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Discussion Starter #1
I hope I'm allowed to have a bit of a rant to make me feel a bit better.
I have been an EV owner for a week now. I am waiting for a Zappi installation so have had to try the local chargepoints so that I can do a longish trip at the weekend.
This is my experience this week:
1. Chargemaster Polar at a Toby Carvery pub in Woodford: Someone had pressed the emergency button so I phoned the helpline who tried to reset a couple of times without success.
2. Chargemaster Polar on the A1400: 2 parking spaces, 1 iced. I managed to squeeze into the other space and attempted a charge. It accepted my contactless card, but went no further. Helpline did a reset but still wouldn't connect to car. I went home and did a quick charge using the cable through window trick.
3. Intended using a local char,gy lamppost chargepoint but I needed a residents permit so gave up.
4. I drove to IKEA Edmonton for a quick charge. There was a Leaf charging so I waited for it to finish. The Ecotricity app was good - it told me when the chargepoint became free. I plugged in but it wouldn't connect on CCS. Is this common? I gave up and went home.
5. Tried the chargemaster post in Leyton. When I arrived both sockets were free although the app showed one in use and one free. The parking spaces are very small, only suitable for a small car. I plugged in but couldn't get a charge. I called the helpline who said it was a new post and not yet commissioned. I told him it had been there for a year or so (it's on streetview), so he checked it again and said he was unable to communicate with it.
6. I tried the Polar in Asda Leyton. There are four sockets, two free, and after having to reset my polar instant password, I at last managed a charge at 3.5kW. At least I proved the app works.
Now I'm out to find a Rapid that is usable.
After my first week I realise that public charging needs to be improved if EVs are to be viable. Who will do it?
 

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1. Usually if an emergency stop button has been pressed you have to rotate the button to reset it.
2. If I remember right you have to scan your contactless card twice to start a charge, the instructions on the screen show you where as it’s on two different card readers.
3. Yeah, what can you do.
4. Yes, CCS is a joke on the DBT ecotricity chargers
5. Yeah, this can be a problem, they really need to just do a free vend mode when they lose comms.
6. 3.5kW is hardly worth plugging in for when I go shopping as it’s only a couple of miles worth.
I think you’ve been really unlucky, I’ve only ever had a complete failure to charge once and that was my own stupid fault for ignoring the app that said both ecotricity chargers were offline (I was hoping at least one of them was just in free vend)
 

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Fred, send your above text to your MP - the only body capable of forcing the various networks to sort themselves are the national government, and we're seeing political statements now indicating a will to encourage the take-up of EVs. Your experience needs to be publicised to them so they can focus and bang some heads together (or at least test the sincerity of their statements on EVs).
My view is that giving financial incentives for charging point installation and vehicle list price reductions only serve to increase the margin on the part of the supplying vendor. Look at the charging point OLEV grant as an example - intrestingly it seems about £500 more expenstive to get an OLEV approved installation than to arrange it yourself (I've installed my own for about £300). Also, the list price of EVs is set by market acceptance, so if there's a grant available, the vendor simply increases the list price to re-balance the market demand (case in point - all EVs are on waiting lists, with e-Niro at 10 months!! - there's no incentive for the vendor to reduce the purchase price).
Therefore, government money (in fact the government DOESN'T HAVE ANY MONEY - it's actually OUR MONEY) would be much better spent in establishing standards and requirement for public charging networks - for example:
1. all networks must clearly display the cost per kwh (pay-as-you-go cost, not subscription or other membership pricing) both electronically (to be interrogated by apps such as zap-map) and in signage at the charger post itself (as petrol stations are required to do today)
2. All networks must be required to provide reliability information (electronically, to apps etc) and keep this accurate and up-to-date. a score-board of reliability should be available to users and consumer groups - probably maintained by gov.co.uk - fines for networks not achieving a required standard.
3. any networks using public grant money to assist it's roll-out must abide by pricing caps applied by government (case in point - Ionity PAYG pricing outrage!)

The above should cost the government a lot less than the current subsidies and give us a fighting chance at influencing the quality of the charging infrastructure. Please shout if you agree, and maybe we could start a petition or something...
Doug (not normally the noisy political type)
 

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Further to the above, I really like "AtTheVan"'s comment regarding free vend if the post can't communicate with home. This achieves the dual objectives of maintaining user reliability (you'll always get a charge) and incentivising the network provider to maintain their reliability. i think this should be a statutory requirement for all government-approved charging posts, to provide free vend if they can't contact their network to establish payment.
 

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Sadly public charging can be a bit of hit and miss. Ecotricity chargers have a reputation for not working with CCS. This has been ongoing ever since CCS started to appear and their only solution seems to be to change the worst offending chargers but to date they have only done a few.

It's worth checking on ZAP map before you head to a charger, they have live status reporting for many rapids and the comments can give you an indication of when they were last used successfully.

Sadly ICE'ing happens far too often. We need every MP to have an EV then they might put some legislation in place that could help.

Some of the old Chargemaster 7kW posts no longer work check before you plan to use them.

Remember you can use Google street maps to see if there are parking restriction signs before you head for a charger.

Charging at home is always the most reliable option.
 

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Hmmmm CCS, let me guess Etron/iPace is the vehicle you have?

Its not just charging spaces that are small but most parking spaces these days :(
 

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Its not just charging spaces that are small but most parking spaces these days :(
It's more like cars have been growing for the last few decades, and car park designers haven't kept up.
Current "recommended" size for UK spaces is 2.4m x 4.8m. The "SizeMark" design mentioned below calls for 2.7m x 5m.
As a contrast, the US recommended size is 2.7m x 5.8m (due to the length of pickup trucks)

 

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Have you got any Instavolt chargers nearby? Worth a try to see how a decent installation is. Multiple chargers at each location, easy contactless payment.
 

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I hope I'm allowed to have a bit of a rant to make me feel a bit better.
Generally, @AtTheVan is on point with his response.

One thing that strikes me is that you've only tried two networks so far. Polar and Ecotricity.

Ecotricity are only worth going to if you don't care if the CCS works or not. For example, you're going to Ikea anyway and already have enough charge to get home. Then again.... in that case why would you pay their price? Don't ever rely on them, because they'll let you down on CCS. (Although you can use the AC at whatever rate your car supports).

Polar, in general have been pretty good for me. I've had one unit (out of about 10) be switched off when I arrived. I think the hotel had switched it off for the night ?. That said, I'm using them through the Polar Instant app rather than contactless. Contactless is still in roll-out I think, and the retrofit on Polar chargers is odd to say the least. Two cards scanners which both need tapping in the right order?

I highly recommend trying a Instavolt, or a Shell. Those are the easiest in my opinion.
 

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Can you use a granny charger at home? Instavolt, my main network are virtually absent from London, London seems a desperate place for charging, drove their in our Aygo in January, first long journey for 1 year that it had. No dual pumps in Harrow nor down M40 from Birmingham, gave up and used the Aygo. Never thought 350m trip to Arran would be easier than a round trip to London.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the replies and helpful suggestions. I don't have many good options locally but I am looking with Zap Map. Most have restrictions or negative points. This afternoon I tried the Geniepoint in a Shell station in Ilford. It wouldn't connect so I called the helpline and they managed to start the charge remotely, although after about two minutes the screen switched off. Luckily the car still showed it was being charged. They asked me to call them back to stop the charge remotely when I was ready. They also warned me to call within 90 minutes or I would incur a £10 penalty charge.
 

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There is no doubt it's a mess. You have to blame government as they failed to ensure that the incentives for installers were directed at providing a reliable and customer focused network. Without checking, one forum member up thread made a very similar point. We know it's possible (Instavolt) so what's behind the cock up?
 

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There is no doubt it's a mess. You have to blame government as they failed to ensure that the incentives for installers were directed at providing a reliable and customer focused network. Without checking, one forum member up thread made a very similar point. We know it's possible (Instavolt) so what's behind the cock up?
Government incentives applied to capital expenditure (buying & installing the chargers), but there was nothing towards operational expenditure (running & maintaining the things!)
 

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With the aging DBT pumps as used by EcoT I have found if a charge fails to start that if you support the weight of the connector until the charging starts it seems to work better, this works for both the CCS and Type 2 connectors, the plugs seem a bit sloppy in the car socket and if you look at the plugs the control pins are at the top so the weight of the cable may be stopping the pins from making a good connection, lifting the connector allows the pins to make a good connection, the plug only needs to be supported until the initiation phase is complete.
 

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The amount of wiggle on the ecotricty connectors is frightening. I used one at rivington with chunks missing out of the plastic surround.
 

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This afternoon I tried the Geniepoint in a Shell station in Ilford.
Just to clarify, when I said Shell were easy, I meant the chargers run by Shell. Not other people's chargers on Shell property.

It's depressing how bad an experience you're having.

Edit: I just had a look on the map. You're right in saying there aren't many options out that way. East London, north of the river is a bit sparse for rapid chargers. I'm not sure exactly where you're based, but Barking has a Shell Recharge (Barking Shell Recharge IG11 9PG - electric car charge points). Stratford International is Engenie - contactless payment - and has 6 CCS chargers too. Everything else is Polar, Geniepoint or Ecotricity.

Looks to me like some london boroughs signed contracts prioritising 3kW chargepoints over anything faster in that region.
 

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Really sorry you have had such a frustrating start to ev ownership. If it’s any consolation you will find your home chargepoint will be your main source of charging and that makes all the difference. Zap-Map and the comments help when planning a long journey but you will always need plans a b and c ready in advance. Ecotricity nearly caused me the ‘flatbed of shame’ recently because their points on the M1 were broken at two successive service stations. Saved. By a 7kwh Pod-Point at a Macdonalds
 
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