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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks

After testing a Nissan Leaf last year, I've utterly fallen under the spell of EV. I'm a classic car writer by profession, but blog about my exploits with 'moderns' at www.classichub.wordpress.com - drove a Tesla Model S last week. Fun but frighteningly expensive!

Anyway, I'm borrowing an e-NV200 Combi from Nissan next week and despite its alleged 100-mile range, I'm planning to head on a roadtrip from rural Wales to north Devon - 205 miles away.

The Combi comes with an Ecotricity card, but there's no way I can make it on Ecotricity alone. The nearest charger is 93 miles away. I suspect that when Welsh hills are involved, 100 miles is an absolute pipe dream. So, I wondered if folk had useful input on where else I can charge. There are some Nissan dealers on the way, but I think they only have 7kw chargers, so a lengthy charge time. It's also confusing trying to work out which chargers I'll actually be able to use on the Zapmap.

Therefore, any input will be very welcome indeed. I'd also appreciate any real-world input about using extension leads. I know it's not recommended, but at my parents' house, I may have no choice.

Thanks

Ian
 

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You'll be lucky to get 80 miles maximum range but we are experiencing 60-70 miles dependant on your driving style and having the heating on as sadly it has no heat pump technology included. Do you know what model you are getting? If it's a Rapid Plus model then it will have the 32A 6.6kW on board charger so allowing 25 miles ranger per hour input from a 7kW 32A post.
 

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On the basis you're Devils Bridge (?) looks like your best bet for charging is to head for the end of the M4 where the Ecotricity map shows rapids at J49 and J47 about 60 miles away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all. I'll check the spec of the press combi, though they usually send range toppers for test.

Qdos - sounds like your secret places could be handy!

In terms of range, I was expecting 60-70. I'll be driving it near home for a couple of days to get some sort of likely benchmark set. Hadn't spotted that one at the end of the M4. Hardly the most direct route, but gets us nicely onto the motorway and the world of rapid chargers. Cheers Number64.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tomorrow is the big day. Have been getting used to the e-NV200 for a couple of days now.

Yesterday, it averaged 2.8 miles per kwh, but today, it crept up to 2.9. Not bad considering the hills around here are very tough, and it has been used as a proper van today as well, hauling wood around. I love being able to see how much energy is being regenerated too. Nice feature. Managed over 9kwh yesterday.
 

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Hmmmm.

Did you sort your route and charging to break out?

Google Maps has Devils Bridge Falls to the end of the Electric Highway as 54.6 miles. Using 2.8m/kWh = 19.5kWh.
Presumably the battery is around 21kWh at 100%, but driving below about 6% you will lose the battery display (can't see why it would be different to the Leaf)... But I assume you know this.
I guess you may be visiting the National Trust site near Llandelio? Or maybe you can pick a flatter line and up your mileage figure? Bigger hassle might be getting back, when charging beyond 80% leads extended times as the power backs off.

Anyway, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
54 miles should be ok. Just! Hoping not to have to stop in Llandeilo, but that very much depends on how the journey goes.

I'll be interested to see what the range is at 80% charge, as well as how economy does on the motorway. I'm hoping to be able to set the cruise to 60mph. Don't really want to be going slower and getting in the way of the trucks.
 

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Assuming it reads as high as a Leaf I find the trucks run at around 60/61 Leaf mph. I usually run at 64 Leaf mph so I pass trucks but get passed by coaches, unless I need to extend range. Then I reduce speed when I catch a truck (don't actually draught as such). I did once get overtaken by a truck when range anxiety forced me to back off a little too far...

Range at 80% depends on what allowance you leave at the bottom. I am relatively new to this but have got used to guestimating charge/distance required to leave 5% or so (just lose battery indication) on flat roads, in the relative dry (no standing water), no headwind. On the same roads with a headwind or standing water, I would drop speed, where practical, to try and keep to a m/kWh target, or charge big or stop earlier. Need to sort out my strategy for hills though. Maybe I'll go play on the M62 once it has chargers. Obviously I'm resigned to the fact that one-day I will get it wrong and need a flat-back...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, that was the worst possible weather really! Good to meet some EV fans on our travels, including cjm. Over 420 miles covered and just about managed to avoid an encounter with the turtle of doom! Less than 7% battery when we got home... A full report will be collated in good time, but in reality, while it was great that this journey was possible, it was far from stress free, and took twice as long (if not more so) than if we'd taken an ICE. Pretty much as expected - I didn't go into this experiment blind!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Aye. Fortunately, in easy range of the rapid charger in Sampford Peverell services and my folks let me charge up the Combi at their house. By far the most difficult stretch, unsurprisingly, was from mid-Wales to Llanelli and the nearest fast charger.
 

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did you have a squeaky bum going along the A361? That first hill coming out of tiverton isn't funny.

Barnstaple needs a rapid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think we still had 13 miles left at Bideford, which was impressive. I was doing a pretty constant 50-55 and we hadn't gone to 100% at the motorway end. Squeaky bum was the 61 miles from Llanelli to home. Turns out you can hugely reduce power consumption by simply driving up really steep hills at 20mph. Wasn't very happy doing that, but we did actually make it home. A lot of that 61 miles was up.
 

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I think we still had 13 miles left at Bideford, which was impressive. I was doing a pretty constant 50-55 and we hadn't gone to 100% at the motorway end. Squeaky bum was the 61 miles from Llanelli to home. Turns out you can hugely reduce power consumption by simply driving up really steep hills at 20mph. Wasn't very happy doing that, but we did actually make it home. A lot of that 61 miles was up.
The motor is at it's most efficient at very low RPM. I find it very weird weird to crawl up a hill that would an ICE motor revving it's nuts off on one or two dots!

Sampford services to bideford with 13 miles left is pretty damn good going. I suppose on the way down to Barnstaple you might get 2-3% back if you just ride the regen down the hill, but I was in that neck of the woods a few weeks ago & ended up just hiring an ICE for the trip (which was absolutely horrible to drive) because I wasn't confident I'd be able to manage it in my Leaf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Our usual ICE route is Builth, Abergavenny, Newport. That was coming out at more like 70 miles though.

I haven't got my notes to hand, but pretty sure it was an 80% charge to get to Bideford, perhaps 85% as we knew it'd be a long stretch, and with it being cold and wet (and foggy it turned out) I knew we'd need the heater/air con. And fog lights it turned out. This wasn't a very easy test for an EV, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here's part one of my write up on our experiences. http://wp.me/p1jtbd-vn

Not without its issues - time taken especially! Sadly, this has allowed my ICE-loving friends to pour scorn upon EVs. To be fair, I conducted this test at a very tricky time of year (lots of heater use, crap weather) and never expected it to compete with an ICE! How could it with an alleged 106-mile range? Will hopefully get the final part written tomorrow.
 

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Here's part one of my write up on our experiences. http://wp.me/p1jtbd-vn

Not without its issues - time taken especially! Sadly, this has allowed my ICE-loving friends to pour scorn upon EVs. To be fair, I conducted this test at a very tricky time of year (lots of heater use, crap weather) and never expected it to compete with an ICE! How could it with an alleged 106-mile range? Will hopefully get the final part written tomorrow.
Enjoyed reading the first part. But I'm also glad your emphasising the fact that this isn't the normal way an EV should be used, ie long trips. Yes it's certainly possible with Ecotricity rapids, but if you need a Van to do regular long distances it's not the one for you.

The e-nv200 would be perfect Van for a company doing local-ish trips and returning back to base. A 6.6kW on board charger is a must for this Van if it's used in this way.

I didn't realise that the e-nv200 didn't have the option of having the heatpump! It's another must have in a short range EV IMO.

Looking forward to reading pt2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks. I'm very much aiming to prove it can be done, but there are things it is much better at!

Typically, we found heater use knocked ten miles off the range. In part two, we pretty much discovered exactly what the range was... (must get around to writing it now!)
 

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did you have a squeaky bum going along the A361? That first hill coming out of tiverton isn't funny.
Barnstaple needs a rapid.
We left the zcw charger at tiverton and headed for croyde bay a few weeks ago and thanks to regen on the A361 hills it used 55% to get there and 50% to get back
 
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