EV Tales #2: My Very First EV


Sazia has joined the conversation

Sazia said : Hello, you are speaking to Shaz at ONTO. How can I help?

Mike said : Hi Shaz, I have a question about delivery of my first car (I'm fussing...)

Sazia said : No worries, I can look into this for you.

Mike said : Many thanks (...yet polite)

Mike said : So, due to last minute availability I'm picking up my first car from Egham - 60-90 minutes away from my home address. (I wasn't organised was I)

Sazia said : I can see its due this Friday

Mike said : Yes, I'm planning ahead and want to avoid either me waiting around for a day or the delivery folks waiting for up to 90 minutes. How does it work?

Sazia said : They will call you to 30-45 mins before they arrive. For a estimated time arrival you can call us on the day of the delivery, please be aware the estimated time arrival is not a guarantee, they aim for that time. However, we do operate our deliveries between 9am-5pm.

Mike said : The worst case there is that the car arrives 30 minutes after the call and I'm still an hour away. How do you recommend we mitigate against that? (did I really say 'mitigate' in an online chat?)

Mike said : Equally I could arrive at 9am and wait 'til 5pm…(so, how do we get a win-win here)

Sazia said : Yes, we can make logistics aware, however if the slot is missed, you would have to rearrange the vehicle delivery.

Mike said : You see I'm at the start of my first subscription and that day I'm taking the car up North to see my very very old father. I don't have another usable vehicle because my car randomly stops. (I wonder what age Shaz assumed equated to 'very, very old')

Mike said : I would like to be able to speak directly to the person/company who is delivering the car so that I do not miss my delivery slot or sit around for 9 hours. (That didn't come out like I wanted it to. Should have been more chatty, less entitled)

Sazia said : We would not be able to provide the direct contact number as we do not have access. It will be logisitics who chase that up. It will be more likely the agent/driver who will update and contact you.

Mike said : I think we've circled back round here. Do you have a phone number for Logistics thanks. (getting close now...)

Sazia said : They work through email, please be aware this is not a guarantee that they will reply as they are an outbound service. They will only outbound call a customer if they need a urgent action. (hmmm...urgent compared to what exactly?)

Mike said : OK, please may I have an email for Logistics thanks

Mike said : Shaz, it might be me, but may I check I've accurately communicated my concerns to you? (those of you I coach may recognise this technique and how I fail to follow through correctly)

Sazia said : Yes you have sir.

Mike said : I'm guessing the only way to be certain here is for me to be at the delivery address at 9am (smiley emoji)

Mike said : (there's no emoji buttons here but there is a huge text option)

Sazia said : I advise calling us in the morning to check for ETA just in case (well I thought it was funny)

Mike said : Thanks Shaz for your help. You have a professional and effective style of communication that paints Onto in a very good light. (praise raises performance, criticism diminishes)

Sazia said : If you do think so, do you mind giving me a 5 star trust pilot review using my name Shaz. It would be much appreciated sir. I am happy you enjoy my customer service.

Mike thought : I like being called sir and rate people who grasp opportunities for themselves like this.

Delivery Day

Woke up at 4:32 am and checked Zap Map for chargers. This is the go-to app for finding charge stations, complaining about them and taking pictures of your dog or child sitting next to one. Realised I didn't know what the symbols mean. Learned Zap Map symbols and read a few charge point comments. Learned that charge points get ICEd = car with an internal combustion engine parking in the space.

Hello, this is George from Onto ready to deliver your car. I was asked to give you a quick call when I set off. But I’m nearly there. Though I’ll need to charge. Say 11am?

George sounds like an accomplished radio presenter, exuding confidence and assurance; someone who knows what success is and is happy to include you in that. I’m wondering if this is ‘back to the shop floor day’ for one of Onto’s directors.

George, of all the times you could have picked, that is the absolute best. We shall see you presently.

George drives the car into our friend’s driveway in Egham. My previous experience of people delivering me hire cars is that of striving yet unwieldy young men in corporate pit stop jackets. Chaps who drive the vehicular equivalent of a small boxy starter home to which they have unwisely added a gold fence, smoked-glass double glazing and a metallic blue front door. They race their kitsch starter home cars up and down esplanades or round and round out of hours park&rides, while the police cruise the streets a few blocks away, choosing their moment.

Well George is none of that. He’s a COVID-retired businessman taking it easy in his mid to later years and enjoying delivering electric cars that aren’t his to people who don’t own them.

He introduces the car to us beginning with its most important feature, one, he assures us, that all customers insist on prioritising: how to pair their phones. Once sorted, we cover off the minor details: starting and stopping, reverse, forward, and the tiny incidentals such as sport mode (your charge will slip through your fingers like sand) and charging.

George drops in a few tales of his own travels including motorcycle D-Day remembrance pilgrimages and leisurely RV tours with his wife. The handover is more a social event than a business transaction, although we both take a large number of photographs of the car, proving to each other, and Onto, that we agree George has not crashed it on the way here.

As soon as George leaves I do what all engineers must do. I have a look under the bonnet. Surprisingly similar to a conventional car. However it's powered, a car still needs washer fluid, a cooling system, a battery. I assume the big black thing in the middle is the electric motor. I'll do some research during the endless hours I predict we'll spend waiting for a charge.

EV under bonnet

We pull off and see George standing on a corner. We wave to him. It feels mean and I’m wondering how he will get home. Apparently a mini bus comes to collect. A diesel one I guess.

And we’re away heading north. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre is now: mirror, check charge, mirror, check charge, signal, manoeuvre, check charge one more time. George recommended looking for a charge station with 60 miles left. I decide that 70 is more to my liking.

In EV Tales #3 find out how many charges it takes to get 'up north' and the difference between Northampton and Leeds.