Well, we survived! Just back from a couple of nights in the Fort William area and thought I’d share a little of the EV experience.
First up, we benefited from a couple of pieces of good luck. 1. Our new ChargePoint Scotland card arrived the day before we set off. 2. The charge point near to our Airbnb that I’d been planning to use overnight appeared back online the day before we left, having been offline since the CPS network changed operator in late July.
In fact, though, I think we’d have been fine without the CPS access card as the app is very good. And while the nearby overnight charger helped, we’d have found another way to top up charge.
We started the 160 mile journey to Fort William from East Lothian with almost a full battery in the ID3 (which claimed 230 miles of range) and could easily have made it there without a charge. However, knowing that charging options in Fort William were going to be limited, we stopped to charge from about 30% up to about 80% at Tyndrum, a popular stopping off point at the junction of a couple of main roads, just 50 miles south of Fort William.
At Tyndrum, there are two old evolt rapid charge units on the CPS network at two different cafes just a hundred metres apart. We first tried the unit that charges 25p/kWh but (per Zap-Map chat) couldn’t get it to start the charge on CCS. Seemed to fail communicating with the car. The next day I saw someone reported a successful charge there using Chademo. At the other unit, which charges 38p/kWh, we had one further failed attempt (again seemed to fail to establish communication to the car on CCS) but we’re lucky second time. Made use of the CPS card here but had plenty reception so assume app would have worked too. Units seemed capped at 44kW.
We extended our drive a bit by doing a detour via Glen Etive but still arrived in Fort William with around 70%. Later that evening, we drove to Corpach station near to our AirBnb and hooked up to a 22kW AC CPS charger (18p/kWh).
This was another old unit. Again I think evolt but can’t be sure. I got myself into a state trying to get the charge started quickly so that we could jump on the train that was arriving imminently (the last of the day). The instructions on the tiny LCD display were really hard to follow. After I tapped the CPS card and connected to the car, it again said “show card.” It took me several attempts to work out that this in fact referred to the other socket and so I kept disconnecting my charge by accident. In the end I used the app here which was much more user friendly and successfully charged to 100% overnight (ID3 capped at 11kW of course) and also made the train!
We did relatively little driving over the next two days as we were mostly walking in the hills, so we made it back as far as Edinburgh on the return journey before a short top up on an Osprey 50kW unit and then continuing the final 20 miles home.
Suffice to say that even with patchy and unreliable CPS network at the moment, with a bit of planning it was perfectly easy to do this trip in the ID3. I was surprised how the ascent we did in the car did not seem to zap the battery as much as I was expecting. I suppose it’s not exactly the Alps.
A quick post script just to note a bit of frustration back at our base in East Lothian. There are several CPS chargers in the town but only one free one: a BP Pulse unit at the train station. Guess what… unresponsive to BP Pulse card and CPS card… and when I called CPS they metaphorically put their head in their hands. Apparently they have dozens of tickets open with BP Pulse now for dead units that they’ve inherited onto their network and BP Pulse have stopped responding.