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Volvo XC40 P8 Twin Motor Pro
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Very new to the EV scene having collected our XC40 P8 twin Motor Pro in February. Today was the first journey that would necessitate the use of public charge points. A trip from West Sussex to Sidmouth to visit elderly parents and back again the same day. Sidmouth is something of a backwater for charge points. A couple of 7Kw Rolec devices (rebranded as something else) and a couple of hotels with customer only chargers.
The car was set to charge to 100% overnight but for some reason it stopped at its usual setting of 80%. Dont know why but likely to be operator error i.e my fault. Not a good start.
With the battery down to 22% stopped at Route 303 Diner Instavolt on the A303 just outside Honiton. Worked perfectly with contactless card. This is billed as 120Kw/h. I think it reached a maximum rate of 90 so not bad at all.The diner is not bad either.
On the way back a quick top up using Osprey 50kw/h at Wincanton just beside the A303. Again worked perfectly.
Overall impressed. Lets hope this continues. No need to queue today. Other observations. The Instavolt cable is pretty short and despite the swivelling gantry it really was very tight reaching the charge port on the nearside rear. I thought the car next to me was just badly parked but clearly this was an experienced user who knew about this issue and positioned the car to make it easier. The Osprey cable is equally short but there were two chargers with three parking bays so much easier to get close to the cable. Also if I were using my tow bar mounted bicycle carrier it would have been impossible to get close enough to charge at all without parking sideways across all three bays. Would not really want to remove the bike and carrier but I guess that is the only solution.
 

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Volvo XC40 P8 Twin Motor Pro
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If parking sideways and blocking access, presumably you would stay with the car?
Of course. Most years i have a trip to cycle in Yorkshire or the Peak District and would need at least one if not two top ups. I prefer to do the drive in the early hours of the morning to avoid the traffic so hopefully would not inconvenience anyone. It seems the charge point designers really didn't consider the way they would be used. Buy an EV with a front charge point. Problem solved for now!
 

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Of course. Most years i have a trip to cycle in Yorkshire or the Peak District and would need at least one if not two top ups. I prefer to do the drive in the early hours of the morning to avoid the traffic so hopefully would not inconvenience anyone. It seems the charge point designers really didn't consider the way they would be used. Buy an EV with a front charge point. Problem solved for now!
Agree, nose charging is pretty much ideal. It's a shame that it was not standardised some years ago.
 

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2021 Soul EV
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Very new to the EV scene having collected our XC40 P8 twin Motor Pro in February. Today was the first journey that would necessitate the use of public charge points. A trip from West Sussex to Sidmouth to visit elderly parents and back again the same day. Sidmouth is something of a backwater for charge points. A couple of 7Kw Rolec devices (rebranded as something else) and a couple of hotels with customer only chargers.
The car was set to charge to 100% overnight but for some reason it stopped at its usual setting of 80%. Dont know why but likely to be operator error i.e my fault. Not a good start.
With the battery down to 22% stopped at Route 303 Diner Instavolt on the A303 just outside Honiton. Worked perfectly with contactless card. This is billed as 120Kw/h. I think it reached a maximum rate of 90 so not bad at all.The diner is not bad either.
On the way back a quick top up using Osprey 50kw/h at Wincanton just beside the A303. Again worked perfectly.
Overall impressed. Lets hope this continues. No need to queue today. Other observations. The Instavolt cable is pretty short and despite the swivelling gantry it really was very tight reaching the charge port on the nearside rear. I thought the car next to me was just badly parked but clearly this was an experienced user who knew about this issue and positioned the car to make it easier. The Osprey cable is equally short but there were two chargers with three parking bays so much easier to get close to the cable. Also if I were using my tow bar mounted bicycle carrier it would have been impossible to get close enough to charge at all without parking sideways across all three bays. Would not really want to remove the bike and carrier but I guess that is the only solution.
I can fully identify with your experiences of Sidmouth!
Likewise I had parents. I still go there every month or two. Because I'm travelling from west London I too use the A303 route. Instavolt in Route 303 has been used, as have the 4 Instavolts in the connected car parks of Costa and McDonalds at Solstice services. When I'm staying in Sidmouth for a week or two I have used the Instavolts at Heron Farm, just outside Honiton for a morning coffee or breakfast on the way somewhere. The new Gridserve charging hub at Exeter, at the Sandygate Moto Services is big if you are travelling out that way.
I sometimes avoid the A303 because of the frequent late evening/overnight closures. There's one this weekend, Friday 13th May. So I sometimes use the coastal route M27, A31, A35, which I would have thought would be more useful for you from West Sussex. There's an Instavolt at Starbucks Corfe Mullen. I've never got around to the Osprey's in Poundbury. There's a Swarco rapid at Chideock which ought to be a useful recharge stop, the last rapid on the coastal route before Sidmouth. I tried it once, on the way to Sidmouth and it failed. It wouldn't negotiate a start of charge. Several times since, when I've been driving east, say towards Lyme Regis, I've stopped to give it another test. First trial I rang the Swarco line, waited an age, they rebooted the charger - no change. I emailed later and a few days later got a reply that an engineer had visited and fixed it, so I tried a week later - same trouble. Three strikes - It's out! I don't know if that charger is a chocolate teapot or Swarco the company are.

When in Sidmouth I sometimes leave the car for a long 7kW charge up at the Stowford Rise Community Centre. It's a long walk from the core of the town, way back by Waitrose! Waitrose should step up to the plate, as should the Lidl in the town - They both have parking and should install some rapid charging. Then there's the Sidmouth Garden Centre, which has plenty of parking, cafe/restaurant - all the stuff which would benefit from a few chargers to bring some extra business in and increase the "dwell time" of the customers. I tried approaching some garden centre management, but nothing has changed. They collectively seem to have no idea, the local chamber of commerce really needs a kick in the pants!

Charging is forever "coming" to a couple of the car parks. It was supposed to be Spring 2021 (we bought our Kia Soul in May '21 and wondered if on our first trip to Sidmouth after stay-at-home ended we would find some chargers or maybe at least some digging in the ground). In October, with still no sign, I managed to ask a question in a public meeting as part of Sidmouth's autumn "Science Festival". There was a meeting where the district council were presenting their zero-carbon initiatives. I was told the chargers should be in before the end of the year, there had been some legal issues, so it might just creep into 2022. Last seen a couple of months ago there was no sign and no speculation in the local press. I'm heading there this Friday and I expect to be disappointed... but I will make a point of going into the tourist office and asking :)

From what I've seen in a few articles about what East Devon are doing, it seems that there are two schemes at work, with different financing and some central government funding. My impression is that they are making it far too complicated and I fear that we are going to be landed with yet another minor network operator. Probably some organisations working together to deliver the right set of tick-boxes for a public procurement - eschewing just getting a proven successful operator in.

I just think: for Pete's sake, just get in two mainstream operators (for a bit of diversity) and have a short-stay car park with some rapids from Instavolt and 8 AC Pod-Points like seem so popular in Tesco. AC charging in a long-stay or free overnight car park would be transformative. Lease/rent the operators enough parking spaces and be done with all the faffing and let a competent operator get some units planted in the ground. In the end I suspect we will have waited a long time and the result won't turn out to be worth the extra wait.

Electric car charging points in the pipeline
Rapid electric vehicle chargers given the green light in Devon – transportandenergy
Electric car charging points proposed for Sidmouth
 

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Volvo XC40 P8 Twin Motor Pro
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can fully identify with your experiences of Sidmouth!
Likewise I had parents. I still go there every month or two. Because I'm travelling from west London I too use the A303 route. Instavolt in Route 303 has been used, as have the 4 Instavolts in the connected car parks of Costa and McDonalds at Solstice services. When I'm staying in Sidmouth for a week or two I have used the Instavolts at Heron Farm, just outside Honiton for a morning coffee or breakfast on the way somewhere. The new Gridserve charging hub at Exeter, at the Sandygate Moto Services is big if you are travelling out that way.
I sometimes avoid the A303 because of the frequent late evening/overnight closures. There's one this weekend, Friday 13th May. So I sometimes use the coastal route M27, A31, A35, which I would have thought would be more useful for you from West Sussex. There's an Instavolt at Starbucks Corfe Mullen. I've never got around to the Osprey's in Poundbury. There's a Swarco rapid at Chideock which ought to be a useful recharge stop, the last rapid on the coastal route before Sidmouth. I tried it once, on the way to Sidmouth and it failed. It wouldn't negotiate a start of charge. Several times since, when I've been driving east, say towards Lyme Regis, I've stopped to give it another test. First trial I rang the Swarco line, waited an age, they rebooted the charger - no change. I emailed later and a few days later got a reply that an engineer had visited and fixed it, so I tried a week later - same trouble. Three strikes - It's out! I don't know if that charger is a chocolate teapot or Swarco the company are.

When in Sidmouth I sometimes leave the car for a long 7kW charge up at the Stowford Rise Community Centre. It's a long walk from the core of the town, way back by Waitrose! Waitrose should step up to the plate, as should the Lidl in the town - They both have parking and should install some rapid charging. Then there's the Sidmouth Garden Centre, which has plenty of parking, cafe/restaurant - all the stuff which would benefit from a few chargers to bring some extra business in and increase the "dwell time" of the customers. I tried approaching some garden centre management, but nothing has changed. They collectively seem to have no idea, the local chamber of commerce really needs a kick in the pants!

Charging is forever "coming" to a couple of the car parks. It was supposed to be Spring 2021 (we bought our Kia Soul in May '21 and wondered if on our first trip to Sidmouth after stay-at-home ended we would find some chargers or maybe at least some digging in the ground). In October, with still no sign, I managed to ask a question in a public meeting as part of Sidmouth's autumn "Science Festival". There was a meeting where the district council were presenting their zero-carbon initiatives. I was told the chargers should be in before the end of the year, there had been some legal issues, so it might just creep into 2022. Last seen a couple of months ago there was no sign and no speculation in the local press. I'm heading there this Friday and I expect to be disappointed... but I will make a point of going into the tourist office and asking :)

From what I've seen in a few articles about what East Devon are doing, it seems that there are two schemes at work, with different financing and some central government funding. My impression is that they are making it far too complicated and I fear that we are going to be landed with yet another minor network operator. Probably some organisations working together to deliver the right set of tick-boxes for a public procurement - eschewing just getting a proven successful operator in.

I just think: for Pete's sake, just get in two mainstream operators (for a bit of diversity) and have a short-stay car park with some rapids from Instavolt and 8 AC Pod-Points like seem so popular in Tesco. AC charging in a long-stay or free overnight car park would be transformative. Lease/rent the operators enough parking spaces and be done with all the faffing and let a competent operator get some units planted in the ground. In the end I suspect we will have waited a long time and the result won't turn out to be worth the extra wait.

Electric car charging points in the pipeline
Rapid electric vehicle chargers given the green light in Devon – transportandenergy
Electric car charging points proposed for Sidmouth
You have clearly done your homework! Two of the Solstice Park Instavolts are out of action and have been for a couple of weeks now so decided to give that a miss. From where we are the 303 is usually slightly quicker/shorter but you have to time the run to avoid the Stonehenge chaos especially in the summer.
My parents live in a small condominium of 19 flats. All have garages with power but the power is paid for communally. All connected to one meter. I could use a granny charger if stuck but it would take forever and I cant see the residents being too keen to subsidise my motoring. They are looking at a solution because before long someone will get an EV. Possibly separate meters to each garage. Possibly communal charger point(s) with some sort of card system to apportion the cost. The chair of the residents board has worked on a project when something of this nature was installed in an office complex. No solution for them is going to be "affordable".
Hopefully something will happen soon. They are 87 and 89 so lets hope the council will get a move on.
 

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I might need Solstice Park this weekend - are you sure one pair of Instavolts is out? Out of PlugShare, Zap-Map and Instavolt itself, only Zap-Map is showing that, and it’s notoriously unreliable these days.
 

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Volvo XC40 P8 Twin Motor Pro
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I might need Solstice Park this weekend - are you sure one pair of Instavolts is out? Out of PlugShare, Zap-Map and Instavolt itself, only Zap-Map is showing that, and it’s notoriously unreliable these days.
On the Instavolt app its still showing as out of order. The pair outside Costa are working. One free and one in use at the moment
 

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Mercedes EQC 400 4matic
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I had my first experience with public chargers here in France last week and also pleased with the experience and its simplicity and speed albeit the last charge was slower than expected and we should have perhaps changed charger. Ionity are well spaced on the french motorway network but we also went to 100% on leaving, and topped up both times to 100% leaving 81% on arrival at the hotel where despite the plan we ended up leaving the car untouched until we drove home 4 days later and just repeated the stops. this time we charged only until 80% coming back at the first charger having the confidence of knowing how much the car would use at 130kmh for 184km. Sadly the last charger was only delivering 36kw which meant it took 15 mins longer and we put less charge in than the plan arriving home on a 20% margin instead of 30 or 40 and we paid more for less charge than the other 3 stops. It has given me full confidence that I can plan easily the trips I want to make from the charge networks on line and that long 400km + journeys will be fine. i still think the shorter return journeys where I will not be using the motorways maybe more interesting to organise as charge times will be longer (there are lost of 22kw chargers around but less 50kw and the rapids are nearly all motorway or main routes) and destination towns may be much busier for charger use. But it was a rubicon passed.
 
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