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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The charging network is an absolute MESS.
Is very nice to say "there are x times more ev chargers than petrol stations" and so on. But the reality, specially if you need an AC charger, the network is highly de-organised and unreliable.

Reliability:
You cannot just go from A to B and plan a stop on a charger halfway. Most chargers have 1 or 2 bays only and the chances are that they may be out of order , glitchy, not responding, etc. You cannot just plan A to B with a stop in the middle, you have to plan 2-3-4 backup charging spots. Very inconvinient.
Also many cars/chargers ( in particular zoe's with their grounding requirements) just dont get along. that's unacceptable.
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Price/Payment/Memberships/RFIDs
There needs to be a standard in place, like petrol stations have, with clear pricing at the entrance, and dare i say, availability ( 8 bays, 2 used, 6 free) would be nice to have.Although the law tried to make contactless payment accepted by default, many networks are still going around it by charging as much as double if you do so, forcing you to get rfid cards via the post, apps for the phone, a prepaid credit, etc etc. We never needed an app to fill up with fuel, why do we need one to plug in? Why cant this be made simple and more standard like every other self service petrol pump? Dare i say, also accept cash? park car, slot some £1coins and on your charger starts.

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ICE'ing
Too many EV spots are placed in high traffic areas, at the entrance of shopping centers, etc. Meaning that the typical folks that used to park on disable places without a badge, are now parking on EV bays without an EV/Hybrid car. Most times goes unpunished.
If i left my EV parked blocking a petrol station the police/tow truck would be there in 10 min.
EV charging bays need to be at the "back" of car parks, etc to solve this issue and severe fines for those who block them.
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Charging bays placement/locations/speeds
Way too many charging locations are simply in restricted areas and out of reach. for "hotel clients only", for restaurant clients only, inside paid car parks, inside park and rides, etc etc. This means that if you have 10 charging stations in your area, you may actually only be able to access 2 or 3 of them at night for example. There seems to be a badly placement on where fast/slow chargers go too.
City centers where people park for 2-3-4-5 hours at once would benefit more from having MANY LONG STAY (2-8 hours) parking with slower charging (3-7kW) rather than 2 350kW chargersthat may or may not be free and require you to come back in 45min totake your car out of get fined.
This could also be done by placing a charger in between 4 spots so the same charger could be accessed by any of those 4 bays and not be automatically unavailable if a single car parks on that bay ( image below)
Faster chargers would be best suited in motorway/main routes "in the middle of nowhere", this is as they're more suitable for long rage driving and they would be less likely to get ICE'd (gridserve doing something right there).
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What other features/suggestions would give you less charging anxiety?
I personally like the idea of "reservable" charging points.The idea that i have a 350 mile trip and i can 100% reserve a charging point half way and know 100% that will befree and working on my 9-10AM slot. This of course would cost a premium over "free for all" ones.
 

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So our Tory government is going to nationalise the charging infrastructure? There are certainly issues, and businesses trying to do something about it, but it’s a long haul and some of the things you suggest would make it even harder to make money and/or get a charge when you need one. Have you thought about the impact that reserving charging slots would have on availability and ROI? Maybe if you’re prepared to pay a £50 per month subscription or something?

Sadly the infrastructure doesn’t yet suit people with specific needs and/or short range cars with specific charging requirements. Gridserve, InstaVolt and a few others are having a good go at it. In the meantime, I think it’s a question of taking a deep breath and feeling a slight glow that you’re one of the relatively early adopters.
 

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I sometimes wonder what life would have been like for motorists around 100 years or so ago, had there been social media back then. I very strongly suspect that they would all be complaining about the lack of fuelling infrastructure, chemists or hardware stores being closed or out of stock when they took their petrol cans in to fill them up, the high prices being charged for petrol, the inconvenience of having to keep cans of the stuff at home, or carried on the car for longer trips, etc.

I bet fuel planning 100 years ago was a damned sight more difficult then than it is now. There will have been very few maps showing places that stocked petrol, or how reliable supply was in any given area. The very first petrol filling station didn't open until 1919, so the early pioneers had to manage with lugging cans of the stuff around before that.
 

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I dunno - I’ve had an EV for two months - used public rapids c.20 times and it’s much much easier than I expected it to be!

I did my research, downloaded a screen of apps - and I’ve only used two (for paying/use) since then! (Genie (yesterday first time) and podpoint).

I had no expectation it would be like having a petrol car - and as I said above it’s really been a non issue for me. Plenty of long (need to charge on the journey) trips in my ownership so far.

public charging is a mess of different companies, chargers and payment methods - but most are contactless now and it’s easy to avoid any stress with a little planning ahead and charging back up options on trips. I expect the market will shake down in the next couple of years and we’ll see a raft of takeovers and rationalisation leaving a handful of players.
 

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I expect the market will shake down in the next couple of years and we’ll see a raft of takeovers and rationalisation leaving a handful of players.
I think you’re right. I do wonder whether Gridserve’s model is based on the assumption that someone big and in need of some genuine environmental credentials will snaffle them up in two or three years time. I really want them to succeed, but I can’t pretend I wouldn’t be sad if they end up in the hands of Shell, BP or similar.
 

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I’ve had EVs for over 8 years and it doesn’t feel like it has got massively better. In general, the places that had chargers back them have more now but there are still loads of black spots. Charger reliability is still poor but at least there are some that take contactless. It needs to improve much more quickly over the next 8 years than it did over the last 8 if EVs are to become mainstream.
 

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What is going on here?
There are a dozen chargers and nobody there.
Seem to be half a dozen un tethered 7kw posts but the weeds are growing up around them, tried to use one but couldn't find it on the "bp pulse app".
Next door there are half a dozen bigger chargers. They claim to be 43kW AC.
The app recognised them and I plugged the car in, it started to charge.
I should mention that I have £12.00 credit with BP that I haven't used for over a year.
Then a minute later it chopped the connection and reported "wrong plug selected/vehicle not connected".
I tried the next charger, the app kept trying to start the first charger.
I waited until every thing timed out then tried again.
Same result on the second charger, it reported "wrong plug selected/vehicle not connected".
Before you say the car is faulty, I was just returning from a service at DSG Morecambe.
The car had a clean bill of health, charged fine at the garage and fine later in the day.
btw: The car is a 22kWh Zoe that charges reliably at 20kW on an AC plug.
I'm very happy with it.
Is this some crude software fudge to drive AC charging away from the "fast chargers"?
I ended up at a late-medieval Ecotricity charger further down the M6.
It worked perfectly and gave enough charge to get home in the time it took me to buy a bottle of water and visit the facilities.
No wonder nobody wants to buy an electric car if this is the kind of confusion and bulls***t they have to put up with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I dunno - I’ve had an EV for two months - used public rapids c.20 times and it’s much much easier than I expected it to be!

I did my research, downloaded a screen of apps - and I’ve only used two (for paying/use) since then! (Genie (yesterday first time) and podpoint).

I had no expectation it would be like having a petrol car - and as I said above it’s really been a non issue for me. Plenty of long (need to charge on the journey) trips in my ownership so far.

public charging is a mess of different companies, chargers and payment methods - but most are contactless now and it’s easy to avoid any stress with a little planning ahead and charging back up options on trips. I expect the market will shake down in the next couple of years and we’ll see a raft of takeovers and rationalisation leaving a handful of players.
guess you have DC
 

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The UK government already wrote some rules for public charging infrastructure. Whilst better than nothing, they are fairly relaxed. I reckon they can see how they bed in for another year or two. Assuming it's still a mess then, get some new tighter rules. For example,

  • Tighten rules on providing card payments: all chargers must accept them & not just contactless but with a card slot & PIN entry keypad, at no more than a 20% surcharge over the cheapest available price.
  • Price limits, to increase at rate of inflation.
  • At least 25% of chargers at each location (or 2, for locations with fewer than 8 chargers, or 1, for locations with a single charger) to be fully accessible to disabled customers.
  • Chargers to default to autonomous/free vend in the event of issues with communications or remote infrastructure.
  • Fines for chargers that are broken and not repaired or removed within a reasonable timeframe.

The new rules to apply to all new chargers immediately, and to all chargers within 3 years.
 

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Tighten rules on providing card payments: all chargers must accept them
All rapids, yes, but not always financially viable for destination chargers.
not just contactless but with a card slot & PIN entry keypad,
why ?
at no more than a 20% surcharge over the cheapest available price.
Price limits, to increase at rate of inflation.
Fines for chargers that are broken and not repaired or removed within a reasonable timeframe.
Anything that might reduce the number of chargers is, at this stage, a bad thing. Imposing any sort of price control inevitably reduces profitability and hence incentive to invest in infrastructure.
 

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GarryL wrote:
Tighten rules on providing card payments: all chargers must accept them
All rapids, yes, but not always financially viable for destination chargers.
Not convinced the cost of this is a problem even for destination chargers, given that most commercial models are already north of £1k. But do bear in mind I'm talking only about public chargers here. Chargers that are restricted to homes, or businesses for their employees only, or free, would not be covered.

GarryL wrote:
not just contactless but with a card slot & PIN entry keypad,
why ?
Because contactless isn't always available. Sometimes cards require a PIN entry (to do with the security algorithms of the card issuers). If your card suddenly does that, you still need to be able to get your car charged.

GarryL wrote:
at no more than a 20% surcharge over the cheapest available price.
Price limits, to increase at rate of inflation.
Fines for chargers that are broken and not repaired or removed within a reasonable timeframe.
Anything that might reduce the number of chargers is, at this stage, a bad thing. Imposing any sort of price control inevitably reduces profitability and hence incentive to invest in infrastructure.
There is an argument to let the market take its course, which is why at the top of my post I suggested a year or two of 'wait and see'. But I suspect the market needs more of a nudge than currently. Most of what I've suggested are relatively cheap and simple things to increase the consistency and accessibility of the charging experience. Some are also to avoid sharp practice and negligent sloppiness from the charging firms, which we do see from time to time.

I also think that a certain amount of government cash (roughly equal to the VAT raised from public chargers, perhaps) ought to be spent on providing a basic charging infrastructure in those areas where it is needed but not commercially viable.

Kind regards
- Garry
 

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  • At least 25% of chargers at each location (or 2, for locations with fewer than 8 chargers, or 1, for locations with a single charger) to be fully accessible to disabled customers.
  • Chargers to default to autonomous/free vend in the event of issues with communications or remote infrastructure
These two are definitely achievable with simple legislation and I feel the second would be a game changer as companies will need to rapidly sort issues or else haemorrhage money. The logical approach would be to move away from a broad spread of locations to hubs which can be better served by engineers. Win win!
 

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Sometimes cards require a PIN entry (to do with the security algorithms of the card issuers). If your card suddenly does that, you still need to be able to get your car charged.
I'm fairly sure that the card knows when it's talking to a contactless-only terminal, and doesn't do a PIN check in this case.
For example readers on train/bus systems also typically don't have any way to enter a PIN, and it would be unacceptable for these to not work if the card suddenly decides it wants a PIN.
I do know that contactless PIN-verify behaviour varies with banks, so there may be some situation where it doesn't work.
 

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I'm fairly sure that the card knows when it's talking to a contactless-only terminal, and doesn't do a PIN check in this case.
For example readers on train/bus systems also typically don't have any way to enter a PIN, and it would be unacceptable for these to not work if the card suddenly decides it wants a PIN.
I do know that contactless PIN-verify behaviour varies with banks, so there may be some situation where it doesn't work.
Assuming that is correct, then I withdraw that one. But it seems like rather a security loophole if true generally. Perhaps it only applies for the small bus fare-sized amounts but not for someone charging an i-Pace on an expensive rapid?
 

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I'm fairly sure that the card knows when it's talking to a contactless-only terminal, and doesn't do a PIN check in this case.
I think the problem reported elsewehere on this forum is that they may from time to time insist on a PIN check before allowing further contactless use. Certainly most require you to use the PIN once after you first get the card before any contactless use, to prove it wasn't stolen in the post or similar.
Using a phone app (Google Pay or Apple Pay) gets round this, and also doesn't have a price limit.
 

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Assuming that is correct, then I withdraw that one. But it seems like rather a security loophole if true generally. Perhaps it only applies for the small bus fare-sized amounts but not for someone charging an i-Pace on an expensive rapid?
If I recall correctly there is a ‘transit’ coding which gives you a unique arrangement between the merchant and the card issuer where any risk is carried by the card issuer for authenticated (online) transactions and the merchant for any offline payments. This is basically limitless and never requires pin entry but instead cards are blocked due to use patterns etc.
 
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