Electric Cars:what's available?

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Volkswagen ID3 revealed tonight ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/moto ... e-revealed

Regards Neil

PS Motor Shows ain't what they used to be, and didn't British Pathe make a good job of their trailers!
and of course the FCF has a thread here for your enjoyment The Motor Show

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Wookey »

In principle EV are more DIYable than ICE cars. They are a great deal simpler with all those pistons, fuel systems (tanks, injectors/carburetors/injection pump), camshafts, ignition systems, exhaust system, belts, chains, tappets, rods, rockers, valves gone. You get a motor, a battery and a controller. That's it. (OK, and a charger).
The problem is the modern trend to locked-down software and non-optional computers, which applies just as much to ICE as EV. Open standards and right-to repair laws are important here.
For some reason I've never understood it was always fine (a right even) to replace any mechanical component, but as soon as there are software components, oh no we can't change those 'it might be dangerous'. Bollocks - the risks are just the same: if the replacement component doesn't do the equivalent job then it might not work, and it might even be dangerous it does it badly enough.

Byton have made noises about an open software architecture but mostly car companies view software as an excellent point of control to keep people like us out, or at least charged handsomely.

A major advantage of building your own EV is that you get to control the software and interfaces too so your car doesn't report its location to the manufacturer at all times, for example (I bought a car off you, that doesn't mean you get to know everywhere (and when) I travel in it for the next 20 years!). It remains to be seen which cars are most hackable, but as Mandrake says, it's a different skillset. I'm just as happy spannering suspension components, as rebuilding firmware, but a lot of softies don't touch hardware and vice versa. Fortunately the nature of software is that just one person needs to work out how something actually works, and then a lot more people can install pre-built stuff, in the same way that only one entity needs to manufacture components and lots can replace them. And the price of entry to software hacking is a lot lower than machining/casting/forging.

The biggest risk is stupid laws which don't give us the same rights to replace software that we've always had to replace hardware. Farmers are our friends here - they are very angry about being sold machinery they can no longer repair - and farmers have a lot more clout than spannerers. They have been doing the running in the US on right-to-repair law. Not sure what's happening in the UK. I mostly plan to ignore anyone who tells me I can't fix/change the software in my own equipment (and I try very hard to only buy equipment I can relatively easily change the software in) (all my computers, the TV box, the podcast player, the phone, the heating controller and sensors, my caving light and bike lights - but it gets harder as every damn thing has software in it).

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

I wonder what is going to be the the first electric car offering to tick the "I want one of those" boxes, because to grab an out of date phrase "they are really cool".

I rule out of course the unattainable bracket for the masses ie your top end Teslas, BMW's Porsches Jaguars or whatever, and for all its performance, efficiency/range the TESLA model 3 is about as cool as a Ford Mondeo.

Anything that looks like a people carrier/SUV is also ruled out as obviously not cool.

So currently all we have is these two....

Image

Image

All my own opinion of course, others may have a different view. :-D

Regards neil

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

er apologies I can now add to the list an offering from Citroen. While it formerly used to reside in the plastic beach buggy category, it now has a hardtop as well, and hopefully roll up windows to keep the weather out :-D

Image

Regards Neil

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by myglaren »

I have taken my daughter's Megane for a clutch replacement.
I have to walk back from the workshop, takes about an hour.
On the way, listening to my phone's playlist, I was pondering the viability of an electric car for her - not that there are many she would have* but then realise that she would be unable to charge it anywhere sensible.
This is where she lives, the cars are all remote from the house (lots of fun moving in, buying new furniture and white goods) and naturally she livest furthest from the car park.
At work she only has street parking, no access to charging points and has a forty mile return journey each day (minimum).

*She was offered a nice SAAB 9-3 cab last week and tempted. Also saw a really ratty black one yesterday and almost asked the driver if he would sell it.

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Skull
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Skull »

Steve they're not ideal for everyone but that looks bleak for your daughter even if Birtley had a Tesco's (I heard they might be having a "charge whilst you shop" option - might even be free in places) ...maybe a hybrid in a few years - you don't want to be moving her again :roll:

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by myglaren »

There's an Aldi with a couple of charging points. Try getting near them though - always ICE cars parked there as they are close to the entrance.
The Gateshead one may have but still a major inconvenience for her.
But the point was that the infrastructure for most people to use BEVs is sadly lacking.
I'm in a similar position, would need to trail cables over footpaths. Eldest daughter 100 yards away is in a similar position to youngest daughter. Applies to the great majority in Washington and Gateshead.

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Skull
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Skull »

myglaren wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 15:07
There's an Aldi with a couple of charging points. Try getting near them though - always ICE cars parked there as they are close to the entrance.
I imagine charging points are slightly wider than a conventional parking bay although my new Aldi has been generous with their bays ...hence too easy to abandon any car/van/4x4/brand new/ in them

#that'lldome

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Mandrake »

With 2.5 years of first hand experience driving a short range EV under my belt, I think the way the situation is going to play out long term is this:

1) Those that have driveways and off street parking who are able to install a charge point to plug their car in at night will do so - although there is some installation cost up front to get a proper charge point installed at your house (although currently partially subsidised in England and Wales and fully subsidised in Scotland - I paid nothing to have mine installed) it's worth it, and eventually all dwellings that can take one will have a charger, just like all dwellings that can be hooked up to the national gas supply today are. A proper home charge point is safer than trying to use a "granny charger" plugged into a 3 pin extension cord thrown out a window, which is highly frowned upon for anything other than short term emergency use, and is up to 3x faster depending on the car as it can be up to 7kW on a house with single phase AC.

It's more convenient to charge at home than elsewhere, (just plug in when you go in for the night and the car is 100% charged in the morning, so you can easily leave the house with a full charge every day, as I do) and it's much cheaper to charge at home than use public chargers. I pay 12.3p/kWh at home on a single rate tariff - public charging is anywhere between 20-40p/kWh at the moment for those that charge by the kWh, and there are some that instead charge by time or monthly membership. (which is nuts)

It's about 1/3rd the cost for me to charge at home than to use say an Instavolt rapid charger, and that's without me even looking for a cheaper dual rate or going the solar panel route. There is a lot of competition and flexibility in residential electricity costs and a low barrier to switch, whereas charging costs at rapid chargers are pretty much "that's our price, take it or leave it".

Charging at home overnight also means you can make use of "pre-heating" where the heater in the car will come on either by remote control / timer / manual control and silently defrost the car and de-ice the windows while it's still plugged into power, and thus not use any battery to do so, giving you a toasty warm, fully charged car to get into when you're ready with zero ice scraping or effort - a great feature of many EV's.

2) Those that can't charge at home will eventually be driving EV's with relatively large batteries and fast rapid charging speeds and will do a once a week rapid charge of approx 30 minutes to get them through the week. This could be somewhere that they can stop and do their shopping at the same time etc as rapid charging by then will typically be around 30 minutes for a couple of hundred miles range. More expensive and more inconvenient than charging at home, but I really can't see any other alternative for those who can't reliably charge at home or work.

The current "Fast" or Level 2 chargers that you typically find in supermarket car parks, long term parking etc on most cars are limited to 7kW, that is too slow for somewhere you don't want to be for many, many hours. I could count the number of times I've found a useful opportunity to use one of those chargers on my fingers. It's just not worth the hassle when you have to faff around getting the cable out and plugging it in at both ends then rolling it up later, especially on a car like mine that will only Level 2 charge at 3kW. (compared to 43kW on a rapid charger)

So we'll get there in the end, unfortunately it means that most early adopters will out of necessity be people who can charge at home - my short range Ion simply wouldn't be workable for me if I had to use a rapid charger as my only source of charging as I'd still need to be charging it every day - and spending 20-30 minutes doing so away from the house. No thanks!

People who can't charge at home or work are going to be at a significant disadvantage - cars that have large, long range batteries and can rapid charge very fast that make themselves more suitable for petrol station style filling up (~30 minutes on a rapid charger once a week) are going to be expensive - at least for a while, while those that can charge at home will be able to get by on a much lower range, older or cheaper car.

There are all kinds of crazy schemes being piloted for charging from sockets on street lamps, inductive charging under the road etc, but I personally don't think these will ever be implemented in scale and are effectively science experiments only so it will be either home charging as we have today, rapid charging of long range cars, or a mixture of those two that most people will use, and people with home charging will always be at a financial and convenience advantage running an EV over those who don't have access to home charging.

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Gibbo2286 »

There's one other option that you haven't mentioned Mandrake a quick change battery service, pick up a fully charged battery at Halfords/Kwik Fit or the like, unplug your flat battery and pop in the charged one, if they made it possible on the car's build.

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Chinese are thinking about it....Battery swap by robots in three minutes!

https://www.nio.com/nio-power?noredirect=
screenshot
screenshot
screenshot
screenshot
Regards Neil
Last edited by NewcastleFalcon on 16 Sep 2019, 16:57, edited 1 time in total.

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mickthemaverick
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by mickthemaverick »

It certainly seems then Simon, that it really will be a case of the more ways you can find to charge then the more likely you will be to have an EV.! This does of course mean that Ryanair will have a fully electric fleet in no time at all!! :)
Seriously though my biggest concern is the number of people who are likely to ignore the advice and use plug in chargers all the time at home. As an electronics man I can certainly a significant increase in fire risk which will result in increased home insurance premiums for everyone!!

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Mandrake »

Gibbo2286 wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 16:22
There's one other option that you haven't mentioned Mandrake a quick change battery service, pick up a fully charged battery at Halfords/Kwik Fit or the like, unplug your flat battery and pop in the charged one, if they made it possible on the car's build.
I didn't mention it because it's a complete non-starter and will never happen with cars.

Renault trialed the idea briefly with the Fluence and Tesla also (half heartedly) trialed it with the Model S. But there were no takers.

There's far too many logistical problems for it to make sense when you think it through. I'm reluctant to give a big long exposition about all the problems with this idea (as they've been beaten to death in threads over on speakev.com) but here are a few obvious problems.

1) Making a "one size fits all" battery for an EV to allow for quick battery swaps between different models of car just isn't feasible. The battery is the heart of the car and everything about it is intracately designed around it, including the chassis of the car. Unlike the battery in a power drill with a click connector and a few low voltage terminals the battery in an EV is typically 300-400 volts, can supply peak currents anywhere from about 150 amps (my Ion) to over 1500 amps (Tesla) weighs 200-500Kg, has data cabling between the car and the battery pack to allow the embedded onboard cell monitoring ECU's to communicate with the rest of the car, some cars have glycol coolant loops that would have to be disconnected from the car, etc...

Battery design is very competitive and proprietary, there is absolutely zero chance of manufacturers cooperating in making some sort of lowest common denominator interchangeable battery, and the resulting car would be a huge compromise in terms of range and performance. Not going to happen.

Would you really want qwikfit messing with this even if they could ? :shock:

2) Now that we've established that an interchangeable battery that would work across models of car is infeasible the whole plan makes even less sense than it did before that. A "battery swap station" would have to keep spare batteries for every model of car that might come to the station. These batteries are the size of the floor pan of a car and weigh hundreds of killograms. Where are they going to be stored ? Who is going to pay for the capital cost of having these batteries sitting around ? Storing Lithium Ion batteries unused at 100% charge causes (relatively) rapid degradation, but for a battery swap scheme to work the batteries will need to be sitting 100% charged ready for use. So they won't last very many years before they see severe degradation, especially if they don't get used much.

The facility for storing dozens upon dozens of batteries and automatically wheeling them out and installing them in cars would be massive, and dwarf a typical small petrol station or a row of rapid charger stations. Two petrol nozzles (petrol and diesel) cover most cars, likewise two rapid charger cables (CCS and Chademo) cover rapid charging most cars. A battery only fits one model of car.

There is already a huge shortage of raw cells to make batteries for EV's - how can anyone afford to divert a significant percentage of the cells made into packs that will spend a lot of their life sitting degrading on a shelf and not usefully powering a car ? That seems awfully wasteful of materials to me just to save a few minutes charging.

3) Who owns the battery ? If you start with the battery that came with your car and then it gets swapped when you went on a trip, then what ? Whose battery do you have now ? Who has your battery now ? Will you ever see it again ? What range does the one you have now have left and how well has it been treated ? Does it have failing cells and/or has it been knocked around ? How does this affect your manufacturers warranty given that the battery is the single most expensive item in the car ? If it has significantly less range than your original battery or fails on you, what recourse do you have ? What if the battery swap station machine or operator damages your battery ? Bit of a holiday ruiner ?

Conversely, if you have an old car with a high mileage heavily degraded battery and you go in for a swap and come away with a much lower mileage higher capacity battery, who pays for that ? Do you get charged more if you hand in a worn out battery, or do you get away with getting a new battery scot free just by using a battery swapping station once ? Seems easily scamable to me unless the battery swap company is the one that owns all the batteries in the first place - and I can't see that happening.

Nissan and Renault tried battery rental and by and large, people didn't go for it. Nissan have already given it up and Renault are the only manufacturer hanging onto offering cars that are not "battery owned". Unless you only lease the battery in the car, as you do with some Renaults, the ownership and liability problems alone will nix any attempts to do battery swapping.

4) Can a battery swap system ever truly offer a swap time much less than a 30 minute rapid charge in practice ? I highly doubt it. I'm about to drop the battery out of my Ion to change a few cells and I expect it to take a couple of hours at least just to get it dropped down out of the car. To be fair I'm working without a hoist and the car isn't designed for quick battery changes - but neither is any currently made EV, with more modern EV's being more difficult due to more complex systems like glycol cooling loops.

Once you take into account checking whether a battery of the right type for you car is available and booking it in (?) there's no chance that it could be done faster than a 30 minute rapid charge.

Rapid charging speeds and locations have increased tremendously since the early days when battery swaps were seriously considered. It just doesn't make sense anymore if you can do 150kW charging.

In theory a car that could maintain the full 150kW over the entire charging session and had enough battery capacity could add about 300 miles of range in 30 minutes. That's more than the entire range of most EV's today. 150kW rapid chargers are available today (mainly in Europe, not many in the UK yet but increasing) with 350kW starting to roll out already.

For these and many other reasons battery swaps on the go for cars do not make sense and will never make sense. Any small window of opportunity they once had when there were few models of car and no rapid chargers has long gone. The correct way forward is to roll out 150kW plus rapid charging and batteries that are large enough to make proper use of those high charge rates. In theory a battery that is larger than about 50kWh and has active liquid cooling can be made to charge at rates of up to about 150kW for up to 30 minutes at a time.

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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Mandrake wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 19:39
I didn't mention it because it's a complete non-starter and will never happen with cars.
Nio are giving it a bit of an airing as posted a couple of items back. Even a video to click on a few scrollings down the link.
"An Experience Beyond Refueling
NIO Power is a charging solution that is powered by the mobile internet. The wide-ranging network of charging and battery swap facilities, supported by NIO Cloud, allows for NIO users to enjoy exclusive power services with a single click."
NewcastleFalcon wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 16:44
Chinese are thinking about it....Battery swap by robots in three minutes!

https://www.nio.com/nio-power?noredirect=

Image
Image
Even if the "battery swap" bit doesnt take off, its comforting to know that when NIO EV's eventually need a new battery pack, they will only be charged 3 minutes labour, although the hourly rate of the robots could be astronomical of course :-D

regards Neil

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Mandrake
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Re: Electric Cars:what's available?

Post by Mandrake »

mickthemaverick wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 16:52
Seriously though my biggest concern is the number of people who are likely to ignore the advice and use plug in chargers all the time at home. As an electronics man I can certainly a significant increase in fire risk which will result in increased home insurance premiums for everyone!!
The charging connectors used on EV's (for AC charging, J-1772 / Type 1 and Menekes / Type 2) are very sturdy and well designed. They're designed for something like 10,000 connect/disconnect cycles, they're rated for 32 amps continuous 24/7, they're fully waterproof when mated so you can safely charge a car in heavy rain, and they use low voltage pilot signalling to ensure that the contactors in the wall unit (EVSE) will not close and energise the high voltage pins until after the plug is mated with the car and the car has performed a safety check of the wiring before finally signalling the EVSE that it's OK to energise the contactors and make the AC pins live.

The Type 1 connector has a trigger button that must be pressed to mechanically release the plug, this signals the EVSE to open the contactors before the plug is even withdrawn. The Type 2 connector uses a car controlled solenoid locking pin so the connector remains locked in place until you tell the car to end the charge session, (which also prevents cable theft) when you do that the contactors are opened before the connector is unlocked. It's literally impossible to get a shock using the EV charging connectors in the rain as they can never be energised when the plug is not mated to a car.

Proper wall mounted EVSE's by law must be connected to a dedicated (spur) circuit, and must also be RCBO protected. My installation has an RCBO in the EVSE unit itself on the wall outside, and another RCBO in the mini consumer unit that they installed as my consumer unit was out of space. The cable run to an outdoor EVSE is required to be armoured cable if any is visible or exposed to damage outside, for example burried. Mine has 6 inches visible from where it comes out the wall before it goes into the bottom of the EVSE so the entire run back to the consumer unit cupboard under the floor is armoured as well.

In short it's a very safe and well designed system and the regulations are quite strict.

The 3 pin British plug on the other hand... :roll: Nominally designed for 13 amps but very few plugs and sockets will handle that over a period of 4-10 hours that it might take to charge an EV, night after night. As a result nearly all portable EVSE's (granny charger) are limited to 10 amps, but even then there can be problems. The biggest problem seems to be resistance at the fuse holder in the plug which causes heating of the phase pin. Over time this resistance goes up as the fuse holder oxidises and loses tension through heat cycling.

Eventually the phase pin can overheat and melt, in rare cases it can catch fire. Some portable EVSE's have temperature sensors in the 3 pin plug to detect overheating (mine does) however the cable is only about half a metre long so realistically you'd have to plug one into an extension cable to use it unless you have an outdoor waterproof 3 pin socket - and manufacturers expressly forbid plugging a portable EVSE into an extension cord of any sort, and yet everyone does it. (Yes even I did for a while until I had a proper wall charger)

As soon as you use an extension cord the plug on the extension cord does not have a temperature sensor and is vulnerable to progressive overheating.

Portable EVSE's are good for occasional use as a "get me out of jail free card" or specalist uses like charging at a caravan park etc (although an EVSE modified to use a 16 or 32 amp Commando plug is usually recommended here) however it's not the right thing to use for every day charging for years on end, and people that do that are running a risk.
Last edited by Mandrake on 16 Sep 2019, 20:23, edited 2 times in total.