EV drivers together in electric dreams waiting for a free charger

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
I’ve finally become a fully fledged EV-er and bonded with my fellow drivers. together in electric dreams.

It happened at Tebay services off the M6 in the pouring rain on Easter Monday. My first super long trip in my wee MG4 fully electric machine - no, it’s not a milk float, this thing has an acceleration that makes Ernie’s fastest milk cart in the west look like it was pulled by donkeys.

Going down to Stafford was a dawdle. One stop to charge with a wee top up for good measure, no queues, no hassle. The return plan was simple - that was probably it’s biggest flaw. Stafford to Tebay, charge up and then home. Oh, how we laughed at the sight of the nose to tail traffic heading back south as we rolled along with not so much as a roadwork to impede our journey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tebay appeared on the horizon with some 21 miles juice left as planned, and and we eased on to the turn off and straight into a muckle queue just to get into the car park. The place was hoaching, and when we finally found the EV chargers, two problems immediately become obvious - they were all full, and there were only four in operation.

Just four EV chargers at a major service station in a Bank Holiday (Pix: Pixabay)Just four EV chargers at a major service station in a Bank Holiday (Pix: Pixabay)
Just four EV chargers at a major service station in a Bank Holiday (Pix: Pixabay)

We did the maths: Four cars, charging for an hour each = better get the sleeping bags ready.

You can spot an EV driver quite easily. They are the ones creeping suspiciously between machines looking to see how much charge has been done, trying to work out when the next space will become available. They also drive silently past in ever decreasing circles.

We opted to get some food, but, I don’t think I have seen so many people in service station at any time in my life. There were queues just to to join queues.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Back at the chargers, we swapped horror stories as we hovered in hope.

There was talk of a charger at a nearby Morrisons just 23 miles away. I had 21 miles on the needle, the other guy had 20. Neither of us had the courage to go for it.

Standing around getting wet, I realised that there is no queuing system for EV chargers - just a gentleman’s excuse me as you try to figure out who is next; a bit like going for a haircut if you are a bloke. We don’t make appointments, we just turn up, read a paper and then nod in agreement that it’s our turn for the shears.

EV charging kinda works like that, and it really needs to have a bit more structure – if only to ease the scowls which are trained like lasers at anyone perceived to have just nipped into a space before those who have queued have revved up their engines. Well, silently revved …

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For Tebay to have just four chargers is a disgrace. The dozen or so other machines all covered up have yet to be plugged into the grid while Tesla chargers remain out of bounds to us mere mortals. Had they been operational, it would have been much smoother, and quicker.

And here’s the kicker, spend more than three hours at Tebay and you get walloped with a £13 parking charge. That’ll be a fine because the service station has fewer EV chargers than I could find simply by spinning round Kirkcaldy town centre. If only we had a tenth of the traffic - human and vehicular - that it does. Actually, make that one hundredth...

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.