Bargain Basement Electric

This is the place for posts that don't fit into any other category.

Moderator: RichardW

User avatar
Mandrake
Posts: 8101
Joined: 10 Apr 2005, 17:23
x 290

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by Mandrake »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:
18 Nov 2019, 23:00
Don't know if it has a heat pump, this is all I know so far. We did a Chademo charge (for free) today and as our friend the taxi driver pointed out we could have the heater on full blast while charging, which I stopped at 85% and we were there maybe 30mins. When driving with the heater on it took the eco "!tree!" indicator down a notch.
I've done a bit of digging but I still don't know how to find out whether a Leaf has a heat pump or not by looking at the car. Is yours a Tekna, Accenta or Visia spec ?

Without a heat pump heavy use of the heater in an EV has about a 30-40% range penalty. With a heat pump its more like 10-15% penalty so the difference is quite significant.
Driving it currently on eco mode and "B" which maximises the regen braking, and very much in relaxing pootle mode.
I was going to ask you how you're finding the car although it's still early days of course...

In particular what do you think of the characteristics of an electric drivetrain after being used to ICE ? In low performance models like the Ion and older Leaf I wouldn't say they are "exciting" to drive as such but the instant response and smooth pickup is quite enjoyable, even addictive, especially in the city where you can pull out of turns at junctions quickly and effortlessly.

After driving the Xantia all last week on a boring work commute I was reminded that even an automatic gearbox is a bit of a chore in stop start city traffic as the gearbox is always "busy" changing up or down a gear locking or unlocking the torque converter etc....each with it's little lurches and dramas whereas the EV is smooth, silent and unruffled with no transitions.

There's no eco mode in my car as such (just don't press the go pedal as hard :lol: ) but I do tend to drive in B mode all the time for increased lift off regeneration. EV drivers seem to be split between those who like strong lift off (the accelerator) regenerative braking and those who prefer to press the brake pedal only for braking with minimal accelerator lift off regen.

Some models allow you to customise the regen to your liking (Hyundai and Kia are especially good for this with flappy paddles on the steering wheel to increase and decrease regen) while others have their own take it or leave it characteristics or maybe just two modes.

I am totally used to moderately strong lift off regeneration now especially in the city where you're slowing to take a junction etc, where you just lift off the accelerator the right amount to slow to turn then press further to pull out of the corner never having removed your foot from the pedal. When I've tried driving in C mode (very little lift off regeneration) it just doesn't feel right. I do occasionally drive in C mode on the motorway though, as my reflexes to lift off the accelerator every time I see a potential situation ahead are hard to temper and this causes me to slow down unnecessarily, so being able to switch modes easily on the fly seems like a desirable feature in an EV.
There is a 7kW charger public charger at the local hospital again free to use so I will plug in the "normal" charging lead (not the 3.3KW one with the plug on) so I presume I have the 6.6Kw charger which should charge up in 4 ish hours.
Don't get too hooked on free charging, I doubt whether it will be free for too much longer. :lol: I've always considered any free charging I might find to be a bonus for being an early adopter but I don't expect or rely on it and fully expect it to go away in the next few years. In fact I tend to use Instavolt units when I do need to rapid charge because despite being 35p/kWh they are very reliable, usually in pairs and most importantly located where it is beneficial to me.
I will have to dig around some of your old posts Simon where you cover the optimum charging routine for battery longevity. I take it that frequent rapid charges on The DC Chademo are not recommended, but I am sure you will have covered these points before.
As long as it doesn't cause the battery to get excessively hot, I don't think rapid charging harms the battery per-se. Keep in mind the Leaf has no battery cooling system either passive or active. So if you do multiple sessions in a row of fast motorway driving and rapid charging with no breaks, in the summer, you can push the temperature of a leaf battery pretty high, I've seen over 50C reported online. Do that occasionally and it's not a problem but if you were a road warrior doing that all the time it would be harmful as heat accelerates the ageing process of the battery. The Leaf is not a car for a road warrior who regularly does hundreds of miles in a day primarily due to the lack of any battery cooling system.

In general ageing of the battery is minimised by staying between about 30-80% charge most of the time. Age related degradation occurs mainly above 80% as the high voltage potential accelerates the undesirable side reactions in the battery chemistry that cause loss of mobile Lithium Ions, and these side reactions go faster at high temperatures, so a combination of high temperatures and >80% SoC causes the most ageing of the battery. However in a short range EV like an early Leaf (or my Ion) you often need all the range you have, and they don't provide a way to automatically stop charging at 80% anyway, so I wouldn't stress too much about it.

Cycle related ageing (eg based on mileage) depends on depth of discharge. Discharging the battery from 100% to 20% then charging it again causes more degradation than the same mileage driven by discharging from 100% to 60%, charging to 100% again, discharging to 60% then charging to 100% again.

The upshot from this is that it's best not to routinely run the battery down very low. In fact I think in hindsight running my Ion down to 20% or less day after day all through the winter out of necessity was one of the contributing factors to 3 of the cells going a bit iffy. I have no proof of that but it's a hunch based on comparing data from other Ion's and their driving patterns.

Running it down low now and then is not an issue (aside from the risk of running out completely and needing a tow...) but you'd want to avoid routinely going below about 30% if you can.

If you're just paying for the car on PCP and will hand it back after 3 or 4 years then I wouldn't worry too much about any of this (it's someone else's problem then!) but if you want to keep it for the long haul then there's certainly things you can do to maximise the battery's longevity, and keeping it between 30-80% most of the time and avoiding situations where the temperature is regularly in the red would go a long way towards that.
The other element of new EV ownership is the "joining" of a scheme, or a few schemes of chargepoint providers. All the more straightforward if you have a smartphone and the appropriate apps. This is something I havent got and frankly dont want, if I can avoid it. I would be happy with a "card".
Unfortunately you have it a bit rough down in England - lots of different competing charging networks with disparate coverage, different prices, different cards, apps, "memberships" etc. A bit of a nightmare to be honest and something that is impeding the adoption of EV's. To charge everywhere you would need an American style wallet full of all kinds of cards! :lol: :roll: One of the worst for reliability is Ecotricity, who unfortunately have a near monopoly on motorway services!

In Scotland the situation is a bit better - Transport Scotland funded councils to install chargers under the umbrella of "Chargeplace Scotland" for which you can get an RFID card (or use a phone app, but I prefer the card as its quicker and more reliable) and that one card or app will let you use about 80% of all the chargers in Scotland, and many are still free.

However some of them are not well maintained because although the councils were funded to install them it seems they forgot to budget for timely maintenance and repairs! :roll: Not sure what's going to happen to the CPS network if they don't pick up on the maintenance...

The other network I tend to use is Instavolt - there are quite a lot of them in Scotland now and I think they're all across the UK. They are 35p/kWh which is on the higher price end but.... they allow use with a contactless debit card with no memberships, no signing up for anything, no phone apps etc... just walk up, wave your card, plug your car in, press go all in under 30 seconds. Just the way it should be! :)

And they are super reliable. I've been let down a few times by Chargeplace Scotland units being out of order or unreliable however I am yet to be let down by Instavolt, and because they're not free they are not hogged by cheapskates (no offence intended :-D ) getting a free charge. So they're nearly always available when you need one especially when they're in pairs. Most of them seem to be installed either at service stations or Banatyne Health clubs. (!)

So if you ever find yourself needing to get a charge to get somewhere and you don't want to be let down Instavolt is worth keeping in the back of your mind.

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

Excellent post Simon, thanks for the info.

The car is a 65 reg Nissan Leaf Acenta 24 kWh battery. Acquired in the old fashioned way, bought outright, no annual milage restrictions, no assumed residual values, no penalties, and its worth what the market decides at the time I come to sell it. My own assumption is that if it depreciates £5,000 over 4 years, and I save £5,000 on what I would have spent on petrol over 4 years doing a milage of around 15,000 a year, its pretty much a shot to nothing. Even if it doesn't quite work out like that we will enjoy the ride :-D

Currently being driven and enjoyed in ultra eco style, and here is the evidence.....two trees and starting on my third on a 30 mile journey home :-D . Heading into the FCF's own Peter.N's territory there :-D
lf own work
lf own work
It encourages relaxed smooth driving. The silence of the start off in particular is a new thing but the sequence is becoming automatic, and yes there's the left foot "handbrake", and no key to turn novelty as well.

I have joined Polar Plus part of BP Chargemaster as an initial facility. Hopefully at the weekend we will have the nerve to stray out of our own territory on a 150 mile trip down to Yorkshire. Going to be at least 2/3 rapid recharging stops, so have been studying zapmap for stop offs. Need the chademo stations and while Crawthorne Hall Hotel near Yarm might be a nice civilised place to plug in, and have a coffee for one of the stops, need some alternatives up our sleeve just in case its out of action.

Regards Neil

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 5984
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 989

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by white exec »

Smartmeters here can be communicated with by mobile phone network, digitally down the power line, or by wireless internet, or on-site by IR.

User avatar
Mandrake
Posts: 8101
Joined: 10 Apr 2005, 17:23
x 290

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by Mandrake »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:
20 Nov 2019, 20:40
The car is a 65 reg Nissan Leaf Acenta 24 kWh battery.
I looked a bit further and it seems that Gen 1 Leaf's did not have a heat pump at all however a 2015 is a Gen2 car, and of the Gen 2 only the Visia (bottom) spec supposedly did not have a heat pump, although it could be optioned at time of purchase. So I think with a 2015 Acenta (middle spec) you do indeed have the heat pump, but don't quote me on that! :)

A heat pump is definitely on my shopping list for my next EV. The heating in the Ion is one of it's biggest shortcomings - range reduction using the heater on high in the winter can be up to a whopping 40% - when I first got it (before the battery degradation I've seen more recently) summer no heater range was about 65 miles but winter heater range only about 43 miles... And even with that range reduction the hot air is isn't toasty warm like it is in the Xantia, it's merely "adequate".

A heat pump in theory reduces the range loss by about a factor of 3 compared to a resistance heater, so is well worth it and I don't think I would buy another EV without one unless it had a very large battery.
Acquired in the old fashioned way, bought outright, no annual milage restrictions, no assumed residual values, no penalties, and its worth what the market decides at the time I come to sell it. My own assumption is that if it depreciates £5,000 over 4 years, and I save £5,000 on what I would have spent on petrol over 4 years doing a milage of around 15,000 a year, its pretty much a shot to nothing. Even if it doesn't quite work out like that we will enjoy the ride :-D
You and I must be some of the few people left who don't PCP... :lol: I bought the Ion with a personal loan over 4 years, it will be fully paid back in February 2021 so not too far away now, after that it owes me nothing.

I also did the paper napkin calculations (also known as man maths :twisted: ) before I bought it and worked out that when I compared me driving my son to his grans in the Xantia then getting a train the rest of the way to work and SWMBO getting the bus to work, vs both of us car pooling in the Ion, dropping my son off then SWMBO that I'd save something in the order of £100-£150 a month on travel costs despite then having to pay £70 a month parking in the city... and it has turned out that way.

The cost saving in travel is more than the monthly payments on the car so despite now owning and having access to two functioning cars I'm financially better of than I was with the previous commuting arrangements having only one car and using mostly public transport for commuting. Basically the Ion is paying for itself and then some, so I don't mind giving it a little bit of leeway when I've had to do the odd jobs to it. It's been a little workhorse which has done 30k miles in it's short time with me and apart from punctures has not let me down yet.
Currently being driven and enjoyed in ultra eco style, and here is the evidence.....two trees and starting on my third on a 30 mile journey home :-D . Heading into the FCF's own Peter.N's territory there :-D
Can it report miles/kWh or Wh/mile averaged over a trip on the trip counter ? That's the figure to watch. As I mentioned earlier I'm averaging about 5 miles/kWh in summer commuting and about 3.7 in winter. I think the Ion is significantly more efficient than a Leaf though, (when the heater is off!!) partly due to being a smaller car. (However the Leaf is still a bit inefficient even compared to other comparable size EV's)
I have joined Polar Plus part of BP Chargemaster as an initial facility. Hopefully at the weekend we will have the nerve to stray out of our own territory on a 150 mile trip down to Yorkshire. Going to be at least 2/3 rapid recharging stops, so have been studying zapmap for stop offs. Need the chademo stations and while Crawthorne Hall Hotel near Yarm might be a nice civilised place to plug in, and have a coffee for one of the stops, need some alternatives up our sleeve just in case its out of action.
Sounds like you're on the ball there. Unfortunately at this stage of EV rollout the charging networks are not as readily accessible or reliable as they should be, and checking potential charging points ahead of time before attempting a long journey in a short range EV is par for the course if you don't want to end up stranded somewhere. A real pity but as chargers become more available, more reliable and cars get longer range that problem will eventually go away. It still is semi-pioneering days at the moment.

Zap-map is good, you might also want to check out https://plugshare.com as well - I tend to find that more informative as it has user submitted photos of nearly all chargers that give a good perspective of where the charger actually is, it's surprising how easy it is to arrive at a supposed charger in a park in ride or similar large parking area only to spend 5 minutes searching around trying to figure out exactly where it is...

I also find the comments from previous users on Plugshare are a good indicator of whether the site is currently working and whether it is generally reliable or unreliable. In an EV as short range as mine I won't even attempt to drive to a charger which has a chequered history on plugshare! The online/broken status reported on zap-map is not particularly reliable in my experience as people forget to update it, so I find looking at the recent comment history on plugshare gives a better impression of the charger's reliability.

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

Excellent info again Simon, thanks.
Mandrake wrote:
21 Nov 2019, 12:24
So I think with a 2015 Acenta (middle spec) you do indeed have the heat pump, but don't quote me on that! :)
...
Can it report miles/kWh or Wh/mile averaged over a trip on the trip counter ? That's the figure to watch.
I think the evidence points that way with the heat pump too, It doesn't look to put a drain of the order of 30% on range. The first few days of ownership have been the coldest so far this year, and the heater has been on for a fair part of most journeys we have done.

Still working out which buttons to press, and I'm sure some combination will produce the miles/kWh stats. Took us long enough to work out how to put the voice off on the Sat Nav :-D

For our proposed trip I have come to the conclusion that not faffing about too much looking for the cheapest possible place to recharge on our first long journey is probably going to be the key. The Instavolt sites at 35p/kWh will no doubt be used and payments made with a contactless bank card. If the nice stop off at Yarm with my polar card, isn't possible good old Bannatynes Health Club and Spa with its instavolt isn't too far away! If that fails we could always spend four hours in Middlesborough tehered to a 7kw charger. :-D :-D

There's quite a crop of current major chargepoint providers, and I have to admit accessing quite a few of them is smartphone app only as far as I can work it out. We will find out no doubt whether this is workable around with my polar plus card and genuine PAYG sites which accept a contactless bank card.
temp3.png
I do believe my polar plus card may also give access to Chargepoint Scotland sites for days out up North

Regfards Neil

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 5984
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 989

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by white exec »

This multiplicity of commercially (mostly exclusive?) charging points looks like a nonsense, and nothing like a "national network". Appears even more chaotic than the ATM network, where at least you have access to any of them (perhaps for a fee). One more bit of uncoordinated and fragmented 'leave it to the market' from the last ten years, and ripe for being rationalised.

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

All the supermarkets are getting involved now and they will compete with each other for the EV Pound. Just as cheap petrol is a draw for ICE shoppers, cheap electricity will no doubt be part of the supermarket's offer. Just waiting for the "Supermarket Electricity wrecked my EV" stories :-D

Of course EV electricity is a commodity which can nicely be tied in with "home energy" offers and tariffs. Ecotricity home energy customers, get reduced rates for their charger network, and I imagine the really big players will enter in with a few acquisitions, and BP ( through their Chargemaster wing) Shell and E-on are already there.

Just found this EDF Energy looking to buy Pod-Point
https://www.cityam.com/edf-energy-in-ta ... pod-point/

REgards Neil

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

Mandrake wrote:
21 Nov 2019, 12:24

Zap-map is good, you might also want to check out https://plugshare.com as well
Thumbs up for plugshare.com , easy to declutter the map and just leave the chademo chargers locations on display.

Regards Neil

User avatar
myglaren
Forum Admin Team
Posts: 17679
Joined: 02 Mar 2008, 14:30
x 872

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by myglaren »

Four charging points at the new Aldi in Wrekenton - closest to the entrance and invariably populated with ICE cars, never seen a BEV there yet, although I don't go there often, usually pass it on my way to Lidl, their bread is much better.

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

Mandrake wrote:
21 Nov 2019, 12:24
Can it report miles/kWh or Wh/mile averaged over a trip on the trip counter ? That's the figure to watch. As I mentioned earlier I'm averaging about 5 miles/kWh in summer commuting and about 3.7 in winter.
Pressed the trip meter button a few times and up came this
nf own work
nf own work
Regards Neil

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

Image
On the subject of all those different charging points. Simple idea.....every charge point across the country should have a PAYG option with a contactless bank card on the charging point. Just imagine if you had to join the "Shell" club to get petrol, and the shell card wouldn't work at Esso or Texaco, or Asda for whom you would have to join the ASDA Texaco or Esso Club.

Yes there will be consolidation in the network of charging stations being bought up by rival energy companies, but surely a simple condition of subsidy/grants/planning should be that any charge station installed must have a facility available accepting direct payments for "fuel" without having a smart phone, or being a member of that particular club.

To keep it Visual, Nice picnic site at Crawthorne Hall, but the first experience for us novices, of turning up at a charging station which was out of order. Had 20 miles in the bag, but had to go back on ourselves to the Instavolt at Bannatynes Health Club at Ingleby Barwick.
NF own Work
NF own Work
Regards Neil

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

401 miles of EV Learning for us novices under our belt down to deepest Yorkshire.

Was very close to running out on the last lap up to Northumberlandia charging station, a ridiculous double detour due to the A19 being shut due to roadworks eating up the reserve miles and Testos roundabout only letting you rejoin the A19 southbound.

Also fell foul of not quite knowing where the Wetherby "polar" charging station was at Wood Hall Hotel and Spa, and discovering in the dark and mist that it was a long way up a single track road on the outskirts of the town, with very few miles in hand. Phoned first to make sure it was working.

Gorgeous location in the day time though
nf own work
nf own work
Regards Neil

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

..and a musical reminder for other "longer" journeys in a EV. Pulled in at a Shell station in the vicinity of Thirsk, with a Chademo charging station, for future reference and didnt "top up". Thought there was plenty of range to get to the next charging station....as it turned out it was too close to be relaxing!

"While you see a (re)Charge you take it"



Regards Neil

User avatar
Zelandeth
Donor 2016
Posts: 3549
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
x 330

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by Zelandeth »

Have to admit to being somewhat curious about this.

Does it seem that it would actually be practical to get something that's modern enough to be actually usable for £175 a month or less?

If so I might actually consider looking into things...while I don't do a huge number of miles, the huge bulk of them are for shortish journeys and/or sitting in traffic round town. As such the idea of electric really does appeal.

We used to have electric Peugeot 106s at work and they were absolutely brilliant round town, and I really do miss driving them. Sadly they're not really usable out of town due to the range, and as such are a bit pricey for a purely city-bound car.

Charging wise I'm a bit lucky too in that we actually do have three phase power to the property, which I've been looking for an excuse to get hooked back up ever since we moved in... getting a beefy charger installed might be a good reason.

I think as a family we're already looking at picking up a Tesla in a few years time as the couple of times we've been in one have very much left a good impression. So on that count it would probably be work worth doing long term anyway, as that would have a lot bigger battery to charge.

User avatar
NewcastleFalcon
Posts: 11199
Joined: 25 Feb 2009, 11:40
x 975

Re: Bargain Basement Electric

Unread post by NewcastleFalcon »

Ah what you need Zel is your own back of a cigarette packet, or napkin as Simon hinted at in one of his posts on the thread. I've always wanted to give it a go and it was just opportunity, and a few hastily put together calculations to give me the green light. Doing a milage of around 15,000 a year the sums worked out enough for me to give it a try.

Only been at it a week, and the market for me was never going to be pick anything you fancy. Round here its a case of making it work, and for the vast majority of our regular milage its going to be fine. We enjoy days out in North Yorkshire the Lakes and The Scottish borders, and they are going to involve a little more planning, and accept that a few half hour recharge stops are going to be part of the day out.

Quite comfortable and now pretty familiar with the charging stations to rely on in Northumberland, and we will build up knowledge of elsewhere. You realise what a hotch potch of charging point providers exist as discussed above, and when you are out and about you need the rapid chargers. Getting to the top end of Wensleydale and finding you are running out of miles with only a couple of 7kw charging points where you would have to spend a few hours plugging in is a bit too much effort. Then you find that those chargers are Pod Point and you dont have the App and you havent joined their club.

Regards Neil