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We've continued to have really terrible experiences with the @CYC network. Not a single charge has ever been without issues. Today it seemed like we were going to have to leave our cable locked in a CYC charger (though luckily we eventually managed to get it out).

I've posted all the details of all the (many) issues we've had here on my blog:

GMEV and CYC - The UKs Awful Recharging Network

I'd be curious to hear others peoples experiences...
 

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I had a trapped cable with podpoint yesterday, source east is about 25% successful for me.

Does that help? It is not just cyc and gmev. If anything from what I hear cyc is near the better end ...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had a trapped cable with podpoint yesterday, source east is about 25% successful for me.

Does that help? It is not just cyc and gmev. If anything from what I hear cyc is near the better end ...
The trapped cable is only one minor point in a huge long list in that post. We've had almost zero issues on all other networks - check the length of that post. The issues started way before we even got near a charger!
 

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I had exactly the same pathetic sign up problems with source east. Basically, the only problem on your list that i have not encountered is the incorrect map locations, but that is because I use plugshare etc.

None of the networks is fit for purpose.
 

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Aren't @CYC an open network? It's not their charge points. I guess they're reliant on the charge point owners making sure their maintenance is up to date?

I guess it's like blaming Shell because an independent station selling their fuel has a broken pump.

I've had a few recent dealings with CYC as mentioned on some other threads and the issues were sorted within days. Also when a brand new charge point was playing up they switched it on for me so I could charge and no bill has appeared on my account for that occasion.

Wouldn't it be better to log the issues with them directly and help them resolve the issues, rather than blog it? Working with them will ensure all BEV and PHEV owners benefit from a more improved network.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I had exactly the same pathetic sign up problems with source east. Basically, the only problem on your list that i have not encountered is the incorrect map locations, but that is because I use plugshare etc.

None of the networks is fit for purpose.
I haven't had anything like these issues with Ecotricity or Polar (I have had some issues with Polar causing BCIs on ZOE). There is no reason for a network to be this unreliable.

Aren't @CYC an open network? It's not their charge points. I guess they're reliant on the charge point owners making sure their maintenance is up to date?

I guess it's like blaming Shell because an independent station selling their fuel has a broken pump.
That's a poor analogy. Shell are not involved in pumping petrol from the tank to your car and have no visibility of the process failing. In all of the issues listed, CYC have been *directly involved* in the problem. Many of them didn't even include the chargepoints (like the £1 charge, the inability to login, the security issues with the app, the lack of logging of failed charge attempts, not allowing retrying of ending a session, allowing cables to be locked indefinitely, etc.).

Wouldn't it be better to log the issues with them directly and help them resolve the issues, rather than blog it?
I've contacted CYC *many* times via email and twitter. Some of these are mentioned and linked in the post. The responses were poor in all cases, which is why I posted. If they won't do anything about these issues, then I feel it's only fair to make others aware of them. I go around singing the praises of EVs, and it would be unfair for me not to do the same with these issues - I do not wish to have people buy an EV on my recommendation and then unexpectedly hit problems like these. It's far better to share publicly.
 

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Interesting about the £1 'validation'. I also was spuriously charged £1, but it wasn't related to any validation at the time I signed up. I originally signed up sometime in late 2014; the spurious charge appeared on my card statement sometime in February, round about the time I was on a trip trying to use some CYC points.

I wasn't 100% sure it was related to CYC - the billing reference was "Electromot" - and I didn't get around to querying it, but I got a £1 refund on 4th June (maybe I've got you to thank for that!).

My CYC experience wasn't good - first location with a single point couldn't get a charge at all, second location with 2 double posts (4 sockets), one post totally dead, one post delivering half the advertised rate (3kW instead of 7).
CYC helpline were surprised at my problems at the first site (though I was there on weekend and couldn't speak to them at the time as helpline not open), but when called about the second site (Bath) you could feel the helpline guy's frustration at a site with lots of problems he couldn't do anything about.
 

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No joy on one time I wanted to use (and pay) a CYC Rapid in York, App would not start it up. I won't recommend a BEV to anyone yet, well not for leisure trips outside the normal range.
 

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but it wasn't related to any validation at the time I signed up. I originally signed up sometime in late 2014; the spurious charge appeared on my card statement sometime in February, round about the time I was on a trip trying to use some CYC points.
Did you by any chance have to re-add your card details via the app around this time? It seems to have been an issue with the apps taking the charge; the card details added via the website didn't cause it.

I got a £1 refund on 4th June (maybe I've got you to thank for that!).
Great; I'm glad to hear they did issue refunds even to those that didn't report it! :)

My CYC experience wasn't good - first location with a single point couldn't get a charge at all, second location with 2 double posts (4 sockets), one post totally dead, one post delivering half the advertised rate (3kW instead of 7).
CYC helpline were surprised at my problems at the first site (though I was there on weekend and couldn't speak to them at the time as helpline not open), but when called about the second site (Bath) you could feel the helpline guy's frustration at a site with lots of problems he couldn't do anything about.
It's a shame to hear I'm not alone in my experiences. I would argue @CYC *can* do things about these. If they bothered to log failed charge attempts they could contact the chargepoint owners and tell them when their points aren't working well, threatening to remove them from the app/maps if they don't resolve the issues. It doesn't seem like an unreasonable expectation :(
 

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Did you by any chance have to re-add your card details via the app around this time? It seems to have been an issue with the apps taking the charge; the card details added via the website didn't cause it.
I don't think so - I originally set up the account on the website, entering card details there, and I'm almost certain I downloaded the app at the same time and it picked up my existing account.

However, I _did_ use the app at my first charging site (I started with the card, but switched to the app in the hope it might diagnose the problem). So the issue could well be app related, even if not related to the initial sign-up.

It's a shame to hear I'm not alone in my experiences. I would argue @CYC *can* do things about these. If they bothered to log failed charge attempts they could contact the chargepoint owners and tell them when their points aren't working well, threatening to remove them from the app/maps if they don't resolve the issues. It doesn't seem like an unreasonable expectation :(
My impression was that they had been regularly contacting the owner and the owner and/or equipment vendor wasn't doing much about it.

My guess is that it is a council-owned site, and they used grant money to install equipment that's fundamentally not up to the job, but council has no budget to do anything about it and equipment vendor is doing the minimum of warranty repairs they can get away with. I've no knowledge of this particular case, but I've heard of others where it's a case of councils not funding maintenance contracts - where you can argue on the one hand that they shouldn't have put in the facility if they didn't have a budget to maintain it, but on the other hand there seems to be a trend of vendors supplying crappy equipment and then expecting extortionate amounts for maintenance. Source London for example claim that some of their problems arose from the fact that a maintenance budget of £480/year per post was not enough.
 

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I am sure as per @MoonCat that cyc are not actual the network provider, more of a 'reseller'. For example my cyc card works the source east chargers. In fact, my cyc card works source east charger that my source east card does not operate!

I agree that ecotricity is becoming reliable but lots of us have had problems with them too. I don't recall finding a working polar unit on my travels.

I think the root cause is unnecessarily complicated charge points. There is no need for all the complicated RFID cards and remote networking. Old fashioned coin operated relay would do for me ...
 

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I've no knowledge of this particular case, but I've heard of others where it's a case of councils not funding maintenance contracts - where you can argue on the one hand that they shouldn't have put in the facility if they didn't have a budget to maintain it,
Almost all of our issues have been caused by poor communications. There's not really much maintenance to do to fix that. The chargepoint owner almost certainly has zero visibility of how many times CYC's servers fail to connect to it to start a charge. CYC should have complete visibility of this (though it seems they don't). I don't see how this is a problem anyone can solve except CYC. If they are contacting the chargepoint owners (I doubt it) and getting no response, they should be removing them from the maps.

I am sure as per @MoonCat that cyc are not actual the network provider, more of a 'reseller'.
I don't understand why people keep saying this. It's CYC's servers that are doing *all* of the work. It's CYC servers doing the phone calls, the authorisation, the payment, and the connecting to posts to stop/start charges. CYC couldn't possibly by any more involved. The chargepoint owners are providing power to the units, and that's about as much as they can do!
 

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You clearly know the problems and how to resolve them. Why not set up your own network for the benefit of EV drivers in your area?. Improving on CYC model you could have fabulous back office systems and also ensure that charge point owners were fully upto date on maintenance.

CYC would seem to be one of the better ones but if you can better then with ease, then you're on to a winner :D

Alternatively, maybe the reality isn't as simple as charge point owners just providing power and nothing else, and I'm sure CYC have much more on their plate than sitting in their office playing pocket billiards.
 

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Why not set up your own network for the benefit of EV drivers in your area?.
Oh, Gawd. Another one!? How about lobbying OLEV and MPs to get market regulations in place requiring minimum provisions of service, maintenance and parking signage?
 

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I'd be curious to hear others peoples experiences...
I've had a GMEV/CYC card for a year and have had 42 charging sessions. Generally I have found the network to be more reliable than the other networks. It's a pity they don't have more rapid chargers.

I avoid using the app as I had some difficult experiences with it in the beginning.

Some of the charging stations are awkwardly sited and the Salford Royal stations wouldn't read my card. Ross on Wye is very slow (15A).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You clearly know the problems and how to resolve them. Why not set up your own network for the benefit of EV drivers in your area?. Improving on CYC model you could have fabulous back office systems and also ensure that charge point owners were fully upto date on maintenance.
This is a dumb argument. We should be free to complain about poor service without having the desire/funds/skills/etc. to set up an alternative. I'm sharing my experiences for the benefit of other EV drivers. If you ended up losing your expensive charge cable in a charger 50 miles from home, to then discover this is an issue that other EV drivers knew about but didn't bother to tell you, wouldn't you be a bit annoyed?

Just because something is hard does not mean they should just give up. If they can't run a reliable app of pay-by-phone service then they should shut them down and offer only RFID. At least this way nobody gets stranded away from home or losing expensive cables.

CYC would seem to be one of the better ones but if you can better then with ease, then you're on to a winner :D
In your experience maybe, not in mine. I'm sure with an RFID card things are fine; but it sounds like even those with RFID cards had issues when trying to use the app.
 

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I use CYC points on a weekly basis, and they have been among the most reliable of any of the operators I have used.

One side of the charge point had chewing gum wedged in it once, but it was fixed in about 2 weeks- could have been quicker.

And the RFID works with the Ecotricity rapids, which is great.
 
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I don't understand why people keep saying this. It's CYC's servers that are doing *all* of the work. It's CYC servers doing the phone calls, the authorisation, the payment, and the connecting to posts to stop/start charges. CYC couldn't possibly by any more involved. The chargepoint owners are providing power to the units, and that's about as much as they can do!
Ah no, I am not convinced that is the set up. My understanding is that the points and back end are all run by the provider network (e.g. gmev, source east etc.) Cyc just piggyback at the very end of the chain, the same place you would be if you had the charge network card directly interact. They are like Virgin Mobile, who just sit on top of what is now the EE network.

So the payment errors and website are their own doing but the communications to the charge network have multiple points of failure. Cyc servers have to talk to charge network servers which have to talk to the charge points. And cyc payment servers are no doubt talking to the actual PCI provider.

Basically, a mess with so many different firms which can point a finger at each other.
 

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Man, I've not had a problem in a year!

The Scotland trip had a few troubles but I can see @CYC have sorted their act out up there.

The only real troubles I've had have been to do with vandalism, which the network operators can't protect against without making charging prohibitively expensive or reducing accessibility.

I don't get what this is all supposed to do @DanTup , it all seems unnecessarily negative.
 

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Ah no, I am not convinced that is the set up. My understanding is that the points and back end are all run by the provider network (e.g. gmev, source east etc.) Cyc just piggyback at the very end of the chain, the same place you would be if you had the charge network card directly interact. They are like Virgin Mobile, who just sit on top of what is now the EE network.
That's not how I interpret it form the CYC site:
Charge Your Car - Charge point owner > How it works

Your chargepoint must talk OCPP, which must mean it's talking directly to CYC. It really would not make sense for someone like GMEV to be running servers here, the chargepoints are all branded as CYC and have CYC's phone numbers, app, etc..

If what you said was right, then I would agree. However, I am certain it is not (maybe @CYC will confirm?).

I don't get what this is all supposed to do @DanTup , it all seems unnecessarily negative.
Did you read the whole post? Is it not clear why I'm upset? We've not had a single charge session that didn't have some drama. This needs to be improved, and I've contacted CYC many times and they don't care. So I'm being a good citizen and sharing the info with others, so they know how things stand. I don't see why you think it's a bad thing to share these issues? I'd certainly want to know if I was visiting another part of the country if the chargepoints I planned to use were likely to be unreliable.
 
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