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Before I start this update on the status of the public charge points on the island I'd like to apologies for being very quiet on this blog for a while. Sometimes life gets in the way. Anyway...

We've had an update from our friends and Manx Utilities on the state of the public charge points around the island.

  • 12107182_10208778746975347_9144391598922399454_nCastletown had a fault on the type 2 (7KW) sockets, they kept tripping out. The breakers on these have been replaced and should now be working. If anyone is around there and could test just to confirm that would be great.
  • Ramsey Swimming Pool has suffered some damage, due to vandalism it seems. A new front cover has been ordered and will be replaced soon. Please be careful if using this charging point to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the post even further.
  • Ramsey Market Square is still yet to be commissioned but it too has been damaged by someone driving into it and requires extensive repairs. So as yet this new charge post still isn't live.

EVIOM has also been asked to remind charge point users to lock blue commando sockets that are padlocked to ensure they are only used by EV drivers. It was noted that the Ramsey Swimming Pool sockets had been left unlocked. Keys for these padlocks are available from Manx Utilities HQ at Ballacottier or call them on 687687. It has been mentioned by people that these padlocks do not fit the new charging posts very well and some have rusted making they difficult to use but if possible please re-lock them when you are done. Any faults can be reported to Manx Utilities on 687687 or drop them a tweet @manx_utilities.

Charging in Douglas remains an issue with only two very tight spaces that are not clearly marked. I tried to charge the Zoe one mid-week lunch time to find both bays occupied (by charging EVs which is good). On my way out of the multistorey I counted 3 EVs parked in other bays not including my own. It's clear that many more charging points in the capital are needed and we can't afford to have the existing ones blocked by other vehicles.

Keep EVIOM updated on your charging travels around the island via Facebook or Twitter. We have a map of charge points on the island and I would urge people to download the Plugshare app which allows you to check in, log problems and keep the information on there up to date.

Another useful app is Chargebump. This app allows you to enter the registration number of a charging vehicle and request the owner return to unplug if you need to. Handy if the vehicle has stopped charging or you are desperate.

Being able to charge your car at your hotel makes a trip "across" a little more practical for island plug-in vehicle owners.


"Chargemaster, the UK’s largest supplier and operator of electric vehicle (EV) charging points has partnered with AccorHotels, owner of IBIS and Novotel, to offer EV charging points at its hotels across the UK.

Rolling out over the first quarter of 2016, the first phase will see 60 hotels receive EV charging points as part of Chargemaster’s POLAR network. The charging points will be free to use for IBIS and Novotel visitors to charge their electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and are available to all our POLAR plus, POLAR Instant and ChargeNow Plus customers.

The charging points will be 22kW or 7kW state-of-the-art fast chargers, enabling electric cars to be charged in 60 minutes. However, residents are likely to take full advantage of the facility for charging their EVs overnight.

Chargemaster CEO David Martell said: “This is a major step forward in the provision of destination charging in the UK. Hotels are one of the obvious locations where EV drivers have a fundamental need for charging facilities and we are delighted to work with AccorHotels to achieve this.”

He added: “We expect hotels to adopt electric vehicle charging as a customer service in the same way that they have provided wifi across the board.”

Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director of AccorHotels UK and Ireland commented: “As a leading operators of hotels across the UK, we are always looking at ways to enhance and improve facilities for our guests. We recognise that many of our customers are adopting low-emission vehicles and we need to provide charging points at our hotels to accommodate them. In providing a national rollout of this service, AccorHotels continues to lead the field in customer service and our commitment to sustainable development.”

AccorHotels is the first major hotel chain to recognise the increasing need to install charging points to accommodate the growing population of business and leisure motorists using low-emission vehicles to visit their hotels.

With electric and plug-in hybrid car sales in the UK having quadrupled over the last 18 months, it is widely forecast that one in ten new cars by 2020 will be electric or plug-in, making destination charging vital for the future-proofing of infrastructure."

Source: Chargemaster Blog

Most EV drivers charge their vehicles primarily at home. It's most convenient as it charges overnight while you're asleep and is ready to go with a full battery the next morning. Also, if you're on the Manx Utilities EV Tariff it's cheaper overnight too.

Different vehicles have different types of sockets, charge at different rates and there's plenty of new jargon to learn too. All this can seem a bit daunting especially as one of the main appeals of running an EV is it's simplicity.

Signature Electrical

EVIOM has been contacted by Signature Electrical (formerly Phoenix) who supply and install EV charging stations here on the Isle of Man. They have been in business since 2007 and employ four full time staff, one of whom is an apprentice they are putting through the Isle of Man College apprenticeship scheme.

SE rolec1They are NICEICregistered, this means their work is inspected annually and all work is backed by NICEIC’s six year guarantee.
Signature Electrical install Rolec charging stations for Nissan/Motability on the island. They also understand the different charging and lead types needed for different vehicles. Before they undertake any works they complete a full site survey to ensure the customer's electrical installation is up to scratch and current regulations and can handle the additional load of an EV point.

SE van2Having an interest in all things ecological and electrical they have decided to go down the route of Electrical Vehicles for the company and have purchased a Nissan e-NV200.

Signature Electrical can be contacted on (01624) 624400 or at  Their website can be found at

As I have come to realise, traveling across the UK in an electric car is full of ups and downs.

imageIt all started well. We collected the car with a full charge from Park's, Irvine with a full charge and a list of post codes for the satnav. No fuss at the dealer. Signed the forms, ran through the basics of the car and headed south. I'd worked out that we had just enough on one charge to get to the rapid charger in Dumfries but along the way we spotted the CYC charger at New Cumnock so pulled in top up and play with the buttons. I was surprised how quickly the car charged as I'd heard that the 2015 Zoe charged slower than previous models.
I really wanted to pull into a charge point along the way in a wind farm, but unfortunately we missed the turning as it was just down a small and tiny road and would have meant doubling back on ourselves. But no to worry there was a rapid charger in Dumfries.

imageWell, there is a rapid CYC charger in Dumfries but the AC charge cable was connecting to a Zoe that had finished charging was locked into the car. I couldn't disconnect it. The car belonged to a company call Co Wheels so I googled the name and found a contact number. The guy on the phone told me that they had a deal with Dumfries council for exclusive use of the charger and no one had the key for the car to come and disconnect the cable. It all sounded like total rubbish to me, they were just monopolising the charger. Plugshare showed a slow charger at Dumfries Royal Infimary, I though it would do for a slight top up as the car was showing 39 miles range for out remaining 29 miles to drive.

Well, that charger was also a bust! None of my RFID cards worked and the charger had no sign or information on how to use it. We decided to give it up as a bad job, grab a bite to eat and head to the Travelodge with an Ecotricity Rapid charger. At least I knew I had all evening and night to get someone to fix it if we had any problems with that one.

imageI love Ecotricty! The charger worked. By the time we'd checked in and grabbed some snacks to munch on while watching Doctor Who a guy in a BMW i3 was sat waiting to charge and Zoe was almost full anyway. It goes to show how many people are using the rapids on the motorways.

I'll have a good whinge to Go Wheels, Charge Your Car and Dumfries Council when I get back home. I may need to do this journey again and the rapid at Dumfries fills a big gap in the area.

Tomorrow's another day and we should have plenty of time to get to Heysham for the 2:15 boat. Fingers crossed...


Diesel was a niche market in Europe until the mid-1990s, making up less than 10% of the car fleet. The sales of diesel cars have now overtaken those of petrol cars in the UK and the same trend can be found in Europe.

d v p

Diesels produce 15% less CO2 than petrol, but emit four times more nitrogen dioxide pollution (NO2) and 22 times more particulates - the tiny particles that penetrate the lungs, brain and heart.

Japanese and American carmakers backed research into hybrid and electric cars, but the European commission was lobbied strongly by big German carmakers BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, to incentivise diesel. A switch to diesel was said by the industry to be a cheap and fast way to reduce the carbon emissions that drive climate change.

Only a year ago the European Commission started legal proceedings against the UK for failing to address high levels of urban air pollution.

In particular, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), an emission strongly linked to major respiratory illnesses and premature deaths, are considered "excessive" in many urban areas across the UK. In addition to aggravating existing health conditions such as asthma, research shows air pollution causes around 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.

At that time a test of real-world emissions found that 7 out of the 10 cars tested did not meet any of the European standards. It was reported that the UK has some of the worst NO2 levels in Europe.


So the VW scandal comes as no surprise. It has been widely reported, for some considerable time, that most cars do not reach any of the standards advertised by the manufacturers.

Yet we are still incentivised to buy these high polluters through lower taxation and fuel prices.

The oil companies and manufacturers of diesel cars are holding back the take-up of Zero emission vehicles. Is it now time for the Isle of Man government to provide incentives for the cleaner alternative – all Electric Vehicles? Should they also take a long hard look at how their aspiration to reduce emissions is being undermined by the car manufacturer's spurious claims regarding emissions from diesel and petrol cars?

Sources: Next Greencar, The Guardian.

The update to my Quest for a Renault Zoe has been a bit longer in coming to the blog than I had wanted. The problem being the UK plug-in car grant of 35% (to a maximum to £5000) and trying to pay for and register the car to a Manx address. The computer said no...

This was very disheartening, not least because both the dealer and I were clear all along that I was going to be taking the car to the Isle of Man. Buying a new car from the UK shouldn't really be a problem but the way EVs are dealt with seemed throw a spanner in the works. In the mean time Renault had brought out the Renault Zoe "i" models, the "i" signifying that you would own the battery and wouldn't have to pay a battery rental fee. This along with the lack of £5000 grant brought the cost of the car up to nearly £25,000 and outside my budget for lease for hire purchase.

But all was not lost as a call back from Brian at Parks offering me a 2015 model Zoe with only 89 miles on the clock on a PCP deal. This wasn't the original plan but after some thought and advice from my financial advisor (wife) and a few calls with Brian we got the monthly payments down to a level I was happy with.

So right now I'm waiting for the paper work to be processed before booking flights and ferry to go and collect the car from Irvine to drive down to Heysham.

I still don't have the car sat outside my house so no chickens have been counted but I'm quietly confident this time... Maybe.

As for Chargemaster and their offer to install a charge point at my house? No chance. Despite making it clear where I was and them booking an appointment they suddenly realised that they wouldn't, after all, have an installer "in my area". I am now in the market for a 2nd home charge point. The Leaf takes a Type 1 connector and the Zoe a Type 2. The charging standards are the same but it's a round peg, square hole. I also need to be able to charge both cars at the same time overnight.

What I've learnt from this experience is that it would be much better for us here on the Isle of Man when the UK plug-in car grant disappears in the UK or if something similar was introduced here.

If you are looking at a Renault Zoe then I would give Brian at Parks a call as I know he now has experience of selling a Zoe to the Isle of Man and the pitfalls. Other dealers I spoke in the UK were disinterested or confused by the whole idea.

Back in April 2014 EVIOM reported that incorrect fees had been applied to all EVs licenced in the Isle of Man. (See that post here). EV owners found themselves paying car tax at the low emissions band for Category B vehicles. At that time the situation was rectified and refunds were made.


Due to a blunder by the DoI when making the licence review in 2015 EVs were kept at a higher rate than low emission cars. EV owners found themselves paying almost three times the amount of car tax than for petrol/diesel/hybrid cars.

So if you own a fully electric car you would pay £14.00,  whilst owners of a BMW i8 or Toyota Previa, for example, only pay £5.00. In fact over the last two years EV car tax has increased whilst polluting car's tax has decreased!

We are told that the DoI "will address the anomaly" in the next duty review but that they "are unable to refund any duty, but will reduce the rate in the new legislation that will be drafted"

EVIOM has suggested that the DoI should change the rate for ZERO emission cars to £0.00.

If this was done, at least for the next two years, it would address the fact that EV owners have paid extra this year and, more importantly, provide a better incentive to drive Zero emission vehicles.

Feel free to write to your MHK if you agree!


So this is Tynwald in action to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050!

It is the opinion of the author that it is time this government woke up to the fact that EVs are here on the island NOW and more and more are being used by island residents, businesses, town commissioners and even government departments. The government should be encouraging the use of EVs by prioritising ANY legislation that would help them achieve their  published emissions target.

The minister recognises the fact that "Ever improving fuel efficiency standards and the introduction into the mainstream market of ultralow emission vehicles are leading us towards low emission transport systems which we need for the future." and that there is a "recent marked increase in fuel efficiency of new vehicles across Europe and the growth in numbers of electric and hydrogen powered vehicles."

But there is no government backing for EVs, and they are just paying lip-service to keep in-step with the international legislation. Making two blunders over the EV car tax in less than two years is inexcusable and shows a lack of commitment to encourage the use of low emission technologies.





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