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Rookie Mistake...

A week into my EV journey it has become clear that I need to raise my game if EV is going to work for me; it’s a steep learning curve that’s for sure.

With a long drive ahead of me this afternoon, and with my battery depleted from the journey earlier in the week from my home in the Cotswolds to the flat I rent in the North West, I arrived at work extra-early to ensure I could get a full charge in before embarking on the journey home. My client is a strong advocate of EV and has ten charging points, which in my first week of EV ownership last week provided a seamless experience.

As I was still waiting for my Polar Plus RFID card to arrive last week, a colleague let me use his card to charge but as mine had now arrived, he didn’t bring his with him. I arrived at work, plugged in, and held my shiny new card against the charging point RFID reader as instructed, only to be informed that my card was not registered. This was a surprise as I'd registered an account via the Polar Plus app and it was this process that triggered a card being sent to me, so I had assumed it would be good to go. However, on reflection it makes sense that a card would need to be activated, it’s linked to my payment details and as such has a value associated with it.

I opened the app and was delighted to see the option to Activate my card. Sadly, this was not the end of the story. On selecting ‘Activate’ I was informed that I needed to choose an activation date and that date would need to allow at least four days to enable the activation to be processed. Damn it!

With a busy morning of conference calls and meetings ahead, I quickly searched Zap-Map (already proving to be an essential tool in the world of EV ownership) and discovered that there was an Engenie Rapid Charger at a Sainsbury’s store only three miles away, so off I dashed. Upon arrival I immediately spot four charging bays, all of which are empty, good news.

Now, I’ve been caught out by empty bays before with the reason for emptiness clearly being down to faulty chargers! Happily, in this instance the empty bays had more to do with the fact that it was stupid-o’clock in the morning before most people were out and about. I connected the car, flashed my debit card, and within no time I was Rapid Charging. Exciting stuff!

Whilst this was an inconvenience, I took the opportunity to pick up a few bits of shopping which I was planning to do this evening (saving me time and providing a much more relaxed experience at that time of day than when the masses descend after work), completed a couple of conference calls whilst sat having a coffee, and after an hour I was back in the car heading back to the office. I had to leave before filling up quite as much as I'd wanted as I had a meeting to get back for, but I figured I should probably have enough juice and if not I could always stop for 20 minutes on the way home for a small top-up.

The story doesn’t end there…

Knowing that I was going to post this blog, I thought I would take a picture of the message on the Charger at work informing me that my card wasn’t activated. Once my meeting had finished, I headed to the car park and once again placed my card on the RFID reader so as to trigger the message that I was then planning to take a photo of. Lo and behold, I got a positive message telling me that all was well in the world and that I should now attach my car! Clearly the activation had been instant and was not in fact going to take four days! So, thanks to writing this blog, I was able to put the car on charge to get a bit more juice before setting off for home.

All a bit of a faff but largely of my own making. The EV market is so immature that processes are not perfect and instructions are not always clear, so it clearly pays to read everything twice and to avoid assumptions at all cost.

On reflection, a positive experience. I was in a bind (or at least I thought I was) but there were local charging points available that worked perfectly, my Polar Plus card is good to go, and I managed to do my shopping! Every day’s a school day as an EV newbie.

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