EV Holiday in the Lake District – Pain or Pleasure ?

After a long hybernation I would like to write about our experience of a 1 week holiday with our smaller EV (Battery only Electric Vehicle) the Hyundai IONIQ in October 2020.The IONIQ only has a range of about 120-150 miles, but we only live 70 miles from the Lake District near Darlington in County Durham. Why did we take the IONIQ and not our Tesla Model S which has a bigger boot and longer range of about 220 miles? Well the IONIQ is much smaller and not so wide, so for the narrow roads in the Lake District it is much better.Also we only have the car on our Lease for another 9 month.We thought we need to try it out on a longer journey.After all Hilary’s cousin has been with the same IONIQ to Scotland and done the NC500.

Our trip started on Saturday 17th October 2020 and we were heading from our home near Darlington on the A688 via Barnard Castle and A66 to the lovely Cumbrian town of Penrith where we filled up the car at a Booth supermarket.There were two Instavolt 50kw chargers and one of them would not work for me at first.None of my credit cards or debit cards were accepted as payments.Not a good start!😤 After talking to the BMW i3 owner that charged his car on the other charger it seemed a problem with Instavolt and not my credit cards.Phew! So I tried a few more RFID charging cards that I accumulated over the years and my virtual ChargePoint card on my iPhone worked in the end and we were charging. (Electric cars need patience!). We are pioneers and I love a challenge! (I contacted Instavolt and they said they would fix the charger and look into my problem.Nonotger Problem ever occurred again the whole time we were in the Lake District charging on Instavolt).

This is why we like the Lake District.Just look at the Autumn colour! You feel you are transported to the Black Forest of Germany but it is sooooo different!

October 2020 in the Lake District at Surprise View
Free charging in Glenridding near Ullswater (White car is our IONIQ)

Above picture shows a free Pod-Point charger.You pay for parking, but nothing for electricity.National Park likes you to drive a clean car! This car park is also near Aira Falls and we had a nice walk around there and a cup of tea in the local hotel café!

Aira Falls
Ullswater Steamers and History of Water Speed record attempts on this Lake in the 1960s

While Hilary went shopping for our breakfast and tea I made sure that the car got filled up with electrons! No smell and for £10 another 150 Miles!

Instavolt 50kw Charger at Booth Supermarket in Keswick

Why did we come in October when it was cold and possibly wet? Well the Lake District is lovely in the autumn and we just had a long spring and summer of shielding and the Government allowed us this window of holidays.We however did not go crazy and stayed all the time socially distanced.

Socially distanced cup of tea in a café in Grasmere
Same café from the other side of the river in Grasmere
Derwent Water Boat tour

It was a bit risky to go in the middle of October on a Boat tour but what else is there to do since all the museums and big houses are closed.Only outdoor activities were allowed so here we go.

Dramatic pictures of Derwent water in Autumn

Typical Pub in the Lake District.

Out for a meal.Very socially distanced! Boot and Shoe Pub Greystokes
Castlerigg Circle

Religious relic ?Who knows ? No manual left for us to determine what it is.Shame. Should have used stone tablets like the Egyptians.😀

Well as I said outdoor activities only and so a little rain could not stop us.

In the footsteps of Prince Charles…Who apparently stood here.😀

Where are we now? Well we came in the smaller car, so why not make a little tour up to the smaller roads.I picked a road with a George out view at the end of it, so I thought but it carried on and became a dead end, so we had to turn around and do it all over again and fight with much larger cars and even pickup trucks.Somehow we managed.We went on the B5289 around Derwent Water south of Keswick and went up to “Surprise View” via Ashness Bridge and walked around and took the first photograph you see on the top of this blog.We followed the road to the end and ended up at Watendlath Bothy.Apparently you can stay in a stable with a lamp and some rudimentary equipment for a night.

So above we find a picture of the Instavolt Charging screen.The IONIQ has a 28kwh battery, so at 15Kw added it was just over half, so a full charge would have cost us about £10.

So it was a total Pleasure in the end as we found that the car performed well and cost us very little and the roads were much less of a problem with the smaller car!

Cost of Electricity : 8 pence per mile

Compare this to Diesel in UK : £1.20 per Liter equals £5.40 per gallon.The average car does 40 miles per gallon.So a Diesel car would cost about 13.5 pence per mile.However with the roads in the Lake District maybe a bit higher.

So the conclusion is that a Battery electric car, even though no cheap home charging was possible, cost only 50% of a Diesel car to run ! AND NO POLLUTION!

Here is a map of chargers in the Lake District area and you can see that it is no hassle to find chargers.However mostly only two cars can charge at most places sometimes only one.So for the future this provision needs to be expanded greatly. All public car parks need at least 50% of their spaces filled with slow chargers so that everybody can fill up and 50kw chargers in some locations expanded to four or six chargers if not changed to 150kw chargers.

Do you have to be posh to drive a Tesla ?

I really wanted to write this reply to the above Facebook post: You don’t buy a Tesla with “posh” – you buy it with dosh!
Work hard and save and then you can afford a Tesla – like we did.
Started with a Citroen C-zero and then decided to go with a Tesla as the savings on similar sized petrol car were big.
Never seen nicer people at the Tesla meet ups than in the last 5 years.
We now drive an IONIQ as well after the Citroen C-Zero was sold with a profit overall and would never see it as an inferior car. Better car in some respects as it navigates much easier round the small roads of the Lakes and Tesco and Lidl car parks.However if I change my Tesla and just go for one car – it would be the coming Model Y or the forthcoming IONIQ range of cars.Not being part of the Tesla charging infrastructure would fill me with slight dread as even Instavolt recently failed on me and put me in a panic after I tried 4 different debit/credit cards and none were accepted.

Only a virtual RFID card in my Apple phone wallet saved me from waiting another 20 minutes in the October rain before the BMW i3 was finished with the AMEX card quite blearily working that tried only 2 minutes earlier on my charge post with a very negative result.

When I put my experience on Facebook Instavolt replied and were shocked and got the details off me and said that they would put it right .

However they never replied or followed it up what the problem was with the charger and if it was a card reader problem.

They also stated that they were inspecting their chargers at least once a week.

What Tesla Statistic gathering apps would I recommend ?

Tesla statistics Apps.Which ones do I use on a daily basis?

First of all I have to mention Teslafi. I think I am subscribing to this Website (teslafi.com) for 4 out of 5 year ownership of my Tesla (since December 2015) to it and never regretted it!

I like Teslafi because it never loses data as the data is stored on their own Server. It also sends me emails when a charge or a drive is finished with and I get a summary of the stats.

Driving stats for a long drive
Email from Teslafi after charging

The next app I would like to talk about is Stats or also know as Tesla Stats. Some say at £38.99 it is a tad expensive but there is no subscription involved and you get updates and a watch app for free.However my criticism is that it loses sometimes my charging data and therefore can not wholeheartedly recommend it.

Stats for Tesla screen

Tesla Remote is also expensive at £28.99 and does not offer any Car stats while driving or on charging.It just remotely opens your boot or doors or displays your battery stats of charge on your watch.

TEZLAB app is free but for the really good features you need to subscribe at £2.99/month or £48.99 per year.Tezlab loads data from its servers and displays it on your device, so no possible data loss but restoring takes a little while if you are moving devices every year!

In summary I would say that Teslafi wins for an forever stats app, but Inlike graphs and therefore would go with stats app as my to go to graphs app.Apparently updates are promised in the New Year of 2021 to Tezlab app!

Problems with my MCU 1

Tesla have decided that the main computer on the car should log every file and every autopilot and navigation detail to a chip on the main computer.However this chip was not designed in size and in capacity to last the lifetime of the car.

So in November 2019 owners of cars made before March 2018 all will have a problem and need this chip replacing otherwise the computer might stop working and some aspects of the car will be disabled.

We opted for a preemptive replacement rather than wait for it to be broken and possible needed the car to be towed to a service centre or a third party.

We had this done in June 2020 and are very happy with the the result.It cost about £450 and the Computer is much more responsive now.

A view into the “dashboard” of the Tesla.

CCS Upgrade for my Tesla Model S 70 D

Tesla are offering for all cars build before June 2019 a CCS upgrade.This consists of a ECU upgrade under the rear seats,some cabling and an adapter.

The whole upgrade can be carried out by a Mobile Technician and the price has just been dropped in August 2020 to £280 inclusive VAT.

My upgrade was carried out in November 2019 and you can see that it is working great on Instavolt chargers and also Tesla Version 3 chargers.

Complaints and Compliments about my electric Car Journey so far

Well so far I have driven 55,600 miles in my Tesla Model S since December 2015 and 36,500 miles in the IONIQ since 2017.

What have we spent : Tesla Servicing : £923 for 2 Services 2017 and 2020. IONIQ Servicing £66 times 3 = £198

Tesla Tyres: 1 Set of Winter Tyres and 1 Set replacement set of Summer tyres and still Running with them in 55,000 miles.Cost:£1400.00

IONIQ Tyres: New Dunlop Tyres at £300.

Tesla Allianz extended Warranty:£3200.00

Tesla Savings over Petrol: £11,500

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.

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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.

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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!


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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!