Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Unlikely bedfellows?
British Gas and VW unveil three-year electric vehicle deal

"Under the exclusive agreement British Gas engineers will be responsible for installing the fastest home car-charger available, alongside an energy tariff that offers cheaper rates for nighttime charging."
Any speculation on how long British Gas will keep calling themselves "British Gas"?

Buy a VW Car, and if you want a home charger, you have to use British Gas....and take their "special tariff".

What is someone's "great deal", could also be perceived as misselling. No doubt VW and British Gas will have to avoid such charger installations and energy tariffs being compulsory when VW sell a car.

REgards Neil

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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Another case of "2-in a row" chargers not working yesterday, and a bit of a detour to find one that was working.

I think a useful addition would be getting access to the lidl pod point chargers as there are plenty round the north-east and I suspect they are most often in service. If only you didnt have to "get the app" to use them, and you could just pay for them with a bank card.....yes even in the store would do :-D

Regards Neil

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Mandrake
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by Mandrake »

Here's a good rant about Chargeplace Scotland and the bureaucracy and lack of thought that is still going in to the provisioning of EV charge points.

None of these problems couldn't be solved with better management of the deployment and maintenance of charge points, which is what makes it all the more frustrating...


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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Down in Essex plans are afoot for an electric fuel station. Now if these things start springing up all over the uk people are really going to start thinking...petrol and diesel are dead, long live solar power, long live electric cars!


Gridserve to open dedicated EV service station in summer 2020
UK firm's first solar-powered site, in Essex, will house 24 rapid chargers, a supermarket and an EV education centre


Regards Neil

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white exec
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by white exec »

Maybe some fines or compensation for o.o.order charge points.
Or, as suggested, they should just default to Free Vend . . . now that would concentrate the point-owner's mind 8-)

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Mandrake
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by Mandrake »

It's just a symptom of the larger apathy around commissioning and maintaining public chargers. They're just not seen as mission critical yet. :(

While ChargePlace Scotland was a good idea initially to kick things off under one umbrella, because all the individual chargers are actually owned and maintained by different entities - mainly local councils but also some commercial entities, there's no one agency willing to take responsibility for ensuring that timely repairs and maintenance are performed. If you report a fault to ChargePlace Scotland - who are the point of contact for people using the network, all they can do is report it to the owner of the charger, typically a local council, and it's then up to the council to repair and follow that up - or not as the case seems to be!

In the last couple of years a large number of chargers in the west of Scotland including those in quite remote locations have broken or become unreliable and months go by with them not being repaired despite being a critical and only charger covering a remote area. I wouldn't even consider taking my short range Ion to the west of Scotland (north of Glasgow) because I would be completely dependent on chargers that are unreliable or just plain not working.

By contrast some commercial networks are making more effort. I use Instavolt quite a lot for my quick top up on the way home in the winter and in the 2 years I've been using them I've only ever found a problem with their rapid chargers twice - in both cases the other unit of the pair was still working and when I phoned to report the problem it was fixed within a day or two. I don't mind paying the 35p/kWh they ask when their chargers have a >99% reliability and are fixed very quickly when problems are reported.

Once EV's are more visible and in much larger numbers I think the issues of charger access and reliability will be solved as commercial operators step up their game, but it's going to be a bit bumpy before we get to that point.

Thankfully if you have home charging and an EV of sufficient range you hardly ever need to use the public charging network. If I had a 30kWh Leaf now with a summer range of 100 miles and winter of 80 every single trip I've made in the last 6 months could have been easily made purely using charging at home - I wouldn't have had to use a public charger at all unless I went on holiday.

I appreciate that the same may not be the case for many people who routinely travel further than I do however.

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white exec
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by white exec »

Local council charge points must surely be maintained by a commercial outfit (contractor) - I can't imagine that many councils would do this themselves, any more than they would normally maintain street lighting. Conditions of contract would hopefully include maintenance and minimum specified levels of service.

It's been years since I was involved in local authority contracting, but this is nothing new. One of our sons is full-time involved in street/highway lighting maintenance and renewal for several southern counties, as a contractor.

Would be good if the charge points had a label, "This charge point is maintained by xxxxx and a tel.no."

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bobins
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by bobins »

Any ideas what knocks most of these chargers out ? Is it physical - cable broken, electronic - need to turn it off and turn it on again, or connectivity - lost the phone signal so can't charge you ?

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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by Mandrake »

bobins wrote:
10 Mar 2020, 14:12
Any ideas what knocks most of these chargers out ? Is it physical - cable broken, electronic - need to turn it off and turn it on again, or connectivity - lost the phone signal so can't charge you ?
All of the above and more...

Here are a few problems I've seen myself or seen reported:

1) Broken plugs - usually due to being dropped or left lying on the ground instead of being put back in the holder, but also wear and tear as on rapid chargers there are big heavy cables hanging from the plugs so lifetime of the plugs is limited in an abusive outdoor environment. (plugs/cables are a maintenance item)

2) The emergency stop button has been pressed by someone - either because they're too lazy to end the charge the right way or perhaps due to the machine not letting go of the plug when it should. Some can be reset yourself if you know the trick, some can't and need a callout.

3) Lost comms from charger to back end servers to authenticate customers - particularly problematic on devices where a smartphone app is the only way to start a charge. Most rapid chargers use an M2M 3G signal over a regular mobile network to communicate with the back end servers - this is problematic in areas like the highlands where mobile coverage is iffy.

4) RFID or contactless reader not working, for those that support this. Sometimes hard to tell this fault apart from (3) as the same fault can cause both symptoms.

5) User interface of the charger is not working - locked up, not responding, reporting an error etc. (Have had this happen to me)

6) A fault or design flaw in the high voltage electronics which can lead to failed charging, intermittent cutouts or difficulty starting a charge or compatibility issues with certain models of cars - Ecotricity is the worst offender here.

Unfortunately compared to pouring liquid down a tube, there are actually a lot of different failure modes in a rapid charger or any charger for that matter, one reason why there needs to be redundancy with multiple units available so that if one unit does have an issue there are always others available at the same location. Even petrol pumps aren't infallible - when I went to top the Xantia up not long ago an entire isle at the petrol station was coned off due to the pumps being down, but there were still other pumps available to use.

And that is the point - it doesn't matter if one rapid charger went down if there are 5 others right next to it.

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

The infrastructure in Northumberland is better than most places, but beginning to creak. There really aren’t that many electric cars just yet, but recently you have to choose your times to avoid the electric charger wait when someone else is on the single charger installations. Also as mentioned recently plenty instances of out of order chargers, meaning a detour to find another one.

Still not grumbling too much. £20 for 4500 plus miles of electric motoring so far in the Leaf , a bit of occasional inconvenience is put upable with.

Giving the Micra ICE an occasional spin now that it’s back. I have developed two driving styles it appears, In the micra its more rushed, more foot down, more Reving up through the gears, and in general much faster paced. In the Leaf it’s pootle with a capital P :)

Regards Neil

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white exec
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by white exec »

Most of the comms faults that Simon lists are understandable, but there's another device that relies on pretty much the same set of comms links, and in the same (often remote) locations - ATMs.* These, generally, don't break down, despite often extremely heavy use. and being mechanically very complex. The difference is, they are designed and maintained decently, by folk who know what they are doing, and there are also service standards and a decent complaints procedure, let alone almost universal service access by any card holder.

It's a good example of what happens when you let any tom, dick or harry open up and install service (charging) points, in the absence of central planning, agreed technical standards and robust construction. It's absurd and indefensible, but alas typical of a 'let the market decide' approach. It's only a matter of time before the unavailability of one of these charging points actually becomes a matter of life or death.

* One more example is smart-meters. Comms are essential to allowing these to operate, and most of them are capable of communicating via various channels, including down the supply line.

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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

This is the current thinking of those tasked by the UK Government to come up with the answers

Image

Downloadable here, but could be hard going :) On the same link there is a two hour launch video, followed by a one hour panel discussion video should the printed version be a little stodgy :)

https://www.lowcvp.org.uk/projects/elec ... kforce.htm

Regards Neil

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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

^^^^^ even for the most enthusiastic EV Infrastructure enthusiast that is heavy going. It comes up with 21 Proposals each with a bit of "government commissioned report" babble but this is what they propose on the obvious matter of making Public Chargepoints Easy to use, and requiring universal availability.....for new installations starting "Spring 2020".
In line with Government's announcement in July 2019 [28], that from spring 2020 all new rapid and high-powered chargepoints must offer credit and debit card payment options, the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce believes that chargepoints that offer contactless payment options should be seen as meeting roaming requirements
From a user point of view that's probably all you are bothered about, enough chargers in place, and you can access them all without being a member of a club, and pay for it with a bank card.

The report obviously goes into weightier matters than that, including many items with that "smart" adjective placed in front of them...smart grid, smart charging, smart meters. Dumb would satisfy me if they worked, and simply dispensed electricity and let me pay for it. :-D but then again I don't run the national grid, am totally uninterested in my own "data" or anyone elses, and don't have to think about how to protect the network from cyber attacks orchestrated from a Nissan Leaf plugged into a charging point :-D
Page 39 <br />EV EnergyTaskforce Report Jan2020
Page 39
EV EnergyTaskforce Report Jan2020
REgards Neil

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Last edited by NewcastleFalcon on 11 Mar 2020, 11:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Mandrake
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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by Mandrake »

NewcastleFalcon wrote:
11 Mar 2020, 09:56
In line with Government's announcement in July 2019 [28], that from spring 2020 all new rapid and high-powered chargepoints must offer credit and debit card payment options, the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce believes that chargepoints that offer contactless payment options should be seen as meeting roaming requirements
From a user point of view that's probably all you are bothered about, enough chargers in place, and you can access them all without being a member of a club, and pay for it with a bank card.
Is this document fully up to date ? I know that contactless payment options being mandatory was originally proposed, however as far as I know this requirement has now been dropped and it is sufficient for a charging network provider to offer "pay as you go" use of their services, (as opposed to requiring a membership etc) and that doing so via a smartphone app meets the criteria for pay as you go access to the charging network.

In short, as far as I know contactless is and will not be mandatory, and I think this is a massive mistake if true.

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Re: Electric Vehicles-Infrastructure

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Mandrake wrote:
11 Mar 2020, 10:30
Is this document fully up to date ?
The report is January 2020 Simon, and "launched" Mid February...pretty much bang up to date, and they are proposals to be considered by the Government to implement or not as the case may be. The proposal as stated is for all new installations from "Spring 2020".

Regards Neil
Last edited by NewcastleFalcon on 11 Mar 2020, 10:52, edited 1 time in total.