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Discussion Starter #1
I recently called in at Cardiff Gate hoping to charge the Ampera. I was disappointed to find that the Ecotricity post only had AC and DC fast charge tethered cables. Since then I have noticed that all proposed Ecotricity posts are fast charge only.
I have written to Ecotricity asking why a 16amp socket can not be provided on these posts as well.
So far they have not replied.
I feel that it would help as as many Ampera owners as possible also were to contact Ecotricity as well.
They did tell me that to consult their map to identify their 16amp posts.
It is sad to think that the £250 cable that I bought as a long term investment could become obsolete if all the suppliers decide to only install fast chargers.
 

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Geoff said:
I recently called in at Cardiff Gate hoping to charge the Ampera. I was disappointed to find that the Ecotricity post only had AC and DC fast charge tethered cables. Since then I have noticed that all proposed Ecotricity posts are fast charge only.
Personally I haven't seen this actually announced as a policy. You don't have a link to where they say this do you?

I have written to Ecotricity asking why a 16amp socket can not be provided on these posts as well.
When you say 16A I assume you mean a type 2 socket?

I feel that it would help as as many Ampera owners as possible also were to contact Ecotricity as well.
As an Ampera owner I feel that I should be supporting the installation of 16A charging but to be totally honest I really don't see much benefit to enroute charging for Ampera/Volt owners. 16A charging is so slow (approx 15 miles/hour) that there isn't much opportunity to charge and when you have a petrol generator that allows you to just carry on with your journey I can't see many Ampera owners using it. Sorry.

If it is there then I use it but as an Ampera owner I certainly don't consider it of much benefit.

It is sad to think that the £250 cable that I bought as a long term investment could become obsolete if all the suppliers decide to only install fast chargers.
I think that charging on route will be the ragime of rapid charging (34kw/50kw+) and destination charging or topping up in town will be the fast charging (16A/32A) but that is just my opinion. I use my type 2/type 1 cable for topping up at the supermarket or when I go shopping so I would hang on to yours but it was never really going to be much use for enroute because of the amount of time it takes... just use petrol until you can next fully charge. That is the benefit of the Ampera!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There are two ways to check this out. Go to the Ecotricity web site and select for the road, frequently asked questions and you will find the following:
We've installed 22kW AC fast chargers, 50kW DC chargers and 50Kw DC / 43kW AC charge points so that most cars on the road today can use them. In future we plan to concentrate on rapid chargers in the locations that are most useful for drivers.
The other is to look at the Ecotricity map and check out the planned posts.
Yes I do mean the type 2 cable. I do consider that any opportunity to charge is worthwhile and all these small amounts together will help save the planet.
 

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Geoff said:
There are two ways to check this out. Go to the Ecotricity web site and select for the road, frequently asked questions and you will find the following:
We've installed 22kW AC fast chargers, 50kW DC chargers and 50Kw DC / 43kW AC charge points so that most cars on the road today can use them. In future we plan to concentrate on rapid chargers in the locations that are most useful for drivers.
The other is to look at the Ecotricity map and check out the planned posts.
Yes I do mean the type 2 cable. I do consider that any opportunity to charge is worthwhile and all these small amounts together will help save the planet.
Well, you may read that differently but nothing there says to me that they are not also installing standard fast charge posts alongside the rapid charging... as they have done at all, or nearly all, locations to date. In fact... I thought I had read somewhere that they did intend to do just that whereever they could but I could be wrong in that. I will be interested in Ecotricity's reply to clarify this for us all.

I admire your commitment to saving the planet but I think I for one take a more practical and realistic approach... charge when it makes sense to do so and make use of the petrol capability when it doesn't. Anything other than rapid charging really doesn't make sense when you weigh up the cost of installation, dedication of the parking bays, etc.

Sounds to me like you might be a great candidate for the BMW i3 instead of an Ampera. That is a 100% battery vehicle with an optional range extender generator for when you can't charge. IMO the Ampera is not really about grabbing a half hour charge here and there... that won't save much of the planet but with a rapid charge system a stop enroute for 30 mins while you grab a coffee and visit the loo really starts to make sense.

Just my opinion and I know that many may disagree but there you are... that is the thing about opinions... everyone's is different and we are all the better for it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When we make a journey I try to plan it to make long stops at charge points to make use of the Ampera battery. I hope that Ampera owners will not be told that they should not use these charge points because they have an engine (half iced?). When choosing a car the BMWi3 was not an option but even so this is a forum for the Ampera/Volt. As Paul says everyone has their own opinion but I had not expected such a negative response. Perhaps there are others who could balance the replies with a more positive response
Geoff
 

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I hoped my comments are not seen as negative. Clearly they seem to have been taken as such for which I apologise. I am a huge fan of the Ampera and it's superb EV capability but it is designed to use petrol for long trips and that is all I am suggesting.

My comments are based on what I believe the Ampera is good at and why I believe most people will buy the Ampera... specifically because it has a petrol option. I am not saying don't charge!!! Crikey no! Charge whereever you can. I do and I would expect that most Ampera/Volt owners would want to also.

However, would I consider that enroute charging a priority in the minds of most Ampera owners? No, I would not. If an Ampera owner was averse to using petrol then they would not have bought an Ampera/Volt and so the real benefit of the Ampera to me, and I suggest to many others too, is that you don't have to worry about charging infrastructure or having to spend hours waiting to charge at places you wouldn't normally want to wait.

So, should companies and government be spending money on providing enroute charging infrastructure for Ampera owners doing long trips? I would say no. We have petrol for our long trips and that was our choice by buying an Ampera instead of a 100% battery EV. I say put the money into where it is most needed, rapid charging. Us Ampera/Volt owners might want it but we really don't need it and I don't think I am alone when I say that I for one certainly won't be hanging around a service area a minute longer than I need to when I am in the Ampera even if that means using a bit of petrol... sorry. I'll still plug in if I can but I won't be complaining if I can't.
 

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Sorry Geoff, you are probably not going to like what I have to say..

I personally don't charge mid trip, I have plugged in for 20 minutes at an Ecotricity motorway services, but have never waited for a full charge mid-journey. I do charge at home and at destinations. I'd love to see more slow chargers at Hotels and in long-stay car parks and at stations, shopping centres (not supermarkets!) and all day 'tourist/attraction' type destinations.. but for me slow charging mid-journey doesn't appeal.

As an Ampera Driver I have used far more ZCW chargers than Ecotricity chargers (with my expensive cable too). That is because ZCW focus (at present) on slow destination chargers and Ecotricity focus on mid-trip 'Electric Highway' infrastructure chargers. In my opinion, these are two very different things, and have differing requirements.

I think that Ecotricity's choice to concentrate on fast/rapid at mid-journey 'Electric Highway' locations, is in the long term, more beneficial to EV driving infrastructure as it encourages future EV's to have fast charging, meaning people like me, might do more ev miles than I currently do! as I'd still only stop for a relatively short time. Obviously this move is detrimental to anyone who currently waits at services to charge, though I suspect the numbers who do wait-to-charge at motorway service stations are actually very low.

If I had a 100% electric car that was slow charge only, I would obviously be more concerned about this issue. but I bought an Ampera with an engine because I wanted no compromise EV driving, and I don't think I'm alone in that reasoning either.

Whilst I understand your disappointment at no charge option (I'd like to see all types of chargers, everywhere, I have not seen such a charging unit anywhere, maybe they do exist) I see why Ecotricity are concentrating on an Electric Highway rather than EV Destinations, And I see others like ZCW concentrating on EV destinations rather than the highway.

P.
 

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I wouldn't expect a full charge mid-trip either, but I would like to be able to rely on a charge at my destination. So for example, if I have a 50 mile drive to the nearest IKEA and I'm going to be there for several hours then I could get a usable charge except that the IKEA charge points won't talk to a Volt.

I don't have much problem that Ecotricity are putting in only rapid chargers at motorway service stations (with an Ecotricity card I'm not subject to the 2 hour parking limit, but I really don't want to take advantage of that) but I don't like that they are also installing chargers away from motorways that I can't use.
 

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^ exactly. This doesn't just affect Ampera/Volt drivers, but all PHEVs like the Prius, Volvo, basic i3s, Mitsubishi Outlanders...

And if you want confirmation that this is Ecotricity policy, just search Leaftalk to see statements from them.
 

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Duncan said:
I wouldn't expect a full charge mid-trip either, but I would like to be able to rely on a charge at my destination. So for example, if I have a 50 mile drive to the nearest IKEA and I'm going to be there for several hours then I could get a usable charge except that the IKEA charge points won't talk to a Volt.

I don't have much problem that Ecotricity are putting in only rapid chargers at motorway service stations (with an Ecotricity card I'm not subject to the 2 hour parking limit, but I really don't want to take advantage of that) but I don't like that they are also installing chargers away from motorways that I can't use.
Duncan I totally agree with you and the decision to put in rapid chargers only at IKEA stores is a big mistake IMO. IKEA is destination charging, not enroute charging, and so should be fast (16A/32A) and not rapid. Sure, have teh rapid as well... why not... but primarily the charging at IKEA and other shoppping centres really should include fast charging which all cars, including the Volt/Ampera can use.

I don't think that the concept of "destination charging" or "enroute charging" has quite got into the mindset of charging infrastructure operators. Which of these two types of location should determine the type of charging installed... sure, install the other type as well but primarily destination charging should be fast and enroute should be rapid IMO.
 

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All I'm going to stop for on a long journey (ie >50 miles) is petrol!

I'd love to plug in at my destination but I'm not going to plug in my EREV en route.

Therefore; yes to rapid chargers for pure EVs en-route (even though I cannot use them), but double yes to fast chargers at destinations.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have received a reply from Ecotricity on this subject.

Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

I can confirm that we are no longer installing the medium chargers as we see fast charging as the prominent form of charging on the motorways. Also, over the next year, we are expecting to upgrade our chargepoints to a CCS standard that will also support the charging that you are referring to, which would make the small stations obsolete completely.

In the meantime you can continue to use the current AC charge points that are details on our webiste and we should be upgrading our charge points hopefully next year once it has been confirmed by the EU.

I hope that my email has helped with your enquiry, however should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0845 555 7100 or simply reply to this email.


Best Wishes,

Laura Barton
Customer Support Team

Telephone: 0845 555 7100
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.ecotricity.co.uk

So it seems that Ecotricity will provide type2 sockets eventually .
Yet again we can blame the EU for not having them now but wait until they approve a CCS standard (Combined Charging System).
Geoff
 

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Geoff said:
So it seems that Ecotricity will provide type2 sockets eventually
CCS is not Type 2. CCS is a modified J1772 so I am a little confused. I didn't think that the CCS system would be able to charge the Ampera or any normal J1772. Am I wrong?

From the Ecotricity reply there is nothing there to suggest they would be supporting medium power type 2... by type 2 I am talking about the current 16A/32A "Mennekes" socket that can use the type 2/1 cable... just rapid charge technologies... CHAdeMO, 43kw type 2 (using tethered cable so not usable with our type 1/2 cables) and CCS.

I can see why and it makes sense to me.
 

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In my opinion the only reason for buying a £250 Type 2 cable is to allow you to charge en route. I am not saying a full charge but a top up to supplement a better mpg return. For me personally, I travel from Lytham St Annes to Fulham for football. There is nowhere to charge my Ampera while I am parked up for the match.(any suggestions) so the only opportunity to charge the car on a 500 mile round trip is at a Ecotricity Charge Point on the M40 or M6. Without a top up charge the mpg will be less than 50 which defeats the reasons why I bought a plug-in. The Prius I traded in gave me a better return. Any top up ant any occasion helps.
 

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I think there is a market for a Type 2 to Type 1 "can" (like the Tesla "can" that was made by a third party). This would allow cars with Type 1 to use the AC fast charge plug on these Ecotricity rapid chargers.
 

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I have an Ampera and use the charger at welcome breaks when possible to reduce the amount of petrol I use. I purchased the Ampera as a compromise as no electric car at the time had the range I wanted (the Model S would technically work for me now but is too big)

I often work in the Starbucks on the free Wi-Fi catching up on emails and documentation. I sometimes stay 2 hour, get some free miles and avoid heating and lighting my house - if I had got back earlier ;-)

I just wish the Ampera had 32A charging. Probably only a matter of time before someone develops a replacement module.
 

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I brought this up on Leaftalk and you can imagine the sort of replies I got from some (not all).

Many of these sites are being installed with OLEV money. As it stands they are shutting out a significant number of EVs and PHEVs. I'm particularly annoyed at the lack of Type 2 charging at Ikea but that is covered in another thread.

And yes, they reply from Ecotricity above is very confusing. CCS is not Type 2 and will not plug into the Ampera. However, DBT have shown a model of their rapid charger that has CCS, CHAdeMO and a 22kW Type 2 socket so maybe they are talking about this. (Hogging a 22kW charger with a 3.7 kW car is a whole other debate...)
 

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I think that commando sockets will never be widespread any more than they are now. If you have access to commando socket locations then great (caravan sites, etc) but I would not expect many places to install commando sockets if they want to install EV charging and I am certain there will be no publically-funded locations.

There aren't enough places that I am ever likely to charge at that has a commando socket so I cannot see any benefit in me buildiing my own portable EVSE but I can imagine that if you visit locations with commando sockets then it would be worthwhile.
 
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