Test Driving Electric Cars In Cumbria

29 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Test Driving Electric Cars In Cumbria отключены
BMW 5er Electric Cars

Water into wine, a self parking car and a woodchip helicopter? Well not quite .

At the end of February we took 7 electric cars (2 x BMWi3 s, 2 x Nissan Leaf, Vauxhall Ampera, Renault Zoe Renault Kangoo ze van) to the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show in Grasmere.  Read on to see what happened .

Who could have predicted such horrendous weather over 2 days in Feb well OK, everyone who lives in Cumbria, but we d had our fingers crossed for several days and hoped that was going to help.  It didn t and as a Cumbrian born and bred I ve rarely seen rain like it before, some would say it was of biblical proportions! It didn t stop Rick Lomax from Nurture Lakeland having a huge smile on his face though!  Water into smiles (better than wine in my opinion!!)

Rick s spontaneous smile after his first drive in an electric car

If you re wondering what can bring a smile like this to a grown man when it s been pouring with rain for 2 days then wonder no more!  This is Rick s response after having his first test drive in a Nissan Leaf at the Lakes Hospitality Association Trade Show at the Daffodil Hotel in Grasmere.

He wasn t alone.  With huge thanks to Edgars of Rowrah, Barton Townley of Barrow in Furness, Bristol Street Motors, Benfield Motors and Lloyd BMW Carlisle at their busiest time of year we pulled together 7 electric cars for visitors to the trade show to ride and/or drive in. Over 100 took advantage of their availability.

 That s over 100 people who thought electric cars were toys, didn t go far and were too expensive to be effective in Cumbria.  I promise you, not one of them left without a huge smile on their face.

Getting 7 cars for people to drive doesn t seem like much of a challenge does it?  Until you consider, if it was that easy why hasn t it been done before in the North West for electric cars before?  Believe it or not this was the first time 5 different proper electric cars (we had 2 of the Nissan Leafs and BMW i3s) had been brought together in the North West.

 Add to that the fact that we re a two person business, already working flat out and you start to get an idea of how much of a challenge it was.

Our mission was simple to stimulate the conversation about electric cars within the Cumbrian hospitality industry, raise awareness about the different types of vehicle available and above all to make sure that in the race for funding for electric vehicles and charging points to make sure that Cumbria doesn t miss out.

Did we have problems getting the cars to the trade show after all they have limited range don t they?  Yes, we did have some problems, particularly as the hotel hosting the trade show didn t have electric vehicle charging points, but we drove 5 out of the 7 to Grasmere (with the help of our friends at Rexel Energy Solutions) and contrary to what most people think most of the cars we had at the show could be charged with a 10a 3 pin household plug!  It was a bit slower, but we managed to charge form the generators on site for the trade show.

Electric cars charging the day before the Ride Drive at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show


Notice the van in the middle Renault Kangoo ZE perfect for collecting local produce to be used in the hospitality industry.

There were a three really remarkable things that happened during the show.  One was the appearance of Peter Foster below to help us out he drove for 2 days solid for us, in miserable weather with a cheery smile for the whole period.  Lawrence and I can t thank Peter enough for his help getting people about in the Nissan Leaf.

Peter doing one of his day jobs!

For the whole of the first day and most of the second day, despite running backwards and forwards with many different people the cars didn t need any charging until the evening.  Our original theory was that while we had one car charging another would be driving and we would get a maximum of 22 drives/day.  We had over a hundred people in the cars over 2 days about half driving and the other half being run backwards and forwards to their cars.

Both journeys were 2-3 mile round trips in miserable weather, and more than double the number of trips we thought we d manage without having to re-charge batteries.

BMW 5er Electric Cars

Finally, watching the BMWi3 park itself was breathtaking literally, the first time I was in the car with Ryan from Lloyd BMW and it parked itself I held my breath until it had finished.  No hands, no feet, parked perfectly watch  The Fat Chat Show  to see how it was done and  to see whether you really believe that woodchip helicopter exists.  Cars parking themselves, rain in biblical proportions, maybe it does exist

Edgars of Rowrah Nissan Leaf charging at Eldergove BB in Ambleside. I m not sure that s exactly where we left it though .

Charging overnight was partly done via generator and mostly from other hotels and BB s in the locality.  Ambleside Salutation Inn and Eldergrove BB were amazing, helping us out on the first 2 nights with charging.

Vauxhall Ampera charging courtesy of Eldergrove BB

Paul McDougall of Eldergrove BB said  I was lucky enough to have a look at 3 of the EV s, the  Vauxhall Ampera has to be the most useable with its range and the Nissan Leaf was the quietest and most practical but for me the BMW i3 was the winner a real head turner it leaves me with a huge smile on my face each time I drive it

That s the beauty of having all of the different cars together, they all have different target markets.  Simplistically the Nissan Leaf is a real family car, the Vauxhall Ampera is brilliant for anyone doing regular long journeys, it s not a hybrid it s a range extender and new technology for the UK when it was introduced in  2012.  The BMW i3 is a great car for professional couples and couples with family that have flown the nest.

 The Renault Zoe is a great car for around town and we even had an electric van brilliant for those local deliveries.

Our last thanks are to a very special person Nicky Armstrong for trying her hardest to film in appalling weather for the Fat Chat Show — have a look at what the visitors to the trade show thought of the electric cars and see for yourself whether you believe there really is a woodchip helicopter in Cumbria.

You may also want to have a look at a feature last year that The Fat Chat Show did on the Nissan Leaf at Edgars of Rowrah.

Can we do electric cars in Cumbria?  Of course we can!

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