Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,081 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
To add to my mini fleet of EV's I am saying goodbye to my once loved 12 year old M3 CO2 generator and hope to reduce my lifelong carbon footprint by moving to an Ampera.
The M3 simply isn't as much fun as an EV and markedly slower when commuting which in common with most drivers, covers most trips.
EV's don't give you "Fuel Cost anxiety" in the way that ICE's do and I find that I can drive much quicker nipping about in high torque silent EV's.

It is one of the VK12 cars as noted on another thread with only 11,500 miles on it and was priced much lower than others of similar age. Oddly, the garage have a Positiv with higher mileage for the same price so it was a no brainer.
They are selling them on a sale or return basis for Vauxhall so I guess have been dumped on the market en mass at different locations. No haggling allowed.
It is mint and I have 12 months warranty and "at least" 8 years battery warranty. 10 years to be confirmed so maybe Vauxhall are putting their money where their mouth is on the cells.

I have been driving EV's for over 5 years so know what to expect but during my test drive, one thing that stood out was the damned creep when stationary.
The very first second I put the car in reverse and went to gently move it, I jumped out of my skin when it moved as I took my foot off the brake.
Almost hit the car behind.

I do not like that at all as I hate it on conventional Auto's. The M3 has an automatic mode on its SMG gearbox but it uses a conventional gearbox and clutch so no creep when stopped and in gear.

On my other EV's, I use the accelerator to hold it on inclines etc and glide away without rolling back as most ICE's do. Using the brake to hold the car back even on level roads simply cannot be safe (I was hit by an auto ICE once who drifted out of a T junction) so one of my first jobs will be to find out if a service centre can switch it off as on the Tesla's.

It may well get HID lamps as well when winter hits us as on my other two cars. I considered the M3's to be the best on the road and you get used to it.
I have read the general warnings on another thread but my Elise EV has had them for years and passes MOT's without comment.
It is hardly a locking up offence anyway. We are still hopefully a free country.

The car is delivered (90 miles away) next week and I will report back another time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
Hi Russ and welcome to the forums!

The creep thing has been discussed on another thread - have a quick search around, it was a few months back. The light thing has been too, the main thing being you'll invalidate your warranty as the wiring isn't set up to power HIDs. Your choice! We are indeed a free country but you can't expect companies to honour warranties if you tamper with things.

Do you mind me asking how much you paid for it and with how many miles on the clock?

Cheers
Richard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,081 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
@Richard Gledhill
Regarding powering HIDs, as an electrician I can tell you that unless you go for the 55 watt version, they use less power than halogen so no strain on the wiring. May upset the fault sensing though without a resistor.
You may well be correct on warranty however. I am not used to manufacturers warranty conditions as I haven't been near them for many years.
It cost £18,000 with 11,500 miles on the clock.
There is a car in the Leicester Drive showrooms (a white one) with a sticker of around £24,000 and 7,000 miles.
Nice looking but unsaleable without the first owner non transferable lifetime warranty.

Will ask at Leicester though if they can adjust the settings on the software as they often can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,338 Posts
Russ, creep with an auto is one of those things that will forever divide driver opinion! :) I happen to like it, and they designed it to be that way, so it was as much like a typical US automatic as possible. The creep on my Ampera is quite a bit less than my previous cars (I've driven autos since 1987)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Richard Gledhill

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
Hi Russ,
That's fine then, if you keep to the lower wattage version, though I'm not sure about the in-rush current on start-up being taken care of properly as that behaviour will be very different to traditional halogen bulbs, given the inductive nature of the HID transformers needed to generate the high voltages. Anyhow...

I'm certain there's no chance of changing the software settings to remove creep I'm afraid. You'll soon get used to it :)

I got my brand new Ampera from Drive Leicester for £22500 so I wouldn't take much notice of their sticker prices.

By the way many years ago, I had a Metro CVT automatic, and the creep from that was so vicious that it eventually wore out the belt in the gearbox!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,081 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Hi Richard,

I purchased both my sets of HIDs from HIDS4U (horrible name) who would seem to make quality kits and are not super cheap as many are.
They apparently do an alternative spec system specifically for modern cars that can overcome the ECU and spike problems.
Still, I will try out the standard lamps first and see how I go.
The white Ampera Electron I think was a demonstrator that most likely had a higher purchase price than available now so they are trying to claw some of it back.
The sales guy did tell me I could have a new Positiv for a few quid more but extolled the virtues of the Electron.
He never did mention that a new Electron was not much more (or even less in your case).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,777 Posts
Hi Russ, I love my Ampera though I'm not so keen on the dealer (I'm another Drive Customer) Unfortunately I do think there are too many niggles that are bittersweet to such a nice drivetrain. You'll soon find things like selecting air recirculation (when behind a smoker) are a bit of a trial compared to using the AS1-2 Button.... I dislike the creep too but I have got used to it (I still don't like it) and it should be half speed in reverse... but all in all I do enjoy the driving and I think that's the main thing.. although when you are paying premium prices the package should be premium too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,081 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
@Parax Hi, I write software as part of my job and one thing about it is that it is very easy to add or adjust features at virtually zero cost.
Programming time shouldn't be part of the cost as many adjustments are bug removal such as creep not being optional and reducing reverse speed.
Having just downloaded the "not very clever" Ampera App that oddly I couldn't search for on the Play App site but linked from the Ampera site, maybe GMC could have spent the time and money on perfecting the car software.
After all, Tesla throw in regular software updates with features all the time.

As legacy ICE manufacturers only normally update to fix safety and operational bugs, it just shows the difference in Tesla's thinking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
Agreed Mike. Drive are a bit of a mixed bag but ultimately I got a great deal, and will probably take it to the Milton Keynes one for servicing as others on here highly recommend them :)
I just turn the fan off (keep pressing fan speed down) while some selfish cancerous person puffs away in traffic ahead of me, then press Auto again afterwards.
Every car has foibles! Overall though I still love it.

I had a Jag XKR with HIDs on before and they were stunning, but I have to say the standard Ampera headlights really aren't too bad at all - although one or two have had poorly adjusted ones which obviously gave out poor light. If they seem dim or badly directed, get them tested.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lee Dalton

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
As an automotive embedded software engineer, I know that adding one software feature can add tens of days of work - you have to specify its complete behaviour, conduct an assessment on how the feature could affect other features, architect the code, write the code, thoroughly test the code in all possible configurations and then test it live on the car. I know it seems simple, but believe me, it takes thousands and thousands of hours to fully develop and release automotive-quality code.
That said, I love Tesla's "can-do" approach, but remember they have the luxury of just making one car really (electronics-wise they're all the same) which makes life a lot easier to go through the development cycle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,081 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Hi Richard, I humbly bow down to your far superior knowledge regarding automotive code but the two issues noted in this thread would seem to me to have been missed from the original spec. Glaring omissions and I bet there are more.
It reminds me of the ongoing forum complaints on the Parrot site for the "Classic" Android car radio that I happen to have in one of my EV's.
It took years of updates even before it was stable, promised much on the box but still is not what was expected.
I trust GMC's coders are of far higher quality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
Hi Russ, sorry I wasn't trying to be pushy ;-) It's just very easy to say extra features take no time at all to implement, without really understanding what needs to be done. Bugs on the other hand really should be sorted before release, particularly on cars - at least the safety-critical software. All too often in-car entertainment (for instance) is left out of this and therefore does tend to suffer on quality.
I think the creep thing could have been put in at specification stage and would then have been a very small extra at that point; retro-adding it is often hideously expensive. Better to get the spec right first time :)
Given what the Ampera's drive train is doing, it's remarkable just how stable it is - the complexity of a good motor drive, charging and regeneration system is frankly quite frightening and for it all to hang together so well shows that they have spent millions on it with some seriously good engineers. See how F1 is still struggling to get drive-by-wire and brake-by-wire to work smoothly, and you'll see what I mean...
Consumer goods are generally very unstable these days because of the rush to get them out before the Chinese clone them, and they can push firmware updates later which people seem to think is normal now ("Release it now, sort out bugs later", thank you Microsoft).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,081 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Hi Richard, no offence taken at all as you are very true about automotive software and how clean the code needs to be.
My two EV's are pure in the sense that they are a battery, charger, inverter and AC motor. That just about sums up the whole drive train.
I am utterly staggered with the complexity of the Ampera's although after reading some tech papers about it I can see reasons for all of it. Not that I fully "get" it all yet :).

My Elise EV has a full 16kWh cell pack and when new, could just about scrape 60 miles. All that with a car just shy of one tonne without an Air con, power steering or even servo brakes. Never mind a roof, four seats and engine!

I marvel that the Ampera with all its mod cons can achieve at least 50 careful miles on around 10kWh to play with.

Noting the abundance now of the over complicated dual clutch ICE's with their associated problems, I hope the Ampera's transmission passes the test of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
Completely agree Russ :) It's also fascinating to have someone on board who has experienced other EVs too - there are a number of Leaf and Tesla S owners on here, but the original Elise EV one is less common. Your thoughts on how the vehicles should behave are at least as valid as mine, if not more so :)
 

·
Ampera aka IGOR
Joined
·
3,493 Posts
12 months and 25k later and I am now used to the creep, headlights have become accustomed too as well. I put HIDs in my last car but was very unimpressed with them. I had done some Googling on the headlamp bulbs on the net but found out that some of the US forum members were adapting the same type of bulb for other fitments as they were supposed to be better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,777 Posts
As far as headlights go it's not just the bulbs! the best lights I've ever had were the xenon projectors on my last merc. the Ampera lights are just candles in comparison. Putting HID bulbs into reflector lights is I think why some people are against HID lights, reflectors are not precise and with HIDs emit lots of spurious glare, I'd almost go as far as saying HID's in Reflectors should be banned! I am a great fan of HID's in Projectors though. The problem with the ampera lights is the brightness is poor, the projector beam shape is good though.
I too write code and can fix and tweak things pretty quick but again if you are writing updates for a production system then the testing, documentation and manual updates all take forever.. I think a lot of companies refuse to update software on principle that the product is what it is at the point of release, if you want better, buy the next version. that way they ensure repeat business income and don't have costs associated with reprinting manuals, retraining technicians etc.
I think this is also evident in other devices like mobile phones, where only the Android Nexus gets all the updates, everything else is at the whim of the manufacturer or service provider. (yet Nexus is only a small market share)
and again with PC's where OS's get small updates and fixes but new versions have the new features. (except windows where new versions are borked to crud.)
 

·
Ampera aka IGOR
Joined
·
3,493 Posts
Agree with HIDs in reflectors, mine were in projectors, maybe I just had a bad pair but I went back to Halfords Brilliance as soon as the had the 'Buy one get one free' promotion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
My Elise EV has a full 16kWh cell pack and when new, could just about scrape 60 miles. All that with a car just shy of one tonne without an Air con, power steering or even servo brakes. Never mind a roof, four seats and engine!

I marvel that the Ampera with all its mod cons can achieve at least 50 careful miles on around 10kWh to play with.

Noting the abundance now of the over complicated dual clutch ICE's with their associated problems, I hope the Ampera's transmission passes the test of time.
Impressive http://www.evalbum.com/1454
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,081 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
You've spotted me @Nick,
The Lotus is still my baby despite having another car with twice the range. I really hope the Ampera comes up to the mark as I need to take both my EV's off the road over the winter mainly to upgrade the old inverter and motor on the Vortex with very much newer and more powerful ex Azure Dynamics parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,162 Posts
Serious respect!!! That's a fantastic job, well done. I might be good at automotive software, but my Fairy Liquid computer programmer hands wouldn't know where to start with what you've accomplished... Looking forward to hearing more about your exploits!
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top