Party, Party!

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Well, we haven’t done this in a while! It’s fair to say that many of our immediate circle of neighbours have all had significant things to ‘deal with’ these past few months, so tonight was the perfect opportunity to get together.

We played to our strengths, Ann weaving her magic in the kitchen and creating a couple of cheesecakes and me – washing the car! ๐Ÿ˜

With our strengths played-to, we picked up Paul and Karen and headed off in the direction of long-time friends, Tom and Julie (Georgina was celebrating her birthday today – and we’d all been invited!).

At the last minute, Trish and John couldn’t make it, but it still felt like a house full with aound 40 people there!

Safe to say, Ann’s cheesecakes went down a storm!

We stayed until around 10.30 leaving everyone else to finish the food and drink! It had been a really good ‘do’ although Eileen – Tom’s Mum – did manage aggravate her her knee along the way resulting in some much needed TLC – and an extended period on the sofa!

I’m tempted to say tonight was a great ‘knees up’ – but that wouldn be sooo corny! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cambridge-sur-Mer

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Ann and I drove over to Cambridge today. I say ‘drove’ as ‘sailed’ would have been more appropriate I think! – so much rain! ๐Ÿ˜ณ And add to that, the mega-roadworks as they transform the A14, meant slow progress!

Still, we made it in around an-hour-and-ten! ๐Ÿ‘

Gone are the days where I used to drive into the city itself and take pot-luck with parking! It’s all too stressful in 2019, and so, instead, our destination was Trumpington’s Park and Ride!

And whilst Ann then jumped on the bus and headed for the city in full shopping-mode, I took the gentler approach and met up with Sal for Lunch!

Sal and I took the bus to right opposite our destination – Brown’s in Trumpington Street – in fact, it was such a quick journey we arrived too early for lunch! ๐Ÿ™„

Brown’s Coffee area and Bar

A perfect excuse then, to try out their coffee area and begin our catch-up until lunch began at midday!

Twenty minutes later, having no doubt bored Sal rigid with news of our China trip, we then grabbed a table in the restaurant.

We haven’t been here for a while, and we both wondered if the food and service would be as good as we remember it! We needn’t have worried as Brown’s easily maintained its reputation for good-value food that was delicious, together with service that was efficient and friendly! Top marks!!

After our excellent Lunch we wandered back to John Lewis to meet up with Ann, before catching the Park-and-Ride Bus back to where our day began. It was still raining! ๐Ÿ™„

We said our goodbyes in the car-park, and as the weather deteriorated further, we headed off towards the M11 – Sal heading south whilst we headed north!

We’d all had a great day – Ann bagged some bargains whilst I caught up with Sal, who I haven’t seen in a while. Ducks would have also enjoyed the day! ๐Ÿ˜€

Film: Spiderman: Far from Home

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We travelled not far from home today, returning to Cineworld at Rushden Lakes.
This time, to catch the latest Marvel Super-hero Movie: Spiderman: Far from Home.

4.5 stars

And not just any old film presentation! We chose the iMax version (and in 3D too!). What a feast for the senses! ๐Ÿ˜ต

What is ‘iMax’ anyway?

An iMax presentation is a superior film presentation technology showing on a much larger screen (both width and height). A standard iMax screen is a whopping great 72ft by 53ft, but even larger ones exist around the world (see below). iMax movies also feature a sharper picture with superior sound quality, normally across (at least) six separate audio channels.

Special cameras are used during the original filming to capture the much higher-quality picture and soundtrack. To leave more room on the film track for maximum picture quality, the audio is recorded separately. Cameras are costly, at around $12000-16000 per week to rent – and there are fewer than 100 of them in total around the world.

The iMax screen ratio is different from a typical widescreen TV (normally 16:9 ratio) and most other cinema film formats – as iMax favours a unique 1.90:1 ratio. Two separate projectors are used, and in the case of 3D presentations, it’s one projector for each eye! In a typical iMax Cinema, the seating is more highly-raked to give the audience a more immersive feel – but the seats do not recline in order to optimise the iMax 3D effect.

As I write this, Germany is about to open the biggest iMax screen in the world (a massive 122ft by 72ft) but Darling Harbour in Sydney is re-building their iMax cinema to regain the title (due for re-opening in 2020).

For those who appreciate iMax nerdiness, there’s a longer article HERE

We picked Jo and Janet up at 3.45 and headed for our destination and the 4.20pm performance. A typical Saturday at Rushden Lakes meant that parking was err, ‘challenging’ – and that included the majority of the electric charging points too! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ.

Luckily (and pretty close to the cinema itself) we spotted an empty charging-bay and we parked-up quicker than you can say ‘kilowatt’.

After grabbing some drinks, we headed for the iMax screen armed with our free 3D glasses. We were soon seated in row ‘M’ (almost at the back and perfectly central to enjoy the best view). Surprisingly, I’d say that the Screen was only about a third full (but maybe other fans had seen it earlier in the week when it was first released).

Unlike other screens here, the iMax seats DON’T recline, but even so, they were very comfortable! Word to the wise! – avoid Row L for a while, as a Marvel fan in front of us managed to completely spill her two-gallon bucket of Coke on the nearly new seats! ๐Ÿ™„ – and that was before the Movie had started!! Even Spiderman’s hands are that ‘sticky’! ๐Ÿ˜‚

On the dot of 4.20, we slipped on our 3D glasses and we were off!

Wow! The 3D effects were amazing, and the picture itself was pin-sharp! Apart from our first visit here earlier in the week, I can’t recall ever seeing such a clear picture (maybe apart of the film: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ that we’d seen at the local Odeon back in November, 2017).

As the story unfolded, it became clear this wasn’t a typical super-hero yarn, and it therefore required a fair bit of concentration. There’s a massive plot-twist around an hour in, but it’s OK, I won’t reveal the details here; suffice to say, it’s not a good time to pop to the loo!

The SFX were simply outstanding – but that’s becoming the norm these days! Even so, we were still mightily impressed! As an example, if you have a familiarity with London’s Tower Bridge and the surrounding area, then prepare to be amazed… and some! ๐Ÿ˜›

Like all Marvel films, it’s wise to sit through the end of the credits, not just to see the sheer amount of talent it took to get this latest blockbuster to screen, but to gain a clue-or-two as to what’s next for the Marvel-verse.

Even without any 3D effects this is a must-see movie for Marvel fans – and even if you’re not, it’s a very engaging and watchable adventure. Go see!

On the way out, we slipped into Heavenly Dessert nearby for some err, heavenly desserts! By the time we’d finished eating, Robert (our e-Niro) had been on charge for a little over 3ยฝ hours – it turned out to be have been enough time to completely ‘top the car up’ – and best of all, for zero cost! Happy days!! ๐Ÿ˜

Guilty as Charged!

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It’s been a week of experimentation whilst we tried out various Public Chargers for the first time.

Tuesday: Our first public charge (almost!)

First stop (on Tuesday) was Rushden Lakes where there are 7 chargers (5 x 7.2w + 2 x 22w, all shiny new) – and better still, they’re all free! Pity then, that I was guilty of not RTFM, because after plugging-in and going shopping, we returned an hour or so later to find that Robert had not charged at all! ๐Ÿ˜• I’d forgotten to take the car off off-peak charging. Doh!! ๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿ‘Ž

Friday: Our second Charge (success!)

Roll on Friday, where, on the way to Bishop’s Stortford, I dropped into Birchanger Green Services (M11, junction 8) in search of their two charging stations. What made these slightly different was that all Ecotricity’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and therefore my conscience was as clear as the Charging Stations’ parking bays! ๐Ÿ˜Š. There were three plugs on offer per Charger (although they all looked a bit battle-scarred and un-loved) of which two of the three, in theory, suited the e-Niro.

So, me being me, I chose the biggest plug on show, meaning it was a rapid type (a CCS Combo pushing 50kW, since you asked). These generally aren’t free, but at ‘only’ 30p per kWh, it’s still a cheap way to ‘fill-up’. I plugged-in and the App on my phone – and the Charger’s screen – confirmed the car was charging (after I remembered to switch off off-peak charging! ๐Ÿ˜‰)

40-or-so minutes later, Robert was fully juiced – Mission accomplished!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ. Around 50 miles had cost me just ยฃ4.50!

We Haven’t Saved the Planet!

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Well, after exactly a week of ownership, we may not have saved the planet (yet!), but we’re saving something! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘

#GoElectric #eNiro

The Kia e-Niro ‘First Edition’. For more info, click HERE

Fully Charged Live 2019

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It seemed appropriate that our first major outing in our very first EV would be the Fully Charged Live Show at nearby Silverstone!

After picking up Chris and Mark in Northampton, we headed for this iconic location, where, in addition to plenty of ‘talkie-bits’, there was also an opportunity to test drive the latests EVs and look round at the numerous electricity-related Stands. I’d got my eye on test-driving the Jaguar i-Pace.

Hosted and organised by Red Drarf’s ‘Kryten’ aka actor, Robert Llewellyn, this was a Show for anyone with an interest in electricity and its role in the future of the Motor Industry.

Plenty to see and do!

Before going, I had a feeling this might be an event just for sandle-wearing envronmental hippies, but I was totally wrong! I’d go as far as to say, it was pretty ‘mainstream’ judging by the amount (and type) of people there (on both sides of the microphone).

..and plenty of experts on hand

We arrived just after 10 am, and judging by the Car-Park, it was already very busy. In addition to the numerous ICE cars, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many privately-owned Teslas – and even more pleased to NOT see another e-Niro! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘. I’m sure there were going to be some – but ours was the only one when we arrived. It was truly a ‘rare beast’!

Our first big decision of the day was whether to take the short journey to the Show by Bus or by chauffeured Tesla. Ordinarily, this would have been a no-brainer, but with what seemed like the whole world queuing for Musk’s supercars, we took the free Bus instead!

Ten-minutes later, we’d arrived and we took a quick look round the exhibits inside before our first coffee.

It didn’t take us long to realise that this was no niche-ey event – it was very well supported by us the Public, as well as the very wide range of Exhibitors. From solar roof experts, petrol-to-electric engine conversions, solar-storage batteries the size of your radiators and many (many) home-electric charging companies, it seemed to cater for everyone with an interest in electricity as an energy source!

Nerd Alert! BP ChargeMaster showing off their brand new 150kW Charger

…and if the exhibits inside weren’t enough to get you interested, then there were plenty of organised presentations arranged throughout the day to discuss and explain in greater detail, electric cars and their impact.

The Most Polluted Road in the World

Did you know that Oxford Street here in the UK is the most polluted road in the World?

Almost more cars than people (almost!)

Time for a look around outside… And it didn’t disappoint! Although I did try and book a test-drive of the Jaguar i-Pace, it seemed the rest of mankind had the same idea, so as consolation, I took a closer look at a static model!

Jaguar i-Pace (A bit cramped in the back and the massive LCD screen in the front was of weird proportions!). However… “Yes please!”

After a quick Lunch, we took a look round the specialist exhibits. Some of which were iconic ICE cars converted to run on electricity…

…plus some that were all-electric by design…

…and I’ll have this one too, please! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘

So, all-in-all, a GREAT event – and to make it even better, we even managed to get our coveted journey in a Tesla to get us back to the car-park…

Very flash!

…plus a few mementos of our visit…

A very well organised event in every sense! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜ I’m sure I’ll be going again next year.

Charge!

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Well, we finally did it! Weโ€™ve taken the plunge and we’re now all electric for our main car! ๐Ÿ‘

We fancied something in white, maybe with a touch of blue…

“Are we nearly there yet..?”
Milk Float from Express Dairies
Ooops! Wrong Photo! ๐Ÿ˜‰
“Straight on, just round the corner…”

Our Choice

Ahh, there it is! The Kia e-Niro ‘First Edition’

After a lot of research, we narrowed it down to just ONE model! – The Kia e-Niro. It’s very similar to our outgoing car (a Kia Sportage) – just around 6 inches smaller. We learned back in January there were only 900 e-Niros allocated to the whole of the UK for 2019, so we needed to move fast!

We placed our order as soon as we could – when the order-books first opened in January – and good job we did too, as more than 200+ orders were taken in that launch week alone! Not long after, all UK stocks were exhausted, and there’s now just over a year’s wait for the next batch! Popular ehh?! ๐Ÿ˜

What the Experts Say…

Taking the leap to buy this latest technological marvel from Kia took a lot of head-scratching (and web-surfing) but in the end, weโ€™re certain weโ€™ve made the right decision โ€“ and those that know more about this stuff, seem to agree…

The Press seemed to like it! Click HERE for more reviews

An Automotive Game-changer

As you can see, this model has won over all of the main car-critics! The e-Niro’s appearance in the car-market at this time should not be underestimated and whilst many other major motor manufacturers have done a lot of talking about making โ€˜electric carsโ€™ mainstream, the South Koreans have ‘sneaked up the back-stairs’ and launched this automotive game-changer. It has an amazing level of spec (more about that later) and a sensible price for a brand new electric car – especially with the State giving ยฃ3500 towards the purchase. Perhaps most important of all, at last, there’s no ‘range anxiety’ at all, as it’ll cover 280 miles on a full-charge. At the time of writing, that’s way ahead of the majority of the current electric pack (and about the same range as my Petrol V6 Mondeo, way back in 2011!) ๐Ÿ˜Ž

OK, in a year-or-so, there will be a lot more competition out there: the choice will be much greater and the battery tech and range will have improved. But for now, this is the best all-electric mainstream car out there – says everyone! ๐Ÿ‘

The interior is mostly the same as our outgoing Kia Sportage

Charging/Home Charger

Process for applying for a home-charger
Eight Steps to getting a Home-Charger (click on the image for a larger version)

Getting the Home Charger installed was pretty straightforward. The Government gives everyone a grant of ยฃ500 towards the cost – and for many people that will cover the total cost, including installation. We opted for the more powerful 7kW charger (so it charges more quickly) and that cost us a bit extra. There are plenty of suppliers to choose from, and we chose ChargeMaster – the biggest name in electric vehicle charging – now owned by the mighty BP (since June 2018). Oh, and one extra vital piece of information: the e-Niro comes supplied with not one charging leads but two, so we can even charge from a standard mains socket if needed (albeit a lot more slowly).

Charging made easy! All fitted in under four hours
Now that’s what I call a Plug!!!

How Quick to Charge? (from empty)

Rapid
(100kW)
Rapid
(50 kW)
Fast
(22kW)
Fast
(7kW)
Slow
(3kW)
30 minutes
(to 80%)
1 hour
(to 80%)
9 hours
(to 100%)
9 hours
(to 100%)
26 hours
(to 100%)

How Much to Charge? (from empty)

TypeCost p/kWh
(night rate)
Cost to Charge
(night rate)
Cost per mile
(night rate)
Home
(7kW Charger
to 100%)
17.38p (12.25p)ยฃ11.12 (ยฃ7.91)4.22p (3p)
Public
(Rapid Charger
to 80%)
30.00p (n/a)ยฃ15.36 (n/a) 7.1p (n/a)

Our current fuel provider offers a Green Tariff, so as you can see above, a complete fill-up-from-empty during the day, will cost us only ยฃ11.12. But at night, it’s even cheaper – just ยฃ7.91. When was the last time anyone paid that little for a full tank of fuel? I reckon around 1967!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Good news too, that it doesn’t mean getting up in the small hours to take advantage of off-peak electricity Nope! The start-time for charging can be pre-set from inside the vehicle. Clever tech ehh?! ๐Ÿ˜

The Technical Spec

  • Top speed of 104 mph (167 km/h)
  • 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.5 seconds
  • 30-70 km/h (18.7-43.5 mph) in 2.8 seconds
  • 60-100 km/h (37.3-62 mph) in 3.8 seconds
  • 80-120 km/h (49.7-74.6 mph) in 5.0 seconds
  • 201 BHP
  • Boot Capacity: 12 standard milk-crates ๐Ÿ˜‚

Whistles and Bells

There is only ONE model at launch and it’s called the First Edition. This is an increasing trend by many motor manufacturers to add loads of ‘whistles and bells’ to their ‘first-launch’ cars to stimulate demand. Typically, with Kia, that means it sports many extras as standard that you pay err… extra for on other cars…

  • 7-year/1000,000 mile Warranty
  • Apple Carplay and Android Auto
  • Automatic Dipped Lighting
  • Automatic rain-sensing wipers
  • Cruise Control (Standard)
  • Cruise Control (Smart)
  • Diamond Cut 17″ Alloy Wheels
  • Distance Sensors (Front)
  • Distance Sensors (Rear)
  • Driver Attention Warning (zzzzz!)
  • Driving Style Monitor (Bugger!)
  • Dynamic Traffic Information (Speed cameras, traffic congestion, weather)
  • Electric Driver’s Seat
  • Electric Windows all-round
  • Electronic Handbrake
  • Forward Collision Alert (FCA+)
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • High Beam Assist (HBA)
  • Interior Mood Lighting (white, grey, bronze, red, green)
  • Keyless Entry
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Leather Seats
  • Premium JBL Sound System (320W/8 speaker)
  • Range-topping 282 miles on a single charge
  • Rear Camera
  • Regenerative Braking (3 levels + Auto)
  • Service Plan for 3 years (<ยฃ300)
  • USB Charging Sockets (front and rear)
  • Variable Driving Mode (Normal, Eco and Sport)
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)

Our thanks to Jack and the team at Bells Kia Northampton for making it happen.

Now every car needs a friendly name doesn’t it? – and for us, the choice was obvious…

Photo of Robert De Niro
“You talkin’ to me..?”

“Robert”
๐Ÿ˜Š

Now, let’s see if Robert lives up to all his promises…