Charging Around: Exploring the Edges of England by Electric Car by Clive Wilkinson
|Charging Around: Exploring the Edges of England by Electric Car by Clive Wilkinson|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A look at the journey undertaken by Clive Wilkinson and his wife, Joan in 2018. The subtitle should probably have been 'in search of a working charging point'. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: April 2023|
|Publisher: Eye Books|
Clive Wilkinson has a history of travelling by unconventional means with a preference for slow travel. As he neared his eightieth birthday the idea of exploring the edges of England in an electric car was not totally outrageous. In fact, it should be a pleasant holiday for Clive and his wife, Joan, shouldn't it?
For a long time now, I've hankered after an electric car and a couple of years ago we took the tentative first step into the arena by buying a hybrid which didn't require a charging point. Still, when you have the sort of roof which would take far more solar panels than we need to satisfy our demands for electricity, it's tempting to wonder if we could cut out the oil companies completely. Charging the car at home would be no problem but what about longer trips: how easy would it be to recharge the vehicle?
Now, it has to be pointed out that Clive and Joan undertook their 1900-mile journey back in 2018 and the provision of working, accessible charging points might have improved since then. On the other hand, it might not. But, back to the book. The Wilkinsons explored the northern fringes of England, the east coast from Northumberland to Kent and then a little way along the southern coast before turning north again.
It's not a trip to take in the popular tourist resorts in the main. Despite this being a predominantly coastal journey you'll visit some of the lesser-known spots. Clive gives us a brief and invariably entertaining history as well as the geographical context. The measure of this is that you always suspect that Clive knows far more than he's told you and that he's just given you a few highlights. This is not a book when all the research has been mercilessly shoe-horned in.
The subtitle of the book is exploring the edges of England by electric car but it could equally well have been a journey in search of a working and compatible charging point as the trip seemed to be overshadowed by the need to plan around finding a charging point. Even when it was found, it might not be compatible or even working. This was frequently hilarious from the reader's point of view but must have been frustrating for the Wilkinsons. Available help was frugal with suggestions such as 'can't you put some petrol in it?' or instructions not to park at the charging point as it was reserved for electric cars.
On balance, I think I will love our hybrid for a while longer. It's economical to run and there's no need for a 45-minute (at best) recharge to be built into the schedule. I did enjoy the book, though and I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.
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