Exploring the Milton Keynes CrossLink Charge Point Network

So near and yet so far – my ZOE unable to access the Avebury charger (Image: T. Larkum)
So near and yet so far – my ZOE unable to access the Avebury charger (Image: T. Larkum)

I work in Milton Keynes so following the announcement of the completion of the Chargemaster CrossLink network I decided late last month to explore it. I began in central MK and found one of the new charge points installed in front of the council offices on Avebury Boulevard. As promised, it was a ‘tri-standard’ (is there not something inherently contradictory about that name?) charger so as well as working for the Leaf and ZOE it had one of the new ‘Frankenplug’ connectors for the BMW i3 and other German cars.

ZOE connector left and CCS ‘Frankenplug’ connector to the right (Image: T. Larkum)
ZOE connector left and CCS ‘Frankenplug’ connector to the right (Image: T. Larkum)

Although the network was officially ‘completed’ it was clear, as suggested in the comments to the previous post, that it was certainly not finished. In this case it wasn’t possible to access the charge point as it was ICE’d in by fossil cars; there was no road marking or signage in place. Undeterred I tried to login to see if it was operating. It was certainly powered up as the screen was working, but I repeatedly got a ‘card not recognised’ message for every access card I tried.

At that point I was surprised but pleased to see another Renault ZOE turn up and had the opportunity to chat with the driver. He was actually looking to use one of the slow charger parking spaces nearby – I had actually parked in one (so I EV’d it?) but he seemed to know his way around well and headed off to another one.

A visit from another ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)
A visit from another ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)

Next I ventured further north to the Xscape complex. I found the charger fairly easily in the large car park, quite close to the cinema entrance. This time there was no problem parking in front of it. However, I had exactly the same response trying to operate it.

Finally, I moved across the road to the Theatre district. The charger there is conveniently located in the theatre car park. Again, though, it lacked any signage or markings and wouldn’t operate.

The Theatre District charger (Image: T. Larkum)
The Theatre District charger (Image: T. Larkum)

So I had had mixed results exploring the CrossLink network. Given that Chargemaster was moving over from a largely free to a largely fee-based funding system at the end of March that may explain why the chargers weren’t working.

A few days later, early in April, I had a very different experience. I went to try out the new charger at the Coachway bus station at M1 Junction 14, just east of Milton Keynes. It was easy to find, easy to park at, and worked immediately the first time. Within moments I was getting a fast charge without any hassle.

I believe this is also a Chargemaster charger but it wasn’t listed in the CrossLink press release. Again I had just used one of my standard array of access cards (Plugged-in Midlands, Source London, etc.) but this time it had been recognised immediately.

Fast charging at MK Coachway (Image: T. Larkum)
Fast charging at MK Coachway (Image: T. Larkum)

I don’t know if the difference in my experience of these MK chargers was down to timing (before/after the 1st April funding changeover) or that the Coachway charger is not part of the same CrossLink network, or there’s some other reason. I will aim to revisit them all at some point soon to see if the situation has changed.

UPDATE 26/4/13: I revisited these fast charge points this week. The ones in central MK still either ignore my access cards, or explicitly say ‘Charge card not recognised’. The fast charger at Coachway now does the same, so it is no longer free to use.

Home Forums Exploring the Milton Keynes CrossLink Charge Point Network

This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Trevor Larkum 3 years ago.

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  • #8307

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    I work in Milton Keynes so following the announcement of the completion of the Chargemaster CrossLink network I decided late last month to explore it.
    [See the full post at: Exploring the Milton Keynes CrossLink Charge Point Network]

    #8312

    markd
    Participant

    Trevor, was there any indication as to whether the CrossLink chargers are free or fee based?

    Some Chargemaster posts are still free, presumably sponsored by a local authority or other benefactor. So the CrossLink chargers could be free, although I guess that’s unlikely given that every other charging point in MK is now fee based.

    Slightly annoying that I had to put £20 credit on the Polar account to use a free charging post. Good way to generate cash flow though!

    #8325

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    I don’t know from the MK central chargers if they are free, since I never got past the login. However, like you I would assume they are not since MK council has passed all charge point responsibilities to Chargemaster and will not contribute to any costs.

    #8398

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    I’ve added an Update to the original post. It’s not good news.

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