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Charging EVs away from home: is queuing a problem?

(103 Posts)
granfromafar Wed 19-Apr-23 20:18:45

We have had an electric car for a month and we're really enjoying driving it. We mostly use our home charger which we had installed in the garage. We are going on our longish journey to date soon (around 200 miles) so will need to recharge en route. I have looked up possible places to stop and will most likely use a motorway service station which has 6 charging points. My main concern is what if they are all in use and we have to wait for a while? I have heard that there isn't really a queuing system in place for chargers. If you can't park nearby, how can you work out who is next in line when one becomes free? Don't want there to be fisticuffs involved!

AskAlice Wed 19-Apr-23 20:27:34

This is one of the reasons I won't be buying an electric car anytime soon. Until the infrastructure is much more available and reliable it seems a bit pot luck!

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 19-Apr-23 20:49:28

The last time we went to a service station 3 of the Electric charger points were out of order.
Some car parks have chargers though.

Soroptimum Wed 19-Apr-23 20:54:37

Another reason to get a hybrid!

GrandmaKT Wed 19-Apr-23 20:55:38

Have you checked whether the place you are staying has a charging point? Lots of hotels are installing them and even self catering cottages.

cornergran Wed 19-Apr-23 20:56:35

Our nearest shopping area, too small to be called a centre, has a large car park with a good number of rarely used charging points. While knowing nothing about the practicalities I wonder if there is an app showing the locations of charging points? A bit like the ‘just off the motorway’ service stations.

welbeck Wed 19-Apr-23 20:58:27

search for zap map.
but i have heard that in practice there are many problems with charging en route.

Hetty58 Wed 19-Apr-23 21:07:33

Allow extra time to charge on the way. Service stations may have queues but you can usually find a supermarket along the route. Look for fast charging options first.

Caramme Wed 19-Apr-23 21:12:50

My son opted for an EV a couple of years ago, thinking he was doing the eco friendly thing. It’s a lovely car, big, smooth and comfortable, and plenty of power too. But every time they go any distance they all have to pile into my dil’s petrol Golf. Three big issues: the manufacturers lied about the range of the car which drops dramatically if using lights/heater or stuck in the endless tailbacks on the NW’s motorways; motorway chargers either not in use or with long queues, and poor charger provision outside cities - also commercial chargers are expensive; boot space barely enough for the weekly shop, never mind holiday bags, cos it’s all taken up by the batteries.
I’ll be hanging on to my trusty Spanish petrol car until one of us finally falls to bits.

Tenko Wed 19-Apr-23 21:17:17

My sister has an electric car and there is an app for all the charging places . Supermarkets have them as do some hotels and car parks but allow extra time for charging . From experience My sister has found several bays out of order or petrol cars using them to park!
This is why I’d get a hybrid rather than all electric

granfromafar Wed 19-Apr-23 21:21:30

Thanks for the replies and suggestions. I do use Zap map and a couple of other phone apps so can easily find places with chargers. Also, the car has its own system for locating charging points, and tells you if they are occupied or out of order.
We were open to getting a hybrid but there were no used ones available in our area and did not want a new one.(long waiting times anyway)

welbeck Wed 19-Apr-23 21:40:17

ian dale on LBC was v annoyed about his electric vehicle.
found it did not get him to where he needed, despite marketing claims.
he got rid of it.

Gin Thu 20-Apr-23 15:30:33

My son just came South this week to work, travelling in his electric car. He stopped to top up at a motorway service station where all the charges accepted different charge cards and of the five, two were out of order. The journey took an hour longer than usual. On the way home he visited Rugby Service station, a new one, that had about twenty charge points, surely by now all the service stations should have this many? He has to have an electric car as is company policy.

Grantanow Thu 20-Apr-23 15:43:37

I wouldn 't buy one. Far too expensive and poor charging opportunities especially in the South West.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 20-Apr-23 15:58:15

I remember seeing a man asleep in his car waiting to charge it at a motorway service station so guess he’d had a long wait. I have no intention of trading my petrol car in for an EV!

Mamie Thu 20-Apr-23 16:07:55

The key is to plan using the apps and make sure you have back-up plans. We try not to let ours drop below 20% of range. Obviously traffic jams are not a problem, because regenerative braking will increase your range in heavy traffic (unlike ICE cars). Our range drops in very cold weather, but you should be ok until next winter.
You can use the apps to check how many chargers are working at various points.
There is a very good forum called SpeakEV, well worth consulting.
Personally I don't pay much attention to people who don't have electric cars; there is a lot of rubbish talked.
They are fab to drive aren't they? So amazingly responsive.

MerylStreep Thu 20-Apr-23 16:21:33

When the manufactures of EV find a cleaner way to power them I’ll think about it.
As it is the mining of lithium is causing more damage than we ever did with conventional power, petrol &diesel.
Plus the dangerous fact that China controls most of the mines.

MeowWow Thu 20-Apr-23 16:23:14

My DD has an electric car and says it’s always a worry to find fast chargers en-route when going on long journeys. Then at times she finds the charging points being used or out of order. She uses an app to find where her vehicle can be charged and then has to sit around for half an hour or more to recharge enough to get her where she wants to go. Despite all that she loves driving her electric car and wouldn’t change it at all. You just have to plan ahead.

Mamie Thu 20-Apr-23 16:27:36

If you join Speak EV and ask for help with journey planning you normally get very helpful local advice. I have even been told to use the charger on the right at one stop, because it is faster than the one on the left. 😂

AreWeThereYet Thu 20-Apr-23 17:43:20

We use an App on the phone and SatNav that shows where all the charging stations are and plan before we go. We check for the faster charging ones so at least if we have to wait it won't be for hours. So far it has worked out, although that may be luck. Heading off to Yorkshire next month so we'll see how it goes when we are totally dependent on car parks, etc. for over a week. If you have to wait you may be able to park in a space nearby, as we did in Peterborough last week. There were a lot of cars coming and going but no long queues (6 chargers, all working). We try for mid-morning, late at night or early afternoon so we don't have to fight with angry commuters 😐

Oldbat1 Thu 20-Apr-23 18:01:25

Electric cars are too expensive for us. Dd has one which is fine locally for her short trips but on a 400mile trip to visit us they have had nightmare trips finding functioning chargers and queuing. Personally I can’t hear them coming so I have to triple check before crossing roads. Wouldn’t want one.

AreWeThereYet Thu 20-Apr-23 18:06:44

We've found that the range has increased a bit now that the weather isn't so cold, the mileage was a bit disappointing initially. Also Mr A thinks his driving has changed as he's adapted to the car, so that may have made a difference.

Mamie Thu 20-Apr-23 18:28:18

Yes I think you do adapt your driving to save energy, which can only be a good think. At least 95% of our charging is done at home, we just leave it overnight on cheap rate a couple of times a week. When there are shortages because of strikes we feel very smug. 😊 We bought a can of petrol for the mower the other day and it cost more than a month of charging at home. (We live in France).

icanhandthemback Sun 23-Apr-23 11:16:57

My sister always seems to have problems finding somewhere to charge outside of London. She doesn't have her own charging station as she lives in a Terraced House but the road has a charger. She plugged her car in one night and went out to go on a long journey only to find that because it had started snowing after she went to bed, the charging failed and she had less charge than she started with! She struggled the whole time it was really cold and thought it was her car. However, the moment the temperature rose, things were back to normal.
I think you have to be really organised with time/journey planning to ensure you are not left without charge.

JaneJudge Sun 23-Apr-23 11:22:05

could you factor in staying for lunch or a meal wherever you are going just incase they are all full?

We have a hybrid as we were worried about how we would charge them but there are points in our village now, pushed for by the parish council so hopefully there will be more appearing all over the country soon smile