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!

Advertisements

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.