be fine.
There are a few hills as you near Land’s End so best not cut it too fine 🙂
When I arrived I was pleased to see the spaces vacant but I can imagine that the Land’s End one may well be ICEd in the summer. Let’s hope not.
It was windy (gales), raining with hail and the pub/cafe was closed for the season so no reason to stay so I charged up and returned.
So, the day proved that it is now possible to drive down the M5 and make it all the way to Land’s End just using CHAdeMO chargers… assuming they are all working.
For me though this is the issue… there is one charger at Bodmin… one charger at Land’s End. What if one of them breaks? What if a Model S parks itself on one of them for a couple of hours? What if there is a Leaf ahead of you that is also going to Land’s End and needs 100% (1hr+ charge)? In those cases Land’s End seems a long way off.
So yes it can be done… but my question is this: would you want to do it?
I am sure that many current EV owners might take the risk and accept to consequences if it doesn’t go to plan but us “early adopters” are a hardy bunch. I think it needs more than this to make Land’s End a reality for the general public if they are to consider an EV.
This is early days and the first of what I hope will be many rapids being installed in Devon and Cornwall but I cannot put my hand on my heart and recommend a trip to Land’s End just yet in an EV. Next time… I’ll take my Qashqai 🙂