The day dawns for Eleanor and her partner, cousin, and friend to set off on their short holiday, but it isn't as straightforward as they'd initially hoped...
Following Eleanor's first experience driving the Renault Zoe, and her initial range anxiety, she decided to carry out some further research...
Is a hybrid the answer?
"...Hence, in came the Toyota Auris Hybrid. Using both petrol and electricity, I thought this would be perfect for a longer road trip. The Auris wasn’t plugged in when I found it and there wasn’t an obvious guage displaying the battery percentage, but the petrol tank was full enough for my practice run so I set off. It felt natural to drive and the brakes were much less sensitive than the Zoe which I liked. Immediately, I thought this would be the perfect companion to take on our trip.
This plan fell through when E-Car Club sent me an email saying all of the Auris they had were going to be taken for maintenance checks so I couldn’t use them. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, so I went back on my researching game and came across the Nissan Leaf 2.zero. I barely even glanced twice at the first version of the Leaf as it seemed so similar to the Zoe, but this second version looked much better as it has a 180-mile range. I had seen this car advertised before but was thrown off by the E-pedal, not realising that it was a function you could switch on and off. I assumed it only had one pedal!
Not enough charge!
It was too late to fit in a practice run in, so I went to pick it up the night before our road-trip and hoped for the best. What a nightmare this experience was! I unplugged the car as usual and was disheartened as I got behind the wheel and noticed there was only 37% charge. Never mind, I thought, I could always charge it en-route the next morning.
How do I drive this thing?!!
I pressed the start button and tried to lift off the handbrake - but, wait...there was no handbrake! What do I do now? I decided to “Google it” but to no avail. The videos described either a third pedal to the left of the brake pedal, or a switch next to the gear stick as being the parking brake, neither of which I could find.
I tried reversing thinking that perhaps it would automatically come off, and voilᾁ! The car moved! I stopped the car once I was out of the space and put it in drive to move off, at which point I was greeted by a loud, ear-piercing, screeching noise. The parking brake was definitely not off! I cursed under my breath - I’d already been in the car for 45 minutes trying to figure all of this out. I exchanged phone calls with my partner for another half an hour before I was ready to give up. By then, it was 22:15 so I was pretty tired and agitated.
I remembered there was an emergency number to call E-Car, so I called and was reassured that there was in fact the third pedal I’d seen in the videos, it was just tucked up right in the corner, near-invisible to the eye and not obvious when I was feeling around with my foot. I pushed my left foot down into what I assumed was just the floor of the footwell, and was met with the familiar clicking sound of a parking brake as I pushed the pedal down. Success! One hour and fifteen minutes after I'd started, and I was off. I felt very stupid!
It was a lovely car to drive and I took a couple of extra turns on the way home just to drive it for a bit longer..."
**Coming soon: the next step in Eleanor's EV journey...
Where are the charge points?
My favourite car
We invited Eleanor Rumbold to write a guest blog post for us as she recently had her very first experience of electric vehicle driving and charging, and her story raises some interesting points