Luke Sills is the head of the Nottingham EV Owners Club, promoting the uptake of EV ownership in Nottinghamshire, and has been a member of EVA England since its founding.

In this blog post, Luke talks to us about how he got into EVs in the first place and why the EV community is important to him.

It was over 4 years ago that I purchased my first fully electric vehicle, after experiencing a hybrid. The car I ended up purchasing was a used Renault Zoe and such my EV journey began.

At the time, I flet there was very limited information beyond online forums and groups so soon started getting involved in EV car groups to keep finding out information and meeting others. All the now familiar terminology was so alien and confusing to me at the time. Added to this were the different specification of battery, motor and charging capabilities of the Renault Zoe…

The only way I could find out what it all meant was to be to talk to the Renault Zoe Owners Club and the local EV groups as local dealerships, I quickly found out, knew less than me. Without these groups and events, such as EVs in the Park which enabled me to talk to owners and ask questions, I’m not sure I would have taken the jump quite so soon. The culture in all these groups is inclusivity, and the willingness to help others: whether you are a seasoned owner or a complete newcomer, everyone is welcome.

After driving the Renault Zoe for over a year I wanted a car with increased range. After a lot of research, I decided to purchase a Vauxhall Corsa E, which would be my first brand new car. This opened a whole new world of rapid charging with CCS. This enabled me to make longer trips with ease, even taking the car down to Lands’ End from Nottingham.

While this car was great in many ways, the car I longed for at that point was the Tesla Model 3. When the opportunity arose to purchase one, I took it. The network that Tesla provides gave me the confidence to drive on the continent to Germany. Owning electric cars has enabled me to take journeys and visit places that I would never have never travelled to in a petrol or diesel car partly due to the savings in fuel cost.

With all this in mind, I have felt it important that I try to repay the help that was given to me at the start of my journey from people whom I had never met but would take the time to help however that may be.

Up until recently, I have usually attended events as an enthusiast and enjoyed talking to the people there at events like Fully Charged Live but I always felt that I could do more to help promote EVs. As such, I decided to help organising events with Nottingham Electric Vehicles Owners Club, part of the wider Nexus group that has clubs in many counties across the UK. These events provide a great opportunity for current owners to meet, socialise and share advice. Being a part of such group has meant that not only can we share experiences but is a great opportunity to socialise and create friendships. We have now started to organise other events to showcase new EVs with a local company. Due to working closely with this company I have also been writing a monthly newspaper column talking about EV ownership. As an owners’ group we talk to the local public and share our experiences to people who are thinking about owning an EV, just like the forums that I joined 4 years ago. To me this is the best part about being involved in the Nottingham EV group, as people really appreciate the honest real-world experiences that we can talk about.

Considering the current press environment, I feel these events and discussions are more important than ever to have as the spread of misinformation continues to grow. To me this is the most rewarding part of being involved in the community. Being a positive voice for EVs and helping people understand their misconceptions. At many events, people discuss that batteries won’t last and the cars don’t go far, and it is rewarding to be able to educate them on the practicalities and the benefits of EVs, so much so they are then tempted to go on test drive. With the ban on the production of new petrol and diesel cars getting ever closer I feel that this part of the groups’ job has only just begun.

Getting out in the public and changing people’s perceptions about is one of the main premises of the London to Paris EV rally that I attended earlier in the year.

This was the first time I had attended a car rally and I didn’t know what to expect. However, I did know that it was an important event to show people that not only can electric cars drive long journeys, but it can be done with ease.

Well over 100 cars, vans and a bus made it to Paris and back with no issues with double the number only driving to Brighton (the midway stop). Brighton was only as far as I could make it (due to work commitments) but it was great to be a part of something much bigger and the community that it has created will continue to keep growing. It was great to see the amount of electric car conversion that entered into the rally. Having only ever seen these on display it was great to see them actually being used driven. I feel that in the future there will be an ever increasing amount of people that want to convert their older classic cars to electric.

My participation in events such as Fully Charged Live and London to Paris has allowed me to share my experiences but has also shown me the latest advancements in electric vehicle technology. Witnessing the enthusiasm and dedication by this group of people has spurred me on to learn more about the very latest advancements and given me inspiration to potentially take on my own conversion in the future. I currently own a Mazda MX5 from 2004 and I feel this could be a good candidate to be converted to electric power at some point in the future.

Through some of these events it has enabled me to meet some interesting and important people in the industry such as Dr Euan McTurk, Warren Philips and many more. I’m lucky enough to have had many conversations with Warren (Chair of EVA England). I’m yet to meet a more dedicated person to the cause of electric vehicles. Not only is he a passionate EV advocate, his technological background seems a perfect match to help push England in the right direction for EV infrastructure and development. From these conversations with him, it has shown me the vital work that EVA England do in making sure the right laws are put into place to make sure that EVs are for everyone and can be used by anyone.

Without passionate and dedicated people that are willing to give up their time and involve themselves in the important conversations then I feel it would be far too easy for less favourable decisions to be made. I’m looking forward to the work EVA England has got planned in the future and the work they are doing to support the local EV groups so we can have a voice together is why I decided to become a member. With the future events they have planned and frequent feedback meetings I can only see positive outcomes in the future for all electric car drivers.

My journey into electric cars I feel has only really begun. I’m curious to find out more and keep up to date with the latest advancements through using the community that is continuously expanding. But I still want to make sure that I am being a positive advocate for EVs and supporting others in their journey too. Paying forward the help and support that I have received so far in my EV journey.

The feeling of being part of something bigger by being part of the EV community is motivation to keep pushing for a cleaner and greener future, something that we are all striving to achieve.

From time-to-time we host guest blogs on our website. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest blog posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of EVA England.

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