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On the Road with StEVie – Energy Saving Trust’s electric car

by Silvia Manzoni

StEVie the electric vehicle on the road

During the last week of October, Energy Saving Trust's transport technical team embarked on a 10-day adventure with StEVie, our trusty electric pool car based at the Edinburgh office.

Our mission: to visit and speak with nine of the 11 local authorities that successfully secured this year’s Switched on Towns and Cities feasibility studies.

Switched on Towns and Cities 2019 map

Our first week on the road was spent travelling up to Stromness in Orkney, leaving StEVie overnight and arriving on the ferry to Shetland. We then travelled down to meet with the Highland Council in Inverness and Moray Council in Elgin.

Travelling to the very north of Scotland provided the opportunity to test the charging infrastructure along the Scottish Government’s Electric A9.

After a rest for the weekend, on Monday morning we were off again to Dumfries and Galloway, North and South Lanarkshire on Tuesday, Renfrewshire Council and Stirling on Wednesday.

We mostly kept the car’s battery between 20% and 80%, where the battery charges fastest. The longest single journey was from Elgin to Pitlochry (104 miles) - fortunately for us the last few miles were all downhill. As you can imagine this was the longest trip in StEVie’s career, covering just under 1,200 miles in eight working days - what a trooper!

StEVie has zero exhaust emissions, so our carbon dioxide emissions were 355kg less than would have been the result of a petrol alternative[1]. The fuel cost for the journey was £9.55, with most of the charging facilities still free. The equivalent distance covered in an average petrol vehicle would be £168[2], saving £108 even if we had paid for all charging sessions.

The chargers that we used were mainly rapid chargers, but we also topped up with a standard charge when attending meetings or overnight. 

 

Ross Kirkland, Silvia Manzoni and Iain MacLeod from Energy Saving Trust

Discoveries:

  • The rate of discharge was about 1% per mile, but the heating was on at all times being autumn in Scotland, and the car was loaded with 3 adults and luggage.
  • Eco mode and the e-Pedal helped to maximise the range. The e-Pedal is great if you are sitting in slow moving traffic as you are only using one pedal and recovering precious energy, otherwise lost to braking.
  • We had no issues finding the free charge points. We only found the rapid CHAdeMO charger busy in Denny near Stirling and we shared a rapid charger with a Renault Zoe in Dornoch, with no reduction in the rate of charge.

Helpful tips:

  • The ChargePlace Scotland website is great to show charge point locations and can also give directions to charge points via Google Maps. The ZapMap app for both Android and iPhone provide an alternative solution. StEVie does have an integrated map, but we found it to be less accurate at times.
  • Plan ahead, don’t risk it and stop ahead of your recommended mileage. The weather, having the heating on, the hills and the weight carried all reduce range. If you follow this rule, you can travel anywhere in the UK.
  • The sat nav on StEVie will recommend the fastest route to your destination. For an electric vehicle the shortest route is the best option so double check that the route you are taking is correct.  

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