Invariably when someone new asks me what I do for a living, I wince for a moment, as I know what question will come next. A bit like a doctor, who gets asked about a medical problem the person is suffering with, I tend to get asked either what the best car I’ve ever driven was, or I get interwoven into a long debate about what car they should buy next.
A visit to the pub to celebrate a birthday meant that there were quite a few people that I had never met before. I was fashionably late, and so some saw me pull up in a Porsche Taycan. But far from being branded something unpleasant, a couple of the guys that I didn’t know wanted to know all about it. But unusually it wasn’t all about how fast it goes, they were much more interested in the charging regime. One guy was very interested as to whether I had my own charger at home, or whether I had to rely upon a three-pin plug. The discussion was quite refreshing, and it wasn’t too long before I admitted that my regular transport was something more mundane, but still electrified. When I said that I ran a Ford Kuga PHEV, an eyebrow was raised as one of the guys had one on order.
He was very interested about how often I had to fill up with petrol and when I told him that I’d only filled up twice since I got it last September, I clearly impressed him. But the most interesting part of the discussion was whether he should take the plunge and pay out £500 for a charger, or whether he should just charge it from a regular socket. He argued that it takes three and half hours using a type two cable, and six hours with a regular three-pin plug. His working arrangements mean that he only goes into work a few times a week, and even then, the office is 16 miles away, comfortably within the maximum battery range of 35 miles. His office has the capability of charging up while he is there, for now, but I warned that the two chargers they have will probably get quite busy as more electrified cars hit the road. I’m not sure he had thought of that small complication.
I then raised the subject of driving an electrified car in the winter and how the range drops considerably, and by the look of horror on his face, it was as if I had suggested doing something unthinkable to his wife. No-one had told him that the range drops when cold – he had assumed it stayed the same. The final blow was dealt when I reckoned that he wouldn’t get to work and back on a single charge of electricity with the weather at its coldest, and if he wasn’t able to charge up whilst there, he would have to switch over to petrol partway home. Well that was it, he was visibly filled with rage and vowed to give the dealer a piece of his mind, as he knew none of this. After asking me if I was sure, he thanked me for enlightening him. He was visibly shaken, and I almost wish I had asked to sleep with his wife, as I probably wouldn’t have felt so awful for spoiling his day.