We’ve just completed our first EV Tesla Road Trip and Holiday, with a trip to two main locations in Cornwall. Although we had the driving experience over a longer distance for the first time, we also combined the trip with walking some parts of the Cornish Coastal path and attending a wedding. This is not Trip Adviser….
Overall the car was brilliant to drive. Smooth and quick. Tesla superchargers brilliant. Other suppliers useless! No wonder people are scared of changing. Why with ubiquitous contactless charging do we need a different app for every type of charger? We don’t but the EV charging industry seems to think we do. Maybe it has something to do with money……
EV Tesla Road Trip – The Journey West
Preparation for the trip started by making sure that charging the car was satisfactory. This was via our mains charger as installation of the Zappi wasn’t due until we got back. On Saturday 9th Sep we used our home solar excess power to charge up to 90% ready for departure. The car swallowed the load easily without us having to be too tidy. Including plenty of room for the dog.
On Sunday 10th we set off for the planned break in the journey at Darts Farm in Exeter. They have 4 x 220kw chargers and 8 x 150kw. Most were empty and the car. We spent 40 minutes getting 38 Kw/h and paying £12.92 for more than 200 miles additional range. The supercharger we used was so quick we hadn’t finished our lunch when we stopped it at just under 90% full.
We then drove on to the Cape Cornwall Club which also has a golf course on site. Excellent location, nice hotel with lovely food. Narrow single track roads in big new car created some scary moments – more later.
Our first charging problem was immediate. The hotel stated they had an EV point. They did. unfortunately the Rolec EV was not wired in. We’d arrived on the Sunday. An electrician was due on the Monday.
After our walk from Cape Cornwall to Land’s End and return, sure enough the charger was working – except it wasn’t. The payment system wasn’t set up so despite plugging in we couldn’t pay or charge. Had to download the app which was for home use and installation but that was unclear. We were promised it would be set up – it wasn’t.
We needed to charge for the rest of the trips in our stay (range anxiety) and therefore, on the Tuesday, after another walk, we headed out to the Minack Theatre,
amazing place after dinner) but first there are chargers in Penzance
Charging Verdict worse than useless….
We drove to Penzance, seeking a charger. The Wharf car park promised 8. Sure enough there were 8. The problem was they are inside a pay-and display car park. They are Swarco chargers with a proud sign stating they were paid for by public grants etc. They looked like below i.e. two chargers A and B per station:
One bay was blocked off stating not in service. Others were empty. So far so good. We park.
We use our Tesla supplied Cable. Lights look good. Go to pay – access denied. Check cables, connections as signs state unplug. We try again. We try 3 different chargers. Try different contact less card. No joy. No instructions on device. There is a help number. Amazingly get through. Told we needed to use Website. No link from main web site have to go to a payment one. Fill in forms. Need to set up payment card. Fill in forms. Then have to type in charge number onto form to begin charging. Charger not recognised. Different charger not recognised. Perhaps the blocked bay actually applied to all bays. Pay the £2.20 pay and display and drive to another Penzance car park which has 4 charger stations.
Oh no same type but some one is using one of those. They must be working. Try contactless. Nothing. Try web site – charger not recognised. Approach lady in EV Mini and ask how she does it. She has RFID Card from Swarco which allows contactless. Give up. Can’t magic one of those. No idea idea if they are any good, what speed the chargers do or if they would actually work at what payment rate – Utterly useless.
Kind EV Mini lady tells us Tesco have free charging at their superstore. OK! Only few miles off our dwindling range to get there. They are PodPoint chargers
Plug-in (7kw/h same as home charger option we decided against) Get Green lights then nothing. It’s supposed to be free, but no. I must download app, register payment card and pre-load some money. Then starts charging. After getting cup of tea in closing Tesco cafe, we have recovered charge used getting to Penzance. We wait a bit longer but have a few more minutes watching range creep up. Was actually 2.7 kw/h taking 26 minutes for no cost. Almost useless. These need to be faster i.e. higher power.
We spend time calculating how much range we will use that night, following day and then to move to second accommodation location. We can do it. Stop range anxiety we have 70 miles in the tank and only need 50 for all of that and there is a Tesla super charger site on the way… Yippee!
Meanwhile Penzance – not good enough! Having the chargers behind a barricaded pay as you go car park with high minimum charges is bad enough but for them not to be working despite advertisements and web sites stating they were is not good enough.
EV Almost Disaster
Heading back from the theatre. It’s dark. Programme in Sat Nav to take us back to hotel. In St Just (nearest village) we go off down a road following the instructions. Road changes to single tarmac. This isn’t right we say to each other but the map is showing directions. Tarmac changes to dirt track then is climbing up hill with drop on one side and hill the other before stopping with bollard blocking way. It’s late, very dark and we’re near cliffs, and we now need to turn around, retrace, and take a different correct road. Not happy. No idea why Google Maps ( the system in use Tesla Sat Nav) sent us down this road. It’s not the one we we came down before. Tense 180 point turn (Okay it was three in dark field gate entrance) Re-track route and ten minutes later we are on correct road. Anxiety for range increased but also worried about us and car on such roads. Even proper roads are very narrow and not well lit.
EV Tesla Road Trip and Holiday to Rock St Minver
Wednesday morning we set off for our Air B and B near St Minver. Ask Tesla for a car route to charger and we arrive with < 20 miles in the charge status. We use the Fibre Hub site in Camborne. Excellent. We add over 62kw/h in <45 mins. Excellent coffee shop with free high speed Wi-Fi connected broadband. Cost of charge £21.70. It’s peak morning time therefore higher priced, but only a Tesla Taxi is also using the site.
Topped up we arrive at Air BNB. Range anxiety cleared and now we have a few more days mostly walking in the area but a couple of trips out too including various coastal villages and Tintagel Castle. One day we walked 14.5 miles – another story
Trip Back Home
Our initial plan was to head back to Exeter to recharge but we decided to charge earlier at the Arundell Arms Hotel which has 8 x 150kw chargers. We topped up enough to show that we could get home with >10% to spare. This was 42kw/h and cost £15.12. We ended up with 17% to spare as the breaking system added to charging.
EV Tesla Road Trip and Holiday Totals
We used 142Kw/H from Tesla Supercharges at total cost of £49.74 plus the 2.7kw/h at £0.00 from PodPoint. (Ignoring the pre-pay we had to put on i.e. we have credit.) The car has now done 850 miles of which only 3 were pre-pick up. Tesla’s App states this has cost £72 of which £19.66 would be home solar (£3.60 from first Park Royal charge but I had 100 free miles) and therefore, most of this was free. Anyway, even if charged as per app costs per mile are 11.76p per mile. More likely they are under 10p per mile with total charging at 245kw/h or 29p per kw/h.