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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow Electricians,
we are a german couple making plans for a 10-day vacation in September starting in Edinburgh.
Of course we want to drive around to get to see as much as possible.
A motorhome is an option as is renting a car making stops at B&B ... because we are driving electric for a year here (ZOE 40) and I really dislike driving Diesel now ... I chose "electric car" on my favourite rental website (billiger-mietwagen.de) to see if there's any - and to my surprise there's in offer for a Tesla S for under 900 GBP including insurance. Wow!
So I quickly checked for charging availability in Scotland and was more surprised because of the high number of stations. But my eyes got even bigger: a great number of these are tagged with "free charging". Come on!
Could someone please get me back down to earth and tell me that this isn't true?
Otherwise I'd say that a motorhome is not an option anymore ...
Source: www.chargeyourcar.org.uk
 

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Hi Dan, charging in Scotland via ChargePlaceScotkand network which has mostly been put in place by local authorities using public money has been free in most areas of Scotland until recently. However COVID19 is rapidly forcing local authorities to introduce payment. I would say that you should NOT expect free charging in September.

What are your route plans, apart from starting in Edinburgh? I think you will find most folk in the tourist areas really pleased to see some fellow Europeans by September. Maybe in a few years we can rejoin the EU too:)
 

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Scotland has lots of charging facilities all over the place, operated by the Chargeplace Scotland network. Most of what you have seen is right, but it is worth checking a little further on Zap Map along the routes you may want to travel. Not all of the chargers are very reliable and there is often only one charger per location, so look out for reports from people to say its broken. SOME Of the chargers are free to use, but others in certain areas are now starting to introduce costs for use. They are still quite reasonable costs though, and are far cheaper than buying fuel for example.

The Tesla Model S (or similar, it isn't guaranteed to be a S) You saw is probably coming from Enterprise. They are hard to come by, so I would suggest you try to book directly with them to avoid a last minute substitution, as will often happen with these types of cars when booked via a third party.

If you are trying to save some money, and aren't too bothered about the Tesla, then Enterprise also have the 24 and 40kWh Nissan LEAF for self service rental from their car club too. They can be picked up for £30 per day with insurance included. They provide you with a charging card and they pick up the cost of electricity for you, you just pay £0.05 per mile.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the quick replies - no I am not fixed to Tesla, it was actually the only electric car that came up on the site. I'd be satisfied with a ZOE. Will see what Enterprise has to offer.
 

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Enterprise also have the 24 and 40kWh Nissan LEAF for self service rental from their car club too.
Checked the Enterprise website and the only "electric or hybrid" car they list is the Tesla (or similar)?
How do I see the "self service club offers"?
 

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The majority of Scottish people are welcoming but don't forget that their Politicians are currently preventing you from flying into Scotland without quarantine and are threatening to implement quarantine requirements at all borders. The attitude of rural communities towards motorhomes is also currently negative.
Hopefully this will change rapidly back to normal in the near future.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I know about the restrictions because of Covid19, since England has loosened policies we just hope Scotland does too in the next weeks. Is the disliking of motorhomes because of Covid (has anything bad happened?) or is it just being "worried about strangers"?
Afterall - driving around in a camper van is having much less "contact" with locals than staying at 10 different B&B ...
 

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Checked the Enterprise website and the only "electric or hybrid" car they list is the Tesla (or similar)?
How do I see the "self service club offers"?
enterprisecarclub.co.uk It's a separate brand to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. You sign up in advance, reserve your car, walk up to it and unlock with your phone. No paperwork, no deposit, no human interaction. Sign up with promo code 'HM031' and you should get free registration and £20 off your rental.

Prices are here:
 

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I know about the restrictions because of Covid19, since England has loosened policies we just hope Scotland does too in the next weeks. Is the disliking of motorhomes because of Covid (has anything bad happened?) or is it just being "worried about strangers"?
Afterall - driving around in a camper van is having much less "contact" with locals than staying at 10 different B&B ...
Not being one of the haters I'm not qualified to answer, and logic rather than NIMBYism was in short supply from the people advocating that they should be kept away. It appeared to simply be the assumption that the pandemic was being spread by strangers and that these tourists would get sick and overwhelm "their" local part of the NHS.
Whether the attitudes have changed yet or will have done so by September is anyone's guess. In Wales they definitely have not in a vocal minority.
 

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I think Dan the most important thing would be to plan very, very carefully in advance. Either for a motorhome or a car using B&B, I suggest you contact places you might wish to stay at. Ask them what is open locally that interests you, such as restaurants, bars, places of interest etc. Also ask them what the locals feel about visitors. Hopefully you will be able to identify places where you would be welcome and have a good visit. The charging for EVs is very good pretty much everywhere in Scotland, by the way. But it can be a bit thinly spaced in the very far north west.
 

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The UK currently has the highest Covid death rate per million in Europe.

Chargeplace Scotland (CPS) is a fairly cost-efficient network because it is publicly-funded with the overt aim of encouraging EV usage rather than making a profit. Charges are rarely more than 30p/kWh and often cheaper or free. My main advice with CPS is not to rely on the app but to ensure you have a CPS card, because many of the chargepoints in rural areas have poor internet connectivity and they will usually switch on for the card but not for the app.

Some small Scottish islands have no doctor or nurse cover (e.g. the Small Isles, Raasay and parts of Orkney and Shetland). Residents of much of north west Scotland are acutely aware of their distance from the nearest hospital. In this context, Covid is especially worrying and there is significant apprehension about reopening for tourism.

I suggest you stick to the Scottish mainland in Sept 2020. The reason for this is that, if local lockdowns are imposed, then, as a tourist, you may not be allowed to board a ferry to some islands if they are affected by Covid at the time of your holiday.

A slightly more conservative approach to lockdown from mid May onwards appears to have helped to contain Covid in Scotland and N Ireland compared to England and Wales however it is not clear yet how fully open the tourism sector in rural Scotland will be in September.
 

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Views are mixed on tourism in the remote bits of the Highlands. It's a really important industry and they will suffer without it. But there's also an acute awareness that we have had very low levels of covid in the community, there are a lot of vulnerable people and it's a very, very long way to Inverness for hospital care. There are small hospitals in Wick, Oban and Fort William, but anything more than standard ward level care needs to come to Inverness.

Hopefully once things have started to open up a bit more again then people will feel a bit more reassured if things are being done sensibly.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Understand. Didn't know how "remote" many villages in terms of medical care in Scotland's Highlands are. Here more and more people feel like everything's normal again. We have had a hard 3 months lockdown, infections are very low and thoughts are to loosen things soon (no more masks, open theaters, allow concerts, ...). I think it's way too early, it feels saver than it really is right now. We will just wait a few weeks and see how things develop and maybe just postpone our trip to next year. Thanks all for insights and help. :)
 

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Things don't feel back to normal yet, although it's certainly much busier. Suddenly there's traffic on the road on my way to work in the morning. Scotland is going more cautiously with the easing of lockdown than England, and in general most folk here are supportive of that. That said, it feels like we're picking up pace through the phases of easing lockdown. As long as our infection rates stay low and Test and Protect works there is real progress happening.

Whenever you make it to Scotland @Dan Dyse I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I live near Inverness and still think every day how incredibly lucky I am to live in this lovely part of the country.

Back to the original questions about EVs and charging. If you're going to remote areas a longer range car would be useful, even if the distances aren't huge the hills can really mess with your range calculations and a lot of our rapid chargepoints are single units with little or no real backup except a long wait using the granny charger. The £20 for a ChargePlace Scotland card is money well spent for it's greater reliability. I'd echo the warning about lack of phone signal to use the app to start a charge. Of course, if you're just going to be around the central belt near Glasgow and Edinburgh you've got loads of options and the chances of being stranded, even in a low range car, are minimal. For chargepoint issues it's worth checking on Plugshare as well as Zapmap.
 
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