Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

At last – Allison Drive charger caught in use!

It’s a massive FIVE YEARS (almost to the day) since I first searched for the nearest EV (electric vehicle) charging point to me.

That find was followed by a little walk to Allison Drive just behind Cambuslang’s main street to fetch a pic, back in 2013.

Ever since, I’ve wandered along there repeatedly to see if it was ever in use.

Finally, last night – I actually found it in use for the first time!

I really expected to find a Nissan Leaf there long before this (there’s a growing number of them around me), but it was a BMW i3 that broke dry spell here.

You can look up the details yourself if interested, but the i3 is reported to have become the third best-selling EV (at the time of writing), and with model variations, and different testing methods, I’m NOT going to give anything relating to range, other than note it is not massive – think around at least 100 miles give or take. But I say that not as criticism, as the 300+ miles demanded by EV naysayers is not needed for most daily journeys.

In fact, it’s quite sad trying to discuss EVs in the UK, as most ‘ordinary’ people (and much of the media) is something in the order of 5 years behind those who dropped the notion that EVs are just ‘milk floats’. Look to the US or Norway for accounts closer to reality.

Now, more local chargers have been added, but I’ve yet to catch them in use (but they are in much quieter places).

Cambuslang Allison Drive BMW Charging

Cambuslang Allison Drive BMW Charging


February 22, 2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More vehicular electrickery – at Celtic (car) park of all places

You could be forgiven for thinking I was looking for electric vehicle related tales yesterday, but it really was all just chance.

While the previous posts were all city centre finds, this was miles away, and I almost missed it. It can occasionally be a place to find expensive cherished registration, if a footballer makes it there before being breathalysed.

I didn’t look closely, but think it’s an Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid) as these seem to be popular.

What’s more interesting is the presence of the mains connection, so far from the parking spot it needs a warning board lest anyone fall over the cable and sue the club for millions! I don’t really need to mention where it is – locals will be well aware.

Seems a little badly thought out, there are walls with closer parking spots, so no real reason for the hazard. Or they could have marked the area appropriately, and allowed/placed qualifying vehicles parallel to the fence. That footpath is hugely wide, and the gate on London Road is permanently locked, never used, and probably rusted shut or seized. Interestingly, Google’s satellite view dates from this year (2017) and has sufficient detail to show (possibly the same) a vehicle connected to the socket.

Still – that a really tall kerb, and it’s debatable if a modern SUV like that one could climb anything so high, and get next to that fence (irony).

There are public charging stations installed in the car parks of the (deserted? – does anything happen in this giant shed?) arena across the road, but whenever I check I have enough water on hand, and trek across their vast empty expanse, not only are there almost no vehicles in the car parks themselves, I’ve never seen a charging station in use.

Mitsubishi Celtic Charge

Mitsubishi Celtic Charge

October 7, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Not the plate this time, but the car

Some things are weird.

While my occasional wanders into Glasgow mean I’m getting used to seeing PHEVs (plug in hybrid electric vehicles) quietly charging on the city’s streets (yet never once to be seen on a charger in the burbs), I can only count one neighbour’s Leaf, and one Tesla Model S that took me by surprise as it passed me at Parkhead, as the only real EV (electric vehicle) sightings, until the past week or so.

Suddenly, it’s “i3s, i3s everywhere!”.

A week ago, one surprised me as it came out of a pub car park (full of football supporters).

And in the past couple of days, two walks into Glasgow netted at least another four more, usually moving, but the one below was parked.

I was a little surprised to see this was a 2015 plate. While I haven’t really been paying close attention (much as I might like one, an EV is not within current budget plans), most of the mentions I’ve come across for this car have been from the other side of the pond, and based on US buyers (they are way way ahead in this respect).

Interestingly, EVs come with ‘magic’ installed as standard. For example, one of the i3s I came across was stopped on one of our steeper hills, pointing uphill at traffic lights. While the ‘normal’ vehicles  generally did their usual ‘hill start’, EVs just don’t care, and the electric motor controller just holds them stationary with static motor torque, no real effort needed by the driver – who just presses the pedal to move off when desired. No drama, no throttle/brake/clutch juggling, no sliding backwards.



October 7, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

My second PHEV (that’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)

This is only the second vehicle I have caught in the act of being charged at a public street charger (yes, we really do have these in Scotland).

But it’s only the first I’ve posted a pic of – due to some system changes I’ve lost the first on in the filing system, and really will have to go find it and post it one day, even if just to be awkward.

It’s strange, and something I can’t quite understand, but the mere mention of electric vehicles (EVs) is enough to bring out the loonies, or the Naysayer Brigade, and have mindless scorn poured over anything you say about them, or be facing some sort of rabid anti-EV activist that you’ve just transformed an otherwise normal, sane, person into.

I think the saddest aspect is their similarity to Flat-Earthers – no matter what evidence you present to them, they refuse to accept it and parrot all the myths about EVs in much the same way as Flat-Earthers continue to claim that NASA lied about all the space missions, and how even passenger flights are all lies, somehow managed by ‘Them’ to hide the fact that the Earth is flat.

I thought these folk had gone away, but was recently sent a pic of a van in the US with a big sign offering “$1,000 to anyone who can prove the Earth is not flat” and plastered with various “NASA LIES” stickers and clips from stories that ‘prove’ the Earth is flat.

Much the same as arguing with that van owner would be pointless, I gave up trying reason with any anyone who laughed at ‘Stupid EVs’ and said ‘They’ll never work’.

I was surprised to read that the Outlander is the UK’s best-selling hybrid, I has no idea. I’m more used to seeing the few Nissan Leaf’s (full battery EVs – no engine) that flit around my area. I had to dig up some specs:

The Outlander has a 12 kWh 300 volt battery said to be good for 30 miles, and is  a true series/parallel hybrid which means the front and rear electric motors provide primary motivation and are the only source of propulsion away from a stop. When the battery is depleted, the engine generates electricity for the motors. At higher speeds, when the driver calls for full power or when climbing a steep grade, the engine can turn the wheels directly, contributing its power more efficiently.  UK-spec models have two 80 hp electric motors and a 119 hp 2 litre four-cylinder engine. A full charge take 3.5 hours using a 16 amp 240 volt supply, while a quick-charge (CHAdeMO DC) to 80% is quoted at 30 minutes.

Having mentioned anti-EV loonies, it’s only fair to say I can get pro-EV loonies worked up by mentioning cars like this PHEV in their presence, and they will berate me for “Promoting that pointless option” as they believe only FULL BEVs should be promoted.

Loonies, don’t you love ’em?

(Preferably roasted, over a slow fire.)

Outlander PHEV Charging In Glasgow

Outlander PHEV Charging In Glasgow


Outlander PHEV Charging In Glasgow

Outlander PHEV Charging In Glasgow

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Guildford Square EV charging point reported

Car Battery

Afraid I can’t provide a pic (but there is one provided in the story referenced below), but I was intrigued to see that the parking area in Bute’s Guildford Square had sprouted an electric vehicle charging point recently.

And in addition to that, a comment after the story tells of one at the Wemyss Bay ferry terminal too.

Bute’s first public charging point for electric vehicles has been installed in the centre of Rothesay – although it won’t be ready for use for several weeks.

The facility will make the prospect of owning and operating an electric vehicle much more attractive for residents of, and visitors to, the island – not least because of a 50 per cent fare discount which is applied to electric vehicles on CalMac’s Rothesay-Wemyss Bay ferry crossing.

That discount was introduced by the Scottish Government in September 2013 – though, as we pointed out at the time, it was rendered effectively useless by the lack of charging points for vehicles which tend to have a range of only 50 miles or so.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson confirmed that that (sic) 2013 discount scheme is still in place.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said the new equipment, provided with funding support from the same Transport Scotland, would be operational “in a matter of weeks”.

It is expected to take two hours to fully charge an electric vehicle at the new facility, though the council is also working towards installing ‘rapid charging points’ at other locations in Argyll and Bute.

First electric vehicle charging point for Bute – The Buteman

The change may be incremental, but is happening despite the cries of the naysayers who seem to have some hatred of EVs.

I came across another new one a few days ago, by chance, in the outdoor parking space of new homes built in Glasgow’s Dalmarnock.

Might be time to wander around the list of those nearby, that one is not listed, and the last one I found had its guts removed when I passed it later (decommissioned, not vandalised).

Note for nit-pickers: I know EVs don’t use car batteries for power (pic at top of item), but I have to use copyright free images, and don’t have my own EV to take pics.

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | 2 Comments

An EV charging point in Scotland – no more!

It was about a year ago when some news articles about electric vehicle (EV) charging options in Scotland led me on a trail to find that there was one nearby, in Cambuslang.

It’s sad how retarded the UK is regarding EVs, given the small size of the British mainland, and this may be down to the influence of Top Gear’s negative portrayal and misinformation regarding the technology. I’m pretty sure many viewers believe the stories featured by the team, and have not realised that Top Gear is no longer a serious motoring programme, but a money-spinning  entertainment brand. As a result, I estimate that the average UK resident is about 5 years behind the reality of EV technology and capability, and is put to shame by the average American, generally regarded as an energy waster.

I’ve been back to Cambuslang a few times since them, but only recently decided to dive down the back street again, and have a look at the EV charging point – to see if it was still there.

I was not disappointed.

Despite the addition of a few signs to advertise its existence and categorise the parking bays around it…

The charging point had been stripped of all its charging hardware, leaving only the box that once held it.

There’s a map showing it to be ‘In Service’ here:

Charge Your Car – The UKs open recharging network

Perhaps needs a little ‘live’ updating.

Allison Drive electric vehicle charging station

Allison Drive electric vehicle charging station

Closer look at the box:

Alison Drive EV charger remains

Allison Drive EV charger remains

How the top used to look:

Eelektrobay panel

Elektrobay panel

This is both sad and unfortunate, and is only one isolated example, nevertheles it does nothing to foster the reality of EV operation around the rest of World, and reflects badly on the UK, supposedly technically aware and advanced, and often claiming to “lead the World” in innovation.

With UK fuel duty hammering drivers, one would think it would be easier for EV innovation to be more eagerly adopted compared to the US, which still has less punitive pricing.



February 9, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ermagerd! An EV charging point in Scotland

Will the coincidences never end?

One day I write about battery/electric ferries, the next day the media carries news about EV charging point every 50 miles on Scotland’s roads, then…

I bump into a genuine EV charging point in a Scottish car park!

Elektrobay panel

Elektrobay panel – there’s another the same, around the back

To be fair to the laws of coincidence, I did actually know this one was there, but didn’t expect to see it quite so soon.

You can find this charging point in the car park in Allison Drive, to the south of Main Street Cambuslang, behind the shops. It’s in the south east corner, and can supply two EVs.


Technically, this is known as ‘slow charger’ as it is basically a normal 240 V 13 A supply, so would take a few hours to fully charge a depleted battery, but would serve a top up for someone going shopping for an hour or two. The connector is a standard UK/European type, conforming to IEC 62196-2 “Type 1” – single phase vehicle coupler – and reflects the SAE J1772/2009 automotive plug specifications.

Public charging stations conforming to IEC 62196 that have a specific socket type such as  SAE J1772 can be used with other plug types by means of adapters – however the current will not be enabled unless an IEC 61851 presence signal pin is connected and the current will be limited to 16 A unless an IEC 62196 charging mode signal is detected that specifies a higher current level.

It illustrates a problem that is yet to be solved with public EV charging systems. As I’ve noted before, we are 5 years behind America (and maybe quite a few others) with regard to EVs, and that socket is only good for slow charging, while the Americans have standards that allow their EVs to be charged from high-speed chargers, taking only an hour or so to fully charge an EV. However, America, Europe, and Japan are still using different connectors, so there can be problems depending on where an electric or even plug-in hybrid has come from.

Worse still, manufacturers have their own ideas about connectors and charging systems, with companies such as Tesla having their own systems that only fit their own cars, although they do have impressive charging rates compared to ‘universal’ systems.

For example, the SAE connector below handles various charging standards, both slow and fast. As you can see, it’s never going to work with the socket seen above (I’m not suggesting it should, merely noting the existence of incompatibility):

SAE charging connector

The target of having only one charging connector has probably been missed already, with Japan and North America having a single-phase connector on their 100-120/240 V grid (Type 1), while the rest of the world (China and Europe) has chosen a connector combining a single-phase 230 V and three-phase 400 V grid (Type 2) connection. The SAE and ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles) are trying to avoid a similar difference for DC charging by crating a standard that adds DC to the existing AC connector types such that there is only one “global envelope” that fits all DC charging stations – for Type 2 the new housing is named Combo2.

Back in the real world, here’s the other side, so you’ll know what an EV charging point looks like (well, this particular make and model anyway), and can recognise one if they ever start to breed:


I don’t suppose I’ll be using it any time soon, so if you happen to be in the fortunate position of being able to play with this for real, let us know. It would be shame to think of it sitting there doing nothing more than gathering dust, or pretending to be a piece of modern sculpture.

Who knows – maybe it will appear on the:

PlugShare – EV Charging Station Map – Find the nearest location to charge your electric car!

Site we were told about in the comment below.

February 8, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scots to get charging points at 50 mile intervals on trunk roads and free points installed at home

It’s a funny coincidence that I should have completed and published a short write-up on hybrid and battery ferries last night, and then had that followed by the news that Scotland has some surprisingly forward thinking plans published in the news the following day.

I have to declare an interest of sorts, since I have followed the development of the various forms of electric vehicle (EV) in America, where things are much more mature and sensible, and although there are arguments, they don’t degrade to the level of pure politics and attract the attention of the Green Loonies as they do here. In many respects, we are probably about 5 years behind our American cousins, and need to stop playing at “winning points” for the best put down of electric cars, and start growing up.

I would write more about developments in this area (and there are many), but when I see the childish remarks and scorn poured on those who do, consider I might as well not bother, as the anti-car brigade have their own mindset, and appear closed to any sort of sensible discussion. If you are nor walking, on a bike, or using public transport, then you are largely dismissed before even saying something. You can see this attitude in the comments of the greenies and the opposition in the news items linked below. They really have to stop slating EVERY plan simply because they don’t think it is the right shade of green. And it’s really poor quality argument, if the best one of them could come up with was some sort of out down based on the class system. (You’ll have to read the full news stories linked, in order to see their comments, which I am not repeating.)

Given that I also wrote about the drive to increase Scottish tourism a few days ago, it was also interesting to see that the scheme extends to include charging points at ferry terminals, so tourists can leave their EVs on charge while they go for a sail – although the concept may have a little quirk in that most ferries allow them to take their cars with them, so they can tour the island they sail to. I also wonder how many charging points will be provided at each ferry terminal.

Electric car

Plans have been announced which will see Scotland have charging points installed such that drivers of electric vehicles are never further than 50 miles from a charging point when on trunk roads. Leisure centres, council car parks, and ferry terminals are also to have points.

This was accompanied by the announcement of a further scheme which will allow householders to have home charging points installed for free, through 100% funding.

Announced on Wednesday, the government plans to introduce a £2.6m scheme to install home charging points for free as well as a network of public charging points.

Transport Scotland will contribute £750,000 towards the scheme, which it is hoped will help the country meet their target of having only electric vehicles on the roads by 2050.

Funding will be provided to put points in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, Stirling, Ayrshire, Fife, North and South Lanarkshire. Park and rides, leisure centres, libraries and public car parks will be used as the location.

Ferry terminals at Tarbert, Oban, Harris and Islay will also have rapid charges installed, allowing motorists to top up to an 80% charge in half an hour.

Via Scotland will have electric charging points installed every 50 miles | Scotland | News | STV

A total of £2.6m is being invested in the scheme, which the Scottish government hopes will contribute to their aim of “decarbonisation” of road transport by 2050.

Reducing emissions It is being funded by the Scottish government’s transport agency, Transport Scotland, and the Department for Transport’s Office of Low Emission Vehicles.

Mr Brown (Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown) also said the government was launching a new website, ChargePlace Scotland, which will allow the public to find charging points and detail financial help available to switch to an electric vehicle.

Transport Scotland’s Plugged-in Places project provides 100% funding to buy domestic charging points, which will be installed by energy firm SSE.

David Densley, head of sustainable transport at SSE, said: “Electric vehicles have an important role to play in contributing to a low carbon economy and the installation of charging points across Scotland in the coming years will go some way to helping achieve this.”

Via Plan for electric car charging points across Scotland

It’s interesting to note this was quickly followed by a UK announcement which highlighted the fact that this sort of funding is not nationally decided, but changes at each border on this tiny island nation, and those outside Scotland will only get 75% of their home charging points installed for ‘free’, meaning they have to come up with something in the order of £250.

Electric car charging points in garages and driveways get 75% subsidy

I mentioned earlier how childish the attitude I find the attitude in this country currently is towards EVs, and this was exemplified in the article about the 75% subsidy where it was noted:

A report by the Commons Transport Select Committee in September last year questioned whether government subsidies to encourage people to drive electric cars were a good use of public money.

They had benefited only a “handful of motorists”, MPs said, and were being used to help more affluent households with the cost of a second car.

What exactly were they expecting? The subsidy is relatively small, so only affluent “Early Adopters” can afford to buy EVs at the moment, as they are essentially low-volume experimental vehicles, which will probably have lousy resale values compared to conventional vehicles, or later and more developed EVs. The subsidy is intended to stimulate this market, not create it completely and buy EVs for the non-affluent. As far as I’m aware, no-one is buying that group an ordinary car at the moment, and the Government would not last long if it did such a thing.

It looks as if MPs also need to grow up, and stop just tying to score points.


The following sites provide further information:

Transport Scotland

E-cosse | Advancing Electric Vehicles in Scotland

Electric Vehicle Association – Scotland | For EV owners and drivers

ChargePlace Scotland

NCR – National Charge Point Registry

Office for Low Emission Vehicles

You can also get a world wide idea of charging location on the following site:

PlugShare – EV Charging Station Map – Find the nearest location to charge your electric car!

But this will only work if those who know where the sites are actually add them.

Tesla Model S Performance versus Dodge Viper on the drag strip

Here’s the latest Tesla Model S Performance running the quarter-mile against a Dodge Viper SRT10 – when I say the Americans are well ahead in EVs, I really do mean it.

They had to mount the camera on the BACK of the Tesla so it could watch the Viper behind it.

This particular Tesla saloon car is the 85 kWh Model S, which has an impressive 265-mile EPA-rated range, and eats the standard benchmark 0-60 mph sprint in only 4.4 seconds, and has achieved 3.9 seconds in its best run. Not bad for a production EV weighing in at 4,690 lbs kerb weight. There are few internal combustion production 4-seat family saloons that can reach that sort of performance, let alone sports/performance cars. That figure turned out to be a world record – when the car ran a best time of 12.371 @ 110.84 mph with 0-60 mph coming up in just 3.9 seconds.  The National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) was on site running their Winter EV Nationals and verified the Tesla runs to have set a new world record for the quickest production electric vehicle in the 1/4 mile.

It’s not all about party pieces though, and the American are running many more hybrid vehicles, and gaining experience with what is, after all, still a very young car technology which is changing all the time as battery technology changes almost daily.

For example, although most EVs use lithium based battery technology to reduce the size and weight of the battery pack, it was recently announced that traditional lead-acid battery had now advanced to the stage that such batteries could now match the size, weight, and performance of current lithium types. The advantage would be one of cost, and it remains to be seen if any manufacturer chooses to follow this route, which represents yet another new technology that would require further research and development to make it work in EVs.



I started this post with a comment about how backward this country (as in Britain or the UK as opposed to Scotland, just to be accurate) was with regard to EVs and any proposals made around them – it wasn’t long until I was proven right.

The very next day after the news of the ’50-mile’ charging points was announced, the news was followed by a story which claimed they would lie unused, and was followed by a string of comments from readers who dismissed EVs almost completely out of hand.

And then there was poll on the page, where 33 respondents (66%) chose the option of “No chance, they’re not an effective means of travel.”

Like I said above, there’s little point in posting about EVs in the face of closed minds, probably 5 years or more behind the rest of the world. Even China is more realistic, even if its EVs and charging infrastructure is rubbish – it has a stated aim to be a leader in the technology in a few years. It has to be, as it has so many cars it it is choking under a killing smog on some days.

Via Fears electric car charging posts will go unused – Transport –

I bet readers are assuming I am an EV advocate, but I’m not.

I just take the time to follow all the alternative to ICE (internal combustion engines), and see that they are the current next step. At this stage, I wouldn’t dare predict we will all be using them in 15 years, or that one of the alternatives will not have overtaken them by then, merely that burying one’s head in the sand and carrying on with ICE is not going to work.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment


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