Thursday, 30 December 2021

Day 653 - Road Trip

Day 653...

Today was our first time using our new electric car for a long journey as we headed south to see Molly and Dan in Bournemouth.

This meant a relatively early start to the day as we got ourselves organised and the car packed. We had made sure that the car had a full charge and we had already set a route using the Zap Map app with a few different options for recharging. In theory the full charge should be sufficient to make the journey in one go but we had already noticed that the number of miles available dropped much quicker compared to the number of miles actually travelled. We also knew from watching some YouTube videos that most cars fall significantly short of the predicted miles.

With that in mind we set off just before 11am for what would be a 3 hour 15 minute non-stop journey. Let's just say our journey took a tad longer than that!

Our first stop was about 80 miles into the journey and when we arrived at the services all the charging points were taken! Thankfully a spot opened up quite quickly but then we discovered that one of the units would only let one car charge at a time rather than the two that it was designed for. But there was a small charger available which we could use as we had our own charging cable with us (the main charging stations had their own cables as these were fast/rapid chargers). But this smaller charger meant a much, much slower charging rate but we figured anything was better than nothing.

Ethan and I went in search of coffee and by the time we got back to the car one of the fast chargers had become free and so we could swap over. This meant that what we had hoped would be a 30 minute stop turned into about an hour!

Back on the road and we started to think about whether we would need another stop for charging and where would be best to stop. We had in mind a services that was around 60 miles from our destination. But when we arrived we were confronted with just two charging stations that were both occupied and had two cars waiting...mmm...we had a quick look on Zap Map and found another option just a few miles down the road.

This turned out to be a great choice; smaller services so not as busy; four units set to the side of a petrol station forecourt; two out of the four units were available; much faster chargers and once connected we could leave the car for a toilet break and to grab a coffee. About 30 minutes later and we were at 90% charge and had more than enough capacity to get us to our destination.

The overall journey took us 5 and a half hours!! A lot longer than it would have took us ordinarily; in our petrol car days we would have had one stop for a coffee so I think this journey took about an hour and a half longer! But what we recognised was that the urgency of a normal journey wasn't there, the whole journey felt much calmer and we had set off with the mind set that this would be a different way of travelling. 

The ease and quiet of the car, coupled with being very conscious of the effect of how we drove affected the charge available,  meant a completely different approach to driving. We knew it was going to take some time so we didn't rush and consequently the whole drive felt much more relaxed and much less stressful.

This is a very different way to drive and I think will take some getting used to and travelling long distances will take planning especially if a journey is time critical. But for us long journey's are not the norm and going forward we will have to accept that more planning will be needed. We have even said that on occasion it may be more beneficial to hire a petrol car, but for now planning will be key.

Although, we have been pleasantly surprised at how easy charging on the go has been. And we have also had some great conversations with other electric car owners, all of whom seemed to be rather new to electric cars and were happy to share their experiences!

Anyway back to the point of today, getting to Bournemouth to see Molly and Dan. Luckily the hotel we have chosen has electric car charging units; they are slow charges but are free! So we parked up and plugged in and left the car to charge away!

Once checked into the hotel it was time to recharge phones before taking the 10 minute walk into the town centre in search of food. Our choice today was Five Guys, a great fast food option for those of us on low carb diet as burgers can be ordered with your own choice of toppings and without the bun!

We then met Molly and Dan at the outdoor ice skate rink that has been set up for the festive season. I am not a skater and was quite happy to watch everyone else on the ice. Dan is a very accomplished skater and Molly is now very skilled and they both make it look so easy. Simon has always loved skating but after taking me many years ago when we first started dating he realised very quickly that me and skating just did not go together! He has therefore not skated as much as he would have liked but he has never lost the skill and looks very much at home on the ice. Ethan was happy to have a go but as it was about 10 years since he last ventured onto the ice he needed a good amount of help! But all credit to him he persevered and was getting better the more circuits he did. The ice was very wet tonight as the weather has been unseasonably warm so I think everyone came away with wet feet but thankfully no-one fell over...there were plenty others who did and who came away very wet!

We then had a wander through Bournemouth's Christmas Tree Wonderland; some lovely lights in a gorgeous setting. It was then time to grab a hot drink before heading back to the hotel.

Phew and that was our day, see you tomorrow for more shenanigans!

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