Open minds, open hearts
The comments people leave tell us so much about themselves
We’d quite like to apologise for the delay…
As is often the case, this newsletter begins with a lame apology for the delay in posting. For reasons I cannot fathom, the last article I wrote remained in the draft stages for weeks until it was no longer current, as everything I mentioned ended up being covered in my recent update video. And as you might have realised, we’ve been pretty busy on the road making a new series.
EV & Caravan Tour of Scotland
Dougal and I have just returned home from a small tour of the West of Scotland in the Kia EV6 towing a caravan. Hopefully you’ve seen the videos, but if not you can check out the playlist on YouTube here. My intention was to embark on a short tour close to home, and gradually build up the mileage between sites to see what is realistically achievable with a modern EV towing a caravan. Despite some horrendous weather, the tour yielded some very useful information. Above all, it has given me the confidence to travel further afield with the caravan, and in July we should be crossing the border into England.
Three Choice Comments
I’ve received a couple comments I’d like to address today. In the next edition of this newsletter I will share with you the statistics and information from the trip, so those of you good enough to support Streamlining will have a written record you can refer to if need be.
Is that your new caravan?
People have been admiring the 2015 Compass Rallye 530 that I’m currently using but no, it’s not my new caravan. My new caravan was originally due to be built in January 2022. That got pushed back to March. That got pushed back to May. Now it’s been pushed back again to the end of June - over six months past its original build date. Fingers crossed I’ll be presenting you with my new caravan in August - but who knows?
The Compass Caravan I’m using right now is a short-term measure to keep us on the road. When the Airstream was marooned by various lockdowns, I missed caravanning so much. I even bought a vintage caravan to tie me over, but despite the fun I had in Glynnis, she just wasn’t robust enough to support the kind of heavy use she was getting. As the Airstream is too heavy for the Kia EV6 to tow, I needed something to keep me mobile until the new van is built.
Originally I thought I’d be using the Compass for little more than a few nights here and there on the journey to/from the caravan dealership, and the videos I shot in March demonstrating the new EV. However, the ongoing delays have meant that this caravan has seen far more service than originally intended, and it has proved to be an absolute corker.
If it’s such a good caravan, why don’t you keep it? I hear you cry. Good point.
In a nutshell, the Compass is simply too big for my needs. Its primary purpose was to demonstrate to the doubters that the latest generation of EVs can easily tow family-sized caravans. However, when I used the cute-as-a-button Bailey Discovery D4-2 last year, I rediscovered how joyful caravanning can be when your caravan is small, simple, light, and agile.
I know full well that in the majority of cases when charging the car en route, I’ll need to detach and park the caravan. Personally, I don’t want the added faff of needing to engage/disengage a motor mover, and I don’t want its extra weight or complication either. I’d like a small caravan that I can manoeuvre by hand, and park in a single car parking space if need be. The Compass takes up four spaces, as I need the excess width to allow for the overhang to swing when manoeuvring.
Most of all I just want a small, simple, lightweight caravan that’s agile and fun. Keep your fingers crossed for us that we’ll be collecting it and showing it to you soon.
Your Tour is not Realistic
Of the few (and I mean, few) defensive comments from people who thought that my tour was all about them rather than my specific needs, this was my favourite — on so many levels.
Apparently, my tour of Scotland was not realistic because I did it on my own (with Dougal, of course) and not as a family of four, and I stayed fairly local rather than shoot down to Spain for a fortnight.
Where do I begin?
I guess I could start by the aspect that riles me the most — Invalidating the experiences of solo travellers. It breaks my heart to think of the many single people out there who live tiny lives because they think that is what’s expected of them. No! While it’s fun to travel with a partner or a friend, that’s no reason to miss out completely if your only option is to travel alone. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Better to travel alone than not to travel at all.
The other elephant in the room is the implication that the way this family holidays in their caravan is the only way. Huh?
The main attraction of a leisure vehicle, be it a van, motorhome, or caravan, is to be able to tour your way. That could be a day van as a means of shelter and cups of tea on the occasional day out to the beach. It could be an agile motorhome for wandering tours where you stop somewhere new every night on a three month 2000 mile tour. Or it could be a huge caravan that you leave on a seasonal pitch all summer for the family to enjoy stress-free holidays. Each is as valid as the other.
One of the deciding factors in my switch to an EV was the enforced slowing down it would have on my touring behaviour. No longer would 350 mile days be viable. I’m now looking at a maximum of about 200 miles per day, 250 at a push, or ideally under 100. It’s a cliché, but clichés are true: It’s better to travel than to arrive.
Besides, fewer folks can now afford the diesel to get to Spain and back.
This is the information I’ve been waiting for!
The overwhelming response has been one of respect, interest and gratitude. What I set out to achieve is simply to show people what is possible and what is realistic with a set-up like this. Many lovely people have expressed gratitude for what we are doing, while respectfully saying that such a means of touring would not yet suit their personal needs. Others are now considering an EV as their next car, as they didn’t realise what is now possible. Whatever people’s personal preference, I’m very happy and satisfied to have been of some assistance to help them decide what is right for them.
In the next edition of Streamlining I’ll go into the facts and figures behind the tour we’ve just done, and the main takeaways: the good, the bad, and the ugly about towing with an EV. But what has interested me most has been how so many people have missed the one big takeaway of the whole trip - it’s something I obviously need to work on and clarify that message.
That one big takeaway is:
EVs make phenomenal towcars.
More on that next time!
How to Support Streamlining
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