<img src="https://secure.cloud-ingenuity.com/793325.png" style="display:none;">
1 min read

What happens when you give a petrol/diesel car driver an EV for a week?

Written by Scott Hamilton-Cooper

Busy mum of two, Jodie Davies works in communications, lives in the Cotswolds, and has a very long commute to the office twice a week.

She actually enjoys the commute to get away from all the noise of her house.  She usually drives a petrol SUV, but in partnership with Audi UK we gave her the chance to swap that for a week to an Audi EV.  Hear what she has to say about her experience with an electric vehicle.

Initial thoughts

I’ve been intrigued by EV ownership for quite some time. Working in the automotive industry, in PR, I read, see and come into contact with a lot of EV products, but I hadn’t up until now, actually tried to live with one.  

My biggest barrier in changing over to an EV is because I live in a town house, on a single yellow line. I cannot park directly outside of my door during the hours 8.30am-6pm. During the daytime, the single yellows are occupied by disabled drivers due to the proximity to the town centre. While after 6pm it is relatively quiet, I’d still be worried about cables becoming an obstruction to the disabled people in my community that park on my street. The highways agency made me cut back my beautiful rose bush because it hung ever-so-slightly into the pavement so I couldn’t imagine I’d get away with cables before someone complained. I also live opposite a very popular pub, so I must consider the inebriated walking past my house in the evening!  

My biggest barrier in changing over to an EV is because I live in a town house, on a single yellow line. I cannot park directly outside of my door during the hours 8.30am-6pm. Jodie Davies EV test driver

I have investigated charging options that create a gutter into the pavement, but seeing as that involves speaking to my local council, it wasn’t something I’ve managed to do yet. As a full-time working mum to two young children, speaking to the council seems to keep moving further down my list of priorities but I do plan to! 

So, considering all of that, could I live with an EV while using public charging only? 

Weekend outings

First outing in the Audi Q4 Etron, AX kindly loaned me was to Waddesdon Manor, a good 60 miles away. With 160 miles in the range when the car arrived, I left feeling confident. Few minutes into the journey I noticed it had dropped to 150 and I had a slight panic at the thought it was dropping too quickly through the miles but I then realised, I had in fact, driven 10 miles!  

On arrival at Waddesdon, I noticed chargers in the car park. This was my first hurdle, I needed an app and I needed to set that up and my kids were complaining in the back needing the bathroom after the long drive. Idea abandoned and I parked in a normal space.  

This was a regretful move, as I only had 30-something miles on range when I got home. Did a search online and found a fast charger in the town centre where I live. Hurrah. Headed there, downloaded the app, only to plug in and have an error message telling me the connection was not working. There were no instructions on the charging station so had no choice but to give up on that.  

Motor Assist and Audi EV PartnershipIn partnership with Audi UK

Beginning the weekend with 30-something miles of range wasn’t an issue this weekend because we were mostly on foot to football, rugby and gymnastic sessions. It did leave me pondering though: what if I did want to ‘pop’ to my sisters 16 miles away? What if there was a family emergency that I needed to get to that is out of my range? This is why being able to charge each night so that your range is full or, like us, having access to a second car that we can jump into, would be important longer-term.  

Quick look online and it showed three BP fast chargers on route to my sisters so for future planning, that wouldn’t be so bad. It’s just extra faff when you’ve kids in tow. In my experience, kids aren’t great at sitting patiently and quietly for 20 mins in the back of a car.   

The morning commute

Monday morning I headed to the office a few miles down the road. I’d usually walk to get some steps in, but I needed charge and I knew they had chargers in abundance. Arrived, downloaded an app, plugged in and hurrah, it was charging. Made my way to my desk and began working, checking on the app now and again to see what the cost was. It was moving up, telling me the charge was happening. After six hours, and £25 being the current amount, I stopped the charging and headed home. The charger was a 7kW, that’s similar to home charging I’ve since found out, and so it was slow, but as I was there all day it was not an issue. It didn’t completely ‘fill’ the range, but gave me 200 miles which was enough for my journey the following day.  

Arrived, downloaded an app, plugged in and hurrah, it was charging. Made my way to my desk and began working, checking on the app now and again to see what the cost was. Jodie Davies EV test driver

Following day was a 160-mile round trip to Kingston which I did without worry. A bit like trusting my fuel gauge, if it says I’ve enough range then I’m not so concerned. Driving an EV did encourage me to adapt a more mindful approach to my driving habits. I found myself paying closer attention to my speed and trying to maintain a lower percentage of battery usage whenever possible.  

Charging point perks

By Wednesday, I was due to charge at the slower 7kW charger at the office, but I decided not to, as I was yet to try a fast charger. The Audi Q4 Etron is rather clever in that it tells me on the dash where all the EV charging stations are and there seemed to be a lot on my journey to Kingston Upon Thames on the Thursday. I stopped at BP Pulse at Reading services where they offer 50% off a coffee while you charge. I sat with my coffee and did a good 20 mins of work in the car before continuing my journey. I’ve always thought of commuting as ‘dead time’, but this actually made the commute efficient in a way as I was able to make a start to my work already.  

I stopped at BP Pulse at Reading services where they offer 50% off a coffee while you charge. I sat with my coffee and did a good 20 mins of work in the car before continuing my journey. Jodie Davies EV test driver

I’m aware that there are charging facilities at my local supermarkets, but being such a busy mum, I tend to have delivery or click and collect, and for the purposes of this experiment, I wanted to live a ‘normal’ week and do exactly as I would to really see if owning an EV would work for me.  

Blog image - Smart charging rollout public network - iStock-1437415041

End of the week: Evaluating the cost

When I looked at the cost, I looked at it in layman terms because all the mathematics online with the calculators seemed a bit confusing. It probably wasn’t, more that I only get a minute to myself before I’m required for dinner, bath and bedtime and so the motherload doesn’t necessarily enable me to think straight past 6pm.

So, this is how I calculated it. I usually fill up my car on a Sunday at the supermarket (so I can trade points for Pizza Express, #mumlife), and filling up is around £70. I do two long commutes to Kingston Upon Thames, and then a few school runs, pop to the shops etc in the week. I’ll usually need to spend an extra £20 on fuel around Thursday to get home. So about £90.

With the Audi Q4 EV, I did my usual week, and using public charging spent £50 and did the same journeys. So, to me, on a week-for-week comparison it was a great saving. I did not take into account what the insurance is, the price of the car, etc. I merely checked a usual weekly cost and based entirely on that decided it’s a great option for my family. It would be far easier, if I did have a home charger, but it really is do-able with public charging where I live, mainly because we have chargers at the office.

Want to find out more?

EValuate from AX is a unique electric vehicle test drive initiative to give petrol, diesel and hybrid car drivers the opportunity to experience what the electrification transition is like. In the event of an accident, drivers can access an electric vehicle for an extended period while their own car is being repaired following an accident.

Discover EValuate