A Year in the Life – of me, the EV and the ‘navigator’

23rd Jun 2022

A Year in the Life – of me, the EV and the ‘navigator’

​By Norrie Hunter…

Remarkably, it’s been a year since my wife and I decided to go all-electric and get our first EV… almost 10,000 miles and smiling all the way!

As I’ve said to friends before, we weren’t flag waving eco-warriors out to save the planet but felt that perhaps we could “do our bit” and at the same time enjoy some of the much vaunted benefits of electric motoring, of which we discovered are many.

Destination Zero wasn’t our objective. A lifestyle change was.

Deciding on an EV (MG ZS) with its mid-range battery – we’re not really long distance drivers, well not yet anyway - has literally transformed our lives. Our finances, driving pleasure and total peace of mind have all exceeded our expectations and, as a former motoring journalist (my wife says I still am, and spending far too much of my supposed retirement years doing so) it’s embarrassing that it took me so long to make the switch. I never even had an inclination or desire drive one. Funny!

Even when we found ourselves in the Arnold Clark Linwood dealership only ‘looking round’ mind you, there was no real intent or commitment to ‘dump the diesel’. Our Skoda Karoq had been a faithful servant for three years – no complaints. “Here,” said a delightful sales

person (note) “take the keys and go test drive one of our EVs.”

Five minutes and the silence was deafening but then, oh then – accelerating like Tom Cruise in Top Gun – I was hook, line and totally sinker-ed! Now I’ve road tested some fast cars in my day – from the famous Sunbeam Lotus rally car to a Lambo and the odd Ferrari and here was my foot on the pedal of this modest mid-range car which was like the others, but on steroids! My wife’s attempts to get me to slow down made me experiment with the radio volume knob – only testing!!

Back down to earth and the practicalities of our adventure… the only hitch in the switchover came when the home wall charger we had installed wouldn’t take orders from the phone App and vice versa so it was quickly whipped out and replaced with an Ohme unit that works a treat.

And that neatly moves me on to the MONEY, and the saving thereof.

In the past year, we’ve clocked, on average around 800 miles a month – well when you’re supposed to be retired, been in lock down for at least part of our 12 month EV experience and only taking the odd (Scottish) vacation – the recorded mileage is low I agree but, having kept a fairly accurate record of charge spend, I was convinced even more that we’d made the right choice to transition. As an example, believe it or not, in May this year we did around 700 miles which with our previous diesel car would have taken some £120 from our coffers; home charging cost me £11.24p…that’s what the meter read, and I believe it having seen the bills. It’s the cooking, washing and drying and the (left on) lights that whack up our monthly electricity bill.

Now, our longest road trip so far has been 140+ miles from North Ayrshire to Loch Awe and with our battery range being 170 mls max, this trip was a doddle and the bonus came when the kind manager of the (Taycreggan) hotel allowed us free overnight electricity each night we stayed… I think that’s called ‘Highland Hospitality’. It was that short three-day break that spurned me into featuring (on the EVA Scotland website) those Scottish hotels that had or were/are planning to install EV charge points for visitors and guests. A Media campaign for EVA Scotland was born out of this short break which I hope is now resulting in many more in Scotland’s hospitality sectors helping make the transition to electric transportation even more attractive and easier for us all.

I digress…

Public charging was free in North Ayrshire when we first got the MG, and while waiting for the wall charger to get up and running properly, we still had in effect FREE motoring! However, moving to that feeling of independence that come with being ‘plugged-in at home’ brought us total control to our way of living with an EV. Plus of course the delight of knowing that through my wonderful service supplier (Octopus Energy) with its amazing low-cost overnight ‘Go’ tariff, we had cheapest electricity (5p/kWh) in town. Friends are mighty jealous.

Now, RANGE ANXIETY – what’s that? A state of mind I say and one which is easily overcome by some simple and easy lifestyle adaptions - NOT CHANGES! It’s a thought process and a form of mental patience in adapting, and if adopted and practised, can bring oodles of pleasurable motoring! Public charging? Haven’t used it in six months! Although, I understand that next door in East Ayrshire it’s still free… if I can find my Charge Place Scotland card!

Put simply, there’s no going back and I wouldn’t take a petrol or diesel car even if I won it in a raffle or my lottery ticket came up!

When, in about two years from now we decide to change our car? Honestly it’s going to be yet another EV, probably the MG ZS will be up there in the final selection and I know already that the battery range on the new models is impressively higher…but hey wait! I better ask my better half – the navigator!!

Note: Norrie Hunter met one of EVA Scotland’s directors, Bob Smith way back last August while both were charging their respective cars at the Saltcoats shore front hub. When Bob heard that Norrie was a journalist and former motor industry Public Relations chief, he asked for advice…the rest, as they say, is history! He now advises EVA Scotland on Press and Media Communications.


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