Trip to Lincoln -EV friendly Cathedral City

Went on Monday morning to drive my son to a business meeting in Lincoln and it was a 160 mile trip. We got there ok via the A1,M62,M180,A15 (different route to Satnav and shorter!) and then off to the supercharger at Grantham! WOW 16 stations very good! But lots of space for a roof especially for sun and rain protection and also for SOLAR.

I was very impressed with Lincoln Central Car Park right by the bus station/ Transport Hub having 12 Fast Chargers at no cost! Car Parking fees of £1.60 but on Ground Floor of Multi Storry car park and good and wide access.5 Stars for Lincoln City in making 12 sockets at 7Kw available for EVs. Polar instant app will work with the chargers.App very flakey and takes ages to connect to chargers via server.

BP CHARGEMASTER Webchat 0 points for not Knowing that 12 sockets on 6 Units are even present in Lincoln Central Car Park and 0 Stars for not knowing where identifiers for stations are! Took me ages to identify identity tags of chargers! Labels are hidden at an angle away from view under the charge unit and charge unit is only 1 meter off the ground so you have to get down on your Knees to identify numbers. So after 20 minutes finally got green light and charging!!!😀 You have to be patient in this game!

Lincoln nice cathedral City like DURHAM and will on next visit in four weeks look at Magna Carter and Forest Carter in Lincoln Castle as another business meeting looms! Next time will spent more time in City and even will frequent one of the numerous cafes. Easier now that I know how it works and where the facilities are!

Lincoln Multistorey Central Car Park

Grantham A1 Tesla Supercharger

What Electric Car should I buy in Summer of 2018?

We have 3 EVs in the family and your decision depends on a few factors regarding your lifestyle and not if you can see the cars near you.

Before you go to ANY showroom you should do your research on what you really need and ask yourself the following questions:

What daily commute do I do in miles?What extra miles during the working day do I do if I can’t charge before coming home?

Do I need to do a lot of long range journeys over the weekend?

How many passengers do I have on a regular basis?

What type of chargers do I have nearby or can I charge at home?Have I got Solar PV that I can use to minimise my electric bill?

How much spare cash per month do I have to afford a car?

After answering those questions you can draw up a shortlist of cars and look on the Internet which ones you like the look of and which showroom you want to visit.Also of course do not dismiss YOUTUBE and watch owners reviewing their cars.

You can buy now electric cars for all budgets.

Citroen C-Zero which will give you in Winter only 40 miles but in summer up to 80 miles.cost Peanuts to buy.

RENAULT Zoe cheap to buy but a pain to charge as it has no DC Rapid Charging for long journeys.

Nissan Leaf 2.0 between 120-170miles of range.More expensive and bigger family car.My son has just bought one 8 weeks ago and loves it for his family of four.

Huyandai Ioniq Great car absolutely love it and the wife finds it so easy to use.Got loads of extra like heated seats and heated steering wheel and great timer function for charging and heating up in the morning but no online access to the car to do these functions online via app.

Very efficient for its 28kw battery and does 100-140 miles.Good long range car as it has battery cooling and warming during winter or protects against overheating in summer.

KONA of course the greatest of them all but small for a family car and high in price in comparison to all of them but range should be in the 200 mile range.Excellent for travelling salespeople.

What about the LAND ROVER IPACE?

I would not touch it with a barge pole.It is at the Tesla price point, but you have to charge for at least 1.5 hours at the current Ecotricity and Podpoint Motorway Chargers as they only deliver 32kw/h – where as Tesla Superchargers deliver up to 120kwh and they go most of the time at over 60kwh. At least the Ipace has a 90kw battery but tests have shown it is worse in efficiency than a Tesla Model X at almost 3000kg in weight.

what about the Mercedes EQC?

Mercedes EQC – well nobody has driven it in 2018 and in my opinion at 80kw Battery capacity and 2400kg in weight it is only going to deliver about 200 miles in range. Again Charging is an issue as no public charger delivers 100kw. You will be competing for chargers on the Motorway with KONA,Ioniq, Leaf, Zoe and if they take off you have a problem as there are currently only 2 chargers per Motorway services.

Last but not least Tesla.

We got one for the last 32 months and would not part with it.Cost a lot in Finance but we love it and the fantastic Supercharger network is excellent.The quality of the car and acceleration is just unbelievable.Also the flexibility of the load space is amazing in the Model S and Model X. The concept of the big screen controlling everything is just great. The new over the air security update with a “PIN to drive ” was asked for bu UK owners and was implemented after 6 months by Tesla!

After choosing your car you need to look at Finance options:

Leasing,PCP or HP or Buying outright. I have all three running at the moment

Tesla on HP, Leaf on PCP and Ioniq on 4 year lease.

If you have experience with PCP go for that, but sometimes companies like DRIVEELECTRIC can give you better deals than your local dealer even though the car might still come from your local dealer and is fully warranted by them.

I am only going to pay £19,000 for a £30000 Ioniq over 4 years but never own the car and can’t do ANY modifications to that car.To me that is a good deal.

However we are paying the Tesla in full over 5 years and might drive it for another 3 as the drive train and battery are guaranteed for 8 years.

Hope this helps!

The very rough guide to the NC 500

After 30 months of owning our Tesla we finally are going on a Road trip.

The NC 500. It took me a couple of days to look on Bookin.com and the Tesla destination charger map to find some hotels as we set ourselves a budget for the B&Bs we wanted to stay at.In the end I book direct and with Booking.com.

A few of the hotels with Tesla destination chargers were very expensive and I excluded them.Why?Well Scotland has a network called the Chargeplace Scotland Network and it is free.All you need us an account with CYC or Charge your Car and also a £20 RFID card.Your Account needs to also have a verified payment method via debit or credit card.

I also paid £35 to become Member of the NC500 explorers club, which gives you a map and two hard copy booklets.One is the “Rough Guide to the NC500” and the other one is the NC 500 passport.

The Route in the passport is Anti clockwise and I prefer actually the clockwise route.

How did we get on?

Well in the Tesla it is a doddle as you have over 200 miles to play with.so we did Home-Abington-Aviemore-Dingwall on the first day.350 Miles.A little long but works out fine as we only had 5 days.

You can find quiet spots on Motorway Service stations .Here Abington Welcome Break in Scotland.

We stayed in the Turloch Castle Hotel in Dingwall and it has 1000 years of history.There is a 55kw Free Charger in Dingwall town centre.Easy to find with PlugShare.Do the Ghost Tour after Supper At around 9 or 9:30 and Graham is a great raconteur of the history of Turloch castle and the Davi(d)son family.

On our 2nd day we went to Rogie Falls(highly recommended) and saw our first live otter swimming in the falls hunting.

After Rogie Falls we went to Attadale Gardens.Great but a little small a just about worth the £8 Entry fee.Beware on a Sunday only open between 14:30-17:00.Diy café only!Yup you make your own tea or coffee and leave money according to the price list.

After Attadale Gardens We headed for Gairloch and the distance was a little long as we forgot to charge in Torrington but managed.Other EVs beware.No other chargers between Torrington and Gairloch.

Book a Seaview room in the Gairloch hotel and you will not be disappointed!Worth the extra few pounds! Shower and toilet in a little cupboard but no matter big enough! Have a walk on the beach and it is also worth it.We had dinner in the glass extension and staff are very good -food is a mix of good hearty restaurant food.

From Gairloch we made our way to Ullapool and charged up.Also a sea voyage was beckoning.Catamaran and sedate or Rin and bone shaking?The choice was taken away from us as the Rib operator was not ready for the season.What?Hottest week since record began.Anyway the Diesel powered catamaran tour was great and really enjoyed the 16knot speed and comfort of the boat.we saw plenty of seals and a white tip sea eagle.We also stopped at a grotto used in the reformation times as a church meeting ooont for worshippers in their small rowing boats!Toor lasted for 2 ½ hours and worth it for £35each.

From Ullapool we made our way Northwards to Scourie and stayed in the Scourie Lodge B&B with a Tesla destination charger AND a normal charger.We made history the Landlord told us as for the first tome ever two Tesla were charging overnight!Yeah.

Before we got to Scourie Lodge wee needed some dinner and where should we go?Well a sign to a hotel and the view of an emerald bay came into view and I decided to take the plunge and check it out! Good decision as the photo shows it was seafood for me all the way! Kylesku Hotel has gorgeous views over Loch Gleann Dubh.

From Scourie to John O’Groates you really have to have your wits about you regarding driving.Roads vary from single lane to two lanes. Don’t play chicken as people are far too nice and it just makes you feel bad.Some motorbikes need a little education that a Tesla is a big car though.

We visited on our way to John O’Groates a cave which was highly recommended on the NC 500 rough guide booklet.It was great and we even had a little tour deep inside with climbing into a little dinghi etc.Well Wirth the £7.

We had a little peek at Castle of Mey before settling down for the night and decided to visit it the next day.

We stayed in John O’Groates in the Seaview hotel and it was a good decision.We were put in the Annex over the road and found a Charger.Yeah again! While unfortunately charging in Gilles Bay we looked for places to eat and came across a very small selection of establishments to eat around such a touristy place.In the end the Castle Arms Hotel.Good Food again served by European waiters which were very attentive and seemed to have gone through the proper waiters school.Would recommend their menu to anybody.

After a hearty breakfast off to the castle of Mey on our penultimate day before driving down Nessieland!

We arrived after 16:00 in Drumnadrochit and charged up and had two hours to kill.So e went to the Loch Ness Monster Investigation Bureau and had a good Media show of the latest evidence for and against the existince if Nessie.If you have are a National Trust Member you get a discount by the way.For tea it was gold old fish and chips on the side of the road.

We stayed in the Loch Ness Clansman Hotel and had a beautiful view over Loch Ness.

From Loch Ness it was pretty much a road trip of 350 miles back home.Due to the fantastic weather we were able to have a lovely Picknick

Lunch again at Abington Supercharger and we’re soon home again.Not before stocking up on great provisions at the Tebay Supercharger and Services on the M6.

Here is a video of our experiences:

New Rapid chargers

It seems that without me paying a lot of attention we suddenly got a lot more rapid chargers in our area.

Bannatyne Health Clubs have added a lot of chargers in their car parks for all to use.Usually you have two to choose from and they have both DC CCS and Chademo available.So Ioniqs and Teslas and Nissan Leaf can charge there.At the time of writing all Instavolt Chargers are on free vending. Just swipe your contactless Debit card or credit card on to the area designated on the Charger and your transaction will be authorised.Swiping for ending the session again.

A great resource if you need to do a lot of driving and need a quick charge in the Darlington or Durham area.There are certainly not a lot of Rapid chargers in Durham and Darlington area as I have reported earlier.Durham Services Rapid Charger has no CCS adapter and the charger at the Holiday Inn on the A1 near junction 59 is permanently off.

Travelling with an EV (Electric Vehicle) and what I have learned

I am now owning my Tesla Model S for 30 months and my Hyandai Ioniq for 12 months.It is time to reflect of what we have learned so far.

Yesterday I was traveling to Leeds and I was mightily impressed. P&R (Park and Ride) facilities are great at Temple Green and Elland Road.

Lots of slow chargers (11 at Temple Green and 6 at Elland Road plus 1 Rapid 55kw). Charger).Even with a Nissan Leaf 2.0 or a Ioniq you can easily travel the 70mes and charge for £1 and get filled up for the way back.£3 for the buses into town is very good value for Money.

Don’t forget your CYC card though.Activation by app was not offered on the slow chargers.

Are electric cars only powered by coal?

Who says electric cars are dirty and powered only by coal! My new Zappi Charger uses surplus solar energy and pumps it into the car! The best bit is that Chancellor Hammond paid for 75% of my Zappi! Thank you all you other nice taxpayers for my new charger.Also it works really well with our 4kw solar panels and input gets monitored all the time by Harvi.Available under OLEV.

.

Zappi and Harvi, not my new imaginary friends, honest!

Ŵe have a Solar PV array of 4kw and 2 electric cars.I also recently had a disaster with my Rolec charger outside. It blew up and damaged a charging cable. Luckily it was inside the warranty period and I got my money back for it.So we now have a new charger called a Zappi. Here is the reason why we went for a Zappi charger.

Every kWh to charge my car cost me 12 pence.If I feed any surplus energy, that my house does not use, back into the grid I only get 1 pence back.So I am making a 11p profit if I feed that surplus energy into my car.That is the economics that the Zappi is build on.Even though it is called the “FEED-in Tariff” it is actually the worst named sound bite ever.

There are two parts to the Feed-in Tariff.One is for you generating power with your Solar PV array and another part for “feeding” that back into the grid.

Everything you “generate” you get 59 pence (highest part) irrespective of you using it in your house or “feeding” it back to the grid.The smallest part (only 1 pence) you get for putting it back into the grid.So it actually makes no sense at all to feed anything back to the grid but use it yourself.Of course you need to be at home to be able to do that.

However this is where Tesla Powerwalls and Ikea batteries come in.If you are not at home with your car feed the extra solar (surplus) into a battery or your hot water cylinder and you have hot water in the evening when you come home and have a “free”bath!

The makers (myenergi) of Zappi have a gadget for that called Eddi.

The diagram in the picture shows you how it works.

I have Zappi and Harvi here installed at home.I need Harvi because it is a wireless unit.My Zappi is installed a little bit away from the house ( on a brick pillar)so I could not get a cable for monitoring the house electric supply easily to it.But if it is installed in the garage or outside of the garage you don’t need Harvi.It Just gave me more flexibility.

You need an approved Zappi installer like the Phoenixworks.com to install it all for you though or to help you to find your bespoke solution.Search on YouTube for Zappi and Fully charged and other UK based youtubers have reviewed the Zappi.It is a UK based company who have crowd funded this invention to bring it to market.

What is Hypermiling

Friday 9th March 2018 – On my way from home to Penmanmawer to bring my father-in-law to his beloved Wales to meet friends. On the way I noticed on the Tesla Supercharger map that Warrington Supercharger had a Failure .Had to Hypermile from Chorley/Charnock Richards Supercharger  to Penmanmawer and back again as no other Superchargers available on that trip.Made it with 17 miles to spare.200 mile return journey with a Model S 70D-not bad going!Never went under 60mph but had one or two small traffic jams that helped.

Altogether I travelled 430 miles in 11 hours.However I made an unnecessary stop in Tebay Services on the M6 as I did not want to arrive with an empty Battery.So 10 hours is fair and not sure it was much slower than with an Ice car.

88765011-BE44-4728-9CD0-B3C746D17284

The third EV in the household

First impressions of our new Huyandai Ioniq.

Finally the car arrived today and I am very impressed.It was fully charged and showed 130 miles in range.The seats are comfortable front and back.Interestingly no gear lever but 3 different buttons for changing from P to Drive and reverse.Another button for the Parking brake?Why do I need a power button?Why do I need to power the car on and off? A little too many buttons coming from a car which only has three buttons.

Very smooth ride on A roads and also in town and on dual carriageways.From 75 miles to 130 in 2 1/2 hours charge on 7kw charger – not bad.Big boot space and big space in the bag.Love the golden stitching and trim around the leather and some of the console area.The blind spot warning in the mirror is great., but I find some of the functions not very easy to turn on and off.Need a bit of practice.Satnav great!Love the different options for chargers.Search by network or by adapter or by type of charger rapid or slow etc.Even got speed camera warning built in.

What the heck does the boot button do on the key remote?No lifting tailgate.Just for locking the boot? 

Grey plastic front looks better than on demo car.

Key fob looks nice and expensive and also happy that two are supplied.

Keyless entry the same as copied from Toyota .You have to press button on front doors to unlock and lock car.Progress over pressing remote?Not sure.
Like the automatic folding of mirrors and the automatic dipping of mirrors for reversing.Like the grid on the rear camera view.Good angle and very clear view.

Like the automatic seat sliding backwards when driver’s door is opened.

Questions: Not seen a built in Alarm mentioned anywhere.Can’t see any ultrasonic sensors inside the car?Not seen anything in settings.

Apple Carplay only via USB cable-very strange?

Why is the passenger seat completely manual.Sorry Hyundai this is a little stingy for £30,000 and top of the range model.

No Supercharger in Warrington

For the first time on my regular trip to Wales there was no charging pit stop available in Warrington.Oh dear what to do and with an 82 year old in tow?
Well Chademo it is.But first I tried to have a rest at the Warrington hotel and charge up with the type 2 cable.Very slow but least we could continue until well into Wales.

First Chademo pit stop in Wales with the Chademo adapter.I was prepared to pay £6 per half hour as these are the new charges imposed by Ecotricity (don’t get me started!).So smooth as anything Cherokee adapter connected to Chademo pistol grip and adapter into car charge point.Everything working! Now get the IPhone app fired app and wait for the pennies to be deducted and nothing…..free? Well it looks the app crashed and the machine has no connectivity to Internet!

Result!

First free charge.But what on the way home?

Well I calculated that if I would take the last A55 Chademo charger I would make possibly to Leeds supercharger, but no such luck.Just out.But what is this.No charge again.Error message no connectivity but it’s charging! Well I am on 206 miles now and no charge but lots of Electrons!!!

Thank you Ecotricity.I can go home now!Just need to fight my way through the traffic now!Not looking good on A55 and M56 but ok on M6.

Watch this space how I get on!

What Cable for what Charge point?

I will try and explain which cables are for which charge point that you come across when you are out and about.I have already explained which cables and adapters I carry.Here I will put them in context.This is a guide for Tesla owners and for owners of other cars like Citroen C-Zero, Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf cars.

1. Charging at Tesla Superchargers 

The cable that you need to connect your car to a Supercharger is an integral part of the Tesla charge point .The cables need to be very thick.They deliver 90 kW or 90,000W. A Tesla can be charged by a Tesla Supercharger in about 60-90minutes from 0 to 250 miles.NO other car but a Tesla (as of August 2016) can charge at Supercharger.

2. Charging at Chademo chargers

For a Tesla to charge at a Chademo charger you need an adapter as the Tesla has a type 2 Socket which is much smaller. Chademo chargers plugs are huge.Chademo chargers are the 2nd fastest charge points and are giving out about 50kwh and can charge a car at 100 miles per hour.These chargers are dotted around the country and you need zapmap or Plugshare to find them.They are coloured orange on Plugshare and purple on Zapmap.You find them also on Motorway service stations.Ecotricity have started as of August 2016 to charge at £6/hour.However the Genie network in the Lake District are charging less.Chademos are fitted with their own cable so you don’t need a cable.Chademo chargers usually have 3 power outlets.One is a DC 50KWH CHADEMO plug.The second power outlet is usually a lower capacity AC socket rated at 22kwh or 43kwh.For this you have to use your own Type 2 cable and can usually be used simultaneously.(Please see under 3 what a type 2 cable is).The third power outlet on a Chademo charger is a Connector for a BMW i3 type car.



So this is why the Chademo adapter has to be big as well.


Here we have a Tesla plugged into a Chademo charger at a Motorway Service Station.


The silver plug that you see, can be inserted into a Leaf or a Citroen C -Zero without an adapter and will fill the car up to full in about 45-60 minutes.


Chademo charging screen at a Chademo charger on the Motorway for Citroen C-Zero and other cars.

3. Charging at Slower chargers like at Car Parks and Park and Ride or Supermarkets

These chargers are called Type 2 Chargers and are usually only providing a charge rate of 7kwh.This means about the same charge rate as at home, so about 10-20 miles per hour.For these you usually need to supply your own type 2 cable.

This red cable is a Type 2 cable.


4.Charging at Home

Of course the most important part is how do you charge at home.Well with a Zoe, Citroen C-Zero,BMW I3 and Tesla you actually get a home charging point and appropriate cable.


Tesla supplied “command socket” for charging at home.


This is the charge point we have chosen for our Citroen C-Zero and both our charge points are put in Garage as both our cars are kept in the Garage over night.

5.Charging at Holiday Cottages or Emergency charging where there is only a Household sockets


These are the cables and adapters I used to charge at a holiday cottage from a 13 amp socket.It will charge at under 10miles per hour.

Almost six month with two Electric Cars

How did we manage with two electric cars and NO petrol being consumed by my wife and I for our commute to work and shopping trips and a few journeys to Somerset, Wales and Lichfield.Quite long journeys from County Durham!None of us did never run out of electricity or needed to be on the back of a tow truck.We always found enough charge points and also found plenty of opportunity to charge the car overnight in a holiday cottage. I even managed to find a B&B with an electric chargepoint designed for electric cars.

What did I find essential to take with me on our trips?

  • Chademo adapter for Tesla (£400.00)
  • 50m Extension Lead ( Camping 16A with 3 pin waterproof sockets)
  • Gloves (workmen type so my nails don’t get damaged!)
  • Blue type 2 Tesla cable (supplied)
  • Black Tesla cable for Commando socket and with 3pin adapter (supplied)
  • Ecotricity Card (www.ecotricity.co.uk)
  • Smartphone essential kit? I think so because some charger networks are replacing cards with smartphone apps.
  •  If no Smartphone to hand try http://tesla.plugshare.com/ on your Tesla screen and bookmark it in the Tesla internet browser to find it again.
  • “Charge your car” iPhone or Android app …and register BEFORE you go on trip
  • “Superchargers” app for iPhone (leave a comment or check-in when you have successfully charged)
  • Zap-map for location of all chargers than Tesla own chargers.Filters can be set if you want to know only about chargers for certain cars or networks.
  • Plug Share” app even shows you “private” charge points where individuals might let you charge your car if they have registered.Also leave comments if possible or check -in.

Well I hear you say that will fill up my boot and no space for the kitchen sink?Ah- Of course the Tesla has a Front Boot and you can easily store all the that in there and have plenty of space in the boot for your normal luggage.Our Citroen C-Zero has the Chademo Charger already built into the car and it transpires that it has a second tank flap which opens and you will find the socket in there.
What else have I learned? I feel richer, because we have saved a lot of money on petrol and the monthly credit card bill has gone done! I also think we have “saved” time because the car is ready every morning for duty and no unscheduled stops before or after work for “going to the petrol station and waiting in a queue at Tesco”.

We also feel enriched because driving to the shops or to the tip is not costing the environment and that gives you a pod feeling.Have I driven more and not walked?No I think we are more active and getting things done in the garden etc.Also shopping trips are a pleasure as ours cars with automatic gears (well one only) is a doddle and the best thing of all: I have no more road rage!


​​

Picture above shows Chademo adapter in Stockton-on-Tees High Street.

Oops- Well I could have gone a bit further, but this is close enough!

Here on the picture above you can see that Tesla also compares well to other cars on the reliability front, so Tesla have taken all the good bits from European car manufacturing and put that into fully ELECTRIC car.

On the picture below you can see how big the Chademo adapter is.Plugged in at Durham Services in County Durham-and no petrol available there at the moment but plenty of electricity-just like in France (May 2016).


In closing I want to say that it has been a thoroughly stress free experience and driving a car is fun again in a Tesla!

Sustainability and Electric Cars

Has any Electric car manufacturer really holistically thought about the whole ecological lifecycle of their products? Where are we getting all that Lithium from we need for the millions of electric cars we want and should produce instead if today’s Ice (Internal combustion engine)cars?

One manufacturer of Electric cars  (Tesla Motors) have thought about it and I think they are the only ones who have got it right.Here is a documentary that shows what Tesla are trying to achieve in their new GIGAFACTORY in Nevada.From production to Recycling of Lithium and using solar energy for production-surely this must be the future?

Guess what:they even thought of where and how to charge up your car and build a 5000 strong network of a world wide charge point infrastructure free for any Tesla car owner for life ! 

Here is one near me just a few hundred yards off the A1/M at exit 64.

  

Watch this National Geographic Documentary about Tesla Motors and their new Gigafactory project:

This is why we in our family are supporting Tesla Motors and have bought a car from them rather than from a traditional Ice Manufacturuer .

Did you you know that driving a 100% electric car even if the electricity has been produced by the dirtiest Coal fired power station is still 50% better than driving an ICE car?

Public Chargers -the good, the bad and the ugly.

What is it with people these days?Why do we have to vandalise things.Of course not all of us , but some people in Society seem to think that everything that is standing around and is in a public place is fair game for a kicking.

Why am I writing about this?Well I have been on some scouting missions around the Northeast and found several Public charging points not working.I wanted to find out where my wife could charge her Citrien C-Zero on shopping trips in and around Co. Durham and Teesside as this car has only a max range of 50-60 miles.

So what did I find:

The ugly

  • Sainsbury chargers in Sedgefield and Durham not working.Newton Aycliffe charging points in Town Centre removed ( because of constant vandalism-saw them stripped and rundown before being removed).Charging point at Thinford Living Building only to be used for visitors and Employees and it was blocked by a non charging Mitsubishi OUTLANDER PHEV.However the former Sedgefield District council building car park has a charging point that is accessible but AGAIN one of them is broken.

The beautiful 

  • Durham Services 50Kw (50 miles/ hour)charger is in full working condition and used a lot.
  • Stockton High Street great 50Kw fast charger and working.Used a lot but great for shopping.
  • Spennymoor Green Lane council offices.7 kW and only does 20 miles an hour but one side is working.
  • Used ZAP Map and found postings of users and zap admin very helpful and accurate to give me the state of Public Charging points.
  • You still need RFID cards from Podpoint, ecotricity and CYC to get around the public charging points.
  • Most of them are free and it’s like an adventure to find out about these charging points.

 Stockton High Street 

Stockton High Street Fast Charger     
  Sainsbury Sedgefield

 

Regular trips to Wales and always with a smile!

Well I have been to the Supercharger in Warrington now for the fourth time and it is still a joy.Its a busy old charging point.At 11:30 on a Saturday one of the charging stations is occupied by a white Tesla with black 21 inch wheels.Looks nice but my blue looks more sophisticated!

This time we had a sandwich at the hotel and by the time we even walked from the car par to the lounge round a few corridors the car was already 30 miles fuller than when we left it!After 1h:10 the car was charged to 227 miles.Wow! Another record. 

    

 
So off to Barnsley on Wednesday.We’ll see how the Tesla charging points in Yorkshire are.

Today I impressed somebody again with the capabilities of a battery operated car.A friend of ours looked terrified and amazed at the same time when I accelerated from 0-60 in 5 seconds on an empty straight A Road.No wheel spin -no unsafe feeling-just sheer amazement at the capabilities-he said :I never knew an electric car can do this!He climbed back into his Audi A6 and still was shaking his head when he looked at the Tesla and he said again:What a beautiful car!

Other quotes were: What 2.8 seconds to 60 in a P90D -a battery operated car?I had no idea that this is possible on a car that cost less than a basic Porsche 911.Yes it has 750 BHP.About 500 BHP from the electric motor at the back and 250BHP at the front and it can still go for 270 miles at around 70 miles per hour.It almost can get you from Darlington to London on one charge.

First Public Charging or Have Nissan got it right?

Here we are again with another instalment of my “first times” experiences.

I am planning a trip to Wales and that will be another “first ” for a long trip experiences, so I thought I try the nearby Public charging points before exposing myself to any humiliation by ending up on a low loader because I run out of charge and could not get a Motorway services charging point to work.

Anyway I chose the Durham Services high capacity charging point along the A1/M. It was located almost right in front of the entrance to the shop and eateries.

Tesla are a bit like Apple, they have decided that the “industry standard” charging cables are not “intelligent” enough and do not fit with their  design purposes (small and neat), so they developed their own.This however means that you have to get an adapter for the industry standard charging points out there which of course costs extra and are quite expensive, because they got ” intelligence” ie a chip and software in them.Nissan however have gone a different way in their LEAF.They stuck to industry standard and have incorporated two sockets into the car design for the most used public charging points.One Socket for Fast Charging and one for normal at home charging.

We ( my father and I ) arrived at the Durham Services charging point and I unpacked the CHADEMO Adapter bought at the Tesla Manchester Service Centre, when we picked up the car for, the first time.

So here I am looking at the LCD screen of the public charging point and the the machine says: “Please select AC or DC charging.” Good question – what do we need?Well the engineers that decided on how to design a public charging point (not a charger as that is build into the car!) also decided that the plugs should look different for AC or DC charging.So I looked at my CHADEMO adapter and it was clear it meant we can only use DC charging. This was easy to what came next however.

The next thing the machine asked:”Please identify yourself and swipe your NFC card passed the black marked area”.So I got my ECOTRICITY NFC Card out of my wallet and swiped it passed the identified black marked area and success it said:” Please insert your charging cable to start charging”. Ah- not so fast! We had not connected the CHADEMO Tesla  adapter to the Public charging cable. So I gripped the CHADEMO Tesla Adapter with my right hand and the Public charging cable with the left and tried to fit them into each other.

Well both cables are about the thickness of a petrol station hose and have a similar Pistol Grip.At first glance they should have fitted together easily and like a glove.Well nothing fitted together and I had to let go of  both items and put them on the floor.

After inspecting both items separately I suddenly realised that these clever engineers had come up with another clever design to help the “stupid” public to make charging “idiot” proof.They inserted groves in one part of the plug with corresponding ridges on the other.So there was only one way to fit these two together ( probably in order to not disturb the polarity of the DC) .

   

The pistol grip now mad a clicking sound and the press button thingy on the top also clicked into a locked position and both items were firmly connected.Hurray we were ready to plug it all into the car. Oops – nothing was happening! At this point the charging port of the car should open to reveal the socket in the car.Well I got in the car and opened the charging socket manually ( mental note: open charge port on car before leaving car at public charging point).I insert the CHADEMO and public charging point contraption into the car and nothing was happening, again-this time I was expecting a light to come on to show that the car was ready to accept the plug and we started charging.Mental note: Activate charger only once you have put charging cable and adapter together. Yes, I had to identify myself at the LCD screen of the charging point again as it had TIMED out!

  
Finally I was ready to charge and we got juice into the car, so the LCD screen on the Charging point and in the car confirmed. PHEW!

  
Here is the same procedure with a Nissan Leaf: Open front flap on bonnet of car.Identify yourself at charging point.Take cable from charging point and plug it into the socket that fits.Wait for car to be full of charge for 1:30 or 2:00 hours.Unplug and continue journey.

  
Our next stop on this trial day was the Tesla owned Supercharger Station somewhere near Washington Services.I remembered that on my Satnav in the car there was a shortcut button for Tesla Superchargers.So precede it and the Washingtin Suoercharger Station came up as a destination and I chose it and if we went to experience that.

I can only say :What a difference! Just like at a Petrol station of old! Get out of car, Get Pistol grip and press button on Pistol grip to open charge port, connect to charge port and watch juice flowing into car on car’s LCD screen at 280 miles/hour of 45 minutes to full charge.

   
  I think enough capacity for some more TESLAs to join the fun. 
Just look at the difference in juice that is coming out of the TESLA supercharger point in comparison to the Public CHADEMO charging point.

EV Salesmen – or if you are new in a job do you let people know every 5 seconds?

What can I say about today? Do I name and shame or because it’s the Internet I keep things as anonymous as possible?

Well I think I better leave it anonymous as possible and name no first names or even last names.

My wife,my father (80 years old but very spritely and likes the entertainment!) and myself, we all went Electric Car shopping.Yes.I know we got the Tesla, but we thought we could afford a runabout for the wife and as a commuting tool.The requirements were that it had to be cheap and cheerful and small.

So I made an appointment last Monday and today is Thursday.This becomes important for the story! So we headed off to Durham and visited a well known french car dealership that were offering a good deal on an Electric Vehicle.

We were greeted by a nice young chap who straightaway proclaimed that he knew almost nothing about electric cars and was only in the job for 2 months.Groan! I made an appointment on Monday to purchase an Electric car on Thursday and I get a VIRGIN! Unfortunately it was not one of Richard Branson’s sons or employees.

After about 20 apologies or so again professing that he had not absorbed all the information about EVs (they sell one Modell) he organised a valuation of the trade-in vehicle and organised a Test drive with a trainee salesman(who also had no clue about the finer details of their EV offering).

The highlight of the day was definitely the test drive of the EV.The car was fully loaded with four adults and it pulled away nicely from the junction and the roundabout.It also kept speed nicely on the motorway.It had a good easy to understand screen with a digital display and not cluttered but nice and clear.It was very similar to the Nissan Leaf-just smaller.No wonder because it was basically the little brother of the Nissan Leaf-it was the Renault Zoe in Dynamique Nav spec.

To top everything I have ever been used to in the craft of salesmanship we were told after the test drive that we would not be given a definitive price and it trade-in figure as the “Manager” in charge of Electric car sales is not “in” today.Would we mind to come back on Saturday.Well after a good drule of the sales staff over our Tesla pictures we bid them farewell.

I decided as it was almost afternoon to make it a day of watching another salesman applying his craft-so we went to the other French marque that sells the bottom end of EVs.

But here we saw a master at work.The salesman was about 15 or 16 ( so it seemed) but he was excellent.He was there in a flash -literally growing out of the ground right before us while we were looking at a used C1 combustion engined car as an alternative. 

Within 5 minutes of talking to him he organised this car to be ready for a test drive AND organised a trade-in valuation while we had the test drive.Unfortunately the 3cylinder 1.0 l C1 was as gruff as the gruffalo on a bad day! So no go.But not only had our master salesman (Remember he was 15 or 16 by looks) got us a trade in price but also had got a list of used EV cars we might be interested in.To my delight he also stated that the trade-in value could be used towards any of their cars -higher value or lower value.No excuses ever crossed his lips He was well trained and supported by the people around him and I believe he was not that long in the job-just as much as his colleagues from the other French marque.

I think he won my wife over and she might go for his car-subject to test drive.This car is however a C ZERO and we’ll see how this story unfolds.Watch this space!The car is on its way to the Northeast so once we had a test drive next week you will be the first to know.

Unfortunately both salesman could not figure out what capacity battery either of these two cars have in order to calculate a realistic range.The brochures are actually really bad, but I will dig deep into the depths of the Interweb to find the answer.

   
 

December ’15 to January ’16 – The First Month with the Electric Car

Our Tesla is just amazing.I am glad we have not chosen one of the more powerful models.It is almost too fast for UK Roads.One can just not imagine the “off the line” surge of power that this car delivers if you just tickle the throttle.Other drivers on roundabouts are just baffled by the quick approach that the car can make to their position on the roundabout.AND I have to be really careful to take it slowly.Speed limits of the various commuting roads we take in the morning are very quickly exceeded.Luckily the car displays the current speed limit of the individual road on the screen of the dashboard.Nothing left to chance in this car.Also the cruise control with distance control keeps tabs on the car in front and adapts the speed to the car in front and a preset distance.That makes commuting in morning traffic on the A1 /M quite fun and easy as the car automatically slows the speed down via energy recovery braking gently to the speed of the car in front.

What are the lessons to learn after 4 weeks with the Tesla Model S.Well the car like all cars has it quirks.Entry and exit like a sports car, door frame a little low and a little tight but maybe that is just my frame.But my father with a smaller frame also finds it more like getting out of a sports car than getting out of a limo.However driving is fantastic.Feels like an S-class Mercedes.Car is similar size to a BMW 7 Series and an S class Mercedes.Quality of trim and seats fantastic.Everything electrically adjustable: seat cushions go up and down and even the lumbar controls are electric.Steering wheel adjustable electrically in all directions up,down and in and out.Finally I got my automatic and manual foldable mirrors back again (electric of course).Especially useful when the road gets a little tight with oncoming traffic on little bridges around the rat runs in Durham.Today my wife said that she really likes how the climate control keeps the temperature without creating a draft! 

I think there are more options on Radio stations than I can cope with: Spotify, DAB, FM, INTERNET Radio,AM, Bluetooth with my iPhone Music.Somtimes I like to just play Pop songs from the 80s or 70s or just country music, a mixture of German and English.All possible with this car at no extra cost to me.Yes I can listen to a whole arsenal of international music at not extra cost as long as 3G signal is available.

So far I did not need to use the “public” charging network but I am prepared.I got a Chademo adapter in the car and of course three of the most popular NFC charge cards (Ecotricity, CYC, Podpoint), so we’ll see how it goes when I have to use them.So far my charging has all been done at home but we got trips planned and I am getting to grips with the maps to find my chargers on the way.At the end of January I am planning a trip to Wales and that will be quite an adventure.Hopefully I will make it to the Supercharger 150 miles down the road and then into Wales and back again via that charger.I am hoping to make it via the A66 and M6 so we’ll see.A1 and M62 South and West look hopeless at the moment with all the road works.So we’ll see and I will post an update.