Updated: Sep 11, 2019
I awoke this morning with a sense of both excitement and trepidation, the excitement that always goes with the collection of a new car, and the trepidation that accompanies any journey into the unknown. There are of course moments in life far more dramatic than the purchase of an electric vehicle, the birth of a child for instance is probably considered a more significant and life changing experience! But here’s the thing, people have kids all the time, it’s a tried and trusted process that is well understood and there is always someone on call to help, which is not the case with Electric Vehicles. Most of us probably felt a little anxious the first time we went to a fuel station to fill up for the first time after passing our test, it’s second nature now of course, but if you’ve never done it before then it’s understandably a little daunting. But despite my trepidation (total fear) I was looking forward to the day ahead.
I arrived at Williams Jaguar in Manchester at 9am as agreed and there sitting in the middle of the showroom was my new EV, looking menacing shrouded in black cloth as is customary for a car collection. With so much to learn about EV, I should have allowed plenty of time for the collection process, but alas I needed to get to work so had made it clear that I needed to be in and out in twenty minutes, and much credit must go to Oz and his colleagues, who facilitated a rapid handover and still managed to make it feel special.
The service from Oz has been terrific from start to finish and the whole buying process couldn’t have been easier, he was a genuine pleasure to deal with. A complimentary umbrella in the boot (perfect for golf) and the teddy bear on the passenger seat (for my daughter) are not a big deal, but little touches like this make the whole experience feel a little more personal and was very much appreciated. The presentation box containing the keys and some very smart key-rings were nothing to get carried away with, but nice nonetheless and gave the whole experience a premium feel.
And so it was, twenty minutes after walking into the showroom I was driving away with not a clue how to use anything other than the basic controls required to get me to my destination, exactly what I’d asked for. The office was only nine miles away so I didn’t learn much, but the instant acceleration was immediately appreciated when pulling away from junctions on busy roads, a significant improvement on the typical lag on the diesel-powered SUV’s that I’m used to.
When approaching my destination, I spotted a colleague parking their car on the road 100 yards from the office; as is often the case when arriving late for work, all parking spaces were taken. But there was hope for me as I was in an EV and there are 10 spaces with charging points reserved for environmentally friendly cars. Sure enough, there were a couple free so that was a pretty big tick in the box for the iPace as I pulled into the space, feeling just a little bit smug! Electric 1 Diesel 0.
Remembering the terror when faced with the prospect of filling up with fuel for the first time 25 years ago, where better to attempt plugging in for the first time than the safe environment of the workplace car park. It would be wrong to suggest that the process was seamless, but with some fiddling around and establishing the order in which things had to be done, I was charging within a couple of minutes and checking progress from my desk thanks to the Jaguar app on my phone. It didn’t need much charge and I was only doing it to test the process, so after a short while I stopped the charging (whilst still sat at my desk) and a shortly afterwards went to disconnect the charging cable. It was at this point that I was quickly reminded of the merit of reading instructions, which of course I hadn’t done. It turns out that to remove the charging cable from the car, you need to press the unlock button twice, which I assumed was a classic JLR electrical ‘feature’, but I’ve since learnt that there is (somewhat surprisingly) a good reason for this. The decision to try charging in a safe environment turned out to be a good one!
A positive first day…