Why This Frenchman Regrets Buying an Electric Car

Mayday! Mayday!!  A Miller’s tale from La Belle France !!  Allez le diesel !!!

Here’s a guy who bought an electric car! (Article from the Spectator).

He starts out really enjoying his new car, but then…
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Why I regret buying an electric car

I bought an electric car and wish I hadn’t. It seemed a good idea at the time, albeit a costly way of proclaiming my environmental virtuousness. The car cost 44,000 Euros, less a 6,000 Euro subsidy courtesy of French taxpayers, the overwhelming majority poorer than me. Fellow villagers are driving those 20-year-old diesel vans that look like garden sheds on wheels.

I order the car in May 2018. It’s promised in April 2019. No later, promises the salesman at the local Hyundai dealer. April comes and goes. No car. I phone the dealership. No explanation. The car finally arrives two months late, with no effort by Hyundai to apologise. But I Iove it. It’s quiet, quick and with the back seats down, practical with plenty of room for the dogs. It does insist on sharply reminding me to keep my hands on the steering wheel, even when they’re on it. And once alarmingly slamming on the brakes for no discernible reason.

I’ve installed a charger in my driveway so I plug the car in. It works first time! Then the boss turns on the kettle and every fuse in the house trips. The car is chargeable, but only if you don’t cook, wash clothes or turn on the dishwasher at the same time.

First road trip. Off to the centre of France with the horse-obsessed boss to watch a three-day equestrian event. I consult an app that promises an high-speed charger half way to my destination. We arrive and hunt and ultimately find the charger. It doesn’t work. Range anxiety? More like a panic attack.

We make it to the next charger on the motorway with the battery practically empty and my marriage in peril. It works! But subsequently, EDF, the French electric utility, simply shuts down its entire motorway network after discovering the chargers are not just unreliable but dangerous. In Britain, meanwhile, the Department for Transport has, I read, granted an exclusive contract to install rapid chargers at motorway service areas to a company glorying in the name Ecotricity. These turn out to be equally unreliable and very costly to use. Social networks are rapidly bombarded with complaints.

Back in France, after a two-month wait, EDF upgrades my home electricity supply. Rejoice! We can finally cook dinner and charge the car simultaneously. The little Kona is still mostly performing well. It’s fast. I could beat a sports car from a traffic light, except we have none in my corner of La France Profonde. It’s eerily quiet. But much as I attempt to defend my choice, I’m having doubts.

I meet a British couple in the supermarket car park, down for the summer, loading groceries into their electric Nissan. How was the trip down? I ask. “A nightmare” of broken charging points, they reply, bitterly. A 10-hour trip took 18 hours, with lengthy stops at low-speed chargers, often miles off the highway.

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