The Trust is helping to “bump start” the electric vehicle market in Wales by installing charging points at locations across the country. This first-hand article by enthusiastic electric vehicle (EV) owner, Neil Lewis, explains.
Living in Carmarthen and working in the Gwendraeth valley, my job helping small businesses address environmental/energy concerns was taking me all over our beautiful county. The beaches of Carmarthen bay one minute, the hills above Llandovery the next.
The family car was our beloved Galaxy 7-seater with a 1.9 turbo diesel. State of the art when we bought it in 2000. We’d run a bird watching business all over west Wales with it. Gone on family holidays to the Netherlands, Spain and the south of France (3 times). It had carried surfboards, dogs and especially mountain bikes. Permanently sandy and smelly! And that’s just the kids.
However the 35 miles per gallon was starting to nag at my conscience. I scanned the internet and newspaper adverts and it seemed electric technology was advancing. My lips-red EV arrived on a flat-bed and our family heirloom was driven away in the traditional puff of smoke.
My wife and I drove up to Cwmcerrig farm shop on a Sunday morning for breakfast in Cross Hands – half the charge had gone – would we be able to get home? What had I done?
Slowly, but surely, I learned. We thrilled at the acceleration, marvelled at the recharging on the downhill sections. Slowly travelled further. Fixated by the range display the whole time, I started getting a neck ache…seriously. Crucially, I learnt eventually that the range display is a “guessometer” based on how you’d been driving recently. The range extended from 40 miles to 50 to 60 to 70 … and now I’ll take on 80 miles!
Where are the charge points? What’s a Zap-map? At first, January 2013, the only charge point in the area was at Home Farm, Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo. Provided by Zerocarbonworld and installed/hosted by The National Trust near to their 50kw solar array. It was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone!
We’d put the kids and the dog in the back and visit Dinefwr, have a coffee and return home with the smug satisfaction of spending our money on fairtrade coffee rather than diesel. The joys of slow travel were a revelation. We’d drive down to National Trust Stackpole, trying to catch sight of the otters, whilst walking down to Broad Haven beach, stunning. Over the butterfly rich cliffs to the Boat House for coffees. Return via Bosherton, bat spotting, to a fully charged car. Bliss.
Charge points being discovered in Llandovery, Llanwrtyd, Llandrindod, Swansea Transport Museum, Rhosili. All slow chargers but the coffee! We even get up to north Wales via Aberystwyth, CAT and the Eco guesthouse at Blaenau Ffestiniog. Range anxiety? Pah!
We are saving £1000s every year with our low-carbon transport. However I am spending £100s on coffee”.
The full text of this blog can be found at the Trust’s “Going Green” blog, here.