For many years now, I have been driving a diesel based VW Passat Estate. It has served me very well and been as reliable as I might have hoped given how awful I am with cars. Sadly Gunther was reaching the point where it was going to cost more per year to maintain than the car was worth, and also I've been being more and more irked by not having a car from the future.
I spent many months doing spreadsheets, trying to convince myself I could somehow afford a Tesla of some variety. Sadly I never quite managed it. As such I set my sights on the more viable BEVs such as the Nissan Leaf. For a while, nothing I saw was something I wanted. I am quite unusual it seems, in that I don't want a car which is a "Look at me, I'm driving an electric car" fashion statement. I felt like I'd never get something which looked like a normal car, but happened to be a BEV.
Then along came the Hyundai Ioniq. Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and BEV all looking basically the same, and not in-your-face-special. I began to covet. Eventually I caved and arranged a test drive of an Ioniq plug-in hybrid because the BEV was basically on 9 month lead. I enjoyed the drive and was instantly very sad because I didn't want a plug-in hybrid, I wanted a BEV. Despondent, I left the dealership and went home.
I went online and found a small number of second-hand Ioniq BEVs but as I scrolled through the list, none seemed to be of the right trim level. Then, just as I was ready to give up hope, I saw a new listing, no photo, of the right thing. One snag, it was 200 miles away. No matter, I rang the place, confirmed it was available, and agreed to sleep on the decision.
The following morning, I hadn't decided to not buy, so I called them up, put down a deposit to hold the car until I could test drive it, and then began the long and awkward process of working out how I would charge the car given I have no off-street parking so I can't charge at home. (Yeah yeah, you'd think I'd have checked that first, but no I'm just not that sensible). Over the week I convinced myself I could do it, I ordered RFID cards for various schemes, signed up with a number of services, and then, on Friday last week, I drove down to a hotel near the dealership and had a fitful night's sleep.
I rocked up to the dealership exactly as they opened for business, shook the hand of the very helpful salesman who had gone through the purchase process with me over the phone during the week, and got to see the car. Instant want coursed through me as I sat in it and decided "Yes, this somehow feels right".
I took the car for about a 45 minute test drive just to see how it felt relative to the plug-in hybrid I'd driven the week before and it was like night and day. The BEV felt so much better to drive. I was hooked. Back to the dealership and we began the paperwork. Emptying Gunther of all of the bits and bobs scattered throughout his nooks and crannies took a while and gave me a chance to say goodbye to a car which, on reflection, had actually been a pleasure to own, even when its expensive things went wrong, more than once. But once I'd closed the Passat for the last time, and handed the keys over, it was quite a bittersweet moment as the salesman drove off in what still felt like my car, despite (by this point) it not being so.
Sitting in the Ioniq though, I headed off for the 200 mile journey back home. With about 90% charge left after the test drive, I had two stops planned at rapid chargers and I headed toward my first.
Unfortunately disaster struck, the rapid (50KW) charger refused to initialise, and I ended up with my car on the slower (7KW) charger to get enough juice into it to drive on to the next rapid charger enabled service station. When I got the message that my maximum charge period (45m) had elapsed, I headed back to the car to discover I couldn't persuade it to unlock from the car. Much hassle later, and an AA man came and together we learned that it takes 2 to tango, one to pull the emergency release in the boot, the other to then unplug the cable.
Armed with this knowledge, I headed on my way to a rapid charger I'd found on the map which wasn't run by the same company. Vainly hoping that this would work better, I plugged the car in, set the charger going, and headed into the adjacent shop for a rest break. I went back to the car about 20 minutes later to see the charger wasn't running. Horror of horrors. I imagined maybe some nasty little oik had pressed 'stop' so I started the charger up again, and sat in the car to read my book. After about 3 minutes, the charge stopped. Turns out that charger was slightly iffy and couldn't cope with the charge current and kept emergency-stopping as a result. The lovely lady I spoke to about it directed me to a nearby (12 miles or so, easily done with the charge I had) charger in the grounds of a gorgeous chateau hotel. That one worked perfectly and I filled up. I drove on to my second planned stop and that charge went perfectly too. In fact, every charge since has gone flawlessly. So perhaps my baptism of failed charges has hardened me to the problems with owning a BEV.
I've spent the past few days trying different charge points around Manchester enjoying my free charge capability, and trying different names for the car before I finally settled on 석진 which is a reasonable Korean boy's name (since the car is Korean I even got to set that as the bluetooth ID) and it's roughly pronounced sock/gin which are two wonderful things in life.
I'm currently sat in a pub, eating a burger, enjoying myself while 석진 suckles on the teat of "free" electricity to make up for the fact that I've developed a non-trivial habit of leaving Audi drivers in the dust at traffic lights.
Further updates may happen as I play with Android Auto and other toys in an attempt to eventually be able to ask the car to please "freeze my buttocks" (a feature it has in the form of air-conditioned seats.)