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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I just picked up my new Ampera Electron (Black with red trim) today :D

I've been following the 'VOLT' story ever since the prototypes were announced years ago and I finally have my very own model sitting on my drive charging :)

I've only done the trip from the dealers (NOW! Vauxhall at Staples Corner) home, and a couple of short jaunts near home with the family - all on EV only mode so far.

My daily commute is about 51 miles round trip, so I'm really looking forward to seeing if I can eke that out on electricity only, or if not what my actual MPG will end up being. After having had a 2.7L v6 for the last 10 years it'll feel so good not to be a slave to the pump prices.

I've only found two problems so far.

1) Although I managed to sync my phone with the Bluetooth in the car, and it will recieve calls OK and the phonebook works - I can't MAKE calls from the car. I can make calls from the phone and talk via the car handsfree, but it just won't actually make a call from the car interface (Nokia Lumia 800 with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango) - this seems to be a generic problem with this phone/handfree kit combo. The phone works perfectly in the rental Ford Fiesta I've had for the past 3 weeks.

2) The socket I was planning on using in my garage to plug the charge cable into is apparently not earthed correctly (two flashing red lights on the charge cable), so I'm currently using a wall socket in the hall and passing the charge cable out the cat flap :lol: The cat's none too pleased, but it does the job for now till I can get the socket in the garage fixed.

The dealer told me that I was the first actual customer in the UK to take delivery of an Ampera (i.e. non demo car), but seeing the posts on this forum I guess they were wrong :roll:

Anyway, happy to have joined the ranks of the electric vehicular revolution at last and look forward to chatting with you all.

Cheers,

Mark.
 

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Welcome Mark

Great to see another Ampera owner on here, hopefully we will see some more as they get delivered and owners find the site.

Based on my experiences so far and assuming you will be driving in London traffic, you should make most of your commute on EV. After 10 years of a big ICE, it may take you a while to adjust your driving style to get high 40s ;-)

Regards

Paul R
 

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Hi Mark,

Congrats on the new toy ;)

As to the issues with the phone I have no idea, we (my wife and I use iPhones which seem to work very well, on saying that someone mentioned SAP mode that may help, have a play it may help ;)

Have you thought of getting an actual charge point ? It may make your (and the cats) life a bit easier...

cheers

g
 

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Hi Mark and welcome to the forum :)

We get our car on Monday afternoon so we get very excited when reading about people like youself that have already got theirs.

With your commute distance I expect that you will benefit greatly from the Ampera... a near perfect distance!

Let us know how you get one next week won't you :cool:

I am hoping to get some pics and twitter reports out on Monday to keep everyone informed.

Nice to meet you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the welcome guys.

I'm looking into a dedicated charge point - definitely don't want to do the British Gas thing as they'll charge an arm and a leg and attempt to strongarm me into switching gas and electric supplier as well!

Trevor the Ampera guy from Vauxhall said that the dealer could source the chargepoint direct for about £400 and I could then get a local electrician to fit it - i'm persuing that angle at the moment.

Not sure what other options are out there - there seem to be many, but since my car is on a driveway and not in a garage I'd need a unit to be weatherproof or with a long enough cable to reach out from the garage.

I'd prefer to have a cable laid under the flower beds (armoured) that can then come up on the far side of the drive where I normally park my car (allowing space for the wife to park hers next to it), with an interior switch in the hall (shared wall with the garage) to power it on - that way I could pull in, plug the cable in then switch it on from inside the house without having to go into the garage - and let the Ampera's timer figure out when to start pulling current.

Any pointers to suitable chargepoints would be gratefully received.

Ta,

Mark.
 

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Mark,

Windows Phone 7.5 only supports HF mode so no point in trying SAP mode. I have a Samsung Omnia 7 so will try that at the week-end so we can see if it is a generic Windows Phone issue or specific to the Nokia.

The Nokia is a nice phone and I had thought of getting it, but I wanted to use SAP in the Ampera so went for the Samsung Note :)

Regards

Paul R
 

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Hi Mark,

Initial question is why would you want to power the charge point on and off? Most people just leave them powered on. I do unless I go away. They take very little power when in standby and I feel that it might become a bit of a chore having to do that each time you charge. Bear in mind, you will be charging almost, every day so it needs to be easy.

The only perpose built home charging point that I know isn't suitable for outside installation is the Schneider but even then there is an option of a waterproof cabinet at extra cost!

The one I would go for right now is the Rolec. They are a little bit more than the Chargemaster or Pod Point but less than the BG offering and as far as POLAR are concerned... well, it is your choice but I can see no benefit financially for going with POLAR especially as most people won't charge away from home enough to justify the monthly fee.

Bear in mind in all this that home charging stations are expensive for what they are. It is very likely that electrical suppliers will be supplying them at prices much lower than this in the next couple of years. I decided I didn't want to wait but many people are waiting for prices to drop just using the cable in the boot for now.

Remember though that if you do use the cable in the boot to get your electrics sorted. For regular charging at 10A through a 13A socket it needs a dedicated socket with its own circuit to the consumer unit. Although it can be done on a ring main safely at 6A (it is switchable 6A/10A) you should be careful at 10A as things can get very warm or even risk a fire if the wiring is in poor condition or there are other loads on the ring. It just requires a bit of common sense and caution that is all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I like the look of the Rolec ones, smaller and less garish if you pick the right colours.

Now I've sorted the socket in the garage out and fitted a hook on the wall to hang the cable on when it's not plugged into the car I'm wondering if I need a dedicated chargepoint anyway. Chances of me needing those extra 2 hours are minimal, however it is a major faff having to take the charging cable out of the garage to put it back in the boot, so I'm wondering if it might just be a cheaper option to just get another charging cable so I have one permanently hooked up at home and another in the boot for when I stay away from home.

Thanks for all the help.

Cheers,

Mark
 

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Mark,

I have now tested the Samsung Omnia 7 (Windows Phone 7.5) using Bluetooth hands free mode.

I can confirm it DOES work for both making and receiving calls from the car and accessing the phone book.

I recommend you contact Nokia service and report the issue as they may be able to fix it in the next update.

Regards

Paul
 

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Paul C

I think saying you need a dedicated circuit for charging at 10A is a bit extreme.

Where the garage sockets are connected to a 16A MCB in the house consumer unit (or a dedicated garage one) and there is minimal other load on the circuit, I can't see any issue.

I do agree with Vauxhall that it is a good idea to have the circuit professionally checked, especially if it is an older installation.

Cheers

Paul R
 

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m455954 said:
Pity you can't actually buy one from them!
You could try shopping around. Google found me http://www.autovaux.co.uk/ which says
We carry over 5,000 stock lines and can source any current Vauxhall Opel part that you would normally only think available from a Vauxhall, Opel , GM , Holden or Chevrolet dealer. These Vauxhall parts are normally available within two to three working days.

As not all of our stock is on the website yet, if you can't find what you are looking for please fill in a PART FINDER ENQUIRY
I've no idea if they can actually find the parts, but it's probably worth trying.
 
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