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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
Complete newbie here. I’ve traded in my hybrid and have gone for a used 2017 94Ah BEV i3. We’re picking it up on Wednesday and I’m excited and nervous! There is so much information to digest, it’s overwhelming! I found the BMW i3 guide helpful.

I was after some advice:

There are a lot of different options for a charge point at home and I’m none the wiser after reading up about the various different ones, so as I’m with Octopus energy, I am considering their offer (7kW EO Mini Smart Home, including standard installation and OLEV grant, at a limited discounted rate from £369 for a universal charger or from £429 for tethered). Are there any known issues with the EO mini smart? BMW are giving me a phase 3 charger - so does this mean I don’t need a tethered charger?

I suspect it could take a while before this is installed, and I’m quite nervous about plugging into a normal socket - because I don’t have an outdoor socket and I would need an extension cable. I would love some tips regarding this. I’m assuming I need some kind of specialist extension for outdoors?

(I’ll be doing less than 60 miles a week).

Any general tips for a complete novice? Or further reading to swot up?

Finally do I need specialist insurance??

Thanks for reading this far!
127790
 

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2019 Renault Zoe R110 (ZE40)
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Welcome! I hope you enjoy your new car. The i3 is a pretty fun car to drive.

There are tons of different home charging stations you can opt for and they all have their own pros and cons. I'm personally a fan of Pod Point. They have been pretty good in my experience both with their home and public charging stations.

I recommend getting a 7kW (if your home electrical supply is suitable for this) tethered charger. You're getting an i3 so it has the type 2 connector, universal now, so will still be good in the future. And it means you don't have to use your cable except for at the public stations. A little less hassle and handling of wet, muddy wires.

I assume you mean a 3-Phase charger? You may want to have the dealer clarify what they mean. You likely won't have 3-Phase power at home (for faster charging) so I assume they mean they will give you a 3 Phase cable, which will allow you to charge at up to 11kW while out and about on AC.

If you're charging with an extension lead, be sure that it's not wound up or tangled. It will be slow but should be fine as long as its rated for a continuous high current draw, waterproof and doesn't become hot etc.

Take a look at Zap Map. See if there are any public charge stations around you. If you're doing such a small mileage I'd probably just recommend using them while you wait. Of course you'll need to see what networks operate the chargers around you to find out if you need a membership card, app or whatever to gain access. Do this now, so you are hopefully all set in time for getting the car.

You don't need any sort of specialist insurance with an EV as long as you own the battery too (on an i3, you will do, so don't worry). Just run the car on a comparison site and you'll find plenty of quotes. Obviously some insurers are better than others with EVs. I hear Direct Line and LV seem to be amongst the best in terms of electric courtesy cars for example.

One thing you may need to be more careful with is breakdown cover, if you opt to take out a policy. A lot of the time your cheapest options exclude EVs, so that's one to watch out for.

Have a play around with the car once you get it. While it does have a few quirks that go against the average design of a car, it's pretty easy to pick up. Of course if you have any questions at that point you know where to find up for advice :)
 

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Welcome to the mad world of EVs.
Others can cover other issues but as I am using it today if you are using an extension cable get one that can take 13 amps plus for 10 hours or so. I have bought a Tough Lead extension , fully water proof and designed for charging EVs. An extension from your local DIY centre will melt and also the plug on the i3 charger is somewhat oversize so you need a special socket to accommodate it. At friends this weekend so using it in anger during this weekend.
If you have solar like me a Zappi Charger is great ?

See photo of Frunk bag. 15 meter Tough Lead, granny charge, high viz vests, fire extinguish and tyre stuff
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PS the electric vehicle LV policy is very competitive- word of warning - I was with LV on my ICE car wanted to change policy to i3. Phoned up they quoted me £600. I then went in price comparison site and found LV quoted £300! Phoned again, they said yes we just change the vehicle on your old policy. The other is a dedicated EV policy (but of course they don’t want to point you to this!) So who ever you are with go on a price comparison site to double check things you could save loads.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for responding - I will have purchase the tough lead as recommended.

we do have solar..however in all honesty I’m not actually sure how/if it works! Our house was a new build and it came with it - need to dig out the paperwork
 

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Welcome! I hope you enjoy your new car. The i3 is a pretty fun car to drive.

There are tons of different home charging stations you can opt for and they all have their own pros and cons. I'm personally a fan of Pod Point. They have been pretty good in my experience both with their home and public charging stations.

I recommend getting a 7kW (if your home electrical supply is suitable for this) tethered charger. You're getting an i3 so it has the type 2 connector, universal now, so will still be good in the future. And it means you don't have to use your cable except for at the public stations. A little less hassle and handling of wet, muddy wires.

I assume you mean a 3-Phase charger? You may want to have the dealer clarify what they mean. You likely won't have 3-Phase power at home (for faster charging) so I assume they mean they will give you a 3 Phase cable, which will allow you to charge at up to 11kW while out and about on AC.

If you're charging with an extension lead, be sure that it's not wound up or tangled. It will be slow but should be fine as long as its rated for a continuous high current draw, waterproof and doesn't become hot etc.

Take a look at Zap Map. See if there are any public charge stations around you. If you're doing such a small mileage I'd probably just recommend using them while you wait. Of course you'll need to see what networks operate the chargers around you to find out if you need a membership card, app or whatever to gain access. Do this now, so you are hopefully all set in time for getting the car.

You don't need any sort of specialist insurance with an EV as long as you own the battery too (on an i3, you will do, so don't worry). Just run the car on a comparison site and you'll find plenty of quotes. Obviously some insurers are better than others with EVs. I hear Direct Line and LV seem to be amongst the best in terms of electric courtesy cars for example.

One thing you may need to be more careful with is breakdown cover, if you opt to take out a policy. A lot of the time your cheapest options exclude EVs, so that's one to watch out for.

Have a play around with the car once you get it. While it does have a few quirks that go against the average design of a car, it's pretty easy to pick up. Of course if you have any questions at that point you know where to find up for advice :)
Thank you for responding. The paper work says phase 3 - but the guy who sold the car to me told me it would be the lead that would allow me to charge up in 4h - which looking at the booklet he gave me is a single phase lead?
 

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Thank you for responding. The paper work says phase 3 - but the guy who sold the car to me told me it would be the lead that would allow me to charge up in 4h - which looking at the booklet he gave me is a single phase lead?
Your car should have a 3-Phase AC charger on board, but as I understand it that comes as standard with the i3 though the standard BMW cable is indeed only single phase, with a 3-phase cable costing extra.

Depending on where you live you may not even have any 3-phase AC charging posts around you, so it may not even be worth worrying about anyways. 7kW is single phase, and the standard cable should definitely be capable of that, which is more or less the standard around the UK at the moment.

Especially if your car has CCS (By 2017 I'm almost certain this came as standard on ALL i3's) you can just go to a rapid charger which has its own tethered cable to get a quick top up in about 30 minutes or so.
 

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Thank you for responding. The paper work says phase 3 - but the guy who sold the car to me told me it would be the lead that would allow me to charge up in 4h - which looking at the booklet he gave me is a single phase lead?
That sounds like he's talking about a type-2 charging cable (not a charger). The standard BMW one is 3-phase. (Ok, maybe it isn't, see below). This cable doesn't have any smarts in it. It's just a fat power lead.

You'd use this to connect to 3.6/7kW (single-phase 16/32A) or 11/22kW (3 phase 16/32A) public charge-points. Alternatively you would use it to connect to an untethered charge-point at home.

The i3 can max 32A single phase or 16A 3-phase, so that's 7kW or 11kW, which in practice isn't a huge difference, but it's nice to have the 3-phase cable so you can take advantage of that little boost if it's available.

Most type-2 charge-points you meet are 7kW, so hence the 4hours. 95% of home charge-points are single-phase 7kW units too, because houses don't tend to have a 3-phase supply in the UK. Sounds like the dealer is actually being a good guy and setting your expectation for what you'll see most often, even though the car and cable are capable of being quicker.
 

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That sounds like he's talking about a type-2 charging cable (not a charger). The standard BMW one is 3-phase.
Are you sure about that? I've worked with fleets of them and had to unbox stacks of BMW Type 2 cables that all specifically said they were 1-phase. If my memory serves me correctly the delivery sheets all said that a 'public charge cable' as they call it was a paid extra even for that stadard one, never mind the 3-phase. Only the granny cable was supplied free with the ones I have experience of.
 

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About insurance, seem everyone have to shop around
LV are cheap for some people but very expensive for the others. So far the lowest for me is admiral and pluginsure. Worth try getting quote from different booker
 

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Are you sure about that? I've worked with fleets of them and had to unbox stacks of BMW Type 2 cables that all specifically said they were 1-phase. If my memory serves me correctly the delivery sheets all said that a 'public charge cable' as they call it was a paid extra even for that stadard one, never mind the 3-phase. Only the granny cable was supplied free with the ones I have experience of.
As you say, the standard BMW public charging cable is single phase 7kWs. BMW also offers a three phase cable that allows the user to charge the car at 11kWs on a suitable charging point. The good news is that if the dealer is offering a 3 phase cable it will work OK on a 7kW single phase post.

Home Charging stations. If you are thinking of staying with Octopus then I would consider the Ohme Wallbox and the Agile tariff. Last night, Octopus paid me to charge my car. The Ohme Wallbox uses the Octopus API to set the cheapest charging times.
 

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Are you sure about that? I've worked with fleets of them and had to unbox stacks of BMW Type 2 cables that all specifically said they were 1-phase. If my memory serves me correctly the delivery sheets all said that a 'public charge cable' as they call it was a paid extra even for that stadard one, never mind the 3-phase. Only the granny cable was supplied free with the ones I have experience of.
I'll take your word for it. The BMW one I have is 3-phase, but I guess all their hybrid cars are single phase only. Not sure if I have the box still, but I think it might have been "The i3 cable". It's the same blue in colour as the i3 badging.

It was after-market.
 

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Thank you for responding - I will have purchase the tough lead as recommended.

we do have solar..however in all honesty I’m not actually sure how/if it works! Our house was a new build and it came with it - need to dig out the paperwork
The Zappi is able to utilise any excess power from solar and push it into the car when plugged. So can fast charge, ECO and ECO+ check out the myenergi website but do get advice. So using the Zappi I can put a few kw into the vehicle from excess power that would normally go to the grid.
 

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Home Charging stations. If you are thinking of staying with Octopus then I would consider the Ohme Wallbox and the Agile tariff. Last night, Octopus paid me to charge my car. The Ohme Wallbox uses the Octopus SPI to set the cheapest charging times.
It's a pretty rare event though, and a lot of the time Agile is above the 5p rate on Octopus Go. It the 7-8p average outside of peak that put me on Agile. Brings the price of running the house down too.
 

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It's a pretty rare event though, and a lot of the time Agile is above the 5p rate on Octopus Go. It the 7-8p average outside of peak that put me on Agile. Brings the price of running the house down too.
GO; GO Faster or Agile? The key determinant is how often you need to charge your EV. I have been on all three tariffs and Agile works out to be cheaper for me but the difference isn’t big bucks.
 

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I'll take your word for it. The BMW one I have is 3-phase, but I guess all their hybrid cars are single phase only. Not sure if I have the box still, but I think it might have been "The i3 cable". It's the same blue in colour as the i3 badging.

It was after-market.
I have both. The 3 phase cable is a lot heavier than its single phase brother. Branding is the same but with different part numbers.
 

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I took up Octopus on the discounted EO Mini Pro about 7 months ago. I went for untethered, because I didn't want my drive to look like a garage forecourt. I went for the EO device for the same reason. It is small and discreet. It needs an earthing spike, but they fitted that inside the garage, so it's not visible outside the house. I have seen some installations which have not been done well; a nice discreet box, but with a spaghetti junction of cables all over the place. There is no need for that. Initially when it was installed the installer did something wrong and it didn't work. They came back and sorted it out quickly though. In the meantime EO were fantastic. I e-mailed them and the MD rang me personally within a couple of hours. I have never known customer care like it. The device is discreet and works well. I'm usually charging from about 40% or so, and it does that within the 4 hour Octopus cheap tariff time window on my 120 amphr i3. It is controlled through the Juicenet app, which has mixed reviews, but I've had no problems. You can set charging windows (although you can do that through the car as well), and you can also charge to less than full (which isn't selectable through the car), so it gives you lots of options. I would highly recommend both EO and Octopus. Make sure you don't scrimp on the extension lead. I suggest tough leads. They are designed to house the outsize plug in the waterproof protector.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you everyone for your replies and suggestions, really appreciate the advice. Super excited to be picking it up on Wednesday to have a play. Hopefully the dealership will have fully charged it!
 

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Thank you everyone for your replies and suggestions, really appreciate the advice. Super excited to be picking it up on Wednesday to have a play. Hopefully the dealership will have fully charged it!
I suggest you get in touch ahead of collection and request it's fully charged if you're hoping for that. It seems to be one of them oversights by dealers a lot of the time. I've collected a car from Nissan before that had about 30% battery remaining despite there being a rapid charger and 7kW AC post in their car park, both fully functional and vacant.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I suggest you get in touch ahead of collection and request it's fully charged if you're hoping for that. It seems to be one of them oversights by dealers a lot of the time. I've collected a car from Nissan before that had about 30% battery remaining despite there being a rapid charger and 7kW AC post in their car park, both fully functional and vacant.
Thank you for that tip! Will be stressful with a toddler and new born otherwise!
 
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