1000 miles in an Ampera: Day 3 & 4
Words cannot express to you how lovely the Moat House is. The only way I can truly get across the magnificence of this place is to say that I am already planning a return trip for a long weekend.
It was here that another person joined our adventure. Again, the Ampera swallowed her bag with no problems.
We set off fully charged with three large bags stuffed into the back. Driving electric through the Staffordshire countryside should be one of the wonders of the world.
Cabot Circus, Bristol
Cabot Circus, a Zero:Net location is a shopping mall in Bristol in the city centre.
Once again, as is the norm with ZCW listed points, there was no waiting or worry. I just plugged in and the car started charging.
The students doing the eco challenge took this opportunity to catch up with some friends... At a Champagne lunch... I wish I were a student again.
Off we zipped to Dartmoor to drop the students off for adventure training as part of the arctic challenge.
I dropped them off, made sure they were safe – what can I say, my parental instinct kicked in – before thanking them for allowing me to join them on their adventure.
We chatted about the trees which they were planting. 30 in total; more than enough to make this trip carbon negative. That coupled with the Ampera's battery meant that we had made this trip as 'eco' as we possible could without compromising anything.
I headed back to Bristol to beg a couch off of a mate to sleep on for the night and maybe relive my student days. Or just sleep. One of the two.
But first I had a mission. I wanted to find some on street parking with charging facilities so I could give the car a proper refill overnight.
There were some posts about, but each and every one was subscription based. Even if I could have signed up there and then – not that there was any way to – I would have ended up paying a subscription for a service I used just once.
This is a really strange concept to me. I have never had to subscribe to a particular petrol station provider. I just pull up and pay for what I use.
So, unfortunately, the car just had to sit on the road. In the morning I would be using the petrol engine to move along. Something that was happening far too much on this trip.
Day 4 - London
It was the last day of my trip and I have to say that I was sad to see it all end. I took the M4 from Bristol back towards London and as each mile ticked past I felt worse and worse at the thought of handing the car back.
I have been lucky enough to drive many nice cars such as the BMW M3 and 320d, an Audi A3 and a couple of Mercedes but I can truthfully say I have only liked one other car more; the Tesla Roadster. But let's face it, that's in a whole other league.
On the way back I stopped at Membury services to get a trickle charge from the 10 amp Ecotricity Charging Station while grabbing a bite to eat.
I used the funky 'hold charge' feature of the Ampera to keep the battery level where it was while using the petrol motor to power down the motorway. When I got back to London I switched to battery power, using the 'held' power to move along.
In my own way, I'd like to think I made the air in London just that little bit more breathable.
I parked up in the Zip Car reserved space, plugged the car into the Charging Station next to it, locked the car with my phone (so cool) and headed back to my normal life.
Now all I need to do is avoid all Vauxhall dealerships and internet connections so I don't end up putting down a deposit.
I am very lucky this car had petrol to bail me out on the numerous failures of over thought 'smart' charging stations. One thing is clear, Electric Cars are fantastic technology. But unless drastic changes are made to the way YOUR tax money is spent on over priced, over complicated charging stations – I fear we all may pay the ultimate price.
The Ampera truly is a great car. It accomodated 3 adults, their bags, music and heating tastes at motorway speeds, up and down hills in very dodgy weather and still managed 50 MPG over 1000 miles. The more simple, relaible infrastructure we get, the better this could be. Maybe its just me but driving one with a flat battery is like sailing without the wind.
Total Miles: 453
Charging Station Stops: 3
Succesful Charges: 2 (Cabot Circus/M4 Membury Services)