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EVEZY code d55d6 *** Try my car cost calculator
'19 BMW i3 120Ah / '20 Hyundai Kona 64kWh
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EVEZY code d55d6 *** Try my car cost calculator
'19 BMW i3 120Ah / '20 Hyundai Kona 64kWh
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I Thought this would be a good place to mention that today I met the first Ecotricity maintenance guy that I have seen in many months. I had to go over and touch the van to make sure it was real and not just some hallucination caused by my recent sleep deprivation!

First of all, WOW Those old DBT Chargers are a mess inside! Cables everywhere, and I felt uncomfortable seeing the sheer amount of tape that was holding things together in there.

Secondly, he was doing a fair bit of work. He had just replaced the screen, and was in the process of replacing the AC connector followed by something to do with the fans or cooling system. He said that he had been out of work for a while between brexit holding up the delivery of parts mixed with COVID. He didn't seem enthusiastic when I asked about the new chargers. Apparently he was told 2 conflicting things.That the rollout of those new Efacec chargers is continuing despite him not yet installing a single unit and maintaining only 1. But also that when he himself asked was advised that the current units are perfectly fine and are designed to last 10 years or so, and that's the plan they are sticking to for financial reasons.

He tried to assure me that they are putting a priority on MSAs which he seems to back up by saying he hasn't been to any non motorway locations like IKEA for about a year now but who knows. I feel like he's given me lots of information but nothing that really clarifies exactly where they are going from here.
 

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Electric Highway is stony broke. It's losing a million a year. Accounts just filed have a comment in there about Covid rendering the business unviable potentially. There is mention of the cost of making good of removing chargers versus the income from selling the electricity connections.

EH has been a dead duck for many years. They've got themselves stuck in an impossible situation as too few people use them because they have shoddy old crap hardware so they can't upgrade because they don't have the revenue to replace the shoddy old crap hardware. The newer chargers they have bought are still poor and seem to be listed as broken on ZapMap just as much.

God knows why Moto renewed. I have no idea how EH have managed to hang on this long.
 

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First of all, WOW Those old DBT Chargers are a mess inside! Cables everywhere, and I felt uncomfortable seeing the sheer amount of tape that was holding things together in there.
Yes, and this is the problem. EH were in the game early, supporting EV drivers.

Sadly, because of this, the chargers are no better than prototypes - I saw inside one a couple of years ago and, as as a retired Electronics engineer, I just stood shaking my head in disbelief. There's no way they will ever provide reliable service and - looking at the birds nest of wiring - I'd be worried that no two units are the same.
 

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EVEZY code d55d6 *** Try my car cost calculator
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Yep, they just need replacing ASAP. Ecotricity clearly don’t have the funds to do it, or I’m sure they would have done it by now. So I just think we really need to try and encourage a solution whereby other networks fund the installation of modern, reliable machines — and that is most likely going to require Government intervention, and that is most likely going to require EV drivers (individually and through organisations such as the EVA) lobbying Government (mainly via OZEV but also perhaps via MPs).

I can understand why there might be a temptation to say just wait until upgraded grid connections are completed so that a large number of ultra rapid units, perhaps from a number of different operators (to encourage competition) can be installed.....but that’s likely to be 2, 3 or more years away I think....and I just don’t think we can wait that long to have at least something that works reliably on motorways. Not with the numbers of non-early adopters that are switching to EVs now and in the very near future.
 

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The assumption is other networks have lots of money. They don't. They're awash with debt too.
 

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EVEZY code d55d6 *** Try my car cost calculator
'19 BMW i3 120Ah / '20 Hyundai Kona 64kWh
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The assumption is other networks have lots of money. They don't. They're awash with debt too.
I have it on pretty good authority that at least a few of the top networks are willing, right now, to fund upgrades to charging facilities at MSAs where EcoT currently has no intention to do anything.

Ultimately, they are finding the funds to pay for the establishment of their own new sites all over the country, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t fund the upgrade of existing MSA charging facilities.

There’d need to be some of deal sorted out, which would likely require Government intervention.
 

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EVEZY code d55d6 *** Try my car cost calculator
'19 BMW i3 120Ah / '20 Hyundai Kona 64kWh
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Interesting blog post from Ionity — didn’t realise they use some battery storage to address supply constraints at certain sites.... including in the UK

141179


 

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EVEZY code d55d6 *** Try my car cost calculator
'19 BMW i3 120Ah / '20 Hyundai Kona 64kWh
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Did Ecotricity shoot themselves in the foot by giving electricity away free of charge for so many years? That must have killed them, I'd have thought.
 

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Reading through that pdf it looks like instavolt got a wedge of cash for expanding their charger provision from the CIF money. Perhaps they should do the same with osprey too and get them to do any MSAs with no CCS and just chuck ecotricty straight off those as they're failing to provide the statutory standard rapid connector?
 

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so there’s no reason why they couldn’t fund the upgrade of existing MSA charging facilities.
Where the amount of footfall (EVfall?) would be significant. It there was a decent charging network along the motorways, why go anywhere else on a long journey. Do we really want to make detours if we don't have to?
 
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Networks should look at the "Freewire Boost" units that BP Pulse have started installing.
A 120kW chargepoint that only needs a 27kW connection due to having a 160kW onboard battery it can trickle charge between vends.
 

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EVEZY code d55d6 *** Try my car cost calculator
'19 BMW i3 120Ah / '20 Hyundai Kona 64kWh
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Networks should look at the "Freewire Boost" units that BP Pulse have started installing.
A 120kW chargepoint that only needs a 27kW connection due to having a 160kW onboard battery it can trickle charge between vends.
Yes indeed — we could literally be tearing out the existing DBT units at MSAs and installing maybe one normal 50kW unit (or maybe one of the brand new 75kw Tritium units — subject to local supply) and one Freewire unit.

The Freewire units max input is 240V at 150A ...so 36k, but they can put out 120kW.

So zero supply work would be necessary - just rip out the old tat and plonk these on the ground.

We could have been doing these throughout the last year during lockdown so we were at least a little bit ready for the forthcoming avalanche of new EVs, and all the staycationing lots of us will be doing.

Bordering on negligence that nothing has been done to get a short-term fix in place by now.


 

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Networks should look at the "Freewire Boost" units that BP Pulse have started installing.
A 120kW chargepoint that only needs a 27kW connection due to having a 160kW onboard battery it can trickle charge between vends.
I love the idea of these chargers but haven't heard of them before. It doesn't inspire confidence that you say BP were the first to use it, given the fact that they rarely seem to have good ideas. Their ultracharge units for example are truly awful.

Hopefully I'm proven wrong and these chargers turn out to be really good and see a widespread roll out in future, but for now I remain skeptical.
 

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I think Freewire units are all well and good for now while there aren’t that many EVs on the road and they’ll have down time between charging EVs to recharge their own batteries. But they’re not a long-term solution when EV ownership increases. I’d hate for people responsible for infrastructure to get complacent and use these as a long-term solution instead of just part-mitigation in the short term while we get the right grid connections put in.
 

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Networks should look at the "Freewire Boost" units that BP Pulse have started installing.
A 120kW chargepoint that only needs a 27kW connection due to having a 160kW onboard battery it can trickle charge between vends.
Yes, the superhub approach with dozens of chargers in one location but well away from motorway routes may at first seem like progress, but you have to ask what is needed by EV drivers and what makes a sustainable EV charging business model?
Multiple reliable charging facilities offering food and rest facilities directly off the motorways and major trunk routes is what people want and is needed to encourage EV use.
The business model must be based on maximising the use of each charger, and here, a provision which closely matches the need and can be expanded to match demand is more likely to be financially sustainable.
Also, making use of existing service areas as found at MSAs and other major service areas is clearly cheaper than reproviding these facilities on greenfield sites.
I suspect this is what government funding was meant to achieve and ecotricity got in early probably based on false promises and inaccurate financial modelling. I guess it would have looked odd for a government to throw money at the oil companies and also I expect the oil companies couldn't make the finances stack up at that time.
So what should happen now?
Dept of Transport need to model future EV traffic and work out where charging facilities will be needed over the next 20 years and then subsidies should only be given based on providing facilities on these sites. Every subsidy must be based on robust financial modelling which identifies how maintenance and refresh will be managed while still providing profits for investors.
Easy.
 

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Yes, the superhub approach with dozens of chargers in one location but we'll away from motorway routes may at first seem like progress, but you have to ask what is needed by EV drivers and what makes a sustainable EV charging business model?
Multiple reliable charging facilities offering food and rest facilities directly off the motorways and major trunk routes is what people want and is needed to encourage EV use
The business model must be based on maximising the use of each charger, and here, a provision which closely matches the need and can be expanded to match demand is more likely to be financially sustainable.
Also, making use of existing service areas as found at MSAs and other major service areas is clearly cheaper than reproviding these facilities on greenfield sites.
I suspect this is what government funding was meant to achieve and ecotricity got in early probably based on false promises and inaccurate financial modelling. I guess it would have looked odd for a government to throw money at the oil companies and also I expect the oil companies couldn't make the finances stack up at that time.
So what should happen now?
Dept of Transport need to model future EV traffic and work out where charging facilities will be needed over the next 20 years and then subsidies should only be given based on providing facilities on these sites. Every subsidy must be based on robust financial modelling which identifies how maintenance and refresh will be managed while still providing profits for investors.
Easy.
My intent with mentioning those chargers was simply to show that each of Ecotricity's decrepit old DBT units could be replaced with pairs of shiny new high power units, without upgrading the incoming electricity supply.
 

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EVEZY code d55d6 *** Try my car cost calculator
'19 BMW i3 120Ah / '20 Hyundai Kona 64kWh
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I think Freewire units are all well and good for now while there aren’t that many EVs on the road and they’ll have down time between charging EVs to recharge their own batteries. But they’re not a long-term solution when EV ownership increases. I’d hate for people responsible for infrastructure to get complacent and use these as a long-term solution instead of just part-mitigation in the short term while we get the right grid connections put in.
Yes, not a long-term solution for MSAs and other high traffic locations, but potentially a long-term solution for more out-of-the-way locations which won’t be seeing such a high turnover of vehicles needing to charge. Also, with lower power supply requirements, it should be technically easier to just add more units as and when demand increases. There’s also the possibility/probability that other units like the Freewire Boost will come to market which follow the same principle but which can take a higher power input (but still less than the power requirement for a normal HPC) and so recharge the internal battery faster, and/or have a larger internal battery so each unit can serve more cars, more frequently.
 
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