Dr Euan McTurk is a Consultant Battery Electrochemist and has been driving electric vehicles since 2009. He is the owner and founder of Plug Life Consulting helping industry, media, academia and government organisations with a wide range of projects within the world of battery electrochemistry, electric vehicles, energy storage systems and charging infrastructure. He has shared the following thoughts about his experience as an electric vehicle user.
‘I’ve been driving EVs since 2009 and I have recommended them to at least 8 different friends and family members who have gone on to buy one as well. My first EV was from 1999 and predated modern battery chemistries and charging infrastructure, but was an absolute joy to drive on my 30 mile round trip commute.
When I upgrade to a used 24 kWh ‘short range’ Nissan LEAF I thought I would use my hybrid car for longer journeys, but my LEAF proved to be so versatile – especially thanks to the number of rapid chargers in Scotland – that I ended up driving it from Edinburgh as far south as Leeds and as far north as Skye, and retiring my hybrid. It also proved to be borderline mechanically indestructible, never once leaving me stranded with an engine fault or similar.
I recently upgrade to a Tesla, which does over 200 miles per charge. One unexpected thing about this upgrade is that I actually miss charging being part of the adventure, my older, short-range LEAF forced me to find rapid chargers along my route, which in the Highlands of Scotland means that visit lots of scenic locations that you otherwise would not have stopped at to explore for a few minutes.
Battery technology has advanced to the point that the average new EV does 200+ miles per charge, which is more than enough for nearly everyone’s needs, especially if you can charge at home. However, the first round of charging infrastructure in Scotland’s Highlands and West coast is no longer fit for purpose – many sites have old, solitary 50kW rapid chargers which are now considered too slow by many drivers with cars that can charge at 100 kW or more.
Northern Ireland’s complete stagnation on new rapid chargers for many years is causing severe issues for drivers who are switching to Electric Vehicles. As such, the FASTER Project can’t come soon enough and I hope that it is as ambitious as possible so that Scotland and Ireland can get rural charging hubs that rival the likes of the impressive hubs in Norway, the country with the highest EV uptake per capita in the world.
Since the FASTER Project will be adding new rapid chargers to the Scottish Highlands it seems fitting to end of this video of my road trip to Skye in a short range LEAF – if this EV can do it, so can any EV on sale today.