Tesla finally puts Wales on the map
As a business with an unashamedly environmental bias we were recently lucky enough to have a Tesla Model S for a week’s trial. This coincided with my business partner, Andrew Padmore, speaking at the Solar road-shows which started in Edinburgh and finished in Cardiff so he had a good chance to put the Tesla to the test during most of the week and to ascertain how practical ownership of a wholly electric car would be?
Now as most people know or can guess, the biggest issue with ownership of such vehicles is “range anxiety”. The model we were driving had a range of c.220 miles and Tesla has installed a network of strategically placed super fast chargers throughout the UK that are free to Tesla drivers. When you plug your journey into the navigation system it tells you exactly where and how long to charge your vehicle and in real terms this never amounted to any more than 1 or 2 stops for around 20 minutes at a time each day as we traversed the UK from North to South attending the various conferences and this was no burden at all as its pretty much the time it takes to have a coffee and a comfort break and to catch up on your emails.
However, we are and are proud to be, a welsh based business, and our location in South Wales eventually exposed a horrible flaw in Elon Musk’s world domination plans – he had forgotten to put any Telsa super fast chargers in Wales!!! The nearest chargers were in Bristol at the M4/M5 intersection which is about a 100 mile return trip away from our office which dramatically decreases the workable range of the Tesla meaning in practical terms we would start getting pretty nervous if we had to go much further West than Swansea or further North than Merthyr. So that was pretty much game over for us or indeed anyone head quartered or living in Wales unless they were close to the Severn Crossing or only have clients in the East!
Fast forward 6 months and I’m driving up the M4 in my diesel BMW X5 after a meeting in West Wales and the fuel warning light starts flashing so I pull off at junction 36 (Mcarthurglen exit for the shoppers amongst you!) and go to the service station there. Now I have always avoided these services because they are not exactly convenient and secondly they are very “tired” and badly in need of modernisation. Imagine my delight to see that the old services have gone and in their place stands a brand new super modern service station. However, this was not, as it happens, to be the discovery of the day because, unbelievably, neatly tucked away in the corner of the car park I spotted a bank of 8 TESLA SUPER FAST CHARGERS!!!
These chargers definitely put most areas of West and Mid Wales in range for Tesla owners and remove, for us at least, the main barrier to operating Tesla’s in our business in Wales so I very much look forward to seeing you at Junction 36 sipping coffee and reading emails on your smart phone as you recharge your Tesla!