Fiat Coupe Club UK

Going electric part 2

Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Going electric part 2 - 03/03/2021 21:10

As ever, our plans are subject to change without warning.
We are still hoping to complete a house move this month.
We are still planning to replace our 2008 Clubman with an EV.
But the Mini has bitten us with a double whammy repair bill just weeks after 4 new tyres, forcing a slight rethink.
The move to an EV has been brought forward, as the Mini can no longer be regarded as a trustworthy commuter, however much we love it.
And our budget has been curtailed somewhat in the light of the early switch.
So...
We're now looking at the Peugeot e-208, which can be had for around £300/month with our criteria, instead of £350+ for the previous frontrunner, the Kia Soul EV.
I'd rather the Kia (never thought I'd say that), but the Pug is ok.
Now, we need to select, buy and install a home charger.
I have tried to do some research, but don't really know what I'm judging it on. Anyone with experience who can offer advice and make recommendations would be very welcome!
Posted By: PeteP

Re: Going electric part 2 - 03/03/2021 23:00

Aren't any Pug dealerships offering free or subsidised home charging set ups? Other makes dealerships have.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 04/03/2021 08:07

Good question, Pete. Before going with whatever charger a dealer is offering, I'd like a bit more info. As I work for an green energy company, I get a discount on a Rolec charger, but I've heard mixed reviews, so I'm just weighing up the options.
Also, the "deals" offered by dealerships and others are not always what they seem as I believe it is the installer that applies for the "OLEV grant" and the rebate is not always passed on.
Posted By: DaveG

Re: Going electric part 2 - 04/03/2021 08:12

Choices are shown here: https://www.whatcar.com/news/electric-car-charging-the-best-home-charging-solutions/n21685

And e208 offers "free Mode 2 Domestic Charging Cable or subsidised Wallbox and free 6-month charging" with finance offers starting from £219 per month for 6000 miles per year and £3478 deposit, so I'm not sure what the basis of your £300 per month.

Peugeot reckon "slow" charging from standard 3 pin socket (drawing 10 amps, so 2.4kW) will take 22 hours, a "standard" charge 7kW will take 7.5 hours, and "fast" charge 11kW (with 3 phase supply) will take 5 hours.

7kW tethered charger cost looks the best choive but will be £559 after subsidy, so not exactly cheap, and I guess not easy to take with you if you move again in 6 months...
Posted By: DaveG

Re: Going electric part 2 - 04/03/2021 08:20

Surely you would agree an installation price before signing up? And won't you get the option to charge "at work (office)" (assuming no covid restrictions) for free, or is it not that kind of work? What's the offer on the Rolec?
Posted By: samsite999

Re: Going electric part 2 - 04/03/2021 23:04

So, this year we have gone though a
BMW 330e plugin hybrid
Kia Nero plugin hybrid
Toyota chr self charging hybrid

They all have there pros and cons but in truth to keep it simple I would pick the Toyota everyone.

The BMW and Nero slow charge only regardless of charger and really requires a good evening to charge. The range in the BMW was a joke and the range in the Kia was ok, but lied all the time about its range left.
The integration of the electronic motor and the engine with the BMW was horrific, it by far was one of the worst experiences with a new car I have had.
The Kia tech was intrusive and unintuitive.
The Toyota, it just works. Almost the same tech as the Kia but easer to use and less annoying every day. Pulls good mpg and drives really. Really nice.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 05/03/2021 16:53

It turns out that the Vauxhall Corsa e can be had for even less than the Peugeot and is effectively the same vehicle under the skin, so MrsC has opted for that. Should arrive in 3 weeks or so.

I've never detested a car marque like I detest Vauxhall, so I'm struggling not to do a bit of sick in my mouth. But our criteria point to a cheap EV with a certain range, so this is what we're getting.
I know she's right about the cost, but I had to work pretty hard to get enthusiastic about the Kia and now we're going 2 (pretty significant) steps lower, it feels like a lot of money for what my (prejudiced) mind feels is a shitbox.
Hopefully, we will discover that it's brilliant and kick ourselves for not buying Vauxhalls years ago.

Obscenely first world problem, I know.
Posted By: PeteP

Re: Going electric part 2 - 05/03/2021 17:11

I've been driving a Vauxhall as my main car for 3 years now Jim, It's actually made quite well by the Spanish ex-Opel factory.

Did you get the extra £1k off that they are pushing in my email today? It seems that Corsa is on the list

Originally Posted by email from vauxhall and dealership
Well, doesn't this just top everything?

We're offering an extra £1000 off, on top of other offers currently available, on a selected new Vauxhall.

The event starts on 5 March until 14 March. So be on top of your game, or you might just miss out.

Don't forget, you can buy a new car at the Vauxhall Online store from the comfort of your sofa, with click and collect and the option to return it in 14 days if you don't love it.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 05/03/2021 17:16

Originally Posted by DaveG
Choices are shown here: https://www.whatcar.com/news/electric-car-charging-the-best-home-charging-solutions/n21685

And e208 offers "free Mode 2 Domestic Charging Cable or subsidised Wallbox and free 6-month charging" with finance offers starting from £219 per month for 6000 miles per year and £3478 deposit, so I'm not sure what the basis of your £300 per month.

Peugeot reckon "slow" charging from standard 3 pin socket (drawing 10 amps, so 2.4kW) will take 22 hours, a "standard" charge 7kW will take 7.5 hours, and "fast" charge 11kW (with 3 phase supply) will take 5 hours.

7kW tethered charger cost looks the best choive but will be £559 after subsidy, so not exactly cheap, and I guess not easy to take with you if you move again in 6 months...


Dave, I've done the obvious online research, as I said. But thanks for the link.

I was really asking for people with some experience (preferably first hand) for their opinions on different actual chargers. The cost of a cable (an EV is limited without one, so even if you buy a tethered charger, you'll probably want a cable at some point) can be quite high (£150+), so I'd probably take that initially over a subsidised box, so there goes one of the potential savings.

The main issue is precisely which wallbox is included in the subsidised offer. I'm expecting to pay upwards of £500, but I would like one that's reliable.

Incidentally, the "basis" of our £300 per month figure was that, unlike your example, we need 20,000 miles per year, over 2 years and with a £2.5k deposit max. Unless I've misunderstood how these things work, those factors make a pretty big difference. But if you can find a e-208 GT at that price with those figures, I'd be very interested!

I won't be driving the vehicle mainly, it will be Mrs C, so the charging situation at my work is not relevant. There are chargers available at MrsC's work, but they aren't free. Most EV charging takes place at home and that's why it is reasonably important to find a decent charger. You don't have to look far to find tales of failed chargers/continual tripping power, etc.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 05/03/2021 17:37

Pete, that's very reassuring! It's not the build quality that worries me (not that much anyway), it's just a feeling I have about Vauxhalls and how they have traditionally positioned their brand. But I'll do my best to get over it.

As we're getting the car on a PCH, I don't think we'll qualify for the £1k off (we're not actually buying the car), but I'll put it to the broker who's found our deal. Nothing ventured, etc.

Sam, thanks for the compact reviews! All the research we've done suggests that a hybrid of any sort would not make financial sense for us.
The lower servicing and comparatively negligible fuel costs are what just allow us to substitute a cheap(ish) lease deal on a full EV for our usual £3k just-above-a-shed cars, with their higher fuel and maintenance spend.
The deciding factor has been reliability. MrsC answers 999 calls for a living and breaking down on your way to a night shift is very dimly viewed. The Mini's recent string of issues (it's also just turned 100k miles) makes it a nagging worry, every time MrsC sets off for work.

Interestingly, we drove countless cars in our previous incarnation as ChipsAway repairers and I found the 330e to be the best integrated petrol hybrid I drove. Streets ahead of the jerky Mercs and buzzy Lexuses. I never drove a hybrid Kia, so can't comment, but I do think full electric makes more sense than hybrid - for us anyway.
Posted By: Gripped

Re: Going electric part 2 - 06/03/2021 00:49

+1 for Vauxhalls. I'd have one over a Ford any day, even though I know Ford's are often seen as better drivers cars and the performance ones also reach classic status.

But Vauxhalls had very solid interiors and felt less tinny than comparable cars and whole not exactly exciting, they are dependable.

I had a Mk4 Astra from new and loved it. It was a 3 door and the doors were huge and weighed a ton. Loads of room, massive boot, and cool white dials which glowed orange at night (Sxi). My folks had 3 Corsa 1.5tds and they were great too. Isuzu engine though.

I think the Corsa e is one of the best looking small EVs at the moment.

Oh and also remember the Fiat tie up with GM and Saab.. The 1.3 and 1.9 diesels were Fiat's.

But I'm biased. wink

I read a review of the Astra GTC VXR the other day. Who knew that it is actually a very good performance hatch/coupe!
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 06/03/2021 14:42

Thanks Gripped! All reassuring stuff. Despite my petrol-sniffing instincts, in quite looking forward to trying life with an EV. (Definitely turning into my Dad...)
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 07/03/2021 07:56

Originally Posted by gripped
But Vauxhalls had very solid interiors


Maybe, and I haven't driven one for a few years, but every Vauxhall rental I had had nasty nasty interior plastics. Sharp-edged mouldings and easily scratched. Meh. Maybe they've got better...

For what it's worth, our hunt for an electric here in Germany is looking like it will probably be a petrol Renault Kadjar. I'm less than enthused but Anita wants something tall; diesel fits our projected driving ranges where electric hasn't the range and diesels are likely both to be killed by five mile to the shops trips and to be banned from city centres soon. At least with a bottom of the range I can avoid all the stupid electro-toys though it looks like I'm stuck with an electric handbrake frown
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 08/03/2021 17:39

The deed is done, the Corsa-e is ordered. Should get it in around 3 weeks.
Pete, unfortunately neither of the offers you posted applies to our lease deal.
I'm expecting to pay around £500-£750 to have a charger installed.

Barnacle, what mileage do you need? The Kia e-Niro (high-ish seating position) should deliver at least 230 miles per charge. That's a good 3 hours' driving between charges lasting around 45 minutes.
Each to his own, but I prefer the styling to the Kadjar too...
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 08/03/2021 19:19

Jim, our retirement plans involve touring over a lot of Europe - based in Berlin but expecting to go to Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, points east... Not every week but a number of times a year.

I don't dislike the styling but I'm not fond of big heavy cars; I'd rather my arse were closer to the road. But I bought the last four or five cars (come to think of it, I bought *all* of them) so it's Anita's turn to choose. And she wants something tall that we can do the forementioned touring with. In vain I have pointed out that you can do three people and luggage for three weeks around Europe in a coupe...

There are lots ex-lease bottom of the range Kadjars around with silly low mileage - two and a bit years old with six to ten thousand km - at half the price of new. If you can get someone to sell one - we can't get test drive until the end of the month and I'm not buying without at least seeing if it fits me smile

For such a tiny engine - 1300cc, 140bhp - it's amazingly messy under the bonnet. Renault don't even bother with a cover plate...
Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 16/03/2021 01:05

Originally Posted by Jim_Clennell
The deed is done, the Corsa-e is ordered. Should get it in around 3 weeks.

I'm expecting to pay around £500-£750 to have a charger installed.


Try and have the charger installed inside the garage. Local newspaper reported recently of cable, and even charger thefts. In Cambridge of all places!!! shocked crazy
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 16/03/2021 12:55

Thanks for the tip, BB. There is one problem - we don't have a garage! It's one of the reasons for my CCTV post elsewhere!

My intention is to go for an untethered charger (no cable attached) and make do with the one in the car. If it's attached to the car, it is locked in place, so difficult (though obviously not impossible) to make off with.

At the risk of offending Cambridge residents (I know you're being tongue-in-cheek, BB), I'm wholly unsurprised! Having lived and worked in the city (and not just the pretty bits), I know that there's a dark underbelly. It's a very odd place, with vast wealth and privilege and London property prices rubbing shoulders (sometimes on the same street) with serious poverty and deprivation.

My stepson was involved with a very unsavoury crowd in his early teenage years (we are eternally thankful he chose to come and live with us in Stroud at 16) and some of them are now serving pretty long stretches at Her Majesty's pleasure.
Not to say that Cambridge doesn't have some wonderful aspects, but unless you know the place a bit, it's easy to assume it's all gown and no town.

Also, I'm not claiming that chargers and cables won't go missing in Gloucestershire!
Posted By: Submariner

Re: Going electric part 2 - 16/03/2021 13:09

I wouldn't worry about it being a 'Vauxhall' looking at the car inside and out, I think just about any mainstream car marque badge could be put on the front, back and steering wheel and no one would be any the wiser
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 16/03/2021 13:14

Originally Posted by Submariner
I wouldn't worry about it being a 'Vauxhall' lookling at the car I think just about any car marque badge could be put on front, back and steering wheel and no one would be any the wiser.


Undoubtedly, a very good point. It is "Euro-supermini-by-numbers". And actually, it's a Peugeot-Citroen-Fiat-Chrysler as much as a Vauxhall.

My problem with Vauxhall was their deliberate and cynical association with certain demographics.

Maybe MrsC and I could make up our own badge and replace the griffon...!
Posted By: MeanRedSpider

Re: Going electric part 2 - 18/03/2021 15:19

Itís OK, Jim, Cambridge is much safer now me and my family have moved away... laugh
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 18/03/2021 17:58

Originally Posted by MeanRedSpider
Itís OK, Jim, Cambridge is much safer now me and my family have moved away... laugh


I find Cambridge is MUCH safer - viewed from Gloucestershire!

Please tell me you're racing at Combe this year, Rich - we're getting serious withdrawal! You can keep your pubs and restaurants, we need to see some motor racing as soon as!
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 26/03/2021 22:12

It's arrived! First impressions are of a well-built, if not premium, car. The kind you get if you go for an upgrade at Enterprise...
It's (to me) pretty easy on the eye, but only because it's not outstandingly ugly.
As easy to operate as a washing machine (the app is pretty similar TBH) and just as many features I'll never use.
But it's comfortable, nippy - especially up to about 40 - quiet (no, really) and it cost me £2.60 to charge it from around 50 to 80% using a 50kW rapid charger at a nearby fuel station.
Familiarity should breed knowledge about actual range, but hopefully not contempt; the MyVauxhall app doesn't even fully install until you've done at least 3 drives of 20 minutes or more, presumably for data collection purposes.
I'll post more as and when (if anyone's interested!)
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 11/07/2021 10:41

Let me save you a job: TL:DR

I'm home alone with nothing to do except write this, so it's going to be long. Are you sure you don't want to fetch a brew (and maybe a sandwich) before you read it?

We've now done 5k miles in the Corsa-e (I say "we", but actually MrsC has done 4,500 of them on her commute).

What have we learned?

- Driving an EV is as easy and convenient as any ICE vehicle. More so in some ways. (silent, seamless transmission and instant torque, theoretically less maintenance and fewer smelly fluids)
- Acceleration is great, especially at lower speeds and - the best bit - up hills. You just soar up inclines where anything with an ICE has to clear its throat at the very least.
- Handling might be a bit wooden, but I wouldn't know a lot about that because I've never tried "chucking it through the twisties" - it's an electric Vauxhall Corsa!
- Fuelling costs are laughable compared with petrol or diesel.
- Charging is still the Achilles' heel (more to follow)
- Under-developed products (hardware and software) are in danger of undermining the push for EV domination

As a means of transport, I wouldn't willingly go back to a combustion-engined car. The quiet ease that an EV demonstrates in getting you from A to B (provided that A and B are not too far apart, obviously) is something I've never experienced before. Until something better becomes the future, this is the future.

For weekend fun, thrills, emotional involvement and nostalgia, I'm still scanning the internet for a late-70's American V8 muscle car.

Charging is a pain in the neck.

The Corsa has a theoretical range of 209 miles, according to the supposedly "more realistic" WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test) figures. I have no idea how you would achieve this. AutoExpress (and other sources) put it at closer to 170 miles, which I can imagine might be possible in favourable conditions. But here's the thing: motorway driving absolutely kills range. MrsC's commute is 70 miles return, with around 60 of that on the motorway. Even limiting your speed to 70 (seems reasonable!), the effect of all those air molecules is devastating to your SOC (state of charge. We EV folk LOVE an acronym...). Leaving with 100% charge, the car usually shows something around 30% when it returns to base and that is with a fair amount of 60mph driving on smart motorway sections.

You may think that 30% of 170 miles isn't too bad, but the problem with EV range anxiety is that it's difficult to be objective; if your petrol/diesel car fuel light comes on, it's usually no big deal, because you know that you've probably still got maybe 60 miles in the tank, plus the gauge is usually pessimistic, plus there are fuel stations everywhere, plus, if the worst happens, you'll just have to walk a few miles with a can.
I have no idea how far our Corsa will actually go, because I've never tested it. I have a power bank for my phone, but not one for the car! I've seen reviews on YouTube, where they run the battery flat, but in the real world, it's a risk, because if you do actually run out of charge, you are pretty stuffed. The SoC displayed on the Corsa dashboard is in miles, not % (which is nuts, because it varies so much depending on what kind of driving you're doing), and if, for example, there's a diversion for maintenance (a frequent occurrence on motoways at night), your reserve mileage can quickly disappear. So, if you do grind to a halt, more or less the only option is to call a breakdown service, most of whom now offer "emergency charging" to get you to the nearest charger. In MrsC's case, this could easily be at 3am on the M5. Not really something you want to mess with, not least because her job involves taking 999 calls from people who've just seen what happens to cars on the hard shoulder of the M5...


In theory, each night, MrsC would plug in the Corsa to the Rolec Wallpod charger on the wall of our house, and the associated app cleverly manages the charging so that it uses the cheapest possible electricity (we are on an E7 tariff, so our night-time electricity is about 9p per kWh, instead of 15 or so) to fully charge the vehicle and have it "pre-conditioned" (battery and cabin set to optimum temperature using mains power) ready to whisk her to work the following day. However, MrsC's shift pattern means that sometimes she leaves for work early in the morning, sometimes mid afternoon and sometimes at night. If we leave smart charging switched on and forget to alter the timing, she can be heard using terms that would make a navvy blush as she has to go to work in our Citroen C4 "gros-tas-de-merde" because the Corsa has outsmarted itself and not charged. Or, we leave the charger as "dumb" and just swallow the higher price. This is in fact what we do and, in fairness, it's still way cheaper than petrol.

The next - and by a long way most limiting - obstacle in the way of charging is the public charging network.

This is used by EV sceptics as the biggest of sticks to beat the industry. And rightly so, as it turns out.

If you are lucky enough to have a Tesla, you can skip this bit. The Tesla supercharger network is what an EV charging network should look like: plenty of working, high-powered chargers in a nice row, placed in a reasonable number of service areas, plus other locations. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good.

To a lesser extent, if you have a Jaguar iPace, a Mustang Mach-e, PoleStar, Audi e-tron, or one of the new generation of premium EV's with a motorway range of approaching 250 miles, then you'll probably do most of your charging either at home or at your destination, so it will rarely be a problem. As technology improves and range increases, this will evaporate as an issue, but right now, finding a working, rapid (50kW or above) EV charger that you can use without installing one of dozens of proprietary apps (apps that often require a retention on your debit card), while your range is steadily declining, is a tough challenge. And when you do find one, the chances are it'll be occupied either by someone charging their own EV (adding their charge time to yours, effectively), or by some cock in a petrol or diesel car who can't be arsed to find another parking space.

The company I work for, Ecotricity, set up the first EV charging network in the UK in 2011. Back then, it was an amazing innovation, offering completely free charging to the brave EV pioneers on Britain's roads. Over time, technology and expensive maintenance has overtaken the Electric Highway and, recently, the much scorned and criticised network (and it's exclusive rights to many of Britain's motorway service areas) was sold to Gridserve, who are committed to upgrading the entire network. We accidentally stumbled upon one of the new Gridserve chargers at Tamworth Services the other day and it was a window onto a new world! If they keep their promise and other networks follow suit, it will remove the biggest single bar to (long distance) EV use in this country. Rapid chargers are the ones that turn an overnight household charge into a 20-minute top up. No doubt, in future, charging will not only be less frequently required, but will take less and less time. Just don't lick your fingers and stick them in the charger.

I can't leave the topic of charging networks without a special two-fingered salute to BP Pulse. BP took over the ChargeYourCar network (one of the app brigade) that happens to operate the chargers at MrsC's place of work. Access to these chargers would totally eliminate any range anxiety as we would be able to charge at either end of the journey. We duly signed up and paid the annual £20 fee, received the bespoke RFID card and... have never managed to even have the card recognised by the chargers. Having been batted back and forth between MrsC's employer and Pulse, we are now being told that because their chargers are not part of the public network we need a different type of card. This has not been resolved despite plenty of effort on our part. So, MrsC finally raised a complaint.
However, the initial pleasure at receiving a response from none other than the BP Pulse COO himself, was soon reduced to frustration once again, the reply smelling strongly of casual contempt. He managed (mind-bogglingly) to turn a potential PR triumph into another failure.
MrsC's employers haven't showered themselves in glory either. You'd think they would know that their own chargers were not part of the public network and advise their staff accordingly. It's not a great sign that all 6 charging bays are usually occupied by non EVs. The whole thing looks as though they installed the chargers to look green and progressive, without the faintest idea of how to manage them.

Anyway, that's charging.

On to the hardware and software that is at risk of further undermining confidence in the nascent EV boom.
Software-wise, as everyone knows, there's an app for everything.
The Vauxhall app is dreadful. Hopeless, it fails to communicate properly or reliably with the vehicle, making its journey logging a farce. It also doesn't tell you reliably what the vehicle SoC is (if you close the app each time you check, it sometimes gives you the right information, but usually you have to go out and actually open the car door to check the dash display, which kind of makes the app pointless). The dash tells you the percentage of charge (fantastic, just what you want), until you unplug the car, when it reverts to just range in miles remaining, a figure that fluctuates in chunks of 7 miles (?), depending on what kind of driving you're doing.

The app managing the home charger is not terrible, but the charger keeps going offline, (a fault that is disputed between the charger people and the app people), making smart charging unavailable. This is another reason we don't bother and simply charge the car as soon as we plug it in.

Lastly (for now, don't worry, I'll be back!), there is the software on the car itself.

A couple of weeks ago, MrsC got into the car, which had stopped charging at around 65%. When she turned the car on, things bonged and beeped and an error appeared "Electric Traction System Fault", along with a red triangle.

She took the shed to work and I booked the Corsa in with the local Vauxhall dealership.

A little Googling revealed that this fault is common on the Peugeot variants using the same powertrain, as well as the Corsa and Mokka. It also affects hybrids.
Solutions have ranged from ignoring it and never seeing the warning again (a little haphazard in my view!) to full vehicle replacement.

We were told that our software on the car needed to be updated. Someone used the word "recall", but this was met with slightly uncertain looks when queried.

The car came back, with no sign of the initial error and a few minor tweaks to the GUI. However, since then it regularly stops charging at the same level of 65%. This is a problem, because that won't get MrsC to work and back and the entire point of us getting an EV was to have reliable transport to and from her job.

We looked at a lot of different possible causes, including the wall charger, the app and even our solar installation (apparently the inverter kicking in at sunrise can trip the charger).

Eventually, we ruled out everything except the onboard charger in the car, or its software management. So, the Corsa is back with Vauxhall for more work.

It's such a shame, because we love the driving experience, we're confident we can sort out the charger network problems as far as they affect us and we're enthusiastic supporters of the technology until something better comes along.

But for now, we just want it to be fixed.

And, most importantly, like the rest of England, we want to know - is it coming home?
Posted By: Edinburgh

Re: Going electric part 2 - 12/07/2021 08:58

A most informative read Jim even if I had to recharge my phone halfway through it wink

Not only are the issues of topping up an EV still in the teething stage, the hubris of the manufacturers' claims regarding battery life really ought to be dealt with.

What is concerning is the increasing amount of defunct batteries that will require disposal - the thought of the UK palming them off to some uninhabited/3rd-world province doesn't sit well.

On the plus side they don't emit noxious fumes (while operating) and they might provide a lot of employment in the UK. It would be nice to see British ingenuity being supported and ploughed back into our economy on the road to improving recharging and recycling.
Posted By: andyps

Re: Going electric part 2 - 12/07/2021 10:38

Interesting read Jim.

One thing I've thought about the smart charging and cost is that with any new EV home charger they are sim-card linked to a system. I can see the day that there will be a tax similar to the fuel duty that will be applied to electricity used to charge vehicles - there will have to be a replacement for the billions of income from fuel duty and this would be a cheaper alternative to road pricing because the customer is paying for the infrastructure rather than the government. A more sinister thought is that as demand for electricity exceeds supply it provides an ability to ration use - 'you've already driven 300 miles this week so no more use for you..' type stuff. Hope I'm wrong with the latter but nothing would surprise me.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 12/07/2021 11:46

Blimey, Andy, you read it! Didn't think anyone would!
Good point about chargers supplying data for taxation.
Although it could be used to ration electricity in extreme cases, it's more likely to be used for load balancing - effectively restricting flow of electricity at peak times - in the short to medium term.
The hope has to be that as EV's become more efficient, they'll need less kW/mile. And as we adjust to the charge we need without anxiety, we'll seek less. Indeed, going forward, EV's will be able to supply energy back to the grid at peak times, so that will complicate matters further!
Despite my reservations, I'm still massively enthusiastic about EVs...
Posted By: andyps

Re: Going electric part 2 - 12/07/2021 12:01

I'm interested in the subject but currently an EV doesn't fit my requirements, always good to read real life examples.

The usage pattern Mrs C has highlights an issue with load balancing - if it is decided to load balance at the wrong time she won't be able to get to work, the reason petrol/diesel works so well is the flexibility it needs and the charging time for an EV takes that away, at least until we get to absolutely mega charging rates which will require massive generating capability. EVs will get more efficient but it will always take a certain amount of power to move an object at a certain rate - basic physics.

I also have concerns about car to grid - there is apparently around a 10% loss each way so if you put electricity into an EV battery you get 90% of what is used, then when it goes back you are down to 81% of the original amount whilst taking life out of the battery. And that could leave a car with almost no range which would not allow emergency use.

Not trying to be negative but there are many obstacles to overcome and the focus on BEV over any other form of emission reduction for vehicles is not correct in my opinion - I just checked with the NG ESO app and in my area - Yorkshire - electricity generation at this moment is only 2% zero carbon. 65% is from gas and 33% from biomass with just 1% from solar. That means an EV is just moving the issue elsewhere.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 12/07/2021 20:06

As you point out, there are issues, but the frustrating thing is that they are all surmountable right now.
If BP Pulse and MrsC's employer had their act together there would be no issue at all - she would be able to plug in either at home or at work with ample time for a full charge. The Corsa takes about 6 hours using a 7.4kW home charger, so even with 50% load balancing, she could still comfortably get a full charge between shifts.
I agree that charge times are a consideration, but that's mainly about changing habits. If you could charge somewhere you were going to be for half an hour anyway, (restaurant, gym, cinema, supermarket, work), then the problem evaporates.

As for renewable generation, 100% of Ecotricity's electricity is renewable derived, regardless of where you live.
Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 13/07/2021 08:55

Wow Jim, the war and peace post was very informative. It highlighted many of the concerns that people have regarding the switch to EV. Going electric is something I've considered but it's a very tough decision. It seems to offer an environmentally sound argument with the benefit of offering cheap mobility. Even despite the price hikes of roadside charging the electric car still offers a cheap alternative.

I have been thinking of replacing my perfectly good, reliable car that I've had for several years with something new and electric has been looking tempting. The environmentalist in me would surely argue for electric if I were to replace with a new car but when I drill it down I am stuck wondering if I should even be considering change. In reality buying new is just needless consumerism, a cycle that really needs to be broken for the real sake of the environment. A far better environmental argument can be made to actually keep my perfectly good car for as long as possible and only replace when it is no longer a viable option, either due to economics or legislated change. Also if I keep it I know it won't have the DPF ripped out, be chipped and be spewing out black smoke and particulates everywhere.

On Electricity

Originally Posted by andyps
I just checked with the NG ESO app and in my area - Yorkshire - electricity generation at this moment is only 2% zero carbon. 65% is from gas and 33% from biomass with just 1% from solar. That means an EV is just moving the issue elsewhere.


2020 figures showed renewables reaching about 12% average, including Biomass. Biomass is effectively the burning of a carbon capture product but the argument for biomass is that the capture and release of the same CO2 is over a shorter time frame than that of regular carbon capture fossil fuels, so it's deemed green, for now! I suspect in the future carbon capture and carbon neutral will suffer much more scrutiny.

The vast majority of the UK generated electricity (Averaged over the year) is Gas or Nuclear, about 65%. Another 15% comes from overseas. Overseas suppliers have a much lower zero carbon mix than the UK so generally it's more heavily Fossil and Nuclear biased than UK power. But is our 12% renewables figure all it's cracked up to be?

In the early 2000's there were predictions that the UK would have a significant electricity shortfall by 2020. This was due to the closing of our coal fired power stations and it was one reason, along with CO2 targets why UK nuclear power stations had their closure dates postponed. Remarkably by 2012 the UK had significantly reduced consumption leading to a larger surplus. Energy efficient appliances, lighting and the decline of the UK industrial sector meant that by 2018 our electricity consumption was much lower than expected. This reduction in demand obviously had an effect on our reported renewables levels. We have been able to report much higher percentages of renewable energy in the UK supply. The only worry is that as demand increases the Green / Renewable target will be harder to match, let alone exceed. There is also the concern that electricity prices are predicted to outpace inflation by about 1% per year to cover infrastructure development costs. Look into the RO agreements, it's the hidden TAX we'll all be paying.

There has been a very good study produced regarding the costs of all forms of electricity generation. It seeks to cover TOTAL cost, building maintenance and de-commissioning. Well worth a look for anyone interested in power generation UK Energy Cost Study


Originally Posted by Jim_Clennell
As for renewable generation, 100% of Ecotricity's electricity is renewable derived, regardless of where you live.


Their electricity generation is 100% renewable but it is unlikely that this electricity is getting to my house laugh A manipulated, offset mathematic formula will be used to ensure the units of energy sold, by them, never exceed their total electricity generation capacity. I suspect the customer base will also be managed to ensure they keep within these targets, maybe this is why they are currently far from the cheapest, to slow their growth. I do wonder if they, and energy suppliers like them factor in the huge network losses to their sales vs generation calculations, potential there for a future PPI type claim if they don't. Energy losses across the UK network are huge, running at over 7%! Pushing power through cables, sub stations and transformers is hugely efficient!

I did see that last year that the Ecotricity electric highway EV charging network was voted the worst charging network in the UK in terms of cost, speed, ease of use and reliability. Hopefully the sale to Hitachi / Gridserve brand and their investment plans will significantly improve that network.

Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 13/07/2021 20:33

Another brave reader!

I agree with you BB that unless there is a good reason to buy/lease a new vehicle, it's hardly an environmentally-friendly choice to splash out on an EV, even if marginally better than an ICE model.

In our case, we no longer trusted our old vehicle to be sufficiently reliable and, given that our chosen route to reliability (ha!) was a new car, the path to going electric was much easier to follow, especially given the reduced running costs.

Going off topic somewhat, but I think the energy question does need to be addressed, so here's my two pennies' worth specifically regarding Ecotricity (which I know a bit about):

Quote
"A manipulated, offset mathematic formula will be used to ensure the units of energy sold, by them, never exceed their total electricity generation capacity. I suspect the customer base will also be managed to ensure they keep within these targets, maybe this is why they are currently far from the cheapest, to slow their growth."


And your evidence to support this? Customer numbers are increasing and the company has bid (this week) for a competitor. Not doing too well at slowing growth. How would it benefit the company to maintain its 100% renewable electricity claim at the expense of being able to expand?

In fact, Ecotricity's pricing is higher than other energy suppliers principally because, as one of only 3 companies in the UK classified by Ofgem as clean (the others are Good Energy and Green Energy UK - not Octopus or Bulb, etc.), it is exempt from the price cap that affects other suppliers.They qualified for this "derogation" by demonstrating that their higher costs were directly attributable to renewable energy, both in current sourcing and investment in future generation. The company is constantly striving to generate more and better and to attract more customers.

Also, I'm not sure why an energy supplier, as opposed to, say, a distributor or the National Grid Transmission network, or Elexon, would need to worry about a PPI-type situation? That simply isn't the way the energy market works.
As an aside, Ecotricity's claim to produce the UK's greenest energy was tested by none other than Elon Musk, who challenged the claim via the Advertising Standards Authority (he was cross after being caught trying to screw Ecotricity in a business deal). He lost on both occasions.

Apologies if I come across as a bit of an Ecotricity fan-boy (partially guilty - but only partially), but for some reason, BarmyBob, you seem intent on rubbishing everything they attempt or have achieved. I'm all for healthy cynicism, but this seems personal, so I'm just trying to balance things out a bit.

In other, more on-topic news, the Corsa is still at the garage. They asked permission to drive our car around to lower the state of charge so they can test it again; they plugged it into their charger yesterday and it charged straight to 100% - typical! This could indicate that our charger is to blame, or it could be a whole heap of other factors (charger power, starting charge level, etc.) Vauxhall has a very limited number of qualified technicians to work on EVs and the one our garage had got its hands on is going on unexpected leave tomorrow, with no resolution found as yet. The service department person seemed more pissed off than me. Marginally.

A suivre...
Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 14/07/2021 10:16

Originally Posted by Jim_Clennell
Apologies if I come across as a bit of an Ecotricity fan-boy (partially guilty - but only partially), but for some reason, BarmyBob, you seem intent on rubbishing everything they attempt or have achieved. I'm all for healthy cynicism, but this seems personal, so I'm just trying to balance things out a bit.


Jim, there is no doubt that claims made by the company are laudable but you have to admit that those claims come with a lot of baggage.

The business has an extreme GREEN agenda and peddles this agenda through both their vision statement and their lobbying of government. This lobbying isn't limited to their energy supply business, their green agenda is looking to influence many aspects of UK life, including food and transport. Sadly a lot of this green agenda is based upon deeply biased challengeable science, skewed by a vegan political agenda. Take the beef argument. UK beef and milk production industry has proved it is far less damaging than the vegan environmental lobby would like. So they continue to use, outdated, world beef production figures to try and destroy the industry in the UK. Ecotricity are one of the key lobbyists on this issue, so yes I will remain a vocal opponent of their agenda, despite sharing some similar environmental goals.

NFU Myth buster


The whole "Climate" issue is a fabulous political gift. Any benefits, or mistakes are going to be so long term it is unlikely that much will change in a politicians political career, or even lifetime. This enables them to make bold statements and receive little or no comeback! The worst aspect of all this is that the greenest way forward is being mostly overlooked and ignored. If policy dictated that every new build had solar power, or locally supplied green energy as part of the planning process this would bring the greatest green win for the country. The government does offer green initiatives but getting these grants is not easy. The green grants come from government spending and so it's far easier for the government to push the RO route because that, increasing funding levy, will come from increasing energy bills, not government funding, it's an indirect tax that will rise significantly between now and 2050! The RO agreement has enabled some new energy suppliers look like saints, at the expense of the more established businesses. Sadly these small companies generate a miniscule amount of the total electricity network supply.

Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 14/07/2021 10:46

My PPI example was based upon it being discovered, in the future, that companies have exceeded their 100% renewables claim. Maybe the Diesel emission's scandal would have been a better analogy.

For example:

Barymbob electricity generate and annual 50 MW of power from our solar farm. We currently sell our 50 MW to the grid so we can then sell 50 MW of electricity to our customers. Firstly many of our customers have electric cars which they charge at night and our solar farm isn't generating at night, so maybe we're failing to deliver 100% renewable, so I guess we are claiming an average annual usage calculation, and not a real world use. Hopefully our customers are clear on this.

Now Let's assume we've done well and we're selling close to our 50 MW to our customers. Then for some reason, either due to our supply issues, or significant increased demand from our customer base, maybe due to more of them buying electric cars or dumping gas at home and going electric, our generation falls well short of our sales. Clearly we would not have supplied 100% renewable to our customers.

Hopefully we are also applying the 7.5% power distribution losses to our sales vs generation capacity.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 14/07/2021 19:47

BarmyBob, I'm glad we're clear then, it is personal!

I couldn't work out why you would use such emotive terms:- "extreme green" "peddling an agenda" and criticise "deeply biased challengeable (?) science", then use an NFU document as evidence to back that up unless there was something a little irrational behind it. I'm sure you'll spare me the effort of pointing out the irony!

There is, as you're doubtless well aware, plenty of research on both sides of the argument, but I'd be a little careful not to let your own (initially undeclared) bias write cheques your evidence can't cash!

There is certainly a full-blooded (?) discussion to be had about veganism and "extreme" greenery, but I'd rather not take this thread so tangentially off topic.

On the point of the 100% renewable energy promise, vehicle manufacturers set out to con the general public with their emissions fraud. What evidence do you have to support a comparison with Ecotricity's claim made in good faith (and so far, accurately)? It is highly implausible that your scenario would come to pass, given the intense scrutiny that such claims are rightly subjected to (ditto the distribution losses - are you seriously suggesting Ecotricity forgot about those and nobody reminded them?). In the unlikely event that it did happen, I suspect that it would present a fantastic opportunity to plead the case for more renewables to keep up with demand.

I can't help thinking that this is just a bit more "I don't like this guy's politics (or his diet!), so I'm going to rubbish his company a bit more with a scenario I just thought up".

Back to the Corsa (phew!). It - unlike certain other things - is coming home tomorrow, but with no apparent cause or fix. I'll know more when I speak to the guy, but apparently it charged again at the garage's charger to 100%, so the focus returns potentially to our Rolec device.
We've asked a neighbour to try charging his Leaf with it, which might tell us something. As long as the Corsa doesn't leave MrsC stranded, I'll put up with a few teething troubles, but if it goes on much longer without an explanation or resolution, we might have to press the lease company for a replacement.
Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 15/07/2021 07:10

Jim, I would just like to remind you that it was you who advised me to read his book, and it was you that brought up the business in this thread. I would like to believe that the business wouldn't error or fudge figures. But they do already claim, on their website, that the UK has 30% green energy, in the national energy mix chinny

I have genuinely been interested in your thoughts and feedback on living with an electric vehicle. As stated previously I have been considering dumping my dirty diesel and going for an electric on lease, for commuting duties for my last few years at work. I have road tested the E-UP, and the Mini E which were both fun. When I had the garage re-built last year I even made provisions for the fitting a home EV charger. I also came to the conclusion that if I was going EV I would like to have solar installed too, so I had the site survey for that undertaken. However, the loss of the old feed in tariff scheme has made home solar a much more complex market, you must now make a tie in deal with a supplier, This is the local company I was looking at. It is impossible to know if any investment in this area would be reflected on my house price, local estate agent was clueless, so as we plan to move in the next few years the investment would appear to be far too risky, for me.

Sadly despite a desire to follow your lead it does seem that my best environmental and economic decision would be to keep what I have until we sell up and move away from here.
Posted By: Master_Mariner

Re: Going electric part 2 - 15/07/2021 14:32

I am starting to consider an EV vehicle as a genuine contender for the next car.

BUT. The impact on the environment to make it. The Life cycle of the battery-likely 70% value of the car when it dies according to car media I recent cost reviews. The impact on the environment for the new battery. The lack of recharging network. The time to recharge. And limited range -especially on a cold, wet, wintry day when you need lights, heaters, A/C and electric screen de-mist- all put me off a little.

Interesting to see and hear those who are dipping a toe.

I can see these as a future option-but only when the range and green damage is greatly resolved. But interesting first steps.

Regards

MM
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 15/07/2021 19:48

Originally Posted by Barmybob
Jim, I would just like to remind you that it was you who advised me to read his book, and it was you that brought up the business in this thread. I would like to believe that the business wouldn't error or fudge figures. But they do already claim, on their website, that the UK has 30% green energy, in the national energy mix chinny


Bob, I did recommend Dale Vince's book (did you read it?) and I brought Ecotricity into the discussion in the context of an energy supplier about which I know something (not a lot, maybe, but more than others). But if I'm biased, I freely and transparently admit it and don't attempt to "peddle an agenda" to coin a phrase, pouring scorn on something because I harbour a grudge against a person. I think James Dyson is a c**t, but a) he might actually be very nice and b) I wouldn't say his innovations are a pile of crap because of my personal views on him. I absolutely don't support all of Dale's causes (I'm not vegan and I'm no fan of Extinction Rebellion, for example), but I admire his activism and passion that has found a practical outlet that benefits everyone. Is there another supplier doing more to grow renewable energy? Ironically, because I work for Ecotricity, I now cost the company more than I contribute in bills. Funny old world...

I could be wrong, (and I'm afraid I'm not going to go to great lengths to find out), but I suspect every energy company in the UK will have statistics on their websites that are questionable. There is probably a way to look at the figures that makes the 33% claim stand up, but regardless, I would argue that it's a long way from using a single (famously flexible) statistic to promote a business on a website, to lying wholesale about everything your company exists to provide.


Anyway, back on topic - I'm genuinely glad to hear my absurdly long ramblings have attracted some readers and some debate.

I think you are probably right about your old Audi, Bob, for the reasons you mention. Unlike you, we were in a position where we were about to move to a long-term home, with a solar installation, where paying for a wall charger made sense, although I still think the cost of these is an outrage. Our ICE car was at an economic crossroads and we didn't have too many choices we could afford.

I admit that the long-term, overall cost to the environment of getting an EV was not factored into our decision. We are pretty strategic in some ways, but here our thinking didn't extend beyond a solution to MrsC's commuting problem. Generally - and rightly -, this is something that is becoming harder and harder to ignore, but it's not always easy to be good.

Now that global legacy car makers and many new "agile" players have thrown in their hand with EV's, the automotive world is heading down that road, whether or not it proves to be the future. My experience has told me that much of what is out there is underdeveloped. Vauxhall are clearly learning about EV's along with their customers, which isn't a confidence-builder. And the app that is supposed to provide so much useful information is utter gash, from failing to connect and give charging info, to erroneously insisting that our car requires a service. I hope that the charging network is actually close to a tipping point - it really doesn't need that much to make it satisfactory, although it's going to get a whole lot busier over the next few years.

For the moment, I'm still prepared to continue on our electric journey with Vauxhall, but I firmly believe that in a very few years' time, every aspect of EV's will improve almost beyond recognition.

Master_Mariner - you pays your money and you takes your choice in terms of research about which is worse for the environment over its entire lifetime - an ICE car or an EV.

What absolutely kills range is not heating/AC/wipers/lights, it's motorway speeds. If you home charge and know your departure time, you can use mains power to set your EV battery and cabin to the optimum temperature; maintaining it takes less juice.

Charging times are mainly a problem if you a) don't have home charging and b) can't charge at a location where you would normally remain for the time of a charge.





Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 20/07/2021 09:48

Sorry I.ve not replied sooner, just done a run of 12 hour shifts eat, sleep, work repeat .

Originally Posted by Jim_Clennell
Bob, I did recommend Dale Vince's book (did you read it?


Obviously the title was intriguing, I had a kindle voucher so I decided to take a look. There were some interesting perspectives but there is also fair bit of me against the world. To be honest I didn't last long before skimming through to the end. You can't doubt his commitment to the cause, he certainly places his money where his mouth is. But many of the solutions, to the hugely complex environmental challenges, were naively simplistic. Rather than this manifesto offering compelling argument for the cause, and offering a real platform for reasoned debate, it came across more as a sermon for his followers.

On car news, I have a valuation appointment booked for my RS and I've been offered a few days with Audi electric demonstrator, sadly not an Etron GT. I might take the offer but in all honesty if, and it's a big if, I do sell the RS I'll probably just keep the money in the bank and not buy another toy shocked This would make last years garage re-build a waste of money though!
Posted By: MeanRedSpider

Re: Going electric part 2 - 26/07/2021 19:24

Iím chiming in because the ďc**tĒ (Cost? Cart? Cast? Cult? laugh ) Jim refers to now offers EVs on salary sacrifice lease which makes one that bit more appealing - especially because we really very rarely go far and the big Merc does that job and race car towing. I should probably stick with the kidsí little 500 from an overall footprint point of view but one of the kids has nicked it.

The problem is I have absolutely no idea what to get. Mrs MRS currently has a MINI so is drawn to that. If Iím honest, though, I donít much like the MINI. Iíve only ever had a go in an i3 (which I liked) but they are ugly and getting quite long in the tooth and expensive. Iím a fan of the 500 as an ICE. I guess the thing to do is test drive a few. I had been considering solar panels but it seems hard to find anybody that isnít doing some sort of hard sell. Why are these things so difficult?
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 26/07/2021 21:13

I just thought he might have Cornish or Welsh ancestry...!

I definitely think you should test as many EVs as you can or can be bothered. Whatever the dynamic properties of a car in ICE guise, it will almost always be worse as an electric. But there are compensations in other areas - joyful acceleration, especially up hills is a clichť, but true.
Other than that, our experience is of the "white goods" kind - easy to use and effective. Most EVs are also heavy on touch screens and light on analogue controls. If you're going to embrace that aesthetic, you might want to at least look at the Honda e.

I agree that trying to get any kind of solar (plus a battery) just seems to attract endless selling.
Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 26/07/2021 23:10

A colleague has, apparently, just traded in his one year old Mercedes A35 AMG, and ordered a Vauxhall Mokka E. To be fair the Mercedes has had a lot of issues over the last year, he's probably spent one month of his ownership period in different courtesy cars. The fellow does have a track record of owning Vauxhalls so that element seems to fit. But his decision to go electric has shocked the whole team, as far as I recall he doesn't even have a driveway!

I will wait to see if he has gone for it, or if it is all just a bluff.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 27/07/2021 14:04

Originally Posted by Barmybob
...his decision to go electric has shocked the whole team...


That's Vauxhall electrics for you
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 01/08/2021 05:52

Don't do anything to the orange wires! shocked
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 01/08/2021 06:03

When we were doing body repairs we had to complete an EV safety course about location of high tension cables. For us it was virtually irrelevant as we only tackled minor damage, but there were nasty stories about PDR guys getting shocks when using rods.
Manufacturers do sometimes route the cables in bizarre ways. Because Tesla wouldn't release details of their cabling to Thatcham, we were banned from working on them completely.
I must admit, if I were a Fire and Rescue Service person operating the "jaws", I'd be pretty reluctant to cut the top off an EV without clear guidance.
Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 01/08/2021 15:29

Safety is not being completely ignored, but the information flow is very slow, considering the take up and the legislation is lagging behind.

HSE on EV's

Our electrical infrastructure is governed by a set of regulations BS7671. These regulations ensure we adhere to a common practice for electrical infrastructure. This includes, installation, training for those and who can work on the infrastructure, and that we also undertake take regular tests and inspections. I know that the new 18th edition has amendments for EV chargers but I've not noticed anything to do, specifically, with vehicles.

We have manufacturers delivering training on EV's but there does not seem to be any recognised standard, or nationally recognised qualification on the matter. I do hope we don't wait for deaths to indicate we need some standards!
Posted By: Barmybob

Re: Going electric part 2 - 01/08/2021 15:43

It turns out that the professional body, that I used to be a member of, has developed an accreditation.

IMI Accreditation
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 02/08/2021 16:20

Originally Posted by Barmybob
It turns out that the professional body, that I used to be a member of, has developed an accreditation.

IMI Accreditation


That's the qualification we had to do. Or possibly part of it.
Posted By: oxfordSteve

Re: Going electric part 2 - 06/08/2021 08:43

I will never be in the market for a brand new car, but am thinking of replacing the Z4 with something easier to get in and out of (being less than supple/slim and over 50).

As my commute is only about 7 miles each way, and being in a 2 car household, then going electric does appeal, but the choice at the lower end of the second hand market is pretty dreadful - limited to 90 mile range Leafs and supermini Zoes - So I think it is going to wait before going fully leccy.

There is an appeal, and I can see the benefits in both cost, and simplicity in going electric

It's a similar thing with PHEVs which are still to fall into my budget.

As an aside, the other half has a company provided Grandland X PHEV. Now as much as I appreciate 300BHP in something the size of a shed (for a very short time) - the electric only range is only 30 miles, the regen charging seems pretty negligible, and the overall economy is significantly less than the Skoda Superb oil burner she had previously, so I am left with a nagging "whats the point" of a PHEV?
We don't have a charging point either, so trailing a 3pin plug out of the window is a PITA - and its a good job we live on the ground floor.

(Don't even mention what happens if you set it to charge the batteries from the engine as you are driving)

It's not just the mpg figures, it has a tank limited by space for the batteries. The Skoda would easily get from Oxfordshire to Oban, and a weeks pottering about on less than a tank, the Grandland got from Oxfordshire to North Kent and back and was on fumes.

As for "traditional" hybrids, it's a similar thing - unless the economy is significantly better than a similar sized diesel, there is no motivation to switch - even more so if it means driving a Prius. The only exception would be the CR-Z, as they are pretty cool to look at.


And Jim, the Vauxhall app is shyte!
Posted By: Submariner

Re: Going electric part 2 - 06/08/2021 14:39

For a 'commuter' an EV sounds a good choice I'm guessing at the cheaper end of the market the real world usability is proving difficult given the power issues you are having with only the 70m round trip....don't forget to offset the monthly car payment in the running costs especially so if pcp given 95% never make the balloon payment. So for me there lies the problem no practical range and the pcp payment offsets the petrol savings purchasing a decent used well maintained petrol super mini or alike may not suffer...I don't feel that guilty with my emissions as yet to pay through the nose for some 'not there yet tech' with a pitiful charging infrastructure years away from being viable/usable for the masses...maybe I should.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 15/08/2021 13:52

Just watched "Guy Martin: The World's Fastest Electric Car?" A few thoughts (SPOLER ALERT - if you haven't watched the show, look away!):

- Guy's partner has had an EV for a year/10k miles; Guy knows a lot more about EV's than he made out for the premise of the show. ( https://www.am-online.com/news/peop...-electric-movement-with-honda-e-purchase )
- Guy rode in the TT Zero at least once, so he knows a lot more... etc.
- The idea of the programme seemed to me to be to introduce reluctant petrolheads to the idea that EV's are more than virtue-signalling, impractical, clinical euroboxes for wealthy nerds. There's spannering, there's tyre-smoke, they can be "fast" as Guy said on a number of occasions.

As with much (but not all his stuff), I enjoyed the show, including the science-y stuff and the busting of several myths (exploding batteries, I'm looking at you), which I think will have done much to draw people in. The exploration of all those different types of EV was also a really good thing. I would have like to see something like an ambulance or maybe a more workmanlike van to complete the line-up, but you can't have everything. Also, why no mention of Guy's TT Zero bike...?

My suspicion is that by choosing the VW Beetle to make the record attempt, they were trying to show that EV's can have "soul" (as opposed to Kia Soul) and that the tech is applicable to all kinds of vehicle. I like the idea, but it scuppered them in the end.
My employer (>ahem!<) tried much the same thing back in 2012 with the Nemesis (which sits in the car park at work doing very little. I wonder if he'd let me borrow it..!). If Guy had opted for a similar donor car (a Lotus Elise), I suspect that the record would have been broken at Santa Pod.

On the other hand, I absolutely love what the fella in Wales does - awesome vehicles made modern, if not better...
I also reckon there was some realism in there for those of us who are too enamoured with EV life:
Much of the charging network *is* sub-standard; you can blame or thank Ecotricity for the Electric Highway, but the sale to Gridserve is a very good thing, in my view. The entire network should be brought up to a minimum of 50kW, with a cap on prices to that speed. If you want to pay more for 100, 350, whatever, then vultures like Ionity can charge their scam prices. At the moment, that type of profiteering is going to do real damage to EV adoption.
Guy's calculation that it cost close to £100 more to charge the Ioniq than it would have cost in diesel, is damning - and music to the ears of sceptics. Especially when the bloody thing didn't work!

In EV forum-land, the contentious statement Guy made at the end, about the suitability of EV's for everyday life earned him a lot of anger. He didn't say (as one bloke in another video alleged) that EV's can't go more than 50 miles, he said that they aren't practical if you regularly go somewhere 50 miles from your home, so he was setting a threshold of 100 miles.
Now you and I know that even my lowly Corsa-e can easily cope with that, but Guy's experience of normal, non-exotic EV's is a Honda E, with a manufacturer's claimed range of 136 miles and designed for urban life. He lives on a farm in rural Lincolnshire and his partner clearly hates the thing - due to range anxiety. If he'd chosen a more sensible EV (almost anything on the market, bar the Mini), I don't think he'd have made that statement.

So, overall, a really positive contribution to making EV's a bit sexier and fun, but realistic about the improvements needed to the charging network to make EV ownership and long-distance trips as easy as ICE.
Posted By: Gripped

Re: Going electric part 2 - 16/08/2021 21:40

Yep. That Beetle needed 4WD to get the power down... then it might have a contender.

It hasn't put me of EVs as if we do get one it will be used as a second car for all the local trips which to be fair is the vast majority.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 02/09/2021 22:21

As I don't have a subscription to the Times, I wasn't able to read it, but apparently there was an article about Dale Vince, EV's and the Nemesis in Tuesday's edition. It seems the Elise (or possibly Exige) based UK speed record holder is to be decommissioned and put in a museum.
Things have come a long way in a short time...
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 24/09/2021 18:29

An unexpected bonus of having an EV is avoiding the knuckle-draggers causing petrol and diesel shortages.

Rather than sitting on the M25, perhaps Insulation Rebellion should just announce that there's absolutely no need to panic buy insulation
Posted By: Cooperman

Re: Going electric part 2 - 10/03/2022 20:09

Just decided to make the change to an EV and placed an order for a Skoda Enyaq Coupe VRS. Range of approx 310 miles. Really looking forward to getting to grips with this new form of motoring for me at least.
Lots of options out there but this one ticked the boxes for me.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 11/03/2022 07:49

Exciting news, Cooperman.
I won't try to give you too much advice (as enthusiasts tend to!), but my only tip (unless, of course, you want more...?!) would be to keep your mind open.
Using an EV *is* different from using a traditional car and if you expect to treat the two identically, you might be disappointed. Charging and refuelling are not the same, probably never will be and that just needs a different philosophy to avoid frustration (and sometimes gain time overall).

Oh, ok, one more thing: forget the manufacturer's range figure. Plan journeys based on getting 2/3 of that range and, if you want a more representative figure, monitor how many miles you get per kWh in real life (there will be plenty of data available) and multiply it by the useable battery capacity (in the specs).

There I go, blathering on again...!

Enjoy your Skoda!
Posted By: Cooperman

Re: Going electric part 2 - 11/03/2022 09:05

All good advice Jim, I plan to work around a range of 250 miles and split journeys with work / Eat breaks. Luckily I am developing Starbucks Drive Thruís and EV charging points are installed as part of the fit outs.
I have developed enough stores over the last few years I can navigate by them now smile
I am sure there will be some learning needed but itís the future so reckon itís time to make the move.
Posted By: Cooperman

Re: Going electric part 2 - 02/05/2022 06:33

Looks like the war in Ukraine is impacting Skoda and VW big time in respect to some key components and I am still awaiting a build date. It seems many of the main EV producers are having delays of one sort or another at the moment with wait times varying between 6 months to over 12. Itís like a case of hurry up and wait.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 02/05/2022 08:23

It's very frustrating! My son in law wants an Audi Q4 e-tron, but there's no chance of getting a new one in under 12 months.
I imagine the Skoda uses quite a few of the same parts.

Our lease on the Corsa-e runs out in a year and the lease company has advised us to tell them in 6 months what we'd like to go for next.
Luckily, we've taken the view that our EV is basically a large kitchen appliance, without the emotional engagement we have with our other cars. This means we will basically take whatever is available, now that our mileage requirement is down from 70 miles per day to 15!
Current possibilities include MG estate!
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 08/05/2022 11:20

Happened to pass by the local MG garage (used to be Citroen for decades, but the franchise costs went up ludicrously, so they jumped to MG) and stopped in for a test drive of the MG5 EV estate.

Verdict: Exactly as expected! Competent, and average in every way - the perfect ordinary, non-premium (not even the cheap ones are actually cheap) EV.
Would make an ideal replacement for the equally non-descript Corsa, but there's a facelift coming right when we'd need to order, with associated price hike.
Still, it could be a contender. Think we'll try to test drive the others - just to make sure we're not missing out on a hidden gem...
Posted By: jimboy

Re: Going electric part 2 - 08/05/2022 13:22

I like reading your findings on this subject Jim, behind the spiel you find out how it is in reality. I do think for me I will dodge the need for a leccy car. Especially so up here in the Highlands. By whatís happening up here itís going to be some time before we see significant numbers, the infrastructure will need years to come up to anything workable. Iím not interested in anything electric full stop, and when the time comes I will use the bus service, free for us seniors hippy Just my slant on things.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 08/05/2022 16:39

Happy to oblige, Jim.
I'm a bit of an EV evangelist, but I'm well aware that they can't solve everyone's transport issues (and come with a few big ones of their own).
All other concerns side, I'd say the two most basic factors for EV ownership/leasing are:

1 - Can you have a home charger (or possibly a similarly accessible one at work)?
2 - Does your daily mileage (or, more accurately, your regular use between lengthy charging times at your home/work charger) exceed a comfortable percentage of the real world range of the EV you're considering? (Say 80%)

If the answer to 1 is no and/or the answer to 2 is yes, then I'd reckon an EV will add stress to your life, rather than removing it.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 08/05/2022 21:26

Also on the negative side, saw my first bit of EV-specific crap driving last week: on the A346 in Wiltshire, as it winds up the hill out of Marlborough and into the forest.
I was stuck behind a lorry and waiting for the road to widen into a dual carriageway, with a train of traffic behind me. As the moment arrived, I mirror-signal-manouvered, only to find a Tesla appeared at warp speed, almost redesigning the boot of the Eos. Aesthetics aside, it was a classic example of the epic acceleration of EV's, especially uphill.
Thing is, it's a bit like having better brakes than the car behind you - even though you're not doing anything illegal, you really should allow for other motorists going about their business in "normal" vehicles.
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 11/05/2022 17:45

Apropos of Scotland: number of filling stations between Fort William and Kyle of Lochalsh - a two hour drive, give or take: none...
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 11/05/2022 21:22

Do you mean liquid filling stations, Neil?
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 14/05/2022 05:39

Yes. But there are an equal number of electric filling stations smile

Neil
Posted By: PaulL

Re: Going electric part 2 - 14/05/2022 05:56

Good point Jim.

But I suppose that it is the same as any car with rapid acceleration, it's driver must anticipate the road users ahead.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 14/05/2022 08:24

Absolutely, Paul. But EV acceleration (especially at lower speeds) is a step change that is accessible to far more drivers than the equivalent performance in ICE cars. I do remember the introduction of ABS causing a similar requirement to be aware of the limitations of others.
Posted By: PeteP

Re: Going electric part 2 - 14/05/2022 16:45

Originally Posted by Jim_Clennell
Absolutely, Paul. But EV acceleration (especially at lower speeds) is a step change that is accessible to far more drivers than the equivalent performance in ICE cars. I do remember the introduction of ABS causing a similar requirement to be aware of the limitations of others.


Even Disc brakes got a mention on the boot lids of 50s and 60s Jaguar 2.4, 3.4 and 3.8s.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 17/05/2022 12:46

Interesting development seeing the first light of day in Europe, in Norway. Instead of charging the battery in the car, the battery is replaced for a fully charged one (takes about 5 mins).
It also allows cars to benefit from the latest battery technology as developments occur.
This latter point is something I think should be available more widely, but I suppose the design and accessibility of the host vehicle's onboard battery is crucial.
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 17/05/2022 19:23

Well, when you get standardised battery cells with standardised fastenings that can be replaced by a robot...

The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from...
Posted By: Cooperman

Re: Going electric part 2 - 19/08/2022 06:28

Well still no update on delivery of my EV 6 months later but it seems many manufacturers are now quoting anything between 6-18 mnths lead times it seem. In the meantime I have decided to invest now in installing a solar PV / Battery storage option along with a Zappi charger point as itís all 0 VAT rated if installed at the same time.
Hopefully it will make a significant dent in the electricity bills if the illustrative figures pan out.
Posted By: Edinburgh

Re: Going electric part 2 - 19/08/2022 07:28

Yes, a mate of mine works with Hyundai and the waiting times are over 6 months too.
Posted By: mr_tickle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 19/08/2022 08:41

I ordered a Kia Soul maxx BEV back in February, the delivery was given at the time as July.
Early in July I was told that all Soul orders in the UK were now cancelled as they had over subscribed and they had prioritised the E-Niro over the Soul (it shares the same Drive train/battery/motor/chips)
Fortunately for me, due to a rare cancelled order I did manage to get one 2 weeks ago.
They told me it was the last one in the UK - it does appear that the waiting times generally are going to continue to be long.
Hyundai own Kia BTW.
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Going electric part 2 - 28/08/2022 19:16

The Kia Soul EV was one of our early choices, but was a bit beyond our budget. Sad to hear it's no longer available, but great news for you that you got one. How are you finding it?
I serendipitously met someone the other day who works for a company near Bristol called Zero EV. He turned up at my work in a classic Mini that they had converted to a BEV as part of an official BMW scheme.
It was gorgeous (down to the updated clocks by Smiths) and a perfect fit for a city BEV.
I absolutely loved it, but it was way beyond my means!
Their next project is original Land Rover Defenders for use in Australia and with a range of 500 miles... Interesting if it works.
Posted By: Rosso

Re: Going electric part 2 - 04/09/2022 08:23

Worth considering swapping to Octopus energy for anyone going EV. Although do be quick i think they are closing the deal soon. We have just moved over to them yesterday and effectively charging my 42kw 500e for £3.15. And from the hours of 12.30 - 04.30 its 7.5p per kWh.
Posted By: Cooperman

Re: Going electric part 2 - 05/09/2022 17:27

Which Tariff are you on ? I am having a solar pv, battery and charger fitted shortly but am luckily already an Octopus customer smile
Posted By: Rosso

Re: Going electric part 2 - 05/09/2022 19:52

Octopus Go we are with Ashley. Whoah that will be awesome... what sort of capacity are the batteries?

We have only just changed from EDF to Octopus so waiting for the new tariff to kick in but in the meantime I've set a charging schedule from 12.30 - 04.30. and ready for a full charge at £3.15.

The 500e has a range of claimed 200 miles and the weekly commute is just shy of 200 miles so its a close call come Friday so plug in on the Thursday evening.
Posted By: mr_tickle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 06/09/2022 07:46

I tried to switch to Octopus Go for that great rate. They said that you have to have a smart meter fitted to get the deal. I had the new meter fitted last week and apparently my signal is too weak to connect.
So charging for me at home will cost: 27ppkw (currently) not 7.5p or in cash terms:
64KWH x 27ppkw = £17.28 vs 64kwh x 7.5ppkw = £4.20
and if the rate rise of 52ppwh goes ahead it could cost as much as 64kwh x52p = £33.28!

I am currently arguing with my energy supplier to find a solution to the meter connectivity issue but they really don't want to know.
The uk is divided up into 2 sections for smart meter coverage with O2 (telefonica) covering the southern half of the UK using a 2g/3g signal.
I trying to find out if I can buy a signal booster that will cover the range I need and ask them back to try again.

So the warning I would give to anyone considering acquiring a BEV is make sure that you have a working SMETS2 smart meter or it could get expensive!
Posted By: mr_tickle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 06/09/2022 08:04

Hi Jim
The soul Maxx 64KWH - 150kw is brilliant. we preferred this over the Kia E-niro because of the large interior I can fit my 3 - 6 feet offspring in the back.
I've now had it 6 weeks and done a thousand miles in it and still every day I look forward to driving in it.
Range is stated as 282 miles - I have had 260 so far but apparently it will go as high as 340 if you drive it around town in eco mode. I make it my goal to recover as much energy as possible - touching the brake pedal is for emergences only!
For the first few days I only used sport mode but i now only use eco mode and try to get the most miles per kw I can. The exception being if I make it to the front of a set of traffic lights and I see something fast next to me that needs to see the 0-30 of a BEV!
Its very fast, comfortable and most of all moves you around in a very relaxing silence.
When I have to use the XC90 it feels so old tech - noisy, clunky, always changing gears and I can't wait to move on back to the BEV.
We will always need a second car one that can travel long distances - tow a boat and a caravan and that probably means Diesel for the foreseeable until they come up with a solution for towing.
My opinion - I think they should have gone down the Hydrogen fuel cell route not Battery, but until/if they do I'll be enjoying BEV.
Posted By: mr_tickle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 06/09/2022 08:09

Hi Cooperman

What system and size did you go for and which company are you using?

I am looking and researching the solar battery route. It's very expensive and risky trying work out payback time with the fluctuating electric prices.
I was looking at being fully self sufficient with a 15kw system.
Posted By: mr_tickle

Re: Going electric part 2 - 06/09/2022 08:24

Hi Cooperman

What system and size did you go for and which company are you using?

I am looking and researching the solar battery route. It's very expensive and risky trying work out payback time with the fluctuating electric prices.
I was looking at being fully self sufficient with a 15kw system.
Posted By: Cooperman

Re: Going electric part 2 - 07/09/2022 18:40

My system comprises a 12 panel set up giving about peak output of 4.7 kW with a 6.5 kW battery and a zappi smart charger. Itís a plug & play design son can be extended.
I am using a company called Solar installations UK Ltd. Itís a company thatís been recommended from an existing customer
Price wise they were competitive
Posted By: wink

Re: Going electric part 2 - 07/09/2022 19:16

Be aware that you can fit a solar pv system of up to 3.68kW i.e. 16amp output with no permissions necessary. If you output above that amount, you have to get permission from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO). Which might not always be forthcoming - in some locations there could be a problem with many houses outputting to the grid on a sunny lunchtime, causing local voltage to rise. In practice this means you should be fine with roughly up to 12 panels (modern panels are 400w max, you can put that into an inverter that is capped at 3.68kW output).
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