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Discussion Starter #1
So after a bit of cajoling I finally managed to convince my girlfriend that we should take the Leaf to Brighton.It would, after all, save us at least 60 quid on fuel (to offset the £60 B&B).So on Thursday morning, about 1.5 hours later than planned, we set off. My original plan was the
straightforward M4-M25-M23/A23 route that we would normally take in her Skoda Octavia. Unfortunately there was quite a jump from the last Eco rapid at Reading services to Pease Pottage... and by all accounts, the Pease Pottage Rapid has been up and down like a YO-YO in the last few weeks; So we took the advice of another Leafer & opted for this route instead:which would involve four charging stops:
  1. Leigh Delamere East / West
  2. Chieveley Services
  3. WKB Nissan Waterlooville
  4. Yeomans Nissan Worthing
giving us the following legs, inbound and outbound:
  1. Home-Leigh Delamere: 60.8 miles
  2. Leigh Delamere-Chieveley: 40.1 miles
  3. Chieveley- WKB Nissan: 63.8 miles
  4. WKB Nissan - Yeomans Nissan Worthing: 37.2 miles
We left the house nicely pre-heated & on 100%. The weather was good, sunny, clear & 8 degrees. I kept the cruise at 60 (70 if downhill) and did my best to use no more than three dots on the scale, which got us to the first stop with plenty to spare:
I knew the next leg was more of a sprint, so I stopped the charge at 80% & got a move on to the next stop - hovering 'around' 70mph - again, we arrived at that rapid with quite a bit left, hopefully minimizing the time we'd have to sit:
I was unfamiliar with the terrain on the next leg, so we waited the extra eons to get us up to 87%. Which was lucky, because we arrived at WKB Nissan with 9% (only the GF was in a mild state of panic!):

I'd like to give a shout out to WKB in Waterlooville: Their Rapid is available 24/7 & has no access restrictions - you don't even need an RFID card to use it!
the last leg was a sprint again, so we kept pace with the traffic - and the rush hour traffic jams - and arrived with 38%:
So that's 5.5 hours travel time. More than enough for me, and WAY more than enough for my GF, although our dog didn't seem too bothered - we let her out each time we stopped for a leg stretch & some water.The B&B was only 2.5 miles from Yeomans Nissan - we didn't really need the last stop (which was about 40 mins). And traffic on the A27 could count for 20 mins of the total time. But still, it was quite a drag.Which brings us to the first moral of this story, which is probably obvious: If you're taking your EV long distance, you absolutely need to make sure you're able to charge where you're staying overnight.I expected more for an EV driver in Brighton. Honestly, it was crap. I think they are just anti-car in general. And as for the type 2 charge posts in the NCP car parks? Yeah, you've probably already guessed:
No signage. No Directions, no space markings. We wasted precious time and % trying to find these. That's the last time I'll bother looking for a chargemaster post in an NCP car park. It vexes me that my tax went to paying for this expensive LED wall ornament. Oh, and it was £8.10 for two hours! We didn't stop there, and found the Lanes car park instead.The journey back yesterday was... miserable. We left the Lanes underground car park (no charging facilities - again, well done 'green' Brighton) without enough charge left to get us to WKB in Waterlooville. So we had to call into Yeomans on the way home. The seafront road between Brighton and Worthing was a mess, partially flooded in places & littered with pebbles blasted up by the waves. We wasted over an hour travelling the 9 miles to the dealership, and another 30+ minutes charging. If we'd have been able to get a charge overnight or in the car park, perhaps we'd have been able to just jump on the A27 for WKB in Waterlooville!All the rapids we needed were free, unblocked and working perfectly, despite the weather, and we got home at 2020hrs - after leaving Brighton at 1315hrs. 7 hours 5 minutes. That has probably put the GF off ever doing a trip like that in the Leaf again. So even though I proved it was possible.... it was more a test of endurance than a demonstration of zero emissions technology.Still, we did it. For (almost) nil cost!So lessons learned:
  1. on long distance trips away, ALWAYS pick accommodation that allows you to charge overnight
  2. leave as early as possible (and check ahead).
  3. Don't ever rely on charging at NCP car parks. The spaces will almost ALWAYS be ICE'd.
 

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That's pretty epic (again)!

Did the breaks make the drive easier and more relaxed for you, or did you just get bored of it all and want to push on (even though the charge meant you couldn't)?

That NCP charging scene is way too familiar, and if there's no big action on ICEing of spaces taken soon there really will be some major rumbles going on, there's more EVs, more charging points, but more of them seem to be ICEd than ever... not good!

Thanks for sharing. :)
 

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Totally agree with all your conclusions.

I would go as far as to say that using ANY public charging in car parks is very risky. We have only tried a few times to find and use charging in public car parks and on every occasion the charge points were either broken, or ICEd or both. The only exception is Cabot Circus, Bristol.

I will never rely on charging in public car parks. If they are convenient and I wanted to park there anyway then great but I will always have a plan I can totally rely on that does not require a public charging bay to be unICEd (great word!) and working.

Over the past couple of days I put some questions to OLEV via Twitter regarding the spending of our, taxpayers, money on public charging infrastructure that is then never available for EV drivers to use because they are broken or ICEd. The responses I got were typical of what you might expect... basically their response said to the effect of "nothing to do with us"!

I am totally gobsmacked that OLEV can give so much public money away in the form of grants to install infrastructure where there is no obligation to ensure that EVs can actually use it. We should all be shouting this to OLEV and anyone else that will listen (MPs etc).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's pretty epic (again)!

Did the breaks make the drive easier and more relaxed for you, or did you just get bored of it all and want to push on (even though the charge meant you couldn't)?

That NCP charging scene is way too familiar, and if there's no big action on ICEing of spaces taken soon there really will be some major rumbles going on, there's more EVs, more charging points, but more of them seem to be ICEd than ever... not good!

Thanks for sharing. :)
Personally, I found them relaxing - unfortunately my girlfriend didn't share the sentiment. The return leg did do a lot of Leaf PR damage as far as she was concerned. It's annoying that it took so long - but it was my fault for not seeking out somewhere to charge overnight. I don't blame the car :)
And on the subject of charge bay ICEing:
This was an hour ago. I managed to get a space by pure luck. An ICE driver hogging the bay next to me took an interest in what we were doing - I patiently answered his questions through gritted teeth - before he left without even thinking to apologise. And I spotted another Leaf parked several spaces down while we were at the till - that's the second time in a fortnight I've seen a second Leaf turn up and fail to charge. There are 4 bays.

POINTLESS!!!!
 

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Forgive me if I am wrong but... it looks to me like those bays are not marked or restricted for use by EVs only. Am I wrong in that?

If bays are not marked on the ground, properly signed and restricted for "EV use only" then we cannot complain at all if ICEs park there. To them, and in fact to us, it is just another parking bay that just happens to have a charge post by it.

I think we need to all start being a bit more reasonable about the issue of ICEing. I don't think it at all reasonable of us EV drivers to complain at an ICE parking in a charging bay if the bay is not clearly signed as "EVs Only", with proper ground markings. If it is visually just another parking bay then ICEs have every right to park there and we should not complain.

Having said that... if that is the case then it needs us as drivers to complain to the car park management accordingly... not to the ICE drivers.
 

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I think most if not all of us accept that it's mostly those involved in dishing out and spending our money on these stupid systems that are most, if not entirely, at fault for ICEing.

They really don't care, or they would be doing the obvious and cheap things to fix it, rather than try and roll-out further expensive charge stations with no plan to actually get them in use.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Forgive me if I am wrong but... it looks to me like those bays are not marked or restricted for use by EVs only. Am I wrong in that?

If bays are not marked on the ground, properly signed and restricted for "EV use only" then we cannot complain at all if ICEs park there. To them, and in fact to us, it is just another parking bay that just happens to have a charge post by it.

I think we need to all start being a bit more reasonable about the issue of ICEing. I don't think it at all reasonable of us EV drivers to complain at an ICE parking in a charging bay if the bay is not clearly signed as "EVs Only", with proper ground markings. If it is visually just another parking bay then ICEs have every right to park there and we should not complain.

Having said that... if that is the case then it needs us as drivers to complain to the car park management accordingly... not to the ICE drivers.
That pic doesn't really show it, but those spaces are pretty clearly marked, along with a nice cuddly green sign on a post that is supposed to signify that they are EV charging bays:
there's also a 'smiley faced EV car logo' on the ground at the front of each bay. People just flat out ignore the markings. Most of those that ignore the markings aren't disabled either - the guy we spoke to wasn't. They're just peachy car parking spaces for cars that no one really uses in the eyes of an average ICE driver.And the staff in the store don't really give a toss either!All it would take is a few green cones....
 

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OK, as I thought, I couldn't see that. Sorry.

Nevertheless, where there does it say "Electric Vehicles Only" or "No Parking Except for Electric Vehicles". Where is the red or yellow hatching that people cannot miss? Where is the sign at driver eye level at the end of each and every bay that says "NO PARKING except for Elelctric Vehicles"?

I accept that there is some signage there but that is just not adequate. There is no clear prohibition. The ground markings do not suggest "NO PARKING". Remember this: ICE drivers will not see those "softly softly" signs and if they do then even then they probably won't assume they should not park there. That sign on the way would probably mean nothing to anyone parking there even if they do see it.

We cannot complain if it is not very clear that people MUST NOT PARK. It is not adequate to just mark them out... people must be PROHIBITED with clear markings and signs and those restrictions must be enforced. Only then have we any right to complain to drivers. What we can do is complain the car park operators to make the markings, signs and restrictions clearer and more enforced.

I am not having a go at you @cjm_2013 . We are all guilty of it. But I fear that we could suffer a significant kick-back if we consider that have rights that we clearly do not have. We could be seen as arrogant and elitist if we moan at ICE drivers parking in bays they currently have every right to park in... even if we would like them not to.
 

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BTW... the vast majority of NCP and other car parks with charging do not restrict the bays for EV charging only. There is generally no ground markings and few or no signs. It is ultimately the fault of OLEV. They have handed out millions, literally millions, of taxpayers money for public charging infrastructure, without obliging the car park operator to keep the bays clear for EV drivers to use.

We really should all be complaining to OLEV to require car park operators that take public money to keep the bays clear of ICEs at ALL TIMES and to oblige them to keep them operational. They say they do the latter but clearly, evidence shows they don't... or at least it is not enforced.
 

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Iv been very lucky we a lot of peoples attitude, Iv asked a guy to move his car over one space so I could charge and we got talking, as iv found out a lot of people don't even know that there are Electric cars, this woman keep telling me it's amazing over and over she seemed shocked that they even existed. Iv had one or two call me a fag beaucse the Worden was making ice cars move and I could park there but I don't care, I never charge my car at home I park over the city charge it. 5890 miles and it's cost me almost nothing iv only charge at home if I'm in a little bit of a rush.
 

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I get the same at the Asda store in Perth with the bays often occupied by ICEs. I was told just to go into the store and let customer services desk know that you need the space and they will put an announcement out over the PA, not very convenient when you are on your own and had to park somewhere else whilst waiting on a space. I think that any staff that see a car parked in one of the dedicated spaces that is not plugged in to charge should put a notice put under their wiper advising them of the need to keep these spaces free. To their credit one time I was told that if I needed a card to access the charger that the customer services desk would be able to lend me one for a £10 deposit. I already have a card so prefer to use that but on the downside how will Asda know that their units are being used? I hope that they do not only rely on the Chargemaster card usage reports.
 

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Many thanks for the write up and I agree with your conclusions.

Personally, I would never undertake these trips in a 'short' range EV because I value my time and I want to treat my EV like a 21st Century car :)

IMO the solution is EV range via battery or hybrid... I know we don't *need* range but most people will not transition from fossil fuel personal transport while EV's depend on unreliable infrastructure.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Many thanks for the write up and I agree with your conclusions.

Personally, I would never undertake these trips in a 'short' range EV because I value my time and I want to treat my EV like a 21st Century car :)

IMO the solution is EV range via battery or hybrid... I know we don't *need* range but most people will not transition from fossil fuel personal transport while EV's depend on unreliable infrastructure.
I agree, it was a bit of a gamble. but the rapids we used didn't let us down, thankfully.

I was hoping to get the journey done in 4:45 - which is only an hour and a quarter more than we've done it in the ICE. I guess that was a bit optimistic - but with accommodation based charging it could have been possible.

I'm convinced that we got passed on the A34 northbound at about 1830hrs by a Tesla Model S - they were very courteous about letting us pass an HGV, and the brake light pattern was very distinctive as they took off up the hill. How many of those are there in the UK?

One of those beasts would have got us home in one hit with no hassle whatsoever.
 

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I stayed at home because of the rapids over the Christmas period as well, only these rapids were rivers flowing over the roads round here! I still don't know how deep is safe with the Ampera so playing safe. No point extending my range if the roads are flooded on all sides 1 mile from home! Normally, though it is exactly to avoid the pioneer style planning for those occasional longer trips that I chose the Ampera. Kevin is so right in his appraisal of what "joe public" will take to. If Vauxhall tried a bit harder they could match the success of the volt in the US and there are no downsides to jumping in once the three year ownership costs are considered for potential buyers who are not ev buffs. I think BMW will capture this market space just by reputation and trying harder.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I totally understand - most normal people just want to jump in their car and be able to drive 200 miles without fuss. It's what we've become accustomed to, myself included.

And I agree with what you're saying - a lot of people would be put off by the prospect of having to make 3 or more charging stops.

My experiences are proving that if someone is determined/brave/mad enough and is willing to compromise, it is possible to make cross-country journeys for far less than the cost of public transport in the Leaf. I'm planning a trip to my old haunt in Essex in the coming weeks. These experiences are giving me confidence to do things like this. Maybe they'll inspire others. The rapid charge network hasn't let me down..... yet.

Nissan UK - if you're reading this & you need a long term test driver for the prototype 48kwh pack, I'm a willing guinea pig :)
 

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My experiences are proving that if someone is determined/brave/mad enough and is willing to compromise, it is possible to make cross-country journeys for far less than the cost of public transport in the Leaf.
No doubt and I don't think anyone here would suggest you stop :)

I'm personally interested in the mass adoption of EV's powered by renewables and I do not believe that will happen with short range cars that require a ~45 minute charge every ~75 miles. That said, I'm not at all concerned because I think what we are doing today is pretty irrelevant given we haven't even hit the innovator stage of the adoption curve (Everett Rogers - Diffusion of Innovations, 1962).
 

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Unfortunately even at £50k for the basic 65 kWh Model S it's way too expensive for over 95% of the population. Even if the Model "E" appears with 200 mile range at £35k, it's still way too much for most and it will be a long time for it to trickle down to second hand prices.

We've seen that people start to pay attention when the cars reach under £15k. So we are going to be stuck with low range cars and en route charging for a while yet. What Tesla are doing is amazing, but it's tempting to think they can just wave a magic wand and make this happen overnight when they can't. It's going to be a long process and there's still no step change in battery capacity going to reach the market for a while yet.

If you want to see the fastest possible transition to low carbon transport then it's imperative that charging is seen to work. Therefore it's imperative that OLEV, the Charging Networks and car park operators get a grip of this. I've been told by Chargemaster in the past that they are in between a rock and a hard place with the landlords, as most are not prepared to dedicate a space to the occasional EV. Ultimately OLEV has to do more to subsidise this if they cannot regulate (I believe if they did regulate car park operators would walk away all together). There's no easy answer to this and it's why I have the EREV insurance policy.

I think BMW has hit the sweet spot with the i3 REx in terms of optimising current technology into a practical car that is immune to failed charging while doing over 90% of daily driving needs via electricity. It's still a bit pricey and I'd like it to be better looking but that's an aside. They need to bring the same architecture out across the range.
 

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Its the same thing when i talk to my friends about my Renault Zoe, they say i would hate having to stop every 70miles for 30min for a charge, i think i have been lucky in one way even tho the Zoe is a real bag of crap as its always breaking down, i must say i get really good miles on the motorway at 60/65mph with the 3 kids and the girlfriend in the car i always get over a 100miles I've gone over the 130 mile range in the summer. but now i get about 115miles. This is my only car in the family and I'm very happy i'v got a EV, but i would like to get the E golf as im sure that will be a 5 seater, as every EV seems to be a four seater and that's no good for me. I'm sorry if some of my writing and spelling is not very good I am dyslexic and I use the voice speech to right most of my messages.
 
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