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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.

I own an all-electric Peugeot Ion and I live in a terrace with no home charger. I bought the Ion secondhand to see if I could make the jump from petrol to 100% EV without going through the hybrid stage. I also have a petrol car. Buying the Ion seemed cheaper than the idea of trading my petrol car in for a hybrid.

I thought my experiences might interest anyone looking at the Ion, C-Zero or iMiev range or older Leafs. There have been a few surprises.

Prep

The Peugeot Ion is a small 16 kilowatt/hour electric car made by Mitsubishi and sold as a Mitsubishi iMiev, a Peugeot Ion and a Citroen cZero. Range is 60-80 miles. This is a winter test so the usual range is closer to 60 miles. It's supposed to be more like 80 in summer. I haven't driven it in summer yet. The car is four years old and has done around 25,000 miles.

Before I bought the car, I listed all the places my wife and I visit. Looking back, this was the best thing I did. Supermarket, town, shopping mall, cinema, railway stations, doctor, local hospital, some friends and family. They're almost all within 25 miles. The Ion has a range of at least 60 miles. So, the Ion looked quite useful. Parking where I live can be challenging so a small electric car made sense.

Charging options (miles)

The battery holds sixteen kilowatts. The charge gauge usefully shows sixteen bars. So I measure charge in "bars". The last couple of bars (15 and 16) take a long time to charge. Range seems to deplete quickly with the last three (1-3) left on the gauge.

These are my local charging options.

  1. Nearest fast charger: 2.5 miles. Middle of nowhere. Nothing to do except go for a two hour walk.
  2. Asda fast charger: 4.5 miles. I can shop while charging. However, my hour shopping is just enough to charge the battery to cover the journey to and from Asda. So there's little point shopping there.
  3. Bluewater shopping centre: 4.5 miles. Eight chargers! With shops, a bookshop, coffee bars, cinemas and both Hyundai and Tesla dealers, I can spend hours at Bluewater. It's where I charge most frequently.
  4. Nearest rapid charger: 6 miles. It only charges the Ion to 72% full. That equates to 45 miles range in winter. Fast but not useful.
Fast charging versus rapid charging

The round trip to the fast or rapid chargers uses 2-3 bars. My realistic range by the time I get home with a max of 12-13 bars showing is around 50 miles in winter because I need to save the last two bars to get back to a charger. That assumes that I have charged the battery fully, which rarely happens. So much of the time, my useable battery in winter is only 40 miles between charges. That should improve in summer. Maybe 60 miles. But in winter it's not much.

Yes/No?

Would I buy the car again? Um... Looking back, I think I should have bought a cheap Leaf although that would have cost more. The extra 10-15 miles of range would have helped enormously. The iMiev is also said to have a bit more range than the Peugeot/Citroen models because it has extra gears that increase the range and take it closer to an early Leaf's range.

Range isn't everything. The Ion's tiny size makes parking really easy and is fun to drive. It handles and steers well. It is deceptively quick at town speeds, has a tiny turning circle and feels quite authoritative entering a roundabout. It just goes. Even my wife, who refers to the car as my "toy" and suffers extreme range anxiety, grudgingly agrees that it can move when it wants to. The boot is quite adequate for weekly shopping for a small family and the seats drop independently. Anyone who has ever owned a 2CV, as I have, will see a lot in common with the Ion. Ions seem a bit cheaper to buy than the Citroen or Mitsubishi variants and for the same money, they're mostly cheaper and newer than equivalent Leafs. All these cars suffer from battery sucking heaters. Thawing out a frozen Ion using the heater hammers the range. Wrap up warm.

Conclusions

Anybody who wants a small electric car like the Ion needs a charger at home or within a few miles. Because they can (eventually) charge the battery up to 16 bars, I find the fast chargers more useful than the rapids even though they are slower. Buy a fast charge cable or get one as part of the deal. A full battery is generally more useful on an Ion than a 20 minute charge time. However, full battery charging on a fast charger takes several hours, so be sure you have something to do near the charger or that you can get back home.

Having said all that, I use my ICE car far less now. I commute by train so unless I'm driving a distance, weeks go by without using petrol. Despite its limitations, the Ion has convinced me that my next car could easily be a full electric. I just need a bit more range in winter than 60 miles.
 

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Great real world write up!
Thanks for sharing that, was almost tempted to try an iMiev/Ion when my commute changed, but it would have been painful for my longer journeys ;)
 

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Really interesting to read that. I don't have home charging (can only charge at work) and with the very cold (-4C) mornings recently, it's sapped 10-15% of the battery of my i3 before I've even set off, just to defrost the car.

I think preconditioning is really important for EVs in the winter (to be able to be heated when plugged in).

I don't think I'd be brave enough to do what you've done. I've done 10% of my miles on the Range Extender, but then it is my only car and I do rely on it to commute.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the comments. I think the key thing is that, like a Ferrari, the Ion is not a general purpose car unless your general purposes are quite specific. It would not be a great "only car" unless I never went far. But it has proved that a Soul, Leaf or Ionic could be a viable "only car".
 

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Thanks for the posts which are really interesting to read. Your choice of a iON is a good one - it is a stunningly good little car and perfect for covering that significant majority of journeys that we do.

It's interesting that you document the behaviour modifications that you have gone through, some of which are more painful than others. Behaviour modification is one thing that ICE drivers in my experience have a problem seeing through.

It is clear that EV ownership for people with no access to at home charging and only on street parking is more challenging and you and Jimbo both highlight that. This one will be one of those really tough nuts to crack - if your charging relies upon solely fast charging then we'll pretty much need a couple on every street - and then your neighbours will get jealous of the "reserved" parking for you, will buy their own EVs and then the problem reappears. If we move to a rapid charger based model then again we'll need many rapids and not too far from peoples' homes.,
 

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MG EZS 2020
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The iMiev is also said to have a bit more range than the Peugeot/Citroen models because it has extra gears that increase the range and take it closer to an early Leaf's range.
You might be interested in this video.


I nearly bought a dealers 1 year old runabout/demo in 2013 with 12k for £12k, but no-one could tell me how long the batteries would last. Even asked Nissan how long the Leaf batteries would last and they said it was too soon to know. I asked the price for a new battery pack for the iMiev and was told £8k:eek:. I bought a Mirage instead. I'm thinking of replacing the Zoe with an Ion/cZero when my PCP is up as like you I don't have long journeys to make.
 

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Your experience reflects the fears of so many who want to go EV but can't yet justify the hoop jumping required absent a home charger. You have correctly identified that until range is adequate it will be unsatisfactory for such people and they will either go hybrid or soldier on with ICE.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@Neilew Thanks for the video links. I watch the KiwiEV religiously. Definitely considering the gearbox console hack once the Ion is out of its six months warranty. Wouldn't bother with the diesel heater thing though. A hack too far! And I may not keep the Ion much beyond a year or two. I would love to see how much extra range the extra gears would give, summer and winter.
 

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@Neilew Thanks for the video links. I watch the KiwiEV religiously. Definitely considering the gearbox console hack once the Ion is out of its six months warranty. Wouldn't bother with the diesel heater thing though. A hack too far! And I may not keep the Ion much beyond a year or two. I would love to see how much extra range the extra gears would give, summer and winter.
Yeah. I think that it's a bit sad of PSA to disable this, and in such a silly way.
 

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Wow, I definitely think you were bold buying an electric car with those charging options. Good on you for giving it a crack. :)

To my mind, an electric car only works without home charging when you've got a regular stop somewhere handy (like charging at work) otherwise it becomes just too much trouble.

Do you think you would ever go pure EV without home charging?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@Kentish You mean the Zoe? Too small, in my opinion and Renault's battery rental thing is a turnoff. What I really want is a Skoda Octavia EV estate or even a phev, but I suspect that will not happen for years.
 

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Do you think you would ever go pure EV without home charging?
Sure, I'd go pure EV if I could afford an EV with a range of 150 miles and assuming that I had the same range of chargers available. And that's probably 150 miles in winter. I like the Ioniq. I commute by train. The station is a walkable distance. Cars for me are therefore a mostly weekend or holiday thing. If I were moving house, though, having off street parking and a charger would be a high priority. I could probably get by with just the Ion even more of the time if I had a home charger. I could use the heater in winter, if I'd home charging. I'd probably only use my petrol car whenever I'd five people in the car and/or a shed,lad of luggage. 90%+ of the time, the Ion is enough.
 

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Yep.
You haven't had to lease the battery for a long while now (though most still choose to) but if you need more space the Kangoo crewcab 40kw should be along in the New Year.
@Kentish You mean the Zoe? Too small, in my opinion and Renault's battery rental thing is a turnoff. What I really want is a Skoda Octavia EV estate or even a phev, but I suspect that will not happen for years.
 

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The lever mod doesnt give extra gears, just access to different driving modes with different levels of regen etc. They all have a fixed gear drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Didn't know there was a 40kwh Kangoo due. Thanks.

Reminds me that a 40kwh eNV200 7-seater from Nissan would be very popular at home. Looking forward to that whenever they decide to upgrade the van. I've sat in a camper version and was impressed. Range is still the problem. Especially for campervanners. We like to go far.
 

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Agreed. We had an ENV200 on long term loan but the motorway range was appalling. I might take another look if they put in 40kw and rapid charging but I think the Kangoo might win easily on range.
At least long distance campervanners can take their time :)
Didn't know there was a 40kwh Kangoo due. Thanks.

Reminds me that a 40kwh eNV200 7-seater from Nissan would be very popular at home. Looking forward to that whenever they decide to upgrade the van. I've sat in a camper version and was impressed. Range is still the problem. Especially for campervanners. We like to go far.
 

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zoe too small? And you have an ion. Okay!!!


I drove an ion recently, it's considerably smaller than a Zoe.
 
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