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2018 40 Leaf Tekna
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When Top Gear drove 3 EV’s through Alton Towers on Sundays episode they declared EV owners today were early adopters.

Are we really still pioneers of these vehicles?

It strikes me that these cars are on the cusp of being main stream and commonplace.

Then I reflected on a conversation I had had with my 67 year old mother about what you needed to know about owing an EV and realised that these vehicles still need specialist knowledge to use successfully.

Knowledge that just isn’t needed to own an ICE.

What do you think we need to do to make your average Jo able to just buy and use an EV?
 

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Either simplify the charging network to Tesla Supercharger style or/and increase the range to allow 99% of journeys to be achieved without the need for refueling. :unsure:
Oh, hang on, we are already there for the majority of motorists who rarely go more than 100 miles if they have home charging. But the reckoning is somewhere between 40 and 60% of ICE owners don't have access to home charging, and I take my hat off to those EV owners who manage without and manage a significant mileage.
There are also issues around the margins on cost and certain usage requirements such as towing and 8 seats.
 

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Are we really still pioneers of these vehicles?
Yes and that will be the case for many years to come.
Mainstream is a long way off.
 

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According to the numbers we’re definitely in the early adopters phase in Rogers’ bell curve with those who bought a leaf nearly 10 years ago being innovators. I suspect we won’t see the classic bell curve though, and the transition is probably going to be quicker than expected.... that said all the main manufacturers are still churning out ice cars so who knows.

136840
 

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Knowledge that just isn’t needed to own an ICE.
Strong disagree.

Both need specialist knowledge to own and operate.

ICE vehicle specialist knowledge currently required:
  • Engine should not be thrashed from cold, but allowed to reach full operating temperature first
  • Engine requires a particular grade of oil that may or may not be consumed at an unknown rate. Must be checked periodically and topped up, and replaced entirely each year
  • You MUST NOT put the wrong kind of fossils into it (petrol/diesel misfuelling)
  • Understanding of fuel grade requirements (e.g. High performance cars requiring higher octane fuels)
  • Safe handling of hazardous materials
  • Topping up of Adblue tanks
  • Care for DPF and increasingly GPF (ie take periodic long journeys to allow the particulates to be burned off
  • Do not slip clutch excessively
  • Gear selection/engine speed/road speed relationships and their impact on vehicle performance and economy
  • Do not leave your vehicle running inside an enclosed space (e.g. garage)
ICE vehicle specialist knowledge previously commonly required:
  • Use of choke (I've never driven an ICE with a manual choke, but I remember my parents having them when I was a kid)
  • Double-declutching non-synchro gearbox
  • Cleaning of distributor points
  • Stopping to allow vehicle to cool in hot conditions/traffic. Radiator blocking to keep car warm enough in winter
I'm sure there's many more that I've missed. It's just that we are all very familiar with all of this ICE specialist knowledge, it is around us all of the time from when we're young. I'm sure we all know that slightly crazy relative/friend/acquaintance that "doesn't use 6th gear because none of my previous cars had it", or "didn't know cars needed oil" etc, and there's very much a societal attitude of "duhhh!" toward them. To that end they added the "show me tell me" section did the driving test.

What specialist knowledge does an EV require, by comparison?
  • Real world impacts of temperature and driving style on range/performance
  • Difference between AC and DC charging speeds and connectors
  • Best long-term care for battery pack
Struggling to think of much more.

My point is that starting from zero an EV requires far less specialist knowledge to own and operate than an ICE car does. Making the transition is harder, especially for some older people.
 

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Strong disagree.

Both need specialist knowledge to own and operate.

ICE vehicle specialist knowledge currently required:
  • Engine should not be thrashed from cold, but allowed to reach full operating temperature first
  • Engine requires a particular grade of oil that may or may not be consumed at an unknown rate. Must be checked periodically and topped up, and replaced entirely each year
  • You MUST NOT put the wrong kind of fossils into it (petrol/diesel misfuelling)
  • Understanding of fuel grade requirements (e.g. High performance cars requiring higher octane fuels)
  • Safe handling of hazardous materials
  • Topping up of Adblue tanks
  • Care for DPF and increasingly GPF (ie take periodic long journeys to allow the particulates to be burned off
  • Do not slip clutch excessively
  • Gear selection/engine speed/road speed relationships and their impact on vehicle performance and economy
  • Do not leave your vehicle running inside an enclosed space (e.g. garage)
ICE vehicle specialist knowledge previously commonly required:
  • Use of choke (I've never driven an ICE with a manual choke, but I remember my parents having them when I was a kid)
  • Double-declutching non-synchro gearbox
  • Cleaning of distributor points
  • Stopping to allow vehicle to cool in hot conditions/traffic. Radiator blocking to keep car warm enough in winter
I'm sure there's many more that I've missed. It's just that we are all very familiar with all of this ICE specialist knowledge, it is around us all of the time from when we're young. I'm sure we all know that slightly crazy relative/friend/acquaintance that "doesn't use 6th gear because none of my previous cars had it", or "didn't know cars needed oil" etc, and there's very much a societal attitude of "duhhh!" toward them. To that end they added the "show me tell me" section did the driving test.

What specialist knowledge does an EV require, by comparison?
  • Real world impacts of temperature and driving style on range/performance
  • Difference between AC and DC charging speeds and connectors
  • Best long-term care for battery pack
Struggling to think of much more.

My point is that starting from zero an EV requires far less specialist knowledge to own and operate than an ICE car does. Making the transition is harder, especially for some older people.
Driving an EV requires very little specialist knowledge, it's significantly easier than a manual ICE.

However it's charging that's the challenge. With an ICE, you know to put in the green or the black nozzle. With an EV there are different connectors and different speeds - the first thing that comes to mind is people not realising they need CSS for a rapid charge rather than the type 2 they're used to. Payment/discoverability is also an issue. You don't see a whacking great sign with fuel prices, rapid chargers are hidden away, and you never know how you're going to have to pay. Even the best chargers (i.e. Instavolt) still require a card, a lot of people pay for their fuel in cash, there is no way whatsoever to do that now for an EV.
 

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Strong disagree.

Both need specialist knowledge to own and operate.

ICE vehicle specialist knowledge currently required:
  • Engine should not be thrashed from cold, but allowed to reach full operating temperature first
  • Engine requires a particular grade of oil that may or may not be consumed at an unknown rate. Must be checked periodically and topped up, and replaced entirely each year
  • You MUST NOT put the wrong kind of fossils into it (petrol/diesel misfuelling)
  • Understanding of fuel grade requirements (e.g. High performance cars requiring higher octane fuels)
  • Safe handling of hazardous materials
  • Topping up of Adblue tanks
  • Care for DPF and increasingly GPF (ie take periodic long journeys to allow the particulates to be burned off
  • Do not slip clutch excessively
  • Gear selection/engine speed/road speed relationships and their impact on vehicle performance and economy
  • Do not leave your vehicle running inside an enclosed space (e.g. garage)
ICE vehicle specialist knowledge previously commonly required:
  • Use of choke (I've never driven an ICE with a manual choke, but I remember my parents having them when I was a kid)
  • Double-declutching non-synchro gearbox
  • Cleaning of distributor points
  • Stopping to allow vehicle to cool in hot conditions/traffic. Radiator blocking to keep car warm enough in winter
I'm sure there's many more that I've missed. It's just that we are all very familiar with all of this ICE specialist knowledge, it is around us all of the time from when we're young. I'm sure we all know that slightly crazy relative/friend/acquaintance that "doesn't use 6th gear because none of my previous cars had it", or "didn't know cars needed oil" etc, and there's very much a societal attitude of "duhhh!" toward them. To that end they added the "show me tell me" section did the driving test.

What specialist knowledge does an EV require, by comparison?
  • Real world impacts of temperature and driving style on range/performance
  • Difference between AC and DC charging speeds and connectors
  • Best long-term care for battery pack
Struggling to think of much more.

My point is that starting from zero an EV requires far less specialist knowledge to own and operate than an ICE car does. Making the transition is harder, especially for some older people.
Seriously, my wife doesn't care about any of that stuff related to an ICE. What she does care about is having to navigate off the motorway to the back of a town centre car park to get a charge (or not, if it's broken or occupied).
 

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I thought that the charging thing would get sorted quickly now, but it's clear that won't happen for some time. Until it's feasible to drive on a motorway / trunk road, see your range is low, stop at the next services and pull straight into a bay to charge from a fully functional charger, we are still early adopters.
 

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When Top Gear drove 3 EV’s through Alton Towers on Sundays episode they declared EV owners today were early adopters.

Are we really still pioneers of these vehicles?

It strikes me that these cars are on the cusp of being main stream and commonplace.

Then I reflected on a conversation I had had with my 67 year old mother about what you needed to know about owing an EV and realised that these vehicles still need specialist knowledge to use successfully.

Knowledge that just isn’t needed to own an ICE.

What do you think we need to do to make your average Jo able to just buy and use an EV?
People are not as stupid as you or TG make out. After all people were able to make the bigger leap from animal powered to mechanised in the first place. Changing to BEV by comparison is a very small adjustment.
 

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I don't think that charging represents any greater level of complexity than refuelling does.

With an ICE, you know to put in the green or the black nozzle.
But which green or black? Many pumps have three or four nozzles as they also offer premium petrol and premium diesel (an economic risk of getting the wrong one). And people do make very costly mistakes of putting the wrong one in. Again, most people know not to put the expensive stuff in if they don't need to, but that's a bit of "specialist" knowledge that only applies to ICE vehicle fuelling. And your very statement to begin with - misfuelling is a common and expensive occurence with ICE cars.

With an EV there are different connectors and different speeds - the first thing that comes to mind is people not realising they need CSS for a rapid charge rather than the type 2 they're used to.
But it's a 1-time mistake. Once you've done it once then you know what to do. Plus there's no risk of damaging an EV by putting the "wrong kind of electrons" into it. It's not like people are going to have owned a car for three years and still get confused about CCS. Anyway, most HPCs will only have CCS connectors and no other. At most CCS and Chademo where simple physical incompatibility solves that problem.

Payment/discoverability is also an issue. You don't see a whacking great sign with fuel prices, rapid chargers are hidden away, and you never know how you're going to have to pay. Even the best chargers (i.e. Instavolt) still require a card, a lot of people pay for their fuel in cash, there is no way whatsoever to do that now for an EV.
In the past I often thought "why doesn't that motorway sign show that there are Superchargers at that services?". Then I realised that any car that can use the supercharger already knows that they are there. There's a degree to which many, but I accept not all, EVs have connected services and sat-nav that should contain the location information.

I agree that sites like gridserve, fastned, etc could do with more visibility. I think that this will come as we see increased competition and branding between charge networks.

Cash is on the way out regardless, and I have never in my life paid for fuel with cash. When I fuel our ICE car, I tend to do so at a station that does not take cash (Costco). The ubiquity of card payment means that I don't think this is a strong argument. I would not describe the use of card payment as "knowledge required to use an EV" but rather "how to function as an adult". I suspect that some people pay in cash in order to keep it off the books.

Seriously, my wife doesn't care about any of that stuff related to an ICE.
That implies that she just grabs a pump nozzle at random and fuels the car, hoping that it's right. Or that she has no sense of how the car is going to respond to the throttle (will it accelerate slowly because it's at low revs, off boost? Will it accelerate quickly? Will there be a delay while it downshifts (if auto)? Does she need to change gear (if manual)) in any given moment? I would be concerned about someone driving that has no concept of what the car will do in response to a basic control input. Alternatively, she does know those things so she does "care about some of that stuff".

My nephew is 2 years old. His parents own a Leaf. I'm pretty sure that he will NEVER in his life put fossil fuel into a vehicle, nor need to learn about "clutch" or "gears". Lots of "specialist" ICE knowledge that we all have and he will not. It's also possible that the entire concept of a person driving a vehicle will seem silly to him by adulthood. To him, ICE cars will look like steam trains look to us - marvels of engineering of their time that make interesting sounds and smells but impractical for everyday use.
 

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Playing Devil's advocate in response to @i-s :

ICE vehicle specialist knowledge no longer required:
  • Engine should not be thrashed from cold, but allowed to reach full operating temperature first - most people take no notice of this, particularly when triggering the ICE component of a PHEV
  • Engine requires a particular grade of oil that may or may not be consumed at an unknown rate. Must be checked periodically and topped up, and replaced entirely each year - err the service centre does that when a warning light comes on
  • You MUST NOT put the wrong kind of fossils into it (petrol/diesel misfuelling) - diesel nozzles no longer fit into petrol fillers, and diesel is a fuel of the past like paraffin or leaded petrol
  • Understanding of fuel grade requirements (e.g. High performance cars requiring higher octane fuels) - the car just pulls back the ignition timing/boost, most of it is just marketing
  • Safe handling of hazardous materials - the service centre does that
  • Topping up of Adblue tanks - the service centre does that when the warning light comes on
  • Care for DPF and increasingly GPF (ie take periodic long journeys to allow the particulates to be burned off - you complain the car is not fit for purpose and never buy another from that manufacturer until the next time they produce something that matches your new handbag/suit
  • Do not slip clutch excessively - whats one of those - most cars sold now are either full automatic or automated manuals
  • Gear selection/engine speed/road speed relationships and their impact on vehicle performance and economy - ditto - it's the manufacturers responsibility
  • Do not leave your vehicle running inside an enclosed space (e.g. garage) - it is apparently very difficult to kill yourself in an ICE as the CO that used to do it is converted into CO2 by the cat. I don't recommend testing it though! :p
The biggest barrier to EV ownership is currently cost, but even that is being eroded with secondhand LEAFs being available from £5k and PCH/PCP rates aligning.
 

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To him, ICE cars will look like steam trains look to us - marvels of engineering of their time that make interesting sounds and smells but impractical for everyday use.
Exactly. My 10 YO Daughter can double declutch, can drive a car with a pre-selector gearbox, and can set up timing on magnetos and distributor points. But, apart from fun (if she still perceives it as that), I can't see her ever needing to drive an ICE and suspect that her test will have to be passed in an EV as it is getting increasingly difficult to find an Examiner who will conduct a test in a car without seatbelts. :(
I would be concerned about someone driving that has no concept of what the car will do in response to a basic control input.
You don't need to be sensitive to why a car will respond in a particular way, just avoid it causing an incident. Increasingly automatic or automated manual ICE just do everything for you with relatively linear response to control inputs (even if this is due to a lack of direct linkage due to fly by wire controls). An example is that there is no requirement to understand how a car will handle at the limits of grip (understeer/oversteer) or to demonstrate how to regain control - the expectation is that the car will have EBD/ABS/TCS etc. to do it all for you, and that any accidents are bad luck/the manufacturers fault/act of God etc.
 

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I think it's rather worrying for the future of mankind if this level of intelligence is now called having "specialist knowledge".
The (non-political) future of mankind has and always will be in the hands of a small minority of clever people. Most of us don't have that kind of brain power.
'Mankind' didn't invent the smart-phone or travel into space - it was a very small percentage of them. If you need convincing more about typical human intelligence just look at how democracy is playing out just now :ROFLMAO: ... or maybe :cry:
 

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My nephew is 2 years old. His parents own a Leaf. I'm pretty sure that he will NEVER in his life put fossil fuel into a vehicle, nor need to learn about "clutch" or "gears". Lots of "specialist" ICE knowledge that we all have and he will not. It's also possible that the entire concept of a person driving a vehicle will seem silly to him by adulthood. To him, ICE cars will look like steam trains look to us - marvels of engineering of their time that make interesting sounds and smells but impractical for everyday use.
I have a 4 year old and have thought about this - will he ever learn to drive (or even maintain) an ICE vehicle or will EV's be dominant by then.... and after thinking about it a bit I think that assuming he learns to drive as soon as he's able to, yes he will.

While EV's might dominate new vehicle sales 13 years from now (and even that's a stretch to be honest) a young new driver like that is hardly going to be driving a brand new car. Certainly not on my salary. :D My first car was well into its teens when I first started driving, so there's a good chance that his first car that he could afford to own and insure is going to be a car that exists and is on the road today. And 99% of them are ICE vehicles...

So while ICE vehicles will probably be starting to be overtaken in new sales by the time he's driving there will still be plenty around second hand especially at the cheap end of the market. Second hand ICE vehicles will be the cheap bangers 13 years from now that new drivers who aren't rich will be starting out in. Don't forget about the "long tail" of the second hand market.
 

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@dk6780 makes some fair points, and some follow up...

Premium vs regular - my point there was that someone needs select between them when operating an ICE car. That requires some kind of knowledge to make the selection.
Handling of hazardous materials - I meant petrol. Service centre doesn't refuel the car for you.
Adblue - Euro 6d requirements mean that Adblue now requires topping up at 1500-4000 mile intervals and there's often an additional filler under the fuel door. This is a user item, not a service centre item. Consumption of Adblue on modern diesels is around 1 litre every 350-600 miles.
Gear/road/engine speed relationship - regardless of whether the car is automatic, the driver must have some sense of the car's response to throttle input. i.e to understand that if they floor it from a low speed that there will be a second or so delay while the car shifts down to the appropriate gear and builds engine speed and boost before the requested torque reaches the road. The relationship between pedal position and car behaviour is far more complex in any ICE, auto or manual, than it is in an EV.

I have a 4 year old and have thought about this - will he ever learn to drive (or even maintain) an ICE vehicle or will EV's be dominant by then.... and after thinking about it a bit I think that assuming he learns to drive as soon as he's able to, yes he will.

While EV's might dominate new vehicle sales 13 years from now (and even that's a stretch to be honest) a young new driver like that is hardly going to be driving a brand new car. Certainly not on my salary. :D My first car was well into it's teens when I first started driving, so there's a good chance that his first car that he could afford to own and insure is going to be a car that exists and is on the road today.

So while ICE vehicles will probably be starting to be overtaken by the time he's driving there will still be plenty around especially at the cheap end of the market. ICE vehicles will be the cheap bangers 13 years from now that new drivers who aren't rich will be starting out in.
My nephews parents drive a 6-year-old LEAF. If that's still going then there's a good chance he starts learning to drive in a 21-year old EV. Or by then, a 15-year old e208? a 20 year old Zoe? Given that they live in london I think it highly unlikely that ICE will feature for him.

As for your 4 year old... given your general approach to lifetime and maintenance of your vehicle, why would he NOT start off in your Leaf 30?
 

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And back again:
  • attendants at service stations are becoming more common (they had disappeared 20 years ago), and filling up the fuel is often a service undertaken by the staff in the hand car wash.
  • you are over-thinking the relationship in most modern cars between the accelerator pedal and the engine - the fly by wire gets around all of those issues and softens/prevents the effects. Back in the day I witnessed an experienced Police pursuit driver pick up a brand-new RS500 Cosworth, try to pull out into a small gap on the dual carriageway in the wet, then discover the turbo lag and (presumably) press harder on the accelerator before the boost eventually came in spinning the car across the dual carriageway into the concrete pillar of a bridge. They were not difficult cars to drive if you respected them (a colleague took one home for his Wife to show off to her mates and she brought it back later complaining it was slower than her 1.6 Fiesta - data logging showed that she never took it over 3,000 RPM), but the modern equivalent have much better controls to prevent unexpected behaviour apart from a chronic lack of anything fun
 
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