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Where do I charge an electric car?

Where do I charge an electric car?
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This is a question which readily comes to mind for those considering the purchase of an electric or hybrid powered vehicle at our Greenhous dealerships. Some vehicles require a direct DC plug-in point, which is usually installed for free at the customers home, but where do they charge when “on the road”?

The number of charging points across the UK has grown rapidly over the past few years. There are maps available on line which can highlight the position of plug-in points at motorway service stations, in supermarket car parks and community centres. One of the best tools available on line is Zap-Map.com where you can search by EV model, use the connector selector and access the latest news on electric vehicles and charging.

Three types of charging point are currently used in the UK:

  • 'Slow' points use a standard 3kW (13A) supply (6-8 hours for full charge)
  • 'Fast' points use single or three-phase 7-22kW (16-32A) supply (3-4 hours)
  • 'Rapid' points provide 40kW+ AC or 50kW+ DC supply (80% charge in 30 mins).

There are over 7500 charging points at over 3000 locations across the UK, with around 80 new points being installed each month at present. Virtually all motorway service areas have a charging point. In Shrewsbury the nearest points are at the Asda supermarket and at the Greenhous Nissan dealership on Featherbed Lane.

Whilst in Telford there are points at ASDA (town centre), Greenhous Vauxhall in Trench Lock and Greenhous Nissan, Renault and Toyota on Stafford Park. The University of Wolverhampton Campus in Priorslee also has a charging point. Once the owner has a knowledge of different charging opportunities the planning of journeys with an electric vehicle becomes simpler and of course cost effective with the small cost of a full charge often being around £2. Greenhous sell several plug-in hybrid cars from their dealerships in Shrewsbury and Telford. The Volvo V60 (Shrewsbury), Toyota Prius and Vauxhall Ampera. These have an extended range of operation over the pure electric cars as they use electric and combustion engine technology. Plug-in hybrids offer the owner the option of being able to operate in zero-emission, electric-only mode. In hybrid mode, plug-in hybrids perform particularly well in urban start-stop driving conditions, with the battery recouping some of the energy that would otherwise be lost during braking. In electric-only mode, they also offer a zero-emission driving during which time the car is driven solely on electric power.

Plug-in hybrids tend to have a fuel consumption in the range 50mpg (Volvo V60) to just under 80 mpg for the Toyota Prius. In the Greenhous all electric range the models include the Renault Twizy, Zoe and Kangoo ZE van, the Nissan Leaf and ENV200 van. Potential all electric vehicle purchasers need to ensure that they have access to a garage, drive or other off-street parking area to be able to recharge an electric car overnight.

Statistics report that approximately 80% of UK car-owning households already have access to a garage or other off-street parking facility (<50% urban, 70% sub-urban, and >95% rural). Also the proposed driving mileage needs to be around 100 miles per charge, this favours regular commuting trips where around two-thirds of commuting trips are less than 10 miles, school runs, city and town driving and local excursions. As examples the Nissan Leaf will allow for around 124 miles per full charge, with the Renault Zoe achieving around 130 miles per full charge. Improvements in battery technology will mean lighter batteries with the ability to hold more charge hence increasing the range of any electric vehicle.

Governments across the world are embracing the vision of moving towards an electric and hybrid automotive future. The benefits to the planet of reduced emissions are linked to tax exemptions and lower fuel costs for the driver as well as the satisfaction of knowing you are playing your part in protecting the environment. If you have not driven an electric or hybrid vehicle then why not contact a Greenhous dealership and book a test drive?

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