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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yesterday I planned a quick round trip from Birmingham to York in order to collect something I bought online. 2.5 hours of driving each way and 4 charging stops of 30 minutes. If I leave at 4, I'll be back around 11, I thought. I thought!

I planned the journey at lunchtime, spotting that Tamworth and Donnington Services' chargers are out of order. No problem. I only have a 22kW Zoe but I can get back home from Tibshelf.

Everything started fine. I approached my scheduled stop at Tibshelf services with a surprising amount of range left, so I decide to hold on for Woodall. 81 miles in to my journey, I arrive at Woodall Services with 14 miles range left and I was quite pleased with myself, until I found that Woodall North has no type 2. Only Woodall South. Grr! So I sneeked out of the service road and in the service road to the south side to charge. Except the machine with the type 2 is out of order. Ecotricity customer services were quite disinterested.

Zap Map tells me there is a charger at a Harvester not too far away, so I head over there. That's not working either. Polar customer services are more helpful, even though their phone line makes you listen to a 2 hour recorded message before putting you on hold. Any way, when I get through, they're friendly but tell me there's no comms to the machine and they can't fix it remotely. OK, so Zap Map tells me there's a charger not too far away at KFC. It turns out that they don't have type 2 either and that Zap Map's connector filters don't work as well as you might hope. One last roll of the dice. Clowne village hall has a charge point. Let's try that.

Clowne village hall is more of a council offices and it has a Polar rapid charger in the car park. One with a touch screen that doesn't work. Another phone call to customer services and another recorded message that cannot be skipped before being put on hold. This time they are able to reset the machine. The touch screen worked, but there was not enough comms to verify my card. The helpful people at Polar tried twice to send my card details over the air. Nothing. Then the village hall care taker came over to say she's locking up the site now and I have to leave. I explain this to Polar and thank them for their help and the care taker takes pity. How long will it take? She asks? "15 minutes" I say. I quickly scan my card and surprisingly it is accepted. The care takes says she's popping over to Tesco and will be back to lock up soon. 20 minutes at 40kW gets me enough charge to go on to Ferrybridge services.

Ferrybridge has 3 rapid chargers with type 2 connectors. Hurray! It didn't have enough 4G for my phone app to start the machine up though. The charger has WiFi, but their WiFi doesn't have enough 4G either. This is a weakness in Ecotricity machines that I've had before. I try the app 3 more times and eventually it goes through. All charged up OK, It's a quick dash to York before stopping back in Ferrrybridge, though I'm an hour and 10 minutes late at this point.

Now the journey back is longer than the journey there as every road in northern England is closed for works. The extra distance is compounded by my miles per kWhr strangely dropping on the way back. Range is more of a problem. Then my car started playing up. At Tibshelf, the car started making a funny noise when the charge level got to 80% and the charger switched between "charging" and "waiting for the car to demand charge". I call it quits and leave, thinking I'll just make an extra stop.

The car's sat nav tells me the M42 is closed and should it take me via the A38? OK. Except the A38 is closed and with no diversion. The only way is back to the M1. So I stop at Tibshelf for more charge. The car does the same thing. Charges to 80% at full speed then goes on/off/on/off. Knowing that Donnington and Tamworth are broken, I soldier on to 90% and then the car goes no further.

It should be 54 miles home from here but with the diversion it's 61 miles and the car has 71 miles of range. Fine. I'd expected to be home an hour and a half ago and I've got an hour's drive to do. Whatever. Home we go. 10 miles in and my range has dropped by 20. There are no open charging points between here and the Sainsbury 1 mile from home. Everything else is a diversion and is no closer than Sainsbury, so I turn the heater down further and slow down a bit. It's after midnight and the motorway is very quiet so slow is not dangerous.

I keep an eye on the range and it stays 2 miles above the remaining distance home until I'm 18 miles from home. Then what happens. The remaining range stays at 20 for the next ten miles. 1:30 am. Two and a half hours late, I get home and the car is telling me I have 18 miles of charge left. Grr! I slowed down and shivered for nothing.
 

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Wow that sounds like an horrendous ordeal.

is it usual for so many charge points to be out of order or is it a result of (say) less maintenance being done due to the plague?

glad you did get home safely though
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Motorway services can be a bit remote and mobile internet patchy. Having a charger that will only work via an app doesn't seem like the best idea. I don't normally have problems like this though.
 

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2020 BMW i3S 120Ah BEV
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Pretty poor show by all concerned there! The machines themselves need to be more stable and you must never have to rely on an internet link to start the charge.. I mean, you can always get POWER to your phone (you're sitting in a car full of batteries!), but you can't ever guarantee that it has network ..
 

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4 Use only RFID cards
 

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i3 with Range Extender (EREV) Sept 2014
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UK still not ready and with all the experts saying we need more new buyers so 2nd hand cars are available which tend to be lower range, not everyone can afford to run two cars so again an electric car in single car households for multiple use not viable until someone in gov gets their fingers out of their arse and actually get things done and a lot more quickly than the last 5 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
4 Use only RFID cards
The Polar machines I tried to use were RFID. One failed because the RFID tag has to be verified over the internet and the connection was broken. The other failed because the touch screen has to be pressed before it would scan the RFID card.
 

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Perhaps the law should state that a) they all need to accept contactless payment, and b) in the event of the machine being unable to verify payment method it must still provide a charge for a connected vehicle but it's allowed to limit it to e.g. 20 miles equivalent, or maybe 4kwh? i.e. enough to get you to the next nearest charge point.
 

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i3 with Range Extender (EREV) Sept 2014
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Perhaps the law should state that a) they all need to accept contactless payment, and b) in the event of the machine being unable to verify payment method it must still provide a charge for a connected vehicle but it's allowed to limit it to e.g. 20 miles equivalent, or maybe 4kwh? i.e. enough to get you to the next nearest charge point.
The ability to pay by debit or credit card is meant to be done by end of year but somehow doubt it will be and then still needs connectivity to authorise payments so networks do really need a big kick up the ass.
 

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Zoe Devotee
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Welcome to the world of low range EVs. One missed or failed charger and your screwed. You were lucky you didn't end up on a flatbed to be honest.

I did 500 miles to Manchester and back in 2015 and my experience was no different to yours, also in a 22kWh Zoe. On way down I encountered 3 stops where I couldn't rapid charge (thankfully I got a 22kW charge early on). When in Manchester I only got a slow 3kW charge for an hour. So on return home I had to start with 50% Charge and get onto the motorway. :eek: Back then Shap had no rapids, so that was also fraught. Much like you I also encountered range loss through temperature drop. Start of day was low 20s by the time I got to my final leg it was minus 6 at 4am. Hellish! Last time I did a really long trip in Zoe. 10 stops for 500miles, and 4 failed charger stops enroute.
 
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And people wonder why Tesla are so successful when they make even long distance charging a no brainer by offering plentiful private charging facilities! The other car brands needed to get together to build their own charging network ahead of time. Right now it's a shambles.
 

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I have charging map apps and charging apps and when I used to rely on public charging would check ahead frequently to ensure the charger was working and even then I'd only use certain networks. Glad to have a longer range electric car now and if ever I need to go further I'll just use the ICE. Things need to improve and we are the guinea pigs but someone has to be so progress can be made!
 
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Discussion Starter #15
And people wonder why Tesla are so successful when they make even long distance charging a no brainer by offering plentiful private charging facilities!
Quite. Tesla at Woodall looked like the had 10 charging machines. Ecotricity often only have 1 and if it is broken you're stuffed. Even if they have 2 or 3, they don't cover all connector types. Deciding to have a type 2 southbound but not northbound is a crazy decision. Especially as a type 2 outlet is just a 3 phase relay and a cable. They can't even justify not doing it because of cost.
 

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Yes there's three supercharger sites within ten miles of me and none of them have fewer than 4 outlets.
 

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UK still not ready and with all the experts saying we need more new buyers so 2nd hand cars are available which tend to be lower range, not everyone can afford to run two cars so again an electric car in single car households for multiple use not viable until someone in gov gets their fingers out of their arse and actually get things done and a lot more quickly than the last 5 years.
I'm a prospective buyer in exactly that situation and an early Leaf or 22kwh Zoe wouldn't meet my needs, although a 30/33kwh car probably would (or an Ioniq) but I'll still be spending ~3 times what I've ever spent on a car before and I'd need to install hard standing. Even though I've got the cash waiting it still makes me wince and I keep deferring making the jump.

I don't think there'll be a scrappage scheme and in any casr I'd far prefer any available funds to go towards the charging network.
 

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I said it before, I'll say it again, we need charge points which accept coins.

Coin mechanisms are simple, cheap and don't rely on any form of remote communications, back-ends, unreliable apps.

It's about time someone took a 1950's parking meter and crosses it with a 2020 EV charger point, to make a simple road-side EV charger that anyone can use.
 
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