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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Do you remember when you were maybe 16-18 and you revised hard for 'that' exam, and you were certain you were in good shape but then you realised when you opened the paper that you revised the wrong subject? Well, that was my first charge.

First off, many thanks to all of you who provided guidance and advice for our trip to the Lakes and the excellent suggestions that you all kindly gave. I have to confess that only some of it got followed. Not because I knew better but because life took a few different turns 🙂

So, what happened and what did we learn? I'll maybe do this step by step ....

  1. Make sure that the hotel is actually where you think it is. - I know, not strictly charging but bear with me. Looking for a decent hotel with a destination charger meant that the Coniston Hall Hotel & Spa looked about right. And it was. They have two well maintained and seemingly new Project EV chargers. And indeed, it's not a bad hotel to boot. Trouble is it's not in Coniston, it's in (near) Skipton, some 90 minutes from the Lakes. Not a problem in itself as the area had plenty to offer in way of driving routes and scenery. But it wasn't the Lakes and I never got to see Booths 🙂
  2. Don't assume the charger will be lit or by the hotel front entrance - Well maintained charger sure, but right at the far end of the car park and in a level of darkness that you might see in the Atacama desert or Kielder Forest.... blacker than black. You could see more stars than the James Webb deep field telescope.
  3. Don't assume that your mad equipped new car will have a light capable of seeing the charger or indeed the port on the car - Seriously, this car has near everything you need and don't need but has it got decent illumination around the connection port or a boot mounted light to see the charger? Has it hell as like. It has two status strip LEDS around the port which are of very limited use. We could not see a thing bar the very good display panel on the Project EV charger
  4. Be aware that you will likely need an app installed for the charger - Yes, I know, it's obvious now but .....
  5. And be aware that the app you have for your (same make and near same model) charger will likely not work - By pure coincidence we fitted a 22kw Project EV charger at home. But that app does not work on the same charger mounted on a stand at your destination. You will need the 'Project EV Pro' app.
  6. Take an Umbrella - We started out in the beautiful Shropshire sunshine but by the time we hit Yorkshire it was hammering down. By pure good luck, the good folks at Mercedes had given us two umbrellas earlier that day. They seemed irrelevant then but later on? Oh boy were they welcome gifts.
  7. Be prepared to install an app, add a payment means and add a balance in the pouring down rain and blackness - Yes obvious now but it took 30 minutes of trying and reading instructions on the unit by a smart phone light to come to that conclusion. Miserable is not the word.
  8. Make sure you understand that the charger has two ports and two reference numbers - Again it sounds obvious, but it wasn't in the dark, the rain and first time. The QR code seemed to work on the one side better than it did the other. But that could just of been us.
  9. And then the peculiarities of the app itself - Not necessarily a criticism of the Project EV app but trying to start the charge from within the specific charger page details did not work. If I went out to the map of the charger positions and then clicked the point then boom, all working! .... a reassuring thud from the Project EV and two lovely green LED status strips on the car
  10. Don't assume anyone at the hotel will know how to help - nice folks but they knew nothing about the charger or how to help. The next day, I discussed and laughed about it with one of the front desk staff and they did say it wasn't the first time, and that they were thinking on to create some simple steps that would be sent out before stay to guests. A very good idea. I could have done 90% of the prep from my settee. I would still have been confused at the time of first charge but would have gotten there quicker.
45 minutes in the dark and rain to do this. I cannot tell you how cold and difficult it was.

But all that said, most was obvious stuff looking back. The second night of charging was not the cake walk that I assumed it would be. Another 20+ minutes of cold, dark and rain. But that was more the app familiarity outlined in 9 above.

I can imagine a good few folks would have been spitting at that first experience. I wasn't, I can see why and how it all occurred and the learning was good if bloody cold and wet.

Interestingly, as soon as the charger kicked in, a very prominent smell emerged from either the car or the charger. Sort of sulphur like is the best way I could describe it. Only for a short time and it did not happen the next time we used it. I actually wonder if it was ever used before. But a very definite odour.

Automotive tail & brake light Vehicle Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire

Communication Device Telephony Audio equipment Gadget Portable communications device


So, day two, I got up smug as you like and looked at my Project EV Pro app and could see a super full battery and for what I thought to be an amazingly cheap £11.98! I also looked at my Mercedes Me app and saw the same and then switched the cabin pre-warm routine on. We decided to do a reasonable length trip via to an area called Sandsend and then down to Whitby the coast road and back to the hotel.

All good but guess who used near all his battery? We went from 100% full to 3% before getting back to the hotel! More than a little close for comfort. From memory I think there was a stated 19 miles left in the tank. Lots of warning signs not to go avoid 50 mph and such like. And I think (during charging) that a message came up that said the car could not be driven before re-charge. Sensible advice but advice assuming that the car was in a suitable position to do just that. As it goes it was. The charge was 106.2kw for £15.79. I think this is good for a commercial charging point? Not sure.

So, from the Shropshire bad lands up country, an unplanned pass though Blackpool over to Skipton to stop and then over to Whitby and back the scenic route and then back home. Some 600 miles and as the wife called it ... the "Two Seas and a Cheese" tour. Why cheese? Coz we also went to the Wensleydale cheese centre at the suggestion of the hotel 🙂 ..... don't think U2 have too much to fear tour naming wise!

One big take away for me was definitely to factor in a destination charger. That works a treat. Especially with the decent battery and range on the car itself. And the fact that I know a little better what to do now.

Upon reflection, I'm now glad it was dark. If I'd of been in the hotel looking down at this tit trying to charge his over spec'ed and fancy new car and making a total hash of it, I'd have laughed my socks off. Maybe doing it in darkness was a blessing :)

And we will be going back to revisit the Lakes tour in two or three weeks I think. I like this EV stuff, it's addictive :)
 

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Welcome to the typical EV public charging experience especially the phaffing with apps part. That's why I always try to use contactless enabled chargers. You took the right approach and looked on it as a challenge and learning experience. Trouble is it shouldn't have to be. If I was on a work trip and had things to do in the evening I wouldn't be happy having to mess around for 45 mins in the pissing rain trying to get a charge started. In fact if I was on hols and the bar and restaurant were beckoning I wouldn't be happy either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to the typical EV public charging experience especially the phaffing with apps part. That's why I always try to use contactless enabled chargers. You took the right approach and looked on it as a challenge and learning experience. Trouble is it shouldn't have to be. If I was on a work trip and had things to do in the evening I wouldn't be happy having to mess around for 45 mins in the pissing rain trying to get a charge started. In fact if I was on hols and the bar and restaurant were beckoning I wouldn't be happy either.
You have a point Electrohead. Yes I think I was 'new car happy' and indeed looking forward to restaurant that night.

But sure enough, if that was a work day then it would be different.

I used to commute daily from our place to London outskirts .... for near on 7 years. Mad miles, mad hours in a car per day but predictable motoring in the main. Probably wouldn't be an issue for that straight line zip in and back. But for less predictable business motoring, it could become a stress rather quick. And in fairness I'm fortunate enough to have a decent range car. Not all are of course.
 

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Brilliant!

Take a head torch next time.
Last time I tried to key my reg onto a dark silver keypad with faded black legend in darkness made worse by the outside brightness, I figured I should have brought a torch.
Stoopid carpark.

Perhaos the hotel could illuminate the charger with a couple of solar powered £30 floodlights as advertised on trash TV.

Gaz
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Brilliant!

Take a head torch next time.
Last time I tried to key my reg onto a dark silver keypad with faded black legend in darkness made worse by the outside brightness, I figured I should have brought a torch.
Stoopid carpark.

Perhaos the hotel could illuminate the charger with a couple of solar powered £30 floodlights as advertised on trash TV.

Gaz
100% Gaz and in fact I should have mentioned that to them. They made the major investment but that would have been so easy to add and at next to no cost.

But whilst I laughed a little when you said 'head torch', it's a solid idea and cheap. I'm going to do that. I suspect my 45 minute flounder around could have been a good deal less with illumination.

Is a part of me thinks it is so obvious to have a light on the car or the chargers and why didn't MB or the hotel think of that? That said, the OCD bit of me likes that process improvement and learning. So I'm going to do precisely as you suggest. even if it only gets used occasionally, it still sounds like a solid solution and option. Nice one.
 

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@Mkultra - I very nearly asked you the name of the hotel when you mentioned in the other thread that it had chargers and was in Coniston, as ZapMap didn't show one there. Could have saved you a lot of trouble if I had done that and might have been able to discover that it was actually in Skipton and thus avoided all your planning of a Lakes round trip. However, Skipton can be nice - as long as it isn't raining.

Reminds me a lot of Sister in Law from San Diego bragging about having found a very cheap flight to Manchester when coming to visit us. She rang that day from Manchester, New Hampshire, USA to say that she would be delayed a bit as she now had to stay overnight in a hotel there and then find a flight from Manchester USA to Manchester UK. She had found out why her flight was so cheap - because it was just across the states, rather than across the pond.
 

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All good but guess who used near all his battery? We went from 100% full to 3% before getting back to the hotel! More than a little close for comfort. From memory I think there was a stated 19 miles left in the tank. Lots of warning signs not to go avoid 50 mph and such like.
A great read! Always carry a torch in the car in case you break down. How many miles did you do on that trip when you nearly ran out of battery? I wouldn't have thought it possible to do that in a day with that huge battery. :)
 

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Be careful what you wish for .... :)

View attachment 169431
Not quite the job but it's a start. :)
There is one where the actual shaft lights up giving a kinda lightsabre feel to it.
Even the dimmest glow is better than nothing, :).
It's just crazy that things like lighting are often overlooked by planners/designers/installers but could make the difference between being able to do something or not.

What I like about a simple head torch is you can stick it on your head or on your leg or just hold it but in the rain without one, with no brolly and everything getting soaking wet I think it would need to be life or death to stop me sitting in the car, whinging.

Gaz
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Mkultra - I very nearly asked you the name of the hotel when you mentioned in the other thread that it had chargers and was in Coniston, as ZapMap didn't show one there. Could have saved you a lot of trouble if I had done that and might have been able to discover that it was actually in Skipton and thus avoided all your planning of a Lakes round trip. However, Skipton can be nice - as long as it isn't raining.

Reminds me a lot of Sister in Law from San Diego bragging about having found a very cheap flight to Manchester when coming to visit us. She rang that day from Manchester, New Hampshire, USA to say that she would be delayed a bit as she now had to stay overnight in a hotel there and then find a flight from Manchester USA to Manchester UK. She had found out why her flight was so cheap - because it was just across the states, rather than across the pond.
Been there, done that. Years ago .... and last year in fact.

Years ago when at Nottingham Uni, there was a board for lift shares. Being on a shoe string, I used this to help with petrol costs. One request said to meet/collect in Newport at around 11.30pm. I waited and waited. Nothing. Next day found a note on the board (way before mobiles) and the girl in question was indeed waiting in Newport .... Newport South Wales! Doh.

But then more recently, I held a meeting of my EMEA IT Managers. A rather dull event happening three or four times a year somewhere in Europe. Sitting waiting in my office for them to arrive and nothing. I get the call ... where are you? To which I respond.... 'where are you lot'? The time of the meeting was right but like the well organised chap I'm not, I arranged it in Milan. Guess who was sitting in an empty meeting room in London!!!!!

Times change .... habits? Less so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A great read! Always carry a torch in the car in case you break down. How many miles did you do on that trip when you nearly ran out of battery? I wouldn't have thought it possible to do that in a day with that huge battery. :)
Can't precisely remember the miles but battery was 100% full and I think (early days) that means about 380 odd miles. Yeah we hammered a good few miles in on the second day. And not actually pushing too hard speed wise.

A torch is definitely going on the Christmas list for sure. Amazing again how it seems so obvious now and yet I had not thought at all about that.
 

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But whilst I laughed a little when you said 'head torch', it's a solid idea and cheap. I'm going to do that. I suspect my 45 minute flounder around could have been a good deal less with illumination.
Since you talk about apps I presume you have a smartphone, most smartphones have a "torch" function which can be useful when you're without a proper torch (my iphones one is crazy bright, more so than the headtorch we have)
 

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Perhaps they could put a torch light into the end of the charger’s cable? Just an idea. I’m sure they could find the power from somewhere.
There are some tiny torches available these days.
I was looking at a few which were really only a bit of a glow but so small I'd probably lose them anyway but a torch built into the connector which recharges inductively as you charge the car... You aproach EV cables and I'll just have my usual 10%

Gaz
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There is one where the actual shaft lights up giving a kinda lightsabre feel to it.
Even the dimmest glow is better than nothing, :).
It's just crazy that things like lighting are often overlooked by planners/designers/installers but could make the difference between being able to do something or not.

What I like about a simple head torch is you can stick it on your head or on your leg or just hold it but in the rain without one, with no brolly and everything getting soaking wet I think it would need to be life or death to stop me sitting in the car, whinging.

Gaz
Light the sound of that. Not sure I need any more gizmo's to make me look even more poorly organised than I currently am mind :) Gonna get one for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Since you talk about apps I presume you have a smartphone, most smartphones have a "torch" function which can be useful when you're without a proper torch (my iphones one is crazy bright, more so than the headtorch we have)
Oh yes of course and indeed it has the torch. But it is a little less fluid than I imagined. For example, the QR scanner doesn't like the torch on at same time as being used. And yet it will partially use the torch to see and scan the code. Not sure that makes good sense but it was a little less obvious than it sounded. Is doable but not elegant.

I think the light absorbing black hole that draws light into it that was the Coniston Hotel car park needed to be seen to be appreciated :)
 
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