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The Electric Highway (& Waterway)

Travelling 220 miles in a car that has a maximum theoretical range of 124 miles (downhill with the wind behind you and being pushed by pixies) is clearly the first obstacle we thought of when planning our trip to London.

A car with 5 people and luggage for a 5 day holiday will probably use a fair bit of battery juice at motorway cruising speeds. Probably. I've never tried it before...

Ecotricity's motorway network seems to be the answer with their Electric Highway. They've focused on installing Rapid chargers in motorway service stations. The main issue with many of the UK schemes, as far as I can tell, is their regional nature. Traveling from one side of the country to the other is still a bit daunting. To get a free Ecotricity card simply complete the registration form online and they'll send you a card to use at their charging point, or "electricity pumps" as they call them.

routePlanning the route came next. Sounds simple, Liverpool to London, just point yourself at the motorway and head south. The trouble is I had no idea if there were enough charging points in the right locations to complete the journey and complete it without the dreaded "range anxiety". Luckily for us as I sat down in front of Google Maps to start planning the route I saw a Tweet from Plugsharetelling me about their new route planner! Result. Put in your start point and destination and the route planner shows you all charging points within a defined radius of your route. It turns out there are plenty of rapid charge points (charge to 80% in 20-30 minutes) along our route. I would urge you to check out their site at and the mobile app.

Of course for peace of mind it would be nice to start our journey with 100% charge. The drive to the boat is all downhill for one of us but for the other the drive over the mountain will use at least 20%. At the recent EV Users Forum held at the Green Centre it was mentioned that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will let you charge on the boat. Having enquired when I first bought the Leaf and not getting a very positive response I had my doubts. But after contacting the IoMSPCo I have to say that they couldn't have been more helpful! They have the capacity on the Manannan to charge up to eight EVs on the main car deck. These are "Ceeform" or "Blue Commando" style connections. Using our so called "Granny Cable" we can connect to these. They have even offered to make up adaptors so people can connect their cables with domestic 3-pin plugs on the end. So a BIG thank you to them for being so accommodating. Thats a good two and a half hours charge which should get the car back to 100%.


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