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What’s the charge?

8 April 2021

What’s the charge?

Here's a riddle for you: when is an electric car like a mobile phone? Read on.

On a recent trip from his Sheffield home to the factory in Neath, Genquip Groundhog’s sales and marketing manager Peter Beach found a number of challenges when trying to charge up at Hopwood Park Services near Alvechurch on the M42.

As regular blog readers know, I’m following Pete’s experiences with his new electric car (pictured) as a high-mileage driver so that others in the hire industry might benefit.

“There was a bank of what looked like 20 Tesla charge points dedicated for those vehicles but they obviously don’t suit my Jaguar iPace,” he said.  

“I found a 50kW Ecotricity point, as well as a lower capacity one that wouldn’t have been suitable. Luckily it was unoccupied so I plugged in for a 20-minute top-up to get to South Wales comfortably.

“On the way home, the ZapMap app I’m using said there was a charge point at the Morrisons supermarket in Ross-on-Wye. I took a slight detour there and the chargers were provided by a supplier called GeniePoint, so I had to download another app to manage the transaction and give payment details,” said Pete. 

“However, I couldn’t log on. A phone call to the customer services number on the charging point solved it but it probably took half an hour from when I arrived, plus an hour’s charging time. So it wasn’t ideal.

“On the return journey I also called in to Hopwood Park on the other carriageway. Again there was a big bank of Tesla slots but only one fast 50kW Ecotricity point, which was occupied. So if I hadn’t recharged earlier, I’d have had to wait who knows how long.”

All this makes you ask: why aren’t there more charging points, why can’t they comprise a greater variety of recharging capacities, and why can’t they share the same technology?

It’s like having a mobile phone in an area with no reception and wishing you could connect to another network you can see that has good signal strength.

Greater uniformity would certainly help high-mileage drivers.

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