Electric vehicles-Conversions

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by RichardW »

It's all very well us Car Geeks (well Simon anyway!) getting excited about whether a car costs 3 or 3.5p/mile, but lets face it EVs at present have 2 major flaws - range and price. Joe Public goes into the showroom - 2 similar cars, one will do 500 miles on a tank of petrol that takes 2 mins to fill anywhere, the other 150 miles on an electric charge taking hours at limited locations. The electric car is nearly 3 times the price of the Petrol one (even after the Gov gives you 5 grand towards it). Which are they going to choose? Simon postulated above that 2040 was pessimistic for a switch to EVs, but I think optimistic. Range has to go up and price has to come down (substantially in both cases) before they are going to get accepted generally. Let's assume there are better batteries working out in the lab at present (which I don't think there are, at least not ready for commercialisation). Process has to be scaled up, then new factories designed and built, new supply lines established, and then cars have to be built around the new tech. 5 years? Sounds unlikely, 10 more like. Prices are still going to be high - they're only going to come down once the tech gets established and economies of scale come into play. Another 10 years? We're already close to 2040, and BEVs are only just getting close to ICE for convenience (remember everything these days is about convenience, why else would people buy god awful ready meals in their droves????). By that time HMG will have invented a way to charge for EVs and their main advantage (low running costs) will have disappeared. I reckon <50% by 2040, and never more than 75%. This is not even thinking about charging logistics - local grids was mentioned above; consider a m-way service station. Last week I drove from Godalming to Lanark on 2/3 tank of diesel mostly at m-way limit speed - and had enough diesel left to commute to work for the rest of the week. Even in the best EV for range (ie a Tesla that costs over £100k) I would probably have needed 2 charging stops; in Simon's more like 6, and then I would only be able to drive at <60mph; would have taken 2 days! At present the Tesla scenario is not too bad - couple of chargers at each service station, which you can probably get access to, but if everyone is driving EV then they are all going to want a top up charge at each service station - so more like 2 or 3 hundred rapid charging points required at each service station - how much power is that going to need? They will all need their own power stations!! I know that most journeys are short, but most people do at least a few long trips a year - holidays, or a weekend to see Great Aunt Mable 150 miles away - this is going to weigh on people's minds when thinking about buying an EV.

Ref the NEDC tests - this is no different to the ICE consumption figures and real world emissions - if you invent a regulatory regime that requires compliance only in the lab under certain test conditions, then it's no real surprise that manufacturers optimise the design to match this, and if you test outside of the lab / test conditions then emissions are higher. They are complying with the letter of E6 (ie meet it in the lab) if not the intended spirit (but that was never written down!) - so it's no surprise that in real world conditions emissions are nothing like the required lab test figures, esp given the missing of the consumption targets! AIUI real world testing compliance is coming in, but there are some relaxations for a few years on some emissions (eg NOX) - but we can expect to see significant falls in total transport outputs(*) in the next 10 years as the fleet is renewed - which is not going to help the EVs case!

Don't get me wrong; I'd have an EV, but it would need 250 mile range. And not cost £100k to do it!

*apart from air transport which seems to be immune to fuel taxation and emissions regs!!

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by harryp »

The state of current EV manufacturing is closer to say, Morgan, than mainstream volume production. It is, after all, currently a niche market (no pun intended).
It will take time for the necessary development, particularly in batteries, for EV's to significantly increase range and reduce price in their bid to achieve high volume sales. I'd still like one as a local runabout :) .

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

RichardW wrote: The electric car is nearly 3 times the price of the Petrol one (even after the Gov gives you 5 grand towards it). Which are they going to choose?

Don't get me wrong; I'd have an EV, but it would need 250 mile range. And not cost £100k to do it!
The practical choice in EV's as of today if you walk into a showroom is arguably either a Leaf, or a Zoe, compared to hundreds/thousands of ICE models. Depends which model of ICE you choose as a reasonable comparator whether your 3 times the price applies :) . I would think those 2 models would be comparable to a £20,000 ish offering in ICE.

Buying a new anything at those prices, gets you bombarded with the offers of PCP finance deals of the £x deposit, £y/month for z years based on an agreed milage per year, and a Guaranteed Future Value/Optional payment or handback at the end of the contract period.

There's such variety in those variables to make direct comparisons difficult, I try to reduce them to simple pence/mile cost for the finance alone.. As all calculations in the "new" vehicle arena come out well over 50p/mile I won't be troubling the scorers personally on a new vehicle.

Its second hand, or wait for bargain basement EV ownership for me! Or convert a Renault Floride as per my avatar when the bits become cheaper!

Regards Neil

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by Mandrake »

Flame retardant suit donned. :lol:
RichardW wrote:It's all very well us Car Geeks (well Simon anyway!) getting excited about whether a car costs 3 or 3.5p/mile, but lets face it EVs at present have 2 major flaws - range and price. Joe Public goes into the showroom - 2 similar cars, one will do 500 miles on a tank of petrol that takes 2 mins to fill anywhere, the other 150 miles on an electric charge taking hours at limited locations.
I think you greatly underestimate the appeal low daily running costs would have to many people, if they were only aware just how ridiculously low it can be even when you're paying standard electricity tariffs in the vicinity of 13p/kwh. Fuel is very expensive in the UK (granted, largely due to road tax...) and is the whole reason why such large numbers of people switched to Diesel in the first place. It's just too expensive nowadays to commute any serious distance in a petrol car, unless its something tiny like a C1. Would you switch back to a petrol today ? No, because you have a 60 mile commute that already costs you a fortune in Diesel.

And yet the writing is on the wall for Diesels thanks largely to Dieselgate. Rightly or wrongly public and legislative opinion has turned against them. They are being made into public enemy number one and will be banned from major cities in the next few years and generally frowned upon due to the NOx and particulates.

You say who would want to buy a car that can only do 150 miles between charges, but who would want to buy a car that cannot be driven into major cities ? Or that gets you fined by Jobsworth Police or Council operatives if you leave the engine running for a few minutes to keep warm in winter while you wait to pick up someone ? If you live in the London commuter area buying a new Diesel right now would be a very poor and foolhardy investment because the hammer will come down on Diesels in London sooner or later, and probably sooner. Good luck maintaining a good resale value for the car when the bans start happening as the market for Diesel cars will tank, especially if good alternatives are available by then.

Do people really need or want 500 miles per fill up, or do they just think they do ? Is it ever a buying consideration for a petrol or Diesel car or do we all just assume that a tank has "enough" range ? I've never owned a car that could even do that, having never owned a Diesel. My Xantia V6 will do 250 miles per fill up around town and 350 if I'm lucky on a motorway jaunt. So my Xantia can only do as much on a full tank as a Tesla, or a Chevy Bolt for that matter! And I have never felt like I needed more range. There are lots of people perfectly happy driving gaz guzzlers like RangeRover V8's that probably don't do any more miles per fill than my Xantia despite huge fuel tanks, so I don't think having massive per tank range is really what its cracked up to be.

A major difference is I can plug an electric car in overnight or anytime I come home to top it up whereas filling up with petrol is a several mile detour and waiting in a queue for the pump then waiting in a queue to pay. (And yes I usually am waiting at least 2 cars back in a queue when I need petrol) With the Xantia it was a 4 mile approx 25 minute round trip (including queuing, fuelling and paying) out of my way to find 99 octane petrol which I was having to do twice a month. With the Ion I plug in using a tethered cable hanging off the wall any time I come home which takes me literally all of 10 seconds to hook up. I know which I prefer!

Before smartphones everyone had mobile phones that could last a whole week on a single charge - including my Nokia. Everyone considered that to be normal. Then smart phones came out and could only last one day before charging, needing nightly charging. People complained at first but soon got used to it. Now nobody thinks twice about plugging their phone in to charge every night because the payoff is that it has about 100x the functionality of a dumb phone of 10 years ago...

Would I like a smart phone that could go 7 days on a single charge ? Of course! Do I need one ? Not really! Do I want to give up smart phone functionality and go back to a dumb phone with 7 days battery life between charges ? No way! Same thing applies to EV's in my opinion. If the vast majority of your travelling can be fuelled by just plugging in every night that is good enough for all but long trips, and the benefits in other areas can be quite significant if you accept this "inconvenience".

Two minutes to fuel up for the weekly commute is a fantasy unless you have a petrol pump for your exclusive use, installed on the side of your own drive way. :lol:

Yes, 60 mile range is not enough for most people, and I'm not suggesting it is - it is definitely for the "early adopters" who are willing to buy it as a second runabout car, plan their trips, and drive within the limitations of car, like I am doing, however 150 miles real range would suit most people just fine for a commute, even you! :wink:

"taking hours at limited locations" is somewhat misinformed - have a look on plugshare.com or zap-map.com and you'll see that there are actually a lot more charging locations in the UK (at least in central Scotland) than there are petrol stations... Within 5 miles of me there are 3 rapid chargers and over a dozen fast chargers. There aren't that many petrol stations in the same radius! And unlike petrol stations that need underground tanks and room for a tanker to park to refill, charging points can literally be placed anywhere there is electricity and room for a car to stop, so with the necessary will behind it the number of charging points could be vastly increased.

Fast chargers do indeed take "hours" but aren't designed to fully charge the car while you wait, just to add additional range while you stop and shop. (Although they would fully charge you during an 8 hour work day, or overnight at your house) Depending on your car they will add about 16 or 32 miles of range per hour of charging.

On the other hand DC Rapid chargers will charge most EV's including mine up to 80% in under 30 minutes. If you are stopping on a motorway journey you would only ever use Rapid chargers so "hours" is an exaggeration when I can be back on the road in typically 20 minutes. Current 50kW rapid chargers in service today (Chademo and CCS) can theoretically give up to 100 miles extra range per 30 minutes of charging, depending on the capability of the car. Tesla Superchargers are up to 125kW which can theoretically add up to 250 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging. New versions of Chademo and CCS are being developed right now in the 150-200kW range.

A lot of work is being done on faster charging batteries and higher powered rapid chargers, so this will be a solved problem within the next few years. Also as the range of EV's increases it will reach a point where you don't actually need to charge during the day for 95% of your use of the car - you'll have enough range to work just off your normal overnight charge, leaving long motorway journeys as the only time that you'll really need to use the public charger network.
The electric car is nearly 3 times the price of the Petrol one (even after the Gov gives you 5 grand towards it). Which are they going to choose?
Where do you get 3 times the price from ? If you look at a Leaf or a Bolt, in what way are they 3x the price of an equivalent sized and appointed ICE car ? More expensive up front sure, not 3x or even 2x... If you factor in total cost of ownership for anyone who does a decent mileage I think you'll find that the numbers work out strongly in favour of the EV over 5 years or so.
Simon postulated above that 2040 was pessimistic for a switch to EVs, but I think optimistic. Range has to go up and price has to come down (substantially in both cases) before they are going to get accepted generally. Let's assume there are better batteries working out in the lab at present (which I don't think there are, at least not ready for commercialisation). Process has to be scaled up, then new factories designed and built, new supply lines established, and then cars have to be built around the new tech. 5 years? Sounds unlikely, 10 more like. Prices are still going to be high - they're only going to come down once the tech gets established and economies of scale come into play. Another 10 years? We're already close to 2040, and BEVs are only just getting close to ICE for convenience (remember everything these days is about convenience, why else would people buy god awful ready meals in their droves????). By that time HMG will have invented a way to charge for EVs and their main advantage (low running costs) will have disappeared. I reckon <50% by 2040, and never more than 75%.
Such pessimism Richard. :-D I really hope you're wrong, and I think you will be. I reckon 5 years until we have reasonably priced >200 mile EV's available brand new, and 10 years until we have wide adoption of EV's among the general buying public as well as a healthy second hand market.

Running cost advantages don't just include electricity and lack of road tax, there's the potential of greatly reduced maintenance and repair costs. Even in an ICE that is reliable and never "breaks down" there are a lot of things that need replacing and renewing on a schedule - oil, coolant, fuel and air filters, spark plugs, exhaust pipes, timing belts and so on - I'm sure you're well acquainted with these, as are we all. :)

Then there is the simple, predictable and effortless driving experience - driving an EV is a lot like driving an automatic but even smoother, and no guessing when the gearbox might change gears. If you unexpectedly need to accelerate to squeeze into a gap or avoid merging cars you put your foot down and it just moves. No thinking about gears or planning ahead. If you need full power at a moments notice just plant the pedal.

Most "normal" drivers, (eg not petrol heads) prefer to drive automatics as they don't like the hassle and complication of thinking about changing gears, and of course there is the ever present fear of stalling when crossing a busy junction. Those kind of people typically drive manuals only because they have (cost or mpg reasons) to not because they want to. They'd be much happier driving an automatic despite the fact that automatics are notorious for failing between 100k - 150k and being uneconomic to repair or replace when they do fail.

An EV gives them the simple driving experience of an automatic but without the huge loss in efficiency, unpredictable gear changes and ticking time bomb of an automatic gearbox.

Although I wouldn't call myself a petrol head I would say that I enjoy driving in a spirited fashion, so I wasn't sure whether I would find driving an EV "boring" due to no engine noise and no gears to change. In an ICE car I prefer manuals over automatics by far so you would think I would find the lack of gears boring, but that's proven to be not the case at all. I realised that I prefer driving manuals over automatics partly because of the improvement in performance and mpg, but largely because of the control it gives me. I get to control every detail of how much power the engine is putting out by controlling the rev range - if I know I'm about to overtake I can change down for example and hold it in a low gear.

It turns out that in an EV you are always in complete control - there is no rev range to worry about, you simply modulate the throttle and it does what you ask. If you want full power at a moments notice just punch the throttle and you've got it no matter what speed you're doing. Always responsive and always ready for the unexpected. I find this to be a superior driving experience to even a manual gearbox let alone an auto adaptive slushbox. :twisted:

For the average driver that finds driving cars a bit of a chore and in particular doesn't like gear changing, don't underestimate how much of a draw card the responsive, gear-less driving experience is, once they've tried it.
This is not even thinking about charging logistics - local grids was mentioned above; consider a m-way service station. Last week I drove from Godalming to Lanark on 2/3 tank of diesel mostly at m-way limit speed - and had enough diesel left to commute to work for the rest of the week. Even in the best EV for range (ie a Tesla that costs over £100k) I would probably have needed 2 charging stops; in Simon's more like 6, and then I would only be able to drive at <60mph; would have taken 2 days! At present the Tesla scenario is not too bad - couple of chargers at each service station, which you can probably get access to, but if everyone is driving EV then they are all going to want a top up charge at each service station - so more like 2 or 3 hundred rapid charging points required at each service station - how much power is that going to need? They will all need their own power stations!! I know that most journeys are short, but most people do at least a few long trips a year - holidays, or a weekend to see Great Aunt Mable 150 miles away - this is going to weigh on people's minds when thinking about buying an EV.
Well nobody has suggested that a 60 mile range Ion is good for visiting Aunt Mable 150 miles away. :lol: I agree that for long trips you want something with 150-250 miles range plus rapid charging support. Also the reason for staying under 60 is that an Ion is not very aerodynamic - its more of a flying brick. :-D Other EV's like Tesla's that are a lot more aerodynamic don't suffer nearly as much at high speeds.

The strain on the grid issue has been addressed before - even doing 1000 miles a month of pure EV driving I've worked out that it only increases my monthly household electricity use by 30% - some upgrades will be necessary over a relatively long period of time as demand ramps up, but not the looming catastrophe that many predict. And it's also a fact that the increase in electricity use required to charge a country full of EV's can already be accommodated on todays existing grid if cars were made to charge during the Economy 7 off peak hours in the middle of the night.

So I think in the interim we'll see some incentives or requirements that a certain high percentage of home EV charging is done during the middle of the night when the grid load is low, perhaps using grid controlled timing of home EV chargers. There is definitely work to be done on the grid, generation, charging infrastructure etc but I for one don't see this as a huge problem - just a standard engineering problem to be solved. Electricity use has ramped up massively in the last century and somehow we have managed to upgrade the grid and increase generation capacity to meet the demands, I don't see why this is any different, especially if EV adoption is progressive and doesn't happen overnight.
Don't get me wrong; I'd have an EV, but it would need 250 mile range. And not cost £100k to do it!
Don't worry, it's coming. ;)

And for all the skeptics out there, the internal combustion engine car took a while to get past the early adopter stage and catch on and become a practical and useful vehicle, as this Family guy skit highlights. :-D


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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Nice bit of gentle provocation, and an excellent well-argued response.....it's what interesting threads are made of :-D

Regards Neil

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by CitroJim »

I'm in broad agreement with you Simon, in general almost all journeys are short and urban and well within the range of your Ion and the like with overnight charges...

On the rare occasions you need to go on a long trip either use public transport (trains are good) or hire a suitable vehicle for the duration...

A train journey can be fun and an adventure and is a hell of a lot less stressful than driving.

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by bobins »

When I first read of the Govt's plans to make virtually all vehicles EV by 2040, I thought it a little bit of a misleading headline. The very relevant point that needs to be brought into focus alongside the "EV's by 2040" idea is - Just how many vehicles will be on the road in 2040 ? I don't assume for one minute that car / vehicle ownership and use will continue to increase in a delightfully lineal fashion. There's an awful lot of variables that could screw the forecast between now and 2040.

I don't assume that the same percentage of the population will be driving to work in 2040 as do now - There's no guarantee there'll be the same number of jobs for people, There's no guarantee we'll actually need to drive to our work destinations (Work from home ? An integrated public transport system that's wayyyyy above what we've got now ?). There's no guarantee we'll need to drive to the shops to buy anything ! How about the school run ? I believe some schools are already looking at reducing the school week by a day to cut costs. Surely by 2040 it'd be possible to either home school or have very local schooling as the young oiks will be purely learning by interacting with electronics anyway :shock:

If a sizeable chunk of the population don't need to drive to work or have no jobs to go to, if most people don't need to 'do the school run', and if everything gets delivered to your door by drone or self driving van........ just why would we all need to own a car ? :)

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Re: Electric cars/vans/bikes-Conversions/Secondhand..etc

Post by RichardW »

Pessimism is my middle name - often abbreviated to fatalism! Trouble is, I'm usually right.... discussion today about buying a piece of kit at work - at least 12 weeks to get it on order says I to aghast looks; been there before though, and we will be doing well to have the order placed in 12 weeks!

OK, not quite 3 times... Micra is £14 grand in bottom trim; Leaf with 24kWh battery in bottom trim is £26 grand (although the Gov will currently give you £5k back) so almost twice the price. Going to take a long time to recover the extra outlay if you only do 8k a year - especially when HMG decides enough is enough of free driving and starts charging by the mile - see my calcs above that show if you remove HMGs slice EVs are no cheaper than ICEs to run.

We'll all need cars in 2040 because we'll have eaten so much sugar that we will be unable to walk past the end of the drive!

PS I still have a Nokia phone that lasts a week on a charge :rofl2:

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Post by NewcastleFalcon »

the Leaf surely has to be mid range in the Nissan Stable for comparitive purposes. A ICE mini is always going to be cheaper than an electric Allegro :!:

One great thing in favour of the Leaf is that it can spring to the rescue of abandoned lambs in Wales :!:

http://nissaninsider.co.uk/nissan-leaf- ... born-lamb/

Regards Neil

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Post by Mandrake »

RichardW wrote: OK, not quite 3 times... Micra is £14 grand in bottom trim; Leaf with 24kWh battery in bottom trim is £26 grand (although the Gov will currently give you £5k back) so almost twice the price.
Not really a fair comparison - I've driven rental Micra's and they're a small car not much bigger than a C1, while a Leaf is a much bigger car that has the interior size and trim levels of a Xantia or C5! (albeit with a smaller usable boot size)

It would be more fair to compare a Leaf to something like a Nissan Primera.
Last edited by Mandrake on 13 Apr 2017, 22:21, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by white exec »

Simon, is that 13.4p/kWh of yours your daytime or night-time (off-peak) rate? I have lost touch with UK electricity costs.
Is that figure the raw rate, exclusive of all extras like standing charge, VAT?, green tax? etc etc. ?

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Post by Mandrake »

white exec wrote:Simon, is that 13.4p/kWh of yours your daytime or night-time (off-peak) rate? I have lost touch with UK electricity costs.
Is that figure the raw rate, exclusive of all extras like standing charge, VAT?, green tax? etc etc. ?

I'm not on Economy 7 so it's my rate 24 hours a day. Our current provider (Bulb) don't do Economy 7, nor do I have a suitable meter at the moment to use it. As it is costing me so little per mile already I don't know that it's worth going on an Economy 7 plan and then having to pay more for daytime electricity use around the house as charging the car is only a small part of the total electricity bill. (Less than 30%)

The 13.4p is inclusive of VAT, but excludes the standing charges. I thought about it, but I don't think it makes sense to include the standing charge when calculating the per mile cost - because the standing charge is a fixed cost that I pay for the privilege of having electricity in the house regardless of whether I own an EV or not and regardless of how many miles I drive and recharge. So I use the VAT inclusive rate without the standing charge in my calculation, as this tells me how much extra I will pay for each mile I drive.

You can certainly get better deals on electricity than this, however usually at the expense of paying a lot more for gas. We just switched provider to nearly halve our gas tariff as gas was costing us a fortune, but that put our electricity tariff up by about 1p/kWh, overall a net win though even after adding the electric car.

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Post by white exec »

I think you should look again at an off-peak tariff, especially as you are vehicle charging.
A bit of intelligent use of time-switches could mean savings too on energy-hungry appliances like water heating, dishwashing, washing machine, tumble dryer...assuming they're electric, of course.
We're managing 71% of our kWh in the off-peak period*, and did similarly in the UK for a couple of decades.
If ever there were a case for "switching suppliers", you must surely be it.

* For us, € 9cents off-peak per kWh vs € 17cents peak, VAT at 21% (yes, full rate!!!) not included. Usefully, though, off-peak here is 2200h-1200h next day.

>>> Edit: Have just read your remark about gas being entwined with this. Does complicate the calculation.
Last edited by white exec on 13 Apr 2017, 22:30, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Mandrake »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:the Leaf surely has to be mid range in the Nissan Stable for comparitive purposes. A ICE mini is always going to be cheaper than an electric Allegro :!:

One great thing in favour of the Leaf is that it can spring to the rescue of abandoned lambs in Wales :!:

http://nissaninsider.co.uk/nissan-leaf- ... born-lamb/

Regards Neil

Uh oh, there is that 2p a mile claim again, this time with no fine print! :lol:
The multi-award winning Nissan LEAF, also the UK’s best-selling 100% electric vehicle, costs an average of just 2p per mile to run, ensuring that Glyn can enjoy his outdoor pursuits while keeping motoring costs to a minimum.

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Post by Mandrake »

white exec wrote:I think you should look again at an off-peak tariff, especially as you are vehicle charging.
A bit of intelligent use of time-switches could mean savings too on energy-hungry appliances like water heating, dishwashing, washing machine, tumble dryer...assuming they're electric, of course.
We're managing 71% of our kWh in the off-peak period, and did similarly in the UK for a couple of decades.
If ever there were a case for "switching suppliers", you must surely be it.

As I said, we literally just switched supplier (in February) for gas cost reasons, I can't get anywhere near the same gas price with cheaper or off peak electricity - believe me I looked. Our house is old and not very well insulated so heating costs a fortune, that was the overriding factor in the switch. The charging cost of the car even for 1000 miles a month is very minimal compared to what we pay for gas. I've done the sums and it doesn't make sense for me to switch to Economy 7 at the expense of a higher gas tariff.