With the Government recently announcing an extension to the Plug-In Grant and further investment to the network of Rapid Chargers, electric cars are increasingly on the agenda. There is still plenty of work to be done though in dispelling any myths motorists may still hold around the subject of electric cars. Luckily help came earlier this year in the form of actor, Robert Llewellyn, familiar to most of us as Kryten from Red Dwarf, and a Nissan Leaf. Llewellyn and friend David Peilow, both electric vehicle enthusiasts set about proving that these greener vehicles have really come a really long way by travelling….a really long way. London to Edinburgh to be precise. They made their journey, without a hitch, in around 13 hours.
The 407 mile journey was not a random choice. In 2011 BBC journalist, Brian Milligan, made this same journey in a Mini E and it a took a whopping four days – no rapid chargers in those days and charging took a huge six hours. David Peilow, already a staunch electric car advocate at that time, set off in a Tesla shortly after to prove that the BBC were portraying plug-ins in far too poor a light. His journey at that time took 18 hours shaving days off the BBC’s effort already. This year, partners in electric car love, Llewellyn and Peilow, demonstrated how far advancements in green car technology has come and managed to knock around five hours off Peilow’s previous time in their Mark 2 Nissan Leaf.
While even the most ardent EV enthusiasts would acknowledge there is still work to be done, Llewellyn and Peilow’s odyssey this year has certainly proved that life with a plug-in has improved beyond measure and long haul journeys are now perfectly feasible. Their journey took days less than the BBC’s trip in 2011 thanks to an ever growing network of rapid chargers which can charge a plug-in in around 20 minutes. To further prove the point, the pair also travelled at motorway speeds with the heating throughout. Llewellyn also points out in his blog covering the journey that his vehicle of choice, the Nissan Leaf Mark 2, cost around £80,000 less than the Tesla Roadster used in the Peilow’s trip. No wonder this environmentally friendly choice is ever growing in popularity. It delivers on performance and comfort at a price tag that doesn’t bring tears to the eyes.
While steadfast petrol drivers might say that 13 hours to travel 407 miles is still many hours more than a traditional combustion engine, Llewellyn estimates that his journey would have cost a mere £17.02 in electricity, though as they made use of the free-to-use network of Ecotricity charging stations, it actually cost nothing. The equivalent in petrol could have cost around £77 – saving not to be sniffed at.