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Electric lifestyles: Electric adventures

The race to zero emissions has been given a nudge with the recent fuel crisis but that aside it is clear that electric car ownership is in the ascendent. The latest figures from SMMT indicate sales of BEVs are up by nearly 50% on 2020 and in the top ten bestsellers is the Tesla Model 3.

We spoke to Richard Lane an engineering expert who switched to electric 3 months ago swapping his Golf GTI for a Tesla Model 3 Performance edition. Part of the decision was to research the feasibility of transitioning his entire company fleet to electric. He gave us this account of how it’s going so far.

Electric charging point

​The car

As a would-be racing driver, the car is pleasingly quick and accelerates to 60 in just over 3 seconds. I do around 40,000 miles a year between offices, clients, meetings etc and it’s the only car I use for work. Although it’s an extremely expensive car (nearly £60k) the user experience and car itself is brilliant. In my opinion as a business tool it’s second to none.

​The set up

Working from different bases around the country you really need to be organised. We have a Tesla charger installed at the main office connected to our 3-phase supply. A PodPoint charger has just been installed at my Cambridge hub because the Tesla ones were out of stock at the time. The lead time to get a charge point installed was about 3 months, and the reason for the delay – Covid.

​Charging infrastructure

The Tesla charging infrastructure in the UK is outstanding and works without issue. You can always get onto a charger, the only time I’ve had to wait was in Exeter as the network isn’t great in the South West. That said they are opening more sites all the time, so this is likely to improve.The wider non-Tesla charging network is poor. I have no charger at the flat in Ludlow so very occasionally I need to charge at a public charger in one of the local car parks. The machine only works about 50% of the time and has numerous issues. I have been told this is being updated as it is a problem unit, so this may change in the future. The saving grace is the Tesla network is so good, I rarely have to charge outside the network.

​The Tesla package

The above is a clear indication that although the car is lovely, you are buying the charging infrastructure. The benefit of going the Tesla route is you can use all the public charging network as well as the Tesla option which increases your potential charging locations. Only Tesla owners can use Tesla chargers.

Many city centre Tesla charging stations are at dealerships. As soon as you arrive you automatically connect to their WiFi network. This is incredibly useful for me as I often have a number of conference calls during the day so can park up, charge my car and use their WiFi for calls.

Removing range anxiety

I can communicate with the car via an App on my phone to check charge status while the car’s navigation system calculates the charger you need to stop at and how long you will need to charge for.

It then tells you the charge and mileage you will have once you reach your destination and if it’s possible to get to your destination and return to your starting point without charging. This system entirely removes any form of range anxiety.

Charging adventures

Technology in the car is great, I can watch Netflix or YouTube whilst charging - as if I ever find the time to do that! The really clever thing is the tech, games and media means that young families don’t have to worry about the kids getting bored. My own actively ask when we will be charging?

Charge times on a Tesla Supercharger are around 20-25 minutes to charge to around 80%. At the office from empty to 100% takes around 5 hours and at home it sits on charge overnight.

Going places

I have travelled all over the country and regularly drive from Shropshire to the North East without issue. On a recent journey up to and around Scotland for business over the course of 3 days I would estimate is took me about 2hrs longer in the electric car over a previous ICE car, when you factor in the charging time. The difference is, the 1,000-mile journey cost the business about £60 as opposed to about £450 in fossil fuel.

Tesla case study

As a business we are invested in sustainability and have used my Tesla as a case study to help decide if we should green the fleet, extending to all the site vehicles. We have ordered 6 other electric cars across the company and will make the decision about the rest of fleet after an ongoing assessment in six months’ time.

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