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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ecotricity chargers in Yorkshire breaking down

Just got back from a trip to York. The CYC fast charger was broken, the other (we were at McArthur Glen retail outlet) was in use so we decided to head over to Wetherby Services on the A1 J46 as they have two ecotricity fast DC chargers. Got there with just 10 miles left to find both of these brand new units were faulty !. I called ecotricity who confirmed they were both broken then came the news that the nearest units to me, Ferrybridge (M62) and IKEA (Birstall Leeds) were also off line !. Ditto Woolley Edge Southbound leaving just one charger at Woolley Edge M1 North available. We decided not to risk it and got the recovery guy to take us home as we knew our home charger would do the business. Its really disappointing to see our entire area, North, West and South Yorkshire reduced to less than 20% availability. After the huge investment from Ten-T you would hope ecotricity could maintain the equipment to some sort of reasonable level. The person I spoke to said they knew the Wetherby chargers were faulty prior to Christmas and still no-one had been to sort them out. A simple reset may have done the trick, turn them off and back on again, anything rather than just sitting there doing nothing. I hope something happens soon to get everything back on line otherwise I cannot see much chance of anyone buying a pure EV when the infrastructure is so flaky. All the best to everyone and a Happy New Year to you all !

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