Director Steve Carman on why he didn’t buy an electric car this time around!
In 2017 I started the exciting process of researching my next car. Must-have features included loads of safety features, some connectivity with my phone and an automatic gearbox.
Our household is always looking at how to reduce its family carbon footprint and with an increasingly number of our clients being technology-based there was a big appetite to opt for a 100% electric car.
The new BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf met the majority of our requirements, they were big enough and comfortable enough to seat four and with more connected gadgets as standard to keep me and the kids happy. The only casualty was the four-bike rack which was too big to fit on the back of either car. The Tesla didn’t reach the list simply because the purchase price and leasing rates were way out of my budget.
Dealers were visited and road tests completed - both cars were highly impressive – with around 200 miles of range between charges promised, plus a few years of economical motoring. Installing a home charger also wasn’t going to prove a problem so it looked as though the decision was made.
That was until I started researching the public charging network. On my travels to clients and with the family we hunted down the EV chargers, we checked their condition. Plus we surveyed our clients’ premises as to whether they had charging available on site.
The results of this two-month exercise didn’t fill us with too much confidence. 90% of our clients don’t have a charger, while our office couldn’t accommodate one. Many of the motorway chargers I saw were either heavily over-subscribed with cars waiting to be charged, or were broken.
Car park based chargers were either out of order or bays taken up by selfish motorists in a diesel or petrol – surely these guys need a hefty fine when found hogging EV bays!
The London based charger network is improving on a daily basis but because I live 8 minutes from Maidenhead railway station and can be into London in as little as 22 minutes on the train, driving into the capital is something I do very rarely.
The word compromise kept cropping up in conversations when looking at running an EV on a daily basis, which is something that you don’t have to do with a petrol or diesel. The added stress of being late for an important meeting or to collect the children from school, or the added time set aside on a long journey to schedule charges meant the EV was regretfully ruled out. The whole family were disappointed, particularly the kids.
Shell and BP have recently announced plans to introduce a charging infrastructure which fills me with more confidence that the next car on the Carman drive will be 100% electric. Hopefully the public infrastructure will be much bigger and a lot more reliable in four years’ time. The only shame is that it didn’t happen this time. For anyone interested our new family car is the World Car of the Year – the Volvo XC60 D4 R Design.
Photo courtesy of Car Buyer