Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,106 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It seems that a day doesn't go by at the moment when Ecotricity announce another rapid charger installation going live and this is starting to make a huge difference to me here in Saltash, Cornwall near Plymouth.

In the past few of weeks AC/DC rapid chargers have been installed at Tiverton and Exeter Moto services and when these are added to the one at Sedgemoor on the M5 means that I can now get from my home in Saltash to anywhere else on the Electric Highway Network without being restricted to Nissan dealer opening hours.

That means a massive increase in freedom and flexibility on when I can travel opening up the possibility of long trips over the weekend or when returning late at night.

I also heard that Ecotricity has committed to installing CCS charging at all their locations so that the BMW i3 and future CCS cars can also use the Highway. That is just excellent news.

They still seem to be breaking down more often than we would all like though so I hope they get to the bottom of the reliability issues soon. They are good guys/gals at Ecotricity and I am sure they are as frustrated as we are. They are working on it I know.

Take a look at their Highway map.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,026 Posts
Yes its great so see so many more coming online it really is, the pace of the rollout has been amazing recently however I do agree that they need to make them more reliable (this is not ecotricitys fault) its something DBT need to work on, look at how they have spread just across the M4, just 6 months ago there were none, you can now get from the centre of the UK to west Wales, amazing!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
It's critical that these are not only reliable but that we also have redundancy for when things go wrong. Personally I don't think that queuing for a 45 minute charge every 70 to 80 miles will meet the requirements of most ICE car drivers. I also believe this technology will be quickly overtaken by EV range and 'rapid' charge rates that deliver hundreds of miles in a more acceptable dwell time (25 minutes at a motorway service station iirc).

I think this project does show what a car OEM with government money can achieve... such a shame they didn't deliver this a couple of years ago before Tesla started deploying SuperChargers in Europe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,026 Posts
Yes for sure they need to make them reliable and have lots of redundancy too, it will be great when we dont have to use RC and the battery tech gets cheaper so we can have more range if we need it, they need to make them reliable though because folks wont take being stranded too often before they look for alternatives, this is why the REX does make sense. The other issue that I see at the moment is the rate of charging points needs to rise to match the sales of electric vehicles as well, if they open up the chargers to BMW and others then owners may find the chargers are being used when they come to use them, at least if you have a REX you can carry on your journey.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,835 Posts
Totally agree it's a shame the car manufacturers/dealers couldn't see the sense in infrastructure. Maybe a large part of this is the franchise system, often meaning you have three layers or more of company inside one country all selling and profiting from one another?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
The other issue that I see at the moment is the rate of charging points needs to rise to match the sales of electric vehicles as well, if they open up the chargers to BMW and others then owners may find the chargers are being used when the come to use them, at least if you have a REX you can carry on your journey.
Completely agree... I don't think many people have thought about a Model S using the AC charge port and blocking the whole charger for 2 hours (and without even a simple dumb socket to use to charge your car while you wait) :(
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
I also heard that Ecotricity has committed to installing CCS charging at all their locations so that the BMW i3 and future CCS cars can also use the Highway.
CCS will be mandated by the EU "clean fuels" directive and funding for CHAdeMO will cease. I also suspect that the Tesla Type 2 connector enhancements will find their way into the standards allowing a single car connector that can charge at 100kW+ DC, and single/three phase 43kW AC :)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield wrote an article recently about a trip along the M4 from Bristol to London (and back) using 'rapid' chargers;

http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/2013/12/06/hi-electric-highway-why-rapid-charging-at-every-services-will-change-the-way-you-see-evs/

Update: Nikki said it took "about 3 hours" and two stops on the way up and four (short) ones back... which I estimate is twice the time it takes for an EV with the required range to drive that ~110 mile trip.

I did an almost identical trip last week but didn't need a stop... that IMO is the nub of the challenge for rapid charging infrastructure... how to fund it in the face of increasing EV range.
 

·
Militant EV driver!
Joined
·
4,937 Posts
ICE cars go 400+ miles but it doesn't mean that we space petrol stations every 400 miles. The close proximity of Ecotricity and other sites on the motorway network becomes the redundancy as EV range increases.

However, just because Tesla and others may launch a 200 mile range EV in 3 or more years time, doesn't mean there isn't a market for shorter range and lots of rapid charging now. That Tesla is still likely to be north of £30k, whereas we saw that once Leafs hit £12-13k on the ex-demo/second hand market, people really take to them. It was the sweet spot where a lot of my colleagues jumped at the chance to buy one. They don't care that they have to make multiple rapid charge stops for the one or two times a year they visit aunt Mildred in Manchester or whatever - it's free. There will still be relatively a lot of 100 mile / £10k EVs on the road for years to come.

And besides, if nothing else, thousands of ICE drivers will now be exposed to the advertising of large white boxes in every motorway service station. Maybe it will cause some of them to think "why am I paying £80 to fill up my car exactly?"
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
The close proximity of Ecotricity and other sites on the motorway network becomes the redundancy as EV range increases.
Only if you leave enough range to reach the next charger... as I said before, IMO most ICE drivers will not transition while we have short range cars and slow, unreliable 'rapid' charging.

It's no coincidence that EV drivers who just want a 'car' buy an extended range EV like the Ampera/Volt, Tesla, or BMW REX.... those people who have more time can buy short range BEV's and undertake 'long' journeys.... I'm happy with all choices but don't think we should fool ourselves into believing these networks will deliver mass adoption.... one of the reasons the EU directive is considering a minimum 100kW power level for CCS funded chargers is to encourage more adoption.
 

·
Militant EV driver!
Joined
·
4,937 Posts
Well, if you have a 200 mile range car and rapid chargers are every 25 miles on the motorway, you wouldn't try to go 200 miles but stop to recharge at mile 175 or even 150. The next 1 or 2 sites are your redundancy. I do the same with ICE cars.

IMHO Ecotricity are delivering what we argued strongly for 2 years ago when we saw the daft roll-out of 32A or even 13A at motorway sites. (As a backup, 32A is better than nothing, but not the sole means of charging there). What we now have is not perfect, but then some teething troubles in what is now a rapid roll-out are inevitable. It's a pity it's not a ZCW roll-out but now that Ecotricity have got some momentum, it's impressive. They cracked Moto and I thought that was going to be very hard, if not impossible.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,835 Posts
Visibility is good regarding these chargers, however the moment the queues begin (an hour to top-up, rather than 5 mins at the pump) I can see that maybe not being such a positive PR move?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
Well, if you have a 200 mile range car and rapid chargers are every 25 miles on the motorway, you wouldn't try to go 200 miles but stop to recharge at mile 175 or even 150. The next 1 or 2 sites are your redundancy. I do the same with ICE cars.
Sure but that's not what we are talking about today... we have EV's with 70 to 80 mile range and 50kW 'rapid' charging that you will invariably need to queue for... whatever early adopters like to think this will not deliver mass adoption... that requires range and reliable rapid charging that's matched to existing dwell times.
 

·
Militant EV driver!
Joined
·
4,937 Posts
Well, it's a chicken and egg situation.

Last year the complaint was that with 80 mile cars they couldn't even get out of the south of England because of the lack of rapids. Now we have that and they can, and some people are using them to do so. But now the complaint is that you have to stop all the time. Well, yes, but we have what we have and to go further the range/cost value equation needs to shift radically.

It will not deliver mass adoption. It will, however, deliver adoption to a few thousand more, if not tens of thousands.

Don't forget we have already seen complains on Tesla Motors Club from owners in California that they will never roadtrip again in their Model S because of queues at superchargers. So this is with a car having 250 miles range and 120kW charging.

The fact is that this whole thing is going to take decades and with baby steps. Each step brings in another group of drivers who are prepared to accept the occasional compromise - road trips or whatever - in exchange for the massive everyday benefits of driving electric.


And Paul M - yes I also fear the stage when we get regular queues at rapid chargers, and that is why I will be driving an EREV for a good while yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,106 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Rather perversly I agree with both dpeilow and Kevin Sharpe!

Ecotricity & Nissan are giving us exactly what we asked for, no, demanded (!), 2 years ago. At that time we were demanding Nissan to do it and we were all surprised that they didn't. Well, with their involvement with Ecotricity, that is kind of what we have right now. They did do it! Well, something close to it anyway.

I do agree with Kevin though, I don't think most people would buy an EV with the current range and speed of charging and it is really still only the early-adopters, the geeks, the enthusiasts (people like US!) that will accept the stopping every 40-60 miles for a 30-60 min charge. In one sense it seems stupid to be installing such a network when we know that cars with much more range and much faster charging are on the horizon... cars that people will want to buy... but I feel that this stage, in spite of it seeming to be all a bit of a waste of time given what is coming, is a necessary step.

The best solution would be to launch EVs to the public when they are totally ready... i.e. 80+kwh batteries, 150+kw charging, wireless charging on every street. All that is coming but I for one want what is available now with today's cars and with todays charging network.

I want the future Kevin wants but not at the exclusion of what we can have today. Perhaps I want too much :)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
Don't forget we have already seen complains on Tesla Motors Club from owners in California that they will never roadtrip again in their Model S because of queues at superchargers. So this is with a car having 250 miles range and 120kW charging.
The scale in the US is completely different... in a 250 mile range EV Nikki could drive from her house to central London and back without stopping to recharge... with a 30 minute stop at a Tesla SuperCharger she could easily drive the length of England... and two stops End to End with range to spare.

In the US it takes me almost six hours to drive from Portland (OR) to our manufacturing partner on the Californian border... thats not even the full length of a small state :)
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top