July 23, 2017
Put Yourself in the Driving Seat of Electric Cars at the UK’s First ‘EV Experience Centre’
I had no idea that an Electric Vehicle Experience Centre was due to open in the UK until I saw a tweet from Go Ultra Low. Their tweet immediately captured my attention, as not only was the EV Experience Centre due to open the very next day, but it would be in Milton Keynes – less than 23 miles from my home in Aylesbury.
That evening, I persuaded my wife and family that we should have a day trip to Milton Keynes. I explained to them about the EV Experience Centre, but of course, they were more interested in what other shops Milton Keynes could offer! But at least, they were sold on the idea of visiting Milton Keynes the following day.
The EV Experience Centre is located within Centre:MK, Milton Keyne’s largest shopping mall. I must admit, that I initially struggled to find the EV store, which is nestled in the middle of hundreds of shops, cafes and restaurants. However, it was worth the effort.
As the images in this article hopefully show, the EV store has a sleek and minimalistic design. The focus is on the electric cars, and the wide selection of charging stations.
Upon entering the store, we were left to have a look around, before one of the ‘EV Gurus’ spoke to us. They explained that we were welcome to sit in any of the cars (I’ll come to this in a moment) and to ask anything related to the vehicles, charging and ownership. They also pointed out that they were not looking to sell us a car – that their role was merely to inform and advise.
My wife and I took up the offer of checking out the cars. There were four in total in the showroom:
- Nissan Leaf
- BMW i3
- VW Golf GTE (plug-in hybrid)
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
It was great to see the cars up close, and to finally have a chance to sit in the driving seat of them.
After spending some time looking at each car, we approached one of the EV Gurus to ask some more questions.
They were super-helpful, and explained to us the different types of charging stations, and which of the cars was best for a family. And most importantly, they offered to let us test drive any of the available cars within their fleet. This included the four cars in the showroom, plus several additional models such as the Kia Soul EV and the Renault ZOE.
While we didn’t have time to test drive that day, we were advised that we could test any of the cars for 20 minutes, or (and I was interested in this option) we could arrange a longer 7-day hire of any of the cars, so that we could get a genuine feel for owning and running an electric vehicle. Once I have more time, I plan to arrange the latter option.
Overall, the EV Experience Centre is well worth a visit if you’re considering purchasing a fully-electric or plug-in hybrid car. There’s no pressure to buy anything, and the EV Gurus are a great source of friendly, easy-to-understand information.
If you plan to make a visit to the EV Experience Centre (which I definitely recommend), then you’ll have the added bonus of being able to see the latest Tesla electric cars at the dedicated Tesla store – which is also located with Centre:MK.
Similar to the EV Experience Centre, the Tesla store lets you sit in any of the cars in the showroom. This seemed to be a popular option, with loads of people also taking photos of the cars – or photos of themselves pretending to be driving the cars!
Beyond the cars themselves, the Tesla store also showed-off solar panels and one of the Tesla Powerwall energy storage units. All-in-all, another great place to visit!
The government-funded EV Experience Centre is proof that the tipping point for electric cars is getting closer. Every year, the cars get cheaper – and the ranges get longer.
Soon, we’ll all be able to enjoy quieter and cleaner towns and cities thanks to the electric car revolution.
For further information on the EV Experience Centre please visit their official website.
Craig J Todd – Freelance writer with a passion for tech, trends and simplicity.
Connect with Craig via Twitter.