7 Things to do while your electric car charges

So after writing a bit about how long an electric car takes to charge, I thought I’d write a short post about things to do to whilst your car charges - believe it or not this is something I Googled while I was first investigating EV ownership!

1. Write a blog post

There’s something quite therapeutic about writing, even when you’re not very good at it…
Even without a laptop with you it’s surprising how much you can write on a phone or tablet, and then using Dropbox or similar these can pretty much be ready to go next time you log onto your computer.

I’ve currently got iA Writer installed on my phone and tablet, set to sync to Dropbox, and use Atom on my laptop for writing - at least a few of the words in this post probably came from my phone…

2. Play some video games

Nintendo (MAY THEY REIGN FOREVER!) have been making fantastic handheld games since I was a kid, and with the Switch and new Switch Lite it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon! With home console level gaming now totally portable, I’ve even made excuses to go and charge the car once or twice just to get some free time to play mine!

Modern phones also do a good job at pretending that they can play proper games too (and Mario Run is legit), but if you’re gonna do something, do it right :D

3. Watch a tv show

I like to tell my sons that when I was their age I was lucky if I got to watch an hour of TV that I actually wanted to watch in any given day - until I was 14, we only had 4 TV channels! Now, Netflix is the reason to have an unlimited data plan. Even without data most of the streaming providers also now give the option to download shows to watch later and device storage is getting bigger all the time (unless you buy a Google Pixel…) Is there really any excuse to not have a few TV show episodes stashed away on your phone for a later date?

4. Have a conversation

If you’re not in the car alone, you could try talking to your companion(s)!

…or just go ahead and ignore each other by staring at a screen - see points 1, 2 and/or 3 above…

5. Grab something to eat (or drink)

On a longer road trip where I need to stop to top up my battery mid journey, this is probably the most common way for me to pass the time, potentially swiftly followed by one of the other options above. It’s surprising how long it can take to queue, purchase something to eat, consume it and then return to your car - on more than one occasion I’ve plugged in and found that my battery is already at my target charge by the time I’m back with a coffee!

6. Go to work

This one is actually the one I do most, and it’s the real beauty of driving an EV - when I go to work, I park in a car park that has 10 or so charging stations, so once or twice a week I plug into one of these and my battery is full when I’ve finished in the office for the day. This is so much better than having to detour via a smelly petrol station once a week, no matter how quickly you can fill a petrol tank!

7. Sleep

…And finally, the absolute best option for most people - plug your car in at home and then get to bed. Imagine waking up with a full petrol tank in your car every morning! This can also be the cheapest way to keep your car fueled, as it’s often possible to get cheaper electricity overnight when demand is lower (in fact, some smart tarrifs will actually pay you to use electricity overnight during heavy wind, when the turbines are running full pelt!)

As a wee aside, here are a few interesting numbers. I’ve been driving my EV for 2 years now, and being a total nerd I’ve kept a spreadsheet tracking how much I’ve spent running it - let’s ignore what I’ve actually spent (that’s a post for another day, but I’m lucky that I can get most of my charging for free…) and look at a comparison between what it could have cost for the EV vs a standard petrol car.

So, over 2 years I’ve covered 14,000 miles - in my old Ford Focus this would have cost in the region of £2000 at the tracked average economy of the car, with the petrol price when I sold it (keep that in mind…petrol prices have risen and remained more than 10% higher since then!).

In that time, to drive those 14,000 miles my car has consumed in the region of 5,000 kWh of electricity (wow!), which on my electricity tariff would have cost me approx £650 if I’d done all of my charging at home (in reality if I wasn’t charging at work I’d be doing between 90 and 95% of my charging at home, but stick with me).

Now, on the current best electricity tariff for EV drivers, which tracks at a significantly lower rate overnight, this could be over 50% lower!

In other words, fuelling an EV can be incredibly cheap, and you get to do it while you sleep…amazing!

…and I’ve not even mentioned that you can usually fix your electricity costs for a year…imagine being able to do that with fossil fuels!