We spoke to mobile electric car servicing expert and YouTuber James Coates to get the lowdown on everything you need to know if you often drive long distances in an electric car.
Hi, James, thanks for speaking to us. How many miles a day do you tend to drive, and how does it work for you?
I cover a LOT of miles – rarely less than 250 a day. I got a brand new MG5 electric estate car about 11 months ago, and it’s already done 52,000 miles. I’m a director at Cleevely EV Mobile Services so my job sees me visiting customers the length and breadth of the country – from north of Inverness to Oban, right down to Devon and Cornwall, and everywhere in-between. And I live in Leicestershire.
Most people don’t drive anything like as much as I do on a regular basis. But if people do drive more than average, they don’t need to worry about going electric, as long as they bear a few things in mind.
Oh yes – like what?
First, I’d say to make sure to choose the right car. It’s got to have a decent range. My MG5, for example, can go around 220 to 250 miles on a single charge, depending on the weather and how much weight it’s carrying. So I charge overnight and leave home with a full charge. I have to admit – it’s a little different for me, as I tend to be visiting customers who have an electric car charger. So while I work on their cars, I often plug in for a while.
But there are plenty of chargers out there, particularly on the main routes. And that brings me to my next point – make sure you understand the charging network. It’s also important to use the right charging provider – both because of reliability and price. I love InstaVolt as it has a brilliant app and is really reliable.
Anything else that’s a good idea to keep in mind?
Yes – try to get completely in tune with your car’s capabilities, in all weathers. Lots of people stop and charge when they’re on 40% charge. There’s no need. It’s daft. Just make sure on long journeys you know where there’s one charger that would work for you, and one backup just in case.
I’d also say that if, for example, you tow a caravan to the South of France once a year, don’t let one trip dictate the car you drive all year round. Instead, think about what you actually need in your daily life.
What if you don’t have a home charger – is it still a goer?
If you don’t have a home charger and you regularly drive a long way, it’s definitely trickier. But again, it’s all part of being in tune with what your car can do, and getting into a routine that works for you. For example, instead of hanging around waiting for a charge, use that time. Plan it in, and check emails, get some lunch or go to the gym. Then it doesn’t feel like wasted time.
Do you have any final tips for those thinking of taking the plunge?
If you want real, honest, up-to-date advice, ask other electric car owners. The community is amazing – everyone’s so eager to help. That’s why my wife Kate and I set up our YouTube channel, The EV Team, to help get others on board. I’d also say get on Twitter. There’s a really active, helpful electric car community there where you can get involved and find out everything you could ever want to know.
Basically, don’t let the fact you drive a lot stop you from switching to electric. In fact, I’d say it was even more of a reason to make the switch. Partly as electric cars are such a pleasure to drive – smooth, quiet, nippy. And also because of the cost savings on diesel or petrol. Both of those are even more important when you regularly cover a lot of miles.