What do I do while the car charges?

This week I’ve been thinking about some of the questions I get asked about having an electric car. The most frequent one is " What do you do while the car is charging?"

For those lucky folk who can charge up at home, it’s not really relevant, but for me, it is pertinent as I charge during the day at public pumps.

So I’ve been keeping a note of what I get up to. Sometimes it is a quick ‘splash and dash’, lasting 10 minutes on a rapid charger, and other times it can be for a few hours on a slower one.

In no particular order:

  • Menu planning: often done en route to doing the shopping, or at the slower pump at Tesco

  • Social media: catching up on Facebook and Twitter, or the latest items on Better Century

  • Writing this blog

  • Going to the loo : an entirely different kind of ‘dash and splash’

  • Phone calls: Calling mum can give me a free 15 miles at a slow charger (the new car will double that). I love that multi-tasking

  • Having a coffee: a fill up at a rapid charger is just long enough to have a latte and read the paper

  • Having a walk: getting my steps in

  • Chatting to other EV drivers or interested onlookers: it always amazes me how people come to chat while the car charges. Most EV drivers are happy to talk about the cars

  • Work: my car often doubles up as my office and getting a charge at the same time works well, and these ones are often freebies. There is also a rapid charger at my actual office so I can plug in and go to work and leave it. If I’m working in the car, I can put the heating on and know that I’m not continuing to pollute the air around me.

  • More and more workplaces are thinking of installing the slower chargers for people whose vehicles would be parked all day, so it’s worth suggesting this. There are lots of grants they can get to help with the costs.

  • Puzzles: My favourites are the Wordwheel and Zygolex

  • Write: I’m currently doing an evening class, so this is a good chance to get my homework finished

  • Emails: they’re never-ending

  • Shopping: whether it’s a quick in-and-out, or a more leisurely browse, there are chargers now in lots of supermarkets, out of town malls or normal car parks. Just check on parking charges too.

  • Evening class: I usually park where there is a slow charger when I go to my evening class, which tops me up by around 30%

  • Listen to music or sing: sometimes I just turn up the volume and hope no-one can hear me

  • Visit places: National Trust sites and many other tourist spots now have the slower chargers. These are often called ‘destination chargers’ and it is acceptable to park up at them and charge for several hours

  • Train/bus: I use the Park and Ride or train sometimes, and can leave the car charging in the car park

  • Lunch/dinner: There have been a couple of places that I’ve gone to for a meal/cinema/theatre trip, which have had a slow charger to use

  • Breast screen: probably the most bizarre so far!

  • Mine was done at a mobile unit in Tesco car park, so I took advantage of a free charge at the same time. Another twofer.

Probably the most noticeable thing is that I rarely charge the car as my primary ‘job’. It generally happens while I am doing something else and the charging is secondary. It certainly wouldn’t work for me if I had to sit in the car for every charge, or if I could only use slow chargers, so it does depend on what is in your area. The golden rule is ABC:Always Be Charging.

There are a couple of apps that people use to locate chargers - Zapmaps and Plugshare are the most popular I think, and there is a new one called WattsUp .

If you want to see if there are any chargers near you, just download an app and have a look. They have different ways of showing the type of charger. Generally, the Chademo or CCS Combo connector are the rapid ones (50kwh or more) and the 7kwh ones are slower (but still called ‘Fast’, just to confuse us all).

There are lots of other questions people have. A great way to find your answers is to go along to the Fully Charged Live Show at Farnborough in May. There will be loads of cars there to see and drive, lots of other companies who deal in all things renewable, as well as lectures by actual experts in their fields. (Yes, experts!)

1 Like

What do I do whilst the car charges ??? I sleep as its always done overnight. The very few times I need to charge our 160 mile Renault Zoe its usually plugged in whilst we shop or eat or use the service facilities but thats very rare. Overnight charging via the inbuilt timer means I can use my cheap rate power from 1230 to 0430 to charge at a cost of about 50 pence to a pound and we are ready to go next day again !! To be fair the Zoe is used mainly by my son to and from work so he only plugs it in once a week anyway, no real maintenance required and we swap them out every 36 months so it’s just the cost of the PCH lease and a few quid for power and away you go !!