The Day Portsmouth Launched on Street Charging

Electric Instructor Charging Nissan Leaf

The on street chargers in Portsmouth are being installed. It resulted in me attending a launch for the media at the first charge point installed as well as being interviewed on the radio.

Lamp Posts Charge Cars

This is really good news the charge points are going in. The one across the road from me is still two green paint marks on the kerb with red paint marks on the pavement and lamp post, it should be installed over the next week.

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The Cost of Electricity for an EV

Free EV charging
Free Charging at Ocean Retail Park

Two weeks of running my 30kW Nissan Leaf as a driving school car I’ve got a reasonable idea of the cost of electricity for an EV. I’m using public charging and relying mainly on rapid charging until the roadside chargers are installed by Portsmouth City Council. While a lot of my motivation to run an EV is environmental there has to be a cost saving to make it worthwhile.

In the first two weeks of ownership I’ve done a 137 mile Journey on motorways and dual carriageway, a few local trips with a majority of use being driving lessons. There were two rapid charges on the long trip which were high priced electricity and the rest using Polar chargers in the city.

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A Week of Electric Lessons

It’s been an interesting first week of teaching in my Nissan Leaf electric car. Learners really like driving it and it brings up some interesting thoughts about teaching in EVs and what effect they will have on our roads.

When first encountering the MK1 Leaf Learners are impressed with it’s slightly whacky looks and the high specification interior, it’s the higher Tekna specification with a full leather interior. Turning it on brings up the space age display with lot’s of information about charge and range not seen before in a car and it sings a little tune. The speedo is a large numeric one so easily seen once it’s pointed out. Having come from a hybrid car, my learners are used to silence when pressing the power switch. I don’t really consider it a start button when a motor doesn’t start.

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Ready to Fight Range Anxiety

It’s the one big factor most people are concerned about when they think about running an electric car, Range Anxiety. Facing a trip which is longer than my battery range in the first day of Owning my Nissan Leaf I was about to meet Range Anxiety head on.

I’d picked up my Leaf the previous evening. While still waiting for the slow charging roadside points to be installed in a few weeks by Portsmouth City Council, I’m going to be relying on the city’s only rapid charger at the Isle of Wight ferry port to charge the battery. I’d visited it the evening I picked the car up to fill the battery before my trip.

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Is This The Last Time I Fill Up?

With the Nissan Leaf electric being collected tomorrow, I started to think as I filled my Auris Hybrid up with fuel a couple of days ago, is this the last time I fill a car with petrol, or any fossil fuel? In reality it’s probably not the last time I fill a car but probably the last time I fill up a car I own.

To be fair to the Auris it has been a brilliant car to teach in, like the Prius I had before it. It has consistently returned around 55MPG  because of it’s hybrid power plant. It’s a shame that Toyota, the masters of the hybrid power unit, haven’t got a full electric model available currently and it seems nothing too soon either. While most major manufacturers are about to start producing electric models if they don’t already have them it just seems they’ve been left behind a bit.

It’s not going to be the last time I stop at a fuel station even in an electric car. The oil companies are investing in rapid chargers and rolling them out around their networks of stations so EV owners will not be lost to them. BP own Chargemaster who run the existing network of Polar Rapid Chargers. Shell are also rolling out chargers.

I wonder if we’ll still call them Petrol Stations?

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