Northumberland National Park

Waking up to a nice sunny day (by complete surprise, as rain was forecast), we enjoy the freshly cooked breakfast at the hotel, and pose quickly for a photo. We’d gladly stop here again for a charge! (and a bit of a longer stay…)

kielder_pheasant_innBefore heading to Newcastle for the ferry, we explore the area. There’s a 27 mile cycle track around “Kielder Water”, which is apparently the largest man made lake in Northern Europe. Unfortunately there’s no cycle hire at the south side of the lake, and we don’t want to waste charge to go to the northern side. So the kids cycle, and we walk.



The electricity for last night’s charge came from the hydro-electric station at the dam. 6 MegaWatt of clean power generated here!



Unfortunately we have to make our way to the ferry, but we definately want to come back here! We stop for lunch in Hexham, where we park the car at the local Nissan dealer for a quick “top-up” charge and walk into town (there’s also a rapid charger in Hexham, but we don’t actually need the charge as we still have 80%).




The local Nissan dealer is very enthusiastic about the LEAF, which is clearly shown on his display model 🙂



After lunch we board the ferry, and this time it’s my turn for the window seat!




On our way back…

Leaving gran, and heading back down south. First stop Peebles (again), where the rapid charger is located at the local Police station & Council offices.peebles_return_charge_police_station


The children still argue over who gets to plug in. However, this rapid charger is not quite as easy; Alex needs full force to plug in!



Next stop Newtown St Boswells. We know where the charger is hidden now (we also charged here on the way up), so no problem finding it! Louise’s turn…


Then on to the final destination. A small hotel called “The Pheasant Inn” in the middle of Northumberland National Park (aka the middle of nowhere, it’s desolate here 😉 ), which has a Charge Your Car point on-site. Possibly one of the most scenic charging points around. However, it turns out that there are actually many many charging points in the beautiful part of the country, with most villages having one or more charging locations!



EVA Scotland

By chance the Electric Vehicle Association in Scotland had a meeting at Edinburgh College in Dalkeith (Edinburgh). An interesting talk by Charge Your Car who provided us with the RFID card required for the UK part of the journey. Below some of the LEAFs “bleu-blanc-rouge” !




While some have to work, others enjoy a holiday at gran’s…










Currently commuting to Livingston, with a 71 mile (114 km) return journey every day. Last year I was able to charge during the day in Livingston at the West Lothian Council offices, however, this year I decided to “chance it” and do the journey on a single chance. Mainly because a new rapid charger is available in Bellshill in case I run out. In reality, I return home with 2 bars of charge remaining (roughly 20 km). So the journey is no problem at all.


Charging provided by mother-in-law 🙂





What better present for a 40th birthday than the Runrig 40th Anniversary concert at Edinburgh Castle.edinburgh_castle_runrig

Charging provided by Zero Carbon World at Our Dynamic Earth



In Britain

After a good nights sleep onboard the ferry on a very calm sea, we arrive in Newcastle. This part of the trip was not planned ahead, so we discover the charging points on the way using the openchargemap site. The first chargepoint is at Alnwick, about 60km north of Newcastle. Luckily my new “Charge Your Car” card works flawlessly, and after 22 minutes the car is once again charged to 80%.



After this, we decided to be adventurous. Instead of taking the same road up the A1 as we did last year, we took the small roads through the beautifull countryside in-land. On the OpenChargeMap site we find a fast charger at St Boswells, at about 80km from Alnwick. And after that there’s a second fast charger at Peebles, from where we should be able to reach our final destination.

However, the road becomes quite twisty, and with a lot of hills, so we arrive with only 2 charge bars left (still around 20% in reality). The chargepoint in St Boswells, which is supposed to be on the parking of the Scottish Borders council offices,  is difficult to find. However there’s a warm welcome at the reception, and they’re well prepared for visitors using the charger. Sign a form, and you can even use their ChargeYourCar badge if necessary. Didn’t need it, since our own card was accepted without any problem. While the car charges, the children enjoy an ice-cream in the tearoom at the local garden centre, as it is really warm in Scotland !!!



The next stop Peebles (55km) is no problem. However since we already did 4 hours of travelling, we decide to stay in Peebles Hydro for the night.



The lady at reception didn’t know much about electric cars, but very kindly moved her car from her reserved parking space to give us access to an outdoor socket.




The afternoon we relax in the swimming pool, and the following day we enjoy the many mouuntainbike tracks in the area. The Glentress Forest in particular (, which according to the kids is the best place in the world for mountainbiking 🙂


In the evening we drive the last 80km to arrive at gran’s in Lenzie. We profit from the “heatwave” (meaning it is 25 degrees 😉 ), to have a BBQ in the garden.





Leaving for Scotland

Just like last year, we take the ferry from Amsterdam (well, IJmuiden) to Newcastle. And just like last year we do a final rapid charge at our favourite ANWB charger, with drinks & snacks. We’ve come to know our charging points 🙂


No stop planned at Nissan this year, so we head directly for the ferry. The car is only charged to 80%, but there should be plenty charge points near Newcastle.


The children amuse themselves onboard the ferry :-)




Amsterdam for the day. 109km of motorway, but with all the fast chargers in the Netherlands there’s no need to drive economically 😉


Premier point d’arrêt Delft. Ça n’était que a 45km du départ, donc pas réellement besoin de recharger. 10 minutes suffissent, et ça évite de devoir recharger plus tard.



Ce point est un des nombreux points installées par New Motion, dans des stations BP et Total. D’après la personne au station, elle n’est utilisé que 1 ou 2 fois par jour.  Ça m’étonne qu’il n’y a pas plus des voitures électriques aux Pays-Bas avec un tel réseau de points de recharge. C’est Louise qui branche la voiture et met en route le chargeur 🙂


le point de charge a vu sur l’université ou j’ai passe 8 ans quand même…



Nous avions prévu d’utiliser le point de recharge sur l’un des nombreux Park & Ride au tour d’Amsterdam. Malheureusement a l’arrivée on trouve ceci:



Apparemment cet Ampera occupe cette borne chaque jour de 9h a 18h (pour environ 2h de recharge), et c’est le seul borne disponible sur ce parking. La personne a l’accueil appelle d’autres P+R, mais c’est pareil toute les bornes occupées toute la journée. Dommage… mais je comprends bien, qu’il ne peut pas revenir du centre d’Amsterdam après les 2h pour bouger sa voiture. Il faut donc bien plus des bornes sur ce parkings! Pas grave, on se gare, et on utilisera une recharge rapide après.

Arrivee au centre d’amsterdam avec le tram, on fait déguster aux enfants une spécialiste hollandaise; Poffertjes




Ensuite on visite le “Rijksmuseum”, l’équivalent du Louvre aux Pays-Bas.



Ou se trouve le tableau le plus connu de Rembrandt; “de Nachtwacht”.




Apres avoir marche dans le musee pendant plus de 3h, on etait bien content de pouvoir s’asseoir dans un bateau pour faire le tour des canaux d’Amsterdam. Il y a un tour specifique pour ceux qui visitent le Rijksmuseum qui passe par tout les endroits qu’on a pu voir au musee. Le bateau existe aussi en électrique, mais malheureusement elle était en charge !


Apres un dîner, on retourne a la voiture, puis on s’arrête a un point de recharge tout neuf (encore New Motion, dans un station BP). On était impressionnée par ces deux chargeurs rapide “DC”, dans un tout petit boitier fabrique par ABB. …jusqu’à on s’a rendu compte que le vrai chargeur était un peu plus loin, et d’une taille équivalent de 2 chargeurs ABB normaux 🙂 C’est étonnant que ce nouveau chargeur n’a pas de prise AC pour la Zoe.






The dunes in the middle of the netherlands!

A visit to family in Tilburg, about 80km from Rotterdam. Without the bike carrier this time, and the range improves drastically! After 80km at an average speed of 100 – 110km/h on the motorway, we still have 30km of predicted range.

However, the first point of charge close to the place we were visiting is nowhere to be found. The address on the “Love to Load” application from The New Motion is a private house, and there’s no charger visible. Not really a problem, we have enough range left to get to one of the numerous fast chargers on the way back.

One of the sites to see around Tilburg are the “dunes” in the middle of the country. We park just beside it at another NewMotion chargepoint. The children plug the car in while the parents get ready for the walk (who says its complicated?)


La mer est loin, et ces “dunes” c’est plutôt comme un “desert”! Un endroit étrange!


Pour le retour, on s’arrête a une nouvelle chargeur rapide installée par Nissan avec The New Motion. Parfaitement placé, devant un restaurant AC, juste a cote de l’autoroute.


C’est le tour d’Alex pour faire le recharge. Il se débrouille bien, même avec cet connecteur Chademo assez lourde.

oosterhout-alex-quickcharge10 minutes de recharge suffisent, et ensuite c’est aucun problème pour le retour a la maison. Si il y a assez des chargeurs rapide, comme ici aux Pays-Bas, la voiture électrique peut sans problème devenir la voiture principale !