Electric Cars - The questions, lies and bullshit... and the truth from an owner

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Dazbobaby
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Unread post Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:01 pm

I've had a Nissan Leaf since March 31st 2017, and aside from getting planning permission troubles from my landlord (for fitting the home charger at 3.7kw), it's been a dream to use and run.

My car is a Nissan Leaf Accenta 30KWH battery.

I don't actually own it, I care for my severely disabled uncle and we lease the car from Motability. In 12 months time I'll need to look for an alternative car, and I'll tell you now, I'll be getting another EV.

So what questions do I get asked?
1. How far will it go?
Usually if the weather is fine and I don't need the heater, around 100 - 130 miles per charge, and that's not bad. I live in Halifax West Yorkshire and it's bloody hilly around here. If Halifax were a little flatter like London, then no doubt I'd hit roughly 140-150 miles, not bad for a car that is listed to have a range of 120 miles. It's also down to the way you drive, take things steady and plan your stopping/starting as your driving instructor taught you and you'll get a really good range. If you drive like a drug dealer evading the police... well you're mileage will drop.
There's a menu on my car, and all EV's I think, that tells you how many miles you're averaging per kilowatt hour. I get around 4.5 in summer, and like I said, Halifax is very hilly, so not bad at all. 30KWH battery x 4.5 = 135 miles.

2. How much does it cost per charge?
This depends on your tariff from your electricity supplier, mine's around 13p per kilowatt hour. So 30 kilowatt hours x 13p = £3.90 per 100 miles. Less than a gallon of diesel/petrol and WAY more mileage. My previous car was a fiesta diesel and it managed 40mpg, so miles to miles less than half the cost. Petrol may be cheaper than diesel but you don't go as far. So the savings can be even better.

3. How do I charge it?
I charge it at home. Occasionally I charge it on the road, usually with ecotricity as I get an EV discount as they also supply my home electricity too. They have 50kw chargers, and are even fitting 100kw and 150kw chargers as we speak, so charging only takes a few minutes. Just enough time to grab a bite to eat, a coffee and take a short rest break. I've NEVER had an issue charging on the road. The ecotricity app warns you if a charge point is out of action. There are usually 2 or more points at the same location, so it's usually just a matter of plugging into a different charger without moving the car.

4. What's it like to drive?
To be honest, aside from the slightly poor acceleration going uphill (it's a damned heavy car), it's by far the best car I've ever owned and driven. Going downhill is a different matter, that weight is giving you a helping hand :) then it can really fly, and I've left Audi's, BMW's and Merc's in my dust.
EV's also don't have a "torque band", all the power is available instantly. This makes overtaking a breeze, no changing gears at all.

5. So there's no gear lever?
Nope, its not really an automatic either, there's just one gear. Though I have 2 choices, D for drive and B (for brake assist). Both give me full power at all times.

6. Brake assist?
Brake assist engages the regenerative braking. So when you go downhill or even lift your foot from the accelerator brake assist kicks in and actually generates electricity, adding miles to the range. Generally it's around 25% of the energy required to climb the same hill. So not 100%, but then again... does petrol or diesel put FREE fuel back in the tank when you go downhill? I thought not.

7. It's a heavy car, doesn't it mean you wear out your brakes faster, leaving dangerous brake dust in the air?
No, because I use B (brake assist) all the time, I actually hardly touch my brake pedal. This is one of the reasons newer EV's have ONE foot driving. There's still a brake pedal, but the brake assist is tuned to be even stronger so there's little need to even touch the brake pedal, and they generate even more FREE electricity.

8. But wait, no gears, no brakes, how does it drive in the snow?
LOL, actually it drives REALLY REALLY well, this is probably down to Nissan's traction control, but last years beast from the east didn't leave me stuck even once, and you should see the hill I had to climb to get back home. It's so steep nothing heavier than a van is allowed on the road.

9. What about the electricity infrastructure, won't it fail?
Yes, but only if the number of EV's currently out there got multiplyed by 10, and then only if they all charged at the same time, in the same area and then, maybe just maybe there'll be a failover.
Newer (or should that be future) cars and home chargers will take this into account and will use your car's battery as a buffer at peak times, this will take some charge out of the car's battery at peak times, but hopefully with the correct algorithms it'll be utterly transparent. Right now there's plenty of overhead for all the cars currently on the road, spread out as we are, and add plenty more before it might become an issue. Also consider home charging is only 3.7KW, an electric shower is 9KW, and you don't hear about everyone taking a shower at the same time causing issues. Plus you set a time in the car and charge during economy 7 hours, one for even cheaper charging and another it reduces the load at peak times.

10. What if I can't charge at home?
This is a bit of a problem right now for some people, you could always charge at a public charge point, but that will drastically reduce the amount you'll save (they charge more than the 13p per kilowatt hour I pay at home). But if that's an issue, then I can only assure you that there are companies working on charging from lampposts. Yes lampposts. Think about it, they already have high usage infrastructure built in, and there are working charge points out there that do this already, though they're in the testing phase. Now all you have to do is park near a lamppost, plug in and charge, though still not as cheap as charging at home. Also all cars (mine at least) come with a 3 pin home charger, but be warned, DO NOT USE ANY OTHER DEVICE on the same ring network. These will pull electricity at the maximum rate (15amps) for a socket and could blow a fuse if anything else is on the same ring.

11. But the battery life is poor right?
WRONG! The battery management systems in EV's is nothing short of amazing. There's a taxi company in London that has several Nissan leafs and they've all done well over 500,000 miles on the same battery pack. Lithium batteries last longer if they're charged to only 80% and discharge no lower than 20%. So manufacturers put in extra capacity and HIDE it from you, so you're 100% charge is actually 80% of the total capacity, and a 100% discharge leaves 20% in the tank. But don't worry, you'll have plenty of warning that the battery is getting low. Plus I think most if not all EV's will tell you via the inbuilt GPS where the nearest charge point is, and if you really let the charge drop low, it switches to eco more and limits the speed to around 30mph to make sure you get there.

Things have also dramatically changed in the 20 months I've had this car. You can now get cars that will do 250 miles per charge, go faster, are bigger, smaller, more energy efficient and all round better than this car. These are still early days and with each model that hits the market things only get better.
That sums up pretty much all the questions I have been asked over the last 18+ months.

If you have a question that I haven't answered then hit me up on twitter:
https://twitter.com/Bionic_Cyclist
https://twitter.com/The_Mess_Hall
Obviously on this website, but also at The Bionic Cyclist too: https://the-bionic-cyclist.co.uk/

And now Dicord viewtopic.php?f=26&t=1065
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You exchange your time for money when you work. You can always make more money. You cannot make more time.
From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.
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Dazbobaby
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Unread post Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:01 pm

OK, now for the bullshit portion, and it'll be of little or no surprise that this is provided by the newspaper The Daily Fail, I mean Mail.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/arti ... cking.html

Paragraph 4:
With public charging points cropping up around the country, how hard could owning a purely electric car possibly be? As LOUISE ATKINSON found, very hard indeed . . .
There are a few places in the UK where the electrical infrastructure doesn't exist, and therefore parts of the UK where it's impossible to charge a car. That said, these same places are unlikely to have fuel pumps too.

According to Zap Map, there are nearly 20,000 connectors to charge your car with 11060 devices at 6662 locations, with 223 new charge points added in the last 30 days. 1 device can charge 1 or 2 cars at once.
https://www.zap-map.com/statistics/

How many locations are there to fuel your car? I honestly don't know, but the number of charge points are increasing at a much faster rate than fuel stations. How do I know this? Common sense mostly, the future is electric with a huge eventual reduction in ICE cars (internal combustion engine). Because of this is makes sense to only add more charge points. Plus some oil companies are installing electric charging at fuel stations... they see the future and what will happen.
June 17, 2018: My car lease is up for renewal and the idea of an electric car excites me. The monthly lease payments are similar (£250) to my old Toyota Aygo, but fuel costs will be quartered — saving up to £2,000 each year.
I've marked the date because it's important and we'll come back to it later.
Yes the fuel savings can be that good, almost to the point of the car paying for itself in this one example. But the more miles you drive the more you can save.
JULY 16: My electric car is here! It is beautiful! Unfortunately, it’s like a Christmas present without batteries. It sits on our drive, but the battery (which is under the floor of the car and powers the motor under the bonnet) is nearly empty, so I can’t take it for a spin.
There’s a charging cable in the boot, which fits both public and special home charging units, but no three-pin plug adaptor for me to hook it up to the mains.
As I leap in, Jon is sceptical: ‘Do you know how to charge it?’ (No).
Fearing the battery will die any minute, I crawl to the supermarket (six miles away) to find our nearest public charging point. I plug in the cable, but nothing happens.
So you ordered the car a month ago? Hmm, we'll come back to that later.
So instead of having the car delivered to a dealer, who would have charged the car for you, you opted to have the car delivered directly to your home. Is this because you're too lazy to drive to a dealer? Did no one person ever ask how you intend to charge the car when you ordered the lease? Surely to God is would have been brought up at some point in conversation, or would have been mentioned somewhere in the paperwork or lease website. I suppose at some point this could have been overlooked or missed or never even considered by the dealer, or they assumed you knew what you were doing.
Yes sometimes the chargers don't work, though I've only ever heard that they don't and I've never experienced a failure myself. Zap-Map.com will tell you in advance if there's a reported/detected fault.
I wiggle the cable, unplug it and replug it. Still nothing. Instructions on the charger inform me to download an app and input MY credit card details. Still nothing.
I draw quite a crowd. Electric cars are clearly a novelty here and everyone wants to know how I’m getting on. Not well.
I phone the charge point helpline. ‘What’s the name?’ they ask. I give them my name. ‘No, the name of the charging point.’
It turns out many have cheerful names, rather than serial numbers, and I am currently in dispute with ‘Fred-Geoff’. They run the checks and tell me, sadly, Fred-Geoff is out of order, but not to worry as ‘Laura-Clare’ is fighting fit and only . . . 25 miles away.

By driving very slowly and free-wheeling down hills (which works like a dynamo to boost the battery), I make it to my gym car park and plug in. Stressful? Immensely.
So you've so far driven 30+ miles, obviously the battery wasn't that flat then. Again a little knowledge goes a long way. Were you not aware of the charge point at your gym? I take it you don't go that often then, or drive around the carpark with your eyes shut. If you did know it was there then did you not once think about how you'd charge the car so far from home?
I've never once drawn a crowd when charging my car, not once. Though I was approached by a guy once in Birch Services (M62 between Leeds and Manchester) who asked a couple of questions.
JULY 20: I love my electric car! It drives like a dream. I love the futuristic ‘tron’ noise it makes at low speeds (to warn unsuspecting pedestrians, as the engine is silent), the touchscreen controls, the massive pull (experts call it ‘torque’) when you overtake, the ‘eco’ mode option (which conserves energy by slowing acceleration and capping your speed at around 60mph).

But the charging situation is a nightmare. Without a plug at home, I am reliant on public points, but these — it turns out — are scarce and notoriously glitchy.
With an electric car, you have to meticulously plan every journey. There’s an app (Zap Map) of UK charging points, but you have to dig deep through user comments to see if your chosen point is public or private, which company owns it and how to pay.
There’s no joined-up thinking. Some public charging points require you to download an app and input credit card details, some ask you to apply for a payment card (which can take up to ten days).
I've never heard a "tron" like noise from mine, only the very quiet whirring noise from the electric motor, and yes to a pedestrian they're very quiet. The only sign that a car is near is the road noise from the tyres.
With an electric car, you have to meticulously plan every journey
Utter BULLSHIT. No, I DO NOT HAVE TO PLAN MY JOURNEY to my local town, even Leeds and Bradford are close enough that I don't even have to consider where to charge. You only have to plan ahead when you know you're reaching or extending beyond the range of the batteries.
There’s no joined-up thinking. Some public charging points require you to download an app and input credit card details, some ask you to apply for a payment card (which can take up to ten days)
This sadly is true, though most charge-points you just use an app and have already created an account to use the service. This however will change, the government brought in legislation in 2018 that negates the use of special fobs. So in future you'll just need a credit/debit card to charge, and maybe an app.
There is a mystifying variety of plug and socket types and no consistency in power delivery — so ‘superfast’ isn’t necessarily quicker than ‘supercharge’ or ‘rapid charge’ — and the time it takes to ‘fill’ your car depends on the power of the charger and of your battery, and whether the plug sockets fit.
Sometimes you have to pay (around £6 for a full charge), sometimes you don’t — and there’s never any guarantee any public charger will be working anyway.
If you're in any doubt about the socket, just take a look at the input connector on your car and especially as it's a new car - THE FUCKING USER MANUAL THAT BY LAW HAS TO COME WITH NEW CARS. Basically there are 3 socket types, CHAdeMO that can charge a 30KWH battery in less than an hour. The leaf has both CHAdeMO and IEC 62196 type 1. Domestic charging is 3.7KWH or 7KWH. Anything more requires a MASSIVE increase in voltage that domestic electrical supplies don't have. Don't worry about the numbers and letters, just look at the socket types and you'll see one does not fit the other. Only really old EV's have one domestic socket, and all new cars have at least 2 sockets, one for home charging and one for fast DC charging on the road.
Only Tesla have their own proprietary socket for 150KWH charging at their own stations.
JULY 25: I ask my lease company, DriveElectric, for advice about installing a home charging point on the side of our house. It gives me a list of 50 companies to contact.
Charging points come in all sizes and colours and vary in cost from £150 to £850. I pick the cheapest and book an installation on August 9.
Wait whut? So you ordered the car nearly 6 weeks ago and not once did you ever think about how you can charge the car at home? No one asked you how you plan to charge it? You didn't look at the Internet and ask the same question? You fucking waited nearly 6 weeks after ordering the car and 2 weeks after is was delivered before you stopped to think... hmm, can I charge an electric car at home? Surely the leasing company asked you this? Plus they SHOULD have told you about the government incentive to install a charger at home, I mean after all it's FUCKING FREE! By all means buy/lease an EV and then bury your head in the sand, because you know, everyone else can do the thinking for you. And then you write an article for which you are paid, that goes on about how difficult it is to charge an EV! ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID?

In all honesty probably not that stupid, it is after all the usual retarded click-bait you get from a failing newspaper (or should that be toilet paper) called The Daily Mail.
The problem is that some people (only stupid people) will read it and take it as gospel.
Yes there are wrinkles that need to be ironed out, it's the same with any new technology, legislation will loosen charging restrictions, charging connections will be reduced to 2 or 3 to make is simple (how do people now confuse diesel with petrol pumps... oh wait), more places will support charging, and if a wind turbine can be effective and erected along with some batteries, then even hard to reach places can have EV charging, like this place:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/CYC+R ... -4.8283336
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You exchange your time for money when you work. You can always make more money. You cannot make more time.
From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.
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Dazbobaby
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Unread post Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:21 pm

FFS this bullshit made me mad.
Oh look at Google and all the amazing information available to first time owners of EV's
https://www.google.com/search?&q=how+do ... ar+at+home
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You exchange your time for money when you work. You can always make more money. You cannot make more time.
From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.
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Dazbobaby
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Unread post Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:18 pm

Lamppost charging:
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You exchange your time for money when you work. You can always make more money. You cannot make more time.
From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.
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Dazbobaby
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Unread post Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:11 pm

A simple question I keep meaning to ask the Internet:
Q. What is regenerative braking?

A. The electric motor in your sucks up electrons and spits out the forces that propels the car forward (or reverse).
But if you spin the motor backwards it can then act as a generator. So if you're slowing down or going downhill, the motor takes the driving force of the car and forces the electric motor to spin in reverse. Like any electric motor, it will resist the kinetic force of the car's movement and slow you down.

Take an electric drill and move the bit/chuck by hand, it's quite hard to move, but if you could get enough speed and momentum, it would charge the battery if a protection circuit isn't employed.

This is the very over simplified version, for a much more complete version then read how stuff works.com
https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-par ... raking.htm
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You exchange your time for money when you work. You can always make more money. You cannot make more time.
From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.
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Dazbobaby
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Unread post Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:17 pm

The difference between an EV owner and non owner is... non owners complain about a car they don't own, owners love their EV.

This is certainly true, I've met and spoke to other EV owners and while everyone had a negative thing or two to say about their EV, EVERYONE said they'd definitely get another.
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You exchange your time for money when you work. You can always make more money. You cannot make more time.
From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.
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