One small charging point just off the A1, one giant leap for electric cars?
We always risk overstating a case in our eagerness to press Neil Armstrong’s immortal line from the moon into service one more time. But wait. It will now be possible to drive an electric car from Newcastle to Edinburgh (121 miles) with just one refuelling stop, at Haven Holiday’s Haggerston Castle holiday park in Northumberland. Drivers (who need not be staying there) will be able to charge their vehicles to around 80% of their battery’s capacity in 20-30 minutes. So it certainly is an important event in Anglo-Scottish travel.
I’m sure that that when the “quick charge point” is formally unveiled on June 23 (*), there won’t be long queues to use it. But that’s not the point. Owners Bourne Leisure will, in a very public way, be helping to reduce “range anxiety”, one of the main reasons drivers give for not even considering an electric car.
Even if you doubt the 100 mile range claimed for the newest electric cars, such as the Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, (and not enough miles have been accrued in a full range of circumstances yet for us to really say) most electric drivers who live in the north-east will easily be able to reach the park after a taking a full charge at home .
From then on during their stay a top up at the fast charger should give them enough power for a day’s pottering around the region. And more charging points are promised for the area.
The park should be able to convince some of the doubters with well-placed information panels around the charger, and help change opinions among quite a few visitors this coming summer, even if they have no intention of buying an electric car. It does seem as if we are at the very cautious first stage of the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. One recent poll suggested that only 2% of people would consider buying an electric car (although the north-east figure is nearer 5%).
Installing a fast charger is consistent with Haven Holidays’ commitment to the environment, which goes back to the 1990s. This was was one of the first really green holiday sites, holding a Gold David Bellamy Conservation Award ever since the scheme began. (David Bellamy launched the now widespread campaign to “green” caravan parks on this very site.)
Under the publicly funded North East’s Charge your Car project, 1000 charging points should be installed across the region by 2013.
*The charger will be available for use by motorists from June 23rd and can be found at Haggerston Castle, TD15 2PA , signposted from the AI seven miles south of Berwick on Tweed. The full network of charging points can be viewed online at www.chargeyourcar.org.uk
For more information about Haggerston Castle visit www.haven.com