Brian and Jean Orr from London, have highlighted a number of issues with regards to the UK electric car market after their 2000 mile trip from London to the Scottish Highlands for a 17 day break. These are the kind of stories which will grab the attention of motorists around the UK and these are also the type of stories which will send shivers down the spine of the UK government and UK local authorities.
The couple acquired a Mitsubishi iMiev and began their journey to show that electric car travel was possible round the UK, even if the recharging station network is growing slower than many had expected. So what issues did they need to overcome and what was the conclusion of their 2000 mile round trip?
One factor which the couple mentioned time and time again, was the need to plan meticulously their travel and avoid the vast array of UK motorways. It seems that charging stations on UK motorways are few and far between, despite the fact that these are the roads which carry the vast majority of UK travellers, especially those looking towards longer distances.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "While rather low-key, the iMIEV has slowly and steadily gained its followers in the electric car market. There has been many individuals professing great virtue on the reliability and range of the iMIEV."
While there were some difficult and challenging moments during the long journey from England to Scotland it does prove that with planning it is possible to engage in relatively long distance travel with an electric vehicle. You will need to plan ahead, you will probably need to use the latest technology to find the nearest recharging station but if this 2000 mile round trip was possible using today's relatively small network of recharging stations, what does the future hold?
There are a number over of factors which have come to light during this very adventurous and very challenging journey, which include the fact that while some venues host recharging points, usage seems to be relatively low at this moment in time. There is also the fact that a number of recharging stations were noted as "in-service" only for the couple to find that this was not always the case. This often led to a very tricky and potentially dangerous journey to the next charging station on relatively low charge.
On a more positive note, the Scottish government's recent announcement of significant funding to create a network of recharging stations across the country seems to be working relatively well. The couple from London commented that Scotland had by far and away the more reliable recharging stations and they were informed that there will be 250 such stations by the summer of 2013.
Getting there in the end
While "getting there in the end" is not the kind of challenge and the kind of strategy which the vast majority of motorists from the UK will appreciate, this journey by Brian and Jean Orr certainly illustrates the fact that electric car technology has improved dramatically. There are obviously a number of issues to iron out in the short, medium and longer term but the fact they were able to travel from London all the way up to the Scottish Highlands, and back again, certainly gives many sceptics food for thought.