Update November 2017

After many months I thought it would be fun to update the blog.  I didn’t get another EV as we had a bit of a shocker earlier this year when one of our two Renault Zoe’s was written off.  Although it was a no-fault accident our insurance Company – Carrot who sell Zurich insurance refused to pay for the battery part of the vehicle !.  Zurich said the insurance had a clause excluding the battery from the insurance, apparently we needed separate insurance for the battery, something never mentioned by Renault at the point of purchase or Carrot when taking their policy.  All passed to the Financial Ombudsman for their thoughts on this. Anyway we decided to return the other Zoe and I even removed the chargers from our houses and off we all went back to petrol & diesel cars again.  I recently upgraded my little 2000 TT Roadster into a 2005 A4 Cabriolet, petrol car as its automatic and since I had been driving auto in the Tekna I had gotten really lazy so the six gears of the TT were annoying at times (other times it was great !). I still don’t like hearing the engine all the time though !.

I have been watching the EV revolution unfold with interest, battery packs are getting longer ranges and cars smarter, it will only be a matter of time until this disruptive technology takes over.  My thoughts are anything with a range greater than 250 miles will be the tipping point or as some seem to be going maybe a true hybrid of a petrol charged EV like the i3 would be the way forward.  Either way I will not be going back to electric for some time, not until charging has been sorted out and made more convenient and less expensive EV’s are available, no doubt a sub £10k motor with a 250 mile range will soon be with us and then it will be time to revisit cars.

I was kind of hoping the Government would have come up with some funded packages for going solar and electric vehicle so you charged your car via a battery at home/work which obtained its power from solar or even wind power.  It seems our Government isn’t really interested in any of this, whipping the carpet out from under our embryonic solar industry in 2016 is just typical, I understand well over 2000 people lost their jobs withing days of the feed in tariff being axed, if there’s taxes to be had they are interested otherwise its left to something magical called ‘market forces’ to lead this mission critical industry.  Imagine having thousands of homes with solar and battery storage all charging EV’s over night, if the grid needs more energy instead of spinning up a gas power station we could just dip into the EV batteries and borrow a bit of juice paying the owners for the pleasure of doing business whilst they sleep !.  All of this will come to pass, its just a matter of time.  If we had our own Elon Musk in Great Britain it would have already happened.  Weak leadership always reflects in weak key decisions.

I will continue to drop the odd line into this blog as its become a bit of a personal diary now, so keep reading !!

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The Last Post

Well folks that’s the end of my EV driving experience as the Nissan Leaf went back to finance house last week. I feel like I’ve lost a friend as the car was exactly what I needed, reliable, quiet, clean and always ready to go. I’m now back driving my 2000 TT which is another reliable little car. We now have a diesel Evoque plus the petrol TT. I ended the PCP a couple of months early as I realised I had been ‘had’ on the mileage I thought it was 10,000 per annum but I re-read the paperwork and realised the salesman had reduced the annual mileage to just 7000 to fit in with the monthly payments. My fault I should have read and re-read everything at the time. So I ran out of mileage which left the Leaf in my garage doing nothing for a couple of months. I’m now waiting for RCI finance to sting me for the excess mileage so all in all financially not a great idea to go electric. If you are thinking about an all electric vehicle I would urge you to wait at least a year as that’s when we can expect a real world 250 mile motor to arrive in Great Britain. 250 miles will allow most folk to charge at home & work (maybe) without having to use the very expensive Ecotricity fast chargers as charging from home / work is the only way to make financial sense of owning an EV. If anyone wants to have a chat about going electric before getting an EV please drop me a line !.

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Ecotricity shocker plus thoughts on the future

I was stunned to discover the price to charge using one of their fast chargers is going to be a huge £6.00 for 30 minutes of power. In my Leaf that equates to 60 miles making a fuel efficient petrol car more viable. I will be ceasing long distance driving & only use the Leaf when I can charge at home or via slower less expensive chargers such as when at the shopping Malls dotted around where we live. I know Dale has to pay out for his recent divorce settlement but I didn’t realise we were going to be funding it for him !.

My PCP Leaf will be going back to the finance house before the end of 2016 or early 2017 depending on when I can find (and afford) a replacement vehicle which will probably not be electric, not until they come up with a 250 mi range or I can afford a used dual fuel EV.

Snag with buying an EV right now is trying to get a decent price when you come to sell the thing that’s when the motor industry teaches you a lesson with a kick in the teeth only offering really low prices, way below the vehicles RV from the finance house.

I know eventually all houses will have super efficient solar collection plus battery storage maybe feeding electric heating & our electric vehicles, but right now everything is just too inefficient & expensive to justify swapping out existing kit or investing in the ‘future’. I guess when oil prices ramp up yet again we will all be doing the sums to see if its viable to swap over.

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Getting to the end of this Blog

Yes folks its getting to that time when I send my PCP Leaf Tekna back to the finance house. Its been a fantastic 30 months of driving with a grin on my face but like all good things its coming to an end.
I looked at trading the car but the residual value is far higher than I’m being offered by any of the dealers, including Nissan The car has an RV of about £15k with a trade value of just £9300, very disappointing but there you go, its now the turn of the motor industry to give me a financial slapping for daring to hire an electric car.
I’m going to be in the wilderness for a few months, I do have a back up petrol car (my ancient TT roadster) so not desperate for an instant replacement.
I think it may be worth waiting for the Tesla Model 3 to arrive on our shores to see how this effects the rest of the EV market in Great Britain as a 250 mi range motor will certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons.
I guess by 2020 a piddling 250 mile range will be scoffed at but right now it sounds really attractive especially when I only get 80 mi at best out of my Nissan & that’s in the summer months, drops down to 55 to 60 in winter.
So any idea’s of alternative EV’s will be gladly received as will your thoughts on what you will be replacing your current EV with ?. We have two requirements, one is my daily travelling around the area servicing my clients phone systems the other is towing a caravan. I’ve been quite happy using the EV for everything bar the towing for which we have been borrowing a tow-car but I do need to end up with a used automatic BMW X3 as a tow car (& wife’s daily commute) plus another EV for everything else. Thoughts please ?!

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Audi e-tron

It seems ages since I updated my blog site but things have been buzzing along as normal so not a lot to report regarding my Nissan Leaf Tekna. I have been getting concerned about the sheer volume of dual fuel ‘PHEV’s’ that are arriving on the road using the EV charging slots as some sort of personal parking area’s which has forced me to restrict my usage down to the range of the vehicle on the outward journey so I can at least hang around on the return leg waiting to charge up.

I had a test drive of the Audi e-tron a few weeks ago, a fantastic experience !. I would have jumped ship and gone dual-fuel but it seems my Tekna residual value to Audi is nothing like as promised by Nissan !.  I guess I will either wait until Nissan come up with a longer range EV or the lease runs out and I can return the Tekna and walk away. I don’t have to make the decision just yet as I still have the whole of 2016 to run through before I need to change and you never know, I could win the lottery and buy myself a Tesla …or two !!

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Mitsubishi Outlander Test Drive

With the lack of a decent DC super fast charging system in Yorkshire I decided to have a test run in a Mitsubishi Outlander over the weekend.

Quite a conservative looking vehicle, the top of range was comparable with a Nissan Leaf Tekna (just) although it handled a lot better on the corners due to its ESP system. Usual acres of plastic inside.  The model I drove had heated leather seats and a decent sized Liquid Crystal Display with Sat Nav and fuel economy information clearly displayed. A nice touch was an auto opening/closing tail gate.

Talking with the Garage Sales Staff they get a varied MPG, as low as 43 MPG for one user and up to mid 60’s at best so the much talked about 140-odd MPG doesn’t seem to be a ‘real-world’ calculation.

With it only managing around 27 miles on batteries its not really a contender as a replacement for my Tekna. I guess I will have to wait for a 200mi vehicle to arrive that’s within my PCP monthly budget !.

I do hope the sub 100 mi Zoe’s and Leaf’s will still be around and drop sharply in price to allow new, young drivers to drive one as I feel range anxiety will keep their speeds down so maybe we will have less newbie driver accidents … you never know !.

I’ve had a wicked thought – We should start off a protest group calling for all Governments to force petrol & diesel vehicle manufacturers to display a warning sign on the rear of all their vehicles, a bit like cigarette packs do, saying ‘Warning Particulates from the Exhaust of this Vehicle will Damage Your Health’ …what do you think ? will it grow legs or am I just whistling Dixie ??

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More on the Broken ecotricity chargers

I’ve noticed my Evie isn’t doing so well on the distance at the moment. Charging at home gets me to 100% but I’m only getting around 60mi for this instead of the expected 85mi I’ve been used to during the summer months. Usually I can get plugged on somewhere completing my journeys in the Leaf without much effort. With the advent of cheap Renault Zoe’s it seems everywhere I go to charge has a Zoe already plugged in !!. Coupled with there only being a few working ecotricity DC chargers in Yorkshire means I’ve had to resort to using the petrol car for some journeys (gasp). Very sad to find these brand spanking new ecotricity chargers broken sometimes for weeks if not months on end. Last Saturday I went to IKEA Birstall (near Leeds) to find a totally discharged Zoe on the only working DC charging station. I phoned ecotricity and their guy said Ferrybridge (M62/A1) was definitely working so as I was heading in that direction I set off to discover one charger was dead and the other said it was charging a car already …no-one but me there at the time !. I tried to get to my Pontefract destination where I could plug in my 13A home charger and although the guess-o-meter said I had 17 mi left and the destination was only 9 mi away I ended up cutting out a mile short and had to be hauled off to Woolley Edge Northbound (M1) Services – Southbound being (of course) out of action. The only good thing about breaking down is you meet some really nice breakdown people !. Quick charge and then off home as I had missed my visit plus it was snowing so basically I had had enough. We need more charging stations, the fast type two chargers plus a couple of DC chargers would get most of us on our way. I was told these huge DC chargers cost the TEN-T initiative some £25,000.00 each from ecotricity so a typical installation at both sides of a service station nets £100,000.00 a time. Its just a pity they cannot maintain them to a decent level, blaming British Gas for failing to come out isn’t an acceptable excuse. Perhaps there’s some hidden agenda here but we need a very fast fix otherwise the EV revolution is going to die in its infancy. I am seriously considering putting my Leaf in against a hybrid just because there are too few DC chargers and the few we have are permanently broken, that way I can charge at home and also use the few remaining functioning chargers or just allow the petrol engine to kick in and get me home. Its not all doom and gloom though, I discovered to my delight that little Evie is good in the snow !  now who would have thought that !!.  All the very best. Steven

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