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So I was at a car festival recently talking to a fellow Honda insight mk1 owner about a terrible experience that Id had a few months back. One huge issue with Honda, and one with Polar charging network.

So my wife and I finally bought a 2011 Nissan leaf japanese import 24kwh just before Christmas from an ebay seller in Derby, battery owned for £5,250. Great price, only one bar lost on the battery and close enough to us that we drove it home. One catch, it had no heat coming out of the heater and it was winter and my wife is pregnant.

I spent lots of time researching replacement heaters online. I wanted to make sure that I didn't just throw money at the problem and have something that might just again break.

First we approached Nissan local to us. They quoted my wife £5500 for a replacement DCDC junction box and a new heater (yes that is more that we paid for the car). Turns out the DCDC junction box didn't need replacing but Nissan never did that test they just plugged in their computer and gave us a ridiculous quote. We found out only because a company called Indra ltd in Malvern who did fix our car's heater for £1200 told us that the DCDC junction box didn't need swapping out (even if it did its normally a £5 fuse in the DCDC that blows). Car heater has worked fine for months so I'm totally inclined to believe them and think that Nissan are not really performing the duty of care to their customer base you would like them too.

Also, recently they have broken the smartphone application so I cannot turn on the heater remotely anymore which is another black mark against their name.

I have told the mechanic at Stockport Westway Nissan to see if their is anyway they could pass on the issues we had up the chain but I got no response so I am trying the less subtle approach of voicing my concerns online.

Next comes my rant about Polar.
So I have a cold Nissan leaf that we drive from Manchester to Malvern. We stay a couple of lovely days and the cars heater is fixed. Next we plan to drive to my cousin's house in Newport. It is the week of very bleak weather, tabloids brand it the "beast from the east". I plan the trip on zap map to use the nearest rapid chargers. I find there is one at the headquarters of GB electrical in Hereford near to Malvern. Although the heater now works I can only make use of it sporadically to clear the windscreen else I drain the battery too much to make the distance in the cold weather between the chargers.

Before I set of I made sure I signed up as a member of the polar charge network on their app and bought some credit. Turns out Polar are really the only rapid charge network as you go further south in Wales. So I figure this will be fine and set off. Turns out the cold was so extreme that we only just make it to the charger with the Guessometer in the leaf giving up completely and turning to --- (three dashes). The temp has dropped to -9 degrees C. I connect up the Chademo of the rapid(ultra) charger to the leaf and call the 24/7 number on the unit. The call doesn't get through so I then knock on the door of the GB electrical folks HQ who help install these rapid chargers but don't operate them. The chap is helpful and prompts me to try again as typically they don't have these issues normally. (this guy wasn't from Polar).

I should state here that I have a 16 month old boy, a 26 week pregnant wife and a husky in the car. All of which I am worried for since we don't have heat in the car since the battery is very flat. I am worried to turn the car off incase it doesn't come back on.

I try calling the 24/7 line again and hear a male welsh voice in a call centre. He asks me if I'm a customer which I believe I am since I have signed up via the app that day. He informs me that I'm not since they have different access methods to use the rapid and the level 2 charger next to it and that my £10 has only got me access to the Level 2 charger. I am gobsmacked by this response and try to explained the extreme of the situation given the weather and my wife's condition. He then put me on hold in the freezing cold as he has to talk to his manager to initiate a remote start to the Chademo (my hands are freezing in the cold at this point). This fails and gives the error message that the car is incompatible with the rapid charger. That can not be true, it's a LEAF (most common EV in the UK). So we try again and again it fails with the same error. I now believe that the Chademo on our leaf will not work if the car is already on. so you may have to turn the car off before connecting to the rapid charger. I didn't know or realise this at the time but neither did the polar rep who only let us try twice.

This situation where a charge wont initiate when the car is still on has happened with subsequent different network rapid chargers (and they have worked once I turn the car off) but I am yet to try again on a polar rapid as there are none near me and I am so soured on the experience of being talked to like a moron by some prat in a call centre that I feel I don't want to give them anymore of my money. I have tried to contact them on there website but there is little in the way of a platform to voice concerns.

During and after the chap on the phone from polar reiterates that he can not keep remote starting all the chargers down to Newport so this automatically changes my travel plans as I cant now use their chargers without the RFID card that I cant get on the go (it has to be sent in the post).

I then figure we need a plan b so I plug our cable into the Level 2 charger and start the car charging at 3.6kw/h (I don't have a 6.6kw/h as 2011 didn't have that option). we get on the phone to our bank who gives us car recovery as part of our mortgage. We charge until they arrive, the polar app then crashes on my p8lite phone and I have to ring the polar company again to get my cable released from their Level 2 charger.

I don't really understand why the policy of polar is to have contradictory mechanisms to connect your car, and have customer service people who tell you a) you are not a customer and b) you cant have access because you didn't have a card you didn't know you needed. In any other sales environment this would be a huge potential area to upsell your product but their guy did exactly the opposite. I don't think at this point I have anything good to say about them and I'm upset that they are the most expanding company in the charge network in the UK.

once our recovery vehicle got us to Worcester we charged at a CYC rapid charger with no issues, the Ecotricity chargers all the way back up the motorway to Manchester. Anyway, Our leaf has been faultless since and we both really enjoy driving it. I wish that Nissan would offer realistic repair prices and hope that Polar start reviewing the way that they are handling the customer calls.

I know I sound like a miserable git but I'm honestly not.
regards Andy
 

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Madam Legurtz
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In the Government (and EU's) draft legal framework for EV and Autonomous Vehicles legislation they are mandating that Charger infrastructure must support Contactless, which should hopefully spell the end of episodes such as yours.
 

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Welcome to the crazy mixed up world of UK charging networks!

It is a mess, although to be honest, a bit of research before setting off would have let you understand the different charging methods on the Leaf and that Polar run two different networks and almost all of the rapid chargers are on Polar Instant which is subscription with the card.

I'd never considered the issue about thinking you could leave the car switched on to try and charge. I assume it's mentioned in the manual but after all, you wouldn't leave an ICE car running when putting fuel in, so an EV shouldn't be any different. You can of course go into ACC mode to keep your new heater running.
 

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In the Government (and EU's) draft legal framework for EV and Autonomous Vehicles legislation they are mandating that Charger infrastructure must support Contactless, which should hopefully spell the end of episodes such as yours.
There is no such mandate, only mandatory roaming is in the bill. Unless there has been a recent amendment you can link to?
 

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Welcome. I was a bit confused by your first paragraph as wasn't sure what Honda EV you had?

I am sorry to hear about your experience and it clearly happened at the worst time with that awful weather. You were very brave to make those sort of journeys in such cold with a pregnant wife and a Leaf 24, but I guess you had no choice to get it fixed at an affordable cost. Let's hope you don't get any other major faults, but it reminds me why I wouldn't have an EV without warranty!

The only chargers available on Polar Instant are those listed in the app. In November this year all their chargers will have to be made available, due to the AFIR which came into effect last November. However, the Instant app isn't very good, as you found out.
 

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There is no such mandate, only mandatory roaming is in the bill. Unless there has been a recent amendment you can link to?
It doesn't directly, but it does (according to the explanatory notes) enable a common method of payment or access to be mandated in regulations (that are created by the Secretary of State). Of course, all it does is give the Secretary of State the ability to mandate, which doesn't mean that they will.
 

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Madam Legurtz
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There is no such mandate, only mandatory roaming is in the bill. Unless there has been a recent amendment you can link to?
Ah, I may have read too much into the relevant commentary in the proposed Bill dated 30.01.2018.
See:
9.1, 9.2 and 11.2(d)

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0082/18082.pdf

From: Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill 2017-19 — UK Parliament

However, in a pathetic attempt at mitigation, this document "Impact Assessment" does hint at some uniformities ...

https://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA17-008B.pdf

See 7.2.1.2
Although Roaming has made it into the Bill I did feel encouraged to read in the Impact Assessment "Mandating specific payment method at each chargepoint – for example mandating every publically available chargepoint to implement the infrastructure necessary to facilitate chip and pin payments. "

And .... "In 2018, 100% of all publically available chargepoints are to be retrofitted to support chip and pin payment within 1 year."


My bad :)
 

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An epic rant. But mostly self-inflicted it has to be said. You took delivery of the car without testing all functions so left with a defective heater. Thankfully @Mike Schooling at Indra was able to fix the heater without ripping you off over un-necessary work. Your own lack of preparation over the various charging systems then led to the Polar experience as well as your attempts to charge with the car still switched on - operator error. The Polar guy would not even consider mentioning that the car must be switched off. A steep learning curve for sure but at times personal responsibility must be taken for such events.
 

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Ah, I may have read too much into the relevant commentary in the proposed Bill dated 30.01.2018.
See:
9.1, 9.2 and 11.2(d)

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0082/18082.pdf

From: Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill 2017-19 — UK Parliament

However, in a pathetic attempt at mitigation, this document "Impact Assessment" does hint at some uniformities ...

https://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA17-008B.pdf

See 7.2.1.2
Although Roaming has made it into the Bill I did feel encouraged to read in the Impact Assessment "Mandating specific payment method at each chargepoint – for example mandating every publically available chargepoint to implement the infrastructure necessary to facilitate chip and pin payments. "

And .... "In 2018, 100% of all publically available chargepoints are to be retrofitted to support chip and pin payment within 1 year."


My bad :)
My understanding is that the government did consider the idea but strong lobbying from charge providers nixed it due to costs, estimates of which are in impact statement.

Personally I feel they should have kept it for rapid chargers - I can see the argument for not providing on slow posts for now. Long term there should be 50 AC posts (max 22kW) in a car park and perhaps two card payment machines. I can dream :rolleyes:
 

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Madam Legurtz
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My understanding is that the government did consider the idea but strong lobbying from charge providers nixed it due to costs, estimates of which are in impact statement.

Personally I feel they should have kept it for rapid chargers - I can see the argument for not providing on slow posts for now. Long term there should be 50 AC posts (max 22kW) in a car park and perhaps two card payment machines. I can dream :rolleyes:
Its a shame really as everything is going Contactless using bank cards and smart devices (even contactless chips embedded in jewellery such as rings and bracelets). I can't but help think the "industry" is selling its customers short and Contactless will prevail eventually. An inevitability, in my opinion.

But yes, the cost differences between Chip & PIN and Roaming are an order of difference. Perhaps Roaming will deliver for both the provider and the Customer (intentional capitalisation).

Early days though. As they used to say on Thunderbirds ... Anything can happen in the next half hour. Well, maybe not half an hour :D
 

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@whereswally606 Welcome along. Despite most of us on here being fairly knowledgeable about charging there are times we encounter a different system that doesnt work like any other!! Realiability of rapids is the main problem though. Never really on one working, always have a plan b and preferably a plan c. The cost of repairs of older EVs is worrying and the amount of knowledge your supposed to have before you buy and operate one is plainly bonkers. Glad your enjoying the Leaf and suffice to say it does get easier over time with charging.
 

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don't really understand why the policy of polar is to have contradictory mechanisms to connect your car, and have customer service people who tell you a) you are not a customer and b) you cant have access because you didn't have a card you didn't know you needed. In any other sales environment this would be a huge potential area to upsell your product but their guy did exactly the opposite. I don't think at this point I have anything good to say about them and I'm upset that
Yup. That's PissPoorPolar alright.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
An epic rant. But mostly self-inflicted it has to be said. You took delivery of the car without testing all functions so left with a defective heater. Thankfully @Mike Schooling at Indra was able to fix the heater without ripping you off over un-necessary work. Your own lack of preparation over the various charging systems then led to the Polar experience as well as your attempts to charge with the car still switched on - operator error. The Polar guy would not even consider mentioning that the car must be switched off. A steep learning curve for sure but at times personal responsibility must be taken for such events.
you certainly are what your name suggests, btw I did know before buying the car that it had the heater fault so no mistake there. I didn't and could not have know beforehand the cost of replacing that heater so I feel that you are making me out to be a fool there, which I don't think I was. Thankfully Jay @ Indra sorted this.

I will admit I was underprepared for the polar trip chargers but it is I believe because they are still in the dark ages given the ubiquity of chip and pin devices and good mobile apps.

Operator error on the car being switched on? Why are people comparing EV to petrol and diesel cars in the respect of things needing to be on or off. EVs are just computers on wheels. Why they should need to be turned off is a nonsense, and a design flaw. Also having searched for this online I have found no details of this requirement anywhere so if it is operator error there should be handy online guide detailing all the steps needed to rapid charge. Infact it should be on the charger units themselves.

I'm sure with this responses I have only made you more cheery as I believe you are only trying to troll me. I do take responsibility for my actions and I got my family safely home. Anyway, I posted the initial post to ensure that others at least learnt from my experience not to have some stranger accuse me of being negligent.

Thanks to everyone else who posted, nobody else seemed to imply I was totally at fault. (maybe they were all being kind)
 

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Thanks to everyone else who posted, nobody else seemed to imply I was totally at fault. (maybe they were all being kind)
I think most people recognise that joining the EV crowd currently isn't easy and try to go gently on newcomers. You certainly stretched us with that rant though ;)

Let's hope things do get easier or mass adoption will never happen :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ive actually been using EVs for about 10 years although they are e-bikes, since I've never had the money for a full EV and electric cars haven't been practical for the range required by my commute till recently. In that sense I wouldn't call myself a newby. I even installed my own podpoint 2nd hand charger off ebay the other day with the final termination done by a p certed sparky.

Companies providing bad service should be called out on it else they just keep doing the same things believing they don't have any issues.

I think things will get better, I think that mass adoption is going to happen, but only because eventually one day it wont make economic sense to run a non-EV. Also there will be a lot of ex corporate lease EVs on sale and the trickle down effect will help people like me who want to be green but cant afford the initial cost a way in.

Also I didn't want to be tied into a car lease or battery lease. Hence why I sort of lucked out on a lowish mileage 2011 battery owned Leaf (albeit with a dodgy heater that I knew about).

I retrospect I've been looking at ways to not be reliant on the rapid chargers. The was a chap from Metric mind in the US who put 3 Brusa chargers boosting his 3.3kw output of his 2011 leaf to 13kw needing not direct interface to the can network. He did a really nice job but not cheap. About £3-4k. Brusa now make a 22kw charger too, so that's also another expensive option.

Now, I wont do the following for several reasons. But... it is possible to buy very cheaply 12v server power supplies or ever 51.4v ones. which could be put in series to get higher voltages (if they have the DC grounds severed on all but one). (a lot of diy ebikers use such a setup to charge big packs) I have worked out you could use 5 or 6 server powersupplies, link each to an 80v capable DCDC boost and the series the outputs to get near the voltage required by a LEAF. Then you might be able to use these instead of the purpose built Brusas. This however is forgetting all the safety concerns with High voltage and using things for which they were not initially designed, plus putting a lot of faith in cheaply built electronics.

Now I feel I'm hugely off topic but I thought I throw the idea out here while it had a good audience from the initial rant.
 

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I will admit I was underprepared for the polar trip chargers but it is I believe because they are still in the dark ages given the ubiquity of chip and pin devices and good mobile apps.
I have never understood why EV drivers have been subjected to an array of special RFID cards and apps.

Also having searched for this online I have found no details of this requirement anywhere
It's on page CH-3 of my edition of the manual - "When charging the Li-ion battery, place the power switch in the OFF position. When the power switch is in the ON position, the Li-ion battery will not start charging."

The manual then goes on the state that you can turn on navigation and climate on while charging. I'm curious as to whether or not it will start charging if nav or climate are on (my bet is that it won't). It's not something I've ever tried - I tend not to leave the car switched on when I get out as I can't stand the beeping.

Infact it should be on the charger units themselves.
Only if it's not car specific. A different model of car might behave differently.
 
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