800km Trip with Rosie The Nissan Leaf

Arles for a Van Gogh Exhibition

The trip to Arles in France in my Nissan Leaf at the end of December went fairly well. I like to stop a place in Figueres which is only about 70 km away from where I live. It’s good for a quick top up before arriving in France. It’s a Nissan dealership with a rapid charger. I wasn’t successful this time to get much charge because the connector on the end of the cable was slightly damaged. We talked to the salesman in the shop and he told us it was down to users dropping it on the floor. This was one of the big and heavy connectors and you think it would be more robust. The machine kept giving me errors and I couldn’t get any DC juice.

We continued driving on towards a place called Rivesaltes which is just north of Perpignan. I drove past the chargers at the Nissan dealer in Perpignan and at the Auchan supermarket because I wanted to try out this other one. I saw in a tweet that Glyn Hudson and his wife had used this one on their way down from Wales in their ENV200 campervan. They said it was free to use and I was surprised because it’s at a petrol station. They were correct and it was a charge for no charge.

Charging the Leaf Rivesaltes

Renault Zoe Country

Our next stop was in a place called Sete where there’s a charger at an Auchan supermarket. It wasn’t too difficult to find because the car park wasn’t too large. When I pulled in, there was a Tesla model X next to the charging bay. I don’t know if it was waiting to get some charge but he moved anyway. In the charging bay there was a Renault Zoe. Fortunately I only had to wait about five minutes for the owner to return so I could plug in. At this charger we plugged in for about 40 minutes and got the battery level up to about 90%. I was about 10 minutes longer than I expected to be because I fell asleep in the passenger seat while charging. A Nissan Leaf pulled in beside me while I was there. He left a message by leaving the charge port open on his car. I was able to oblige by plugging his car in before I left. This was made possible because the charger was also on the free vend. I do have a couple of RFID cards which would have worked with this machine, but they weren’t necessary.

No Destination Charger at the Hotel

That was all the charging necessary for the journey of about 380 km. Our next stop was at the hotel in Arles. We arrived there with around about 30% in the battery. I didn’t plan it, but there’s a Nissan dealer just around the corner from the hotel. Shame there wasn’t a charging point at the hotel itself. More hotels are going to have to install destination chargers. I think next time I go travelling I will choose the hotel based on whether they have a charger or not. I left it too late to get any charge at the Nissan dealer that day. We were able to go into the dealer and ask if they were open the following day which was a Saturday. They told us they opened at nine and we were welcome to use the charger. I was able to get a reasonable amount of charging and still have time to get to the Van Gogh exhibition in a village not far away.

It's all About the Art...

The exhibition took place at a quarry. You might think it was a strange place for an exhibition, but this was kind of special. This quarry has been converted to show audiovisual exhibitions. You go into a big cave with large flat walls onto which they project the pictures. The pictures were animated and there was music to go with it. It was like being inside Van Gogh’s life or at the very least inside his paintings. it was impressive and we were able to watch the show twice. There was also a showing at the same time of Japanese art. It was all extremely enjoyable!

Arles was a pleasant town to visit. We also got to see the Roman arena in the centre of the town. It’s impressive that buildings so old can last so long. The town is still able to use it for things like music concerts.

Van Gogh

Chargers Not Working or Missing Completely

After exploring the town we went back to the car park where I had left Rosie the red Nissan Leaf. It was beside the river and there were two DC rapid chargers. I was planning to get a good amount of charge into the car ready for our journey back home the following day. I couldn’t get either of them to work. It’s recognised the card, but then no electricity actually flowed. We really need to move to a situation where you can use credit cards to pay for your charging at whatever charge point. These RFID cards are a stupid idea. I couldn’t go back to the Nissan garage because it was closed on Saturday afternoon. If Nissan were serious about electric cars they would have these rapid chargers more accessible. They could even provide two or three bays with Type II connections. They can make it so that only the Nissan vehicles could use them if they want to.

Auchan Montpellier

Sunday is not the best day to go travelling with an electric car. The Nissan dealer is still closed. We headed away from the town towards Montpellier. I planned to try to get some charge in a place called La Grand Motte and was unsuccessful. Using the application PlugShare we got to the place where the charger was supposed to be. Drove around the car park and the road to the car park two or three times and there was no charger there. Very disappointing. According to PlugShare there was another charger at the other end of town. I decided not to bother. I considered it a better plan to head towards Montpellier towards the next charging possibility. If I’d a fully charged battery which would have been possible if the hotel had chargers, we could have seen more of the coastal area. I had to spend time thinking about where I would get the car charged rather than enjoying my trip. It’s at times like this when having a larger battery or maybe just having a Tesla would have been a good idea.

Tesla Drivers Behaving Badly

When we pulled into the charger there was a Nissan Leaf connected to the CHAdeMO. There was also a Tesla plugged into the AC connector. The Tesla had been sitting there for a long time. Hours and hours. All we could do was to wait for the 30 kWh Nissan Leaf driver to finish. He was at 74% with his battery and told me he would be another 10 minutes. 25 minutes later I had to remind him. He was just being cheeky using the free electricity. While we were waiting another Tesla pulled up. So the Nissan driver pulled out and we pulled in and I connected up. Just after that the driver of the first Tesla who was connected to the AC turned up and moved his car. It got kind of amusing because the other Tesla driver was asking me if he could jump the queue. For some strange reason he thought he should be able to get in to charge before me. I had been waiting longer and didn’t want to wait even longer than that. He was happy when the other Tesla moved out of the way because he thought it would be able to get charging. Except, he wanted to use the CCS cable. This is one of those machines where you can only connect one DC charger at a time. I was using the CHAdeMO so the CCS was not going to work for him. If you have a look in the video you’ll see that he was getting kind of angry at this time and started bashing the machine with his fist. I would have been annoyed if he’d done something to stop my car from charging. He must have been new to the car because he didn’t understand how this worked. While he was waiting he could have used the AC connector, but didn’t. He had to wait until I had sufficient in my battery for my drive home.

Chill Out Driving a Nissan Leaf

When driving on the motorway I like to set the intelligent cruise control to about 104 km/h. It’s not too slow and usually feels quite relaxing. There are some lorries and other vehicles going a little bit slower. So every now and then I have the job of overtaking which helps to break the boredom on a long trip. I left myself the option of stopping in Girona for a top up. I could also have pulled into Figueres. I didn’t have to do either and I was able to arrive home without having to worry about the number of kilometres I had left in the battery. The complete trip worked out at about 800 km and for the most part worked very well.

About Being an Early Adopter of Electric Cars

With my Nissan leaf I am still what you would call an early adopter. I am happy and proud to be driving an electric car. I love my Nissan leaf and I’m pleased to be doing something for the environment. Greta Thunberg would be proud of me and Extinction Rebellion could give me a thumbs up also. There are still insufficient charging points. The balance between the range of my car and the infrastructure is still not quite right. My car would be perfect if there were more available charging points. Having a single charging machine in a town is not good enough. Hotels without destination chargers will not be getting my business in the future. It’s still necessary to have a relaxed frame of mind to be a driver of an electric car. At least that is the case when you’re going on a longer trip. You have to be prepared to do a certain amount of planning. You need a plan B and sometimes even a plan C for those times when chargers are not working or not there. Things are changing and will get better in the next couple of years. I’ve had my car for 18 months now and I’ve already seen some improvements. Could be better though. 

Checking Out New Charging Spots

Listening to Blue Öyster Cult

I came out to a local town and check out the new charging point newly available. It’s a fast charger and not a rapid charger. On the front there are two doors one says charging 22 kW and the other one says charging normal 6 kW. The charger I’m using is the 22kW which has the type two socket. I’ve not looked, but I expect the other to be a shuko socket. I’ll only get 3kW out of that one and have to use the slow granny cable. 

Llagostera Charging

Llagostera EV Charging

Pleasant wee place, with the charger in the town square centre. Not much going on at this time of the day. Quiet and not many people wandering around so little chance of people watching entertainment. 

There are two bays for charging and no signs with regulations. Perhaps that’s why the eNV200 Van next to me, is parked and not plugged in. The van belongs to the town so the driver probably thinks he has a right to park there if he wants. 

Lloret de Mar

Lloret de Mar Charging

At my previous stop the charging post had two type two sockets. One was being used by a BMW i3 driver. Typical to see when I got back after my forty five minutes to see it still there, thirty minutes over the two-hour limit. The other Nissan Leaf driver who turned up after me had put a notice on the windscreen telling him to respect the time limit. 

There’s another charger in the town at the seafront. I took a spin down there on my electric scooter. It’s a T2 and shuko combination. Only one bay for a car to pull in. 

Still more chargers needed

My own nearest local town doesn’t have a charger yet. I’ll see if I can bring it up at the next public meeting. There should be one. The next town has two fast chargers and will soon have a three headed rapid charger inaugurated. There’s even another Rapid only about 4km away from that, also nearly ready for public use. 

It’s not like the small towns and villages in France just on the other side of the border. Just about every small place has a public charging point. 

A Minor Icing

While I was sitting in the car, the town owned van moved away. Not too long after that a little old lady came in and parked an ICE car. There wasn’t much point in me getting out and saying anything. There are no signs to tell people to not park unless charging. She was only there for approximately five or ten minutes maximum.

A Little Bit of Writing

My first stop this morning was to do some shopping. Extended the time out a little by going for a spin on my electric scooter. That was fun! It was on the way home I stopped in this other town to check out their new electric vehicle chargers. It was also because I wanted to take advantage of the free electricity. I can connect to most of these chargers for free using the BCN Live RFID card. I’m comfortable in my car with the heated seats and the heat exchanger warming up the cabin. I like to get out the iPad and do some work. Today though I decided to work using just the iPhone. I was using the Swipe keyboard instead of dictation. The only reason for this was because I wanted to listen to some music while working. Rosie makes a great office.

Since My Last Post On EV20Q

I’ve taken a couple of trips to the mountains. The latest one worked very well. I had more weight in the car I had to take account of. It went well with the charging points along the way too. The first stop was for free in the Nissan dealer. The next one was in Perpignan at the shopping centre. It wasn’t free, but I think it was still pretty cheap. I haven’t even checked how much it cost. Then there was one more stop along the way and I used a fast charger rather than a rapid charger. I didn’t really need any extra electrons, but seeing as I was stopped anyway. With the RFID card I have for that particular charger the cost was only around €1.50.

Rosie News

Rosie Charging in BCN

Rosie, my Nissan Leaf now has 29k kms on the clock. The only cost apart from the electric has been a new wiper blade on the driver side. Tyres are still looking good. Still have the small mark on the car, front offside which I saw after one month of ownership. Also scraped the bumper on the rear offside. Don’t know how either scrape happened. Inside, the car is still like new. Totally happy with the car although I’d be happier if I had the newer version with the 62kWh battery. It would give me an extra bit of breathing room for the longer trips. It’s not worth the extra cost though for the extra convenience I’d have. I don’t mind stopping and charging. Before electric I would keep driving on even if tired. That’s a bit dangerous. A surprisingly large number of actions happen when drivers are tired.

Electric Car Trip To Girona

I went to Girona principally to buy a new windscreen wiper for my Leaf and also to look at the local prices of the Xiaomi M365 Electric scooters. I was shocked at the price of the wipers at the Nissan dealer. €75 is more than double what I expected to be paying. I went to a motor parts shop and bought the one I needed for €25 which was also expensive, but the two other cheaper brands in the shop didn’t have the right size. Still, can’t go wrong with a Bosch product. After getting the wiper sorted I went to the shopping centre saw the Same electric scooter priced at between €370 and €399. I have seen it cheaper on Amazon And that’s probably where I will end up getting it. The idea behind the scooter is the last kilometre travel. I want to park the car in the free car parking in a city and use the scooter for the last part of the journey. These scooters are incredibly popular in Barcelona. Great to leave in the boot of the car for that extra bit of e-mobility.

Spotted a Tesla Model 3

I went to the Electric car charging Area of the shopping centre and plugged in. I still expect the Tesla Model 3 to be as rare as rocking horse droppings as they are so new. So I was surprised to see one in Girona parked up. A Dutch owner on his travels in Europe. I had a walk around the car an took pictures and notice the screen inform me the Sentry Mode was activated. No guns or grenades were deployed but the owner must be happy to know his car is safe. I wasn’t in the shopping centre for long and didn’t add too much electric power to the battery of my Leaf. Nice to get free charging. A bit of a pain to have to go to the information desk and tell my life story to get the to turn on the charger. It’s much better when you can just plug in without all that palaver.

New Rapids near Home

I saw on Plugshare app there is a new rapid charger in Sagaro at my favourite beach. I thought I would take a trip to check it out. Well it was certainly there, but not yet switched on. The ground had been painted and it all looked great but not yet ready for use. Next I went to the charger place near the Harbour end of the beach at St. Feliu de Guixols. Same story, looking pretty but not yet ready to go. Both had signs saying ‘No Funciona – Out of Order’ They were supposed to be ready for the end of August but is taking a bit longer to set up. The St. Pol beach charger was already in Plugshare and I added the one in St. Feliu. I named it after the bar it is next to – Corsairi, which means Pirate. The bar is built into caves cut into the rock.

Rapid Charger in St. Feliu de Guixols

One more job on the way home

Had to buy the dog some food so went to the shopping area at the top of the town. I would have plugged in to the Type 2 charger there but both were in use. One was a red Audi which is a PHEV and is always plugged in at that charger. The other was a Renault Zoe. It had been there for over 4 hours and pulled in about 20kWh. The other car was only there for an hour and had sucked in only a small amount of charge. I didn’t need to fill up the battery but it is always a shame to miss out on some free charging. I did also see another Nissan Leaf at the bus station charger as I drove past. I think we will need more chargers around the town soon. Rapids are OK but more of the Type 2 connections should be installed. I must put in a word in my local town and see if they will add a charger or two.

My Continuing EV Journey in Spain

I’ve had my Nissan Leaf for over a year now and still love the car. I’ve driven over 23,000 km in that time and I still like going out on a trip to enjoy the driving experience. Over time you become used to living with and driving an electric vehicle. It becomes the new normal. When I’m at work during the summertime I plug the car in every couple of days as I only drive 22 km daily to work and back. I plug the car in overnight on Sunday so I have a full battery on Mondays when I have my day off. Occasionally I go on a trip which involves staying overnight someplace on a Sunday night. So I have to make sure I get a full battery on a Sunday. I did forget to plug the car in one Saturday night and I had to charge the car in at work to get it back up to 100% ready for the trip. There is a legal requirement in Spain for workplaces to provide electric car charging facilities. My work hasn’t done that specifically, they did give me permission to plug in on that day. It’s not usually worth me bothering to park inside the camping site where I work to take advantage of the electric there. It is all so easy and it’s great to not need to visit petrol stations.

Longer trips with Rosie the Nissan Leaf

The last trip I made with Rosie was to Les Angles which is on the other side of the border in France. It didn’t go perfectly because I didn’t charge for long enough on either the rapid charger about a third of the way on the journey or at the two thirds point on a Type 2. I had to find another charger close to my destination to top up. I perhaps could have got away with not doing that, but it would have been extremely close. I will be making the same journey in October and I have a different plan in mind. I will try to charge up at the midway point instead. I will go to either the Nissan dealer in Perpignan or to a nearby shopping centre where there is a rapid charger. I’ve tried to use the rapid charger of the shopping centre before, but didn’t have any RFID cards which worked with it. I now have more of these cards available and one which I know is specific to that charger. I might give myself a day trip to Perpignan just to test out which of the RFID cards will work. It would be better if I can charge at the Nissan dealership in the town because it will be free. I might just use the other one where I have to pay just to know I have a second option. Annoyingly the Nissan charger is not available outside of opening hours. Too many are like that due to a poor relationship between Nissan and the dealers. That’s why Tesla not having dealers is such a big deal. No middle man to mess things up for the end user.

There’s got to be a better way than RFID cards

The KiWhi charging network with the RFID card which has the charger at the shopping centre in Perpignan is annoying. I have to access the website to add funds to the card. I need to do this using chrome so the site can be translated from French to English. The signup for the card in the first place is quite difficult and requires a special process for non-French residents. It’s a pain having to pay for the card and for it to come without any funds on it ready to use. I think it cost €24 to get in the first place. I’ve just put a deposit of €20 onto the card and I’m going to be disappointed if I have any problems with using it at the shopping centre. I will also see what other cards I have might work with it too. The NewMotion Card has always been useful and it has saved my bacon a couple of times.

I would like to see a European Union initiative where all charging points allow payment by credit card. We should be able to use a contactless credit card or with Apple Pay on every charger. It is still early days for electric vehicles on the roads. I’m sure it’s going to get better and easier over time.

Is 40 kWh enough?

As things stand at the moment, for longer trips it would be better to have a larger battery. The guess-o-meter on the car will tell me I’ve got 260 km available. It is always overoptimistic and it doesn’t have a clue when it comes to driving up mountains. There are websites available where you can plan a journey and it takes into account the terrain.

One such website is A Better Route Planner. It is a fantastic resource and works with various electric cars. There are lots of changes you can make to the settings. How much battery percentage you expect to start your journey with and have low you want it to go before charging. You can give it a maximum percentage of charge to receive from a rapid charger. When you tell it to plan the route you get plenty of information. It tells you how much battery you should have left when you arrive at a charger. A Better Route Planner informs you how long it will take to get to the battery percentage you’ve set in the settings. It will then tell you how much you should have left in the battery when you get to your final destination. I’m going to use this electric vehicle route planner more often.

Dreaming about a Tesla

I received an email from Tesla telling me about cars they had in stock and available. I couldn’t help but dream. I started wondering how much I would get selling my Nissan Leaf to put towards a Tesla Model 3. It’s only after adding everything up and seeing how much extra I would need to cough up that the dream falls flat. The car I have is perfect for 99% of my driving. The amount of money extra I would need to pay is completely unreasonable. There are advantages to having a Tesla with a longer range than my Nissan Leaf. The cost of those advantages are just not viable for me. It makes the desire for a Tesla a want, rather than a need. I even wondered about the possibility of trading in the Nissan Leaf for a 62 kWh Nissan Leaf. It will also be more money and not far off what it would cost to get the Tesla Model 3. I’d rather spend the money on the Tesla. The main reason for getting a Tesla would be the access to the supercharger network. Driving long distances would be like a walk in the park. I wouldn’t hesitate driving from here in Catalonia to Norway if I had a Tesla. With the Leaf I think driving all through France would be no problem. Going into the rest of Spain seems a little more daunting. Would probably need more RFID cards and apps

One Year Service on Nissan Leaf

Getting the car serviced

I arrived here on time at 9 o’clock and it’s taken a half an hour to get all the paperwork sorted to get the car into the garage. It was fairly simple and the man was helpful and tried to speak a little bit of English with me. He didn’t really need to as my Spanish is up to the task. There was a huge amount of paperwork and signing of things to be done. Things were printed out and also stuff was sent to my email address to sign and seal the deal. So between an hour and one hour 20 minutes to get the job done. There is a waiting area with a couple of vending machines and the seats could be more comfortable.

This is a much better dealership than the place where I bought the car. The other place wanted me to check the car in for the whole day. Waiting for about eight hours to get my car back. So I’m pretty pleased to get the job done here. At the Nissan Terrassa dealership they told me I would have to get any servicing done at their workshop, that was the deal with the car. That was a lie because the five services I’m allowed to have because I paid for them is through Nissan. Only thing I need to pay for today is to get the tyres changed from front to back and back to front.

Getting the BMS Update – Or Not

It took a little while to set it up, but he was able to find the information about the update to the BMS software. I’m looking forward to taking a long trip and seeing how this works out with the second and third rapid charges while out on the road. I should get a faster charge of about 30 kW when before it would be only 20kW.
At the end of it, they told me it was not available here in Spain. He said he would call Nissan and try to push it. If he will call, or if he will have any success is another thing.
To be honest, I am not that bothered. When I do long trips I need a decent length of a break the further I drive. If it needs a second or third rapid charge I also need more time to recuperate from the driving. It is safer in the big picture of travelling. Better to arrive in the final destination in one piece than not arrive at all. Accidents happen to tired drivers.

Bad Choices of the Past

I wish I had bought the car here in Girona. The office for the workshop is much nicer. They seem to know what they’re doing. Last time I went to Terrassa they didn’t seem to know anything about the electric car thing. I definitely made a mistake with my purchase last year. It would have been far better to buy somewhere local even if it cost a bit more. The guy booking the car in today was much friendlier and customer oriented. In the end having a good person to person experience is worth a lot too.

The Broken Fog Light

They called me into the workshop couple of times to have a look at a problem with the fog light. One of the fog lights was broken. He told me it was just hanging around loose in the space behind the light. Maybe not even connected. They seemed to think at first it was due to the transport of the car before I bought the car. After another 10 or 15 minutes and a closer look he decided it was a bump the car had, had. It was when I only had owned the car for a couple of weeks and someone must have bumped it in a carpark.
They suggested using insurance to get the whole thing fixed. The bodywork problem is hardly noticeable and doing that would increase the cost of the insurance for next time. I didn’t want to do that, so I told him to fix the light with glue and to leave the bodywork alone.

Tyres and Wheel Rotation

I’m also getting the wheels changed around. Moving the ones on the front to the rear and rears to the front. That is to even the wear between the two sets of wheels. The driven wheels at the front will take more punishment than the rears. We have 20,000km on the car so far. I probably won’t drive so far in the second year of ownership. Maybe the novelty has worn off now and I will relax more into electric car ownership.

Electric Car Future

Future of electric cars

My own specific future for electric cars will be my Nissan Leaf. This is because I went with the option of buying the car outright and I didn’t want to go down the route of leasing. Many people are predicting we won’t own cars in the future, but we’ll have some sort of subscription which will allow us to use a car whenever we need one. My circumstances with where I live and the amount of driving I do I prefer to own my own car. Due to my age and the state of play of my working life I thought it would be better to have a car I don’t have to pay anything for on a monthly basis for however long it would be necessary. Someone living in a city with multiple choices for public transport would have much different priorities. If you can get full use out of public transport then, that’s fantastic. A bicycle is all some people need to do the daily travel to work and back. Or one of those little electric scooters or an electric unicycle. For me though, I like the idea that the car I have now will last me a good long time. What about the future of electric cars in general?

Electric car future

We don’t all live in Norway

If you do live in Norway you might be of the opinion the epoque of electric vehicles was already with us. About 40% of new cars in Norway are fully electric. The Norwegian government have created the conditions where it’s easy to justify buying an electric car. The charging infrastructure has been put in place. There are monetary incentives to help people make the right choice. Ironically the Norwegians have been able to do this on the back of the wealth coming into the country from the oil industry. They have seen the writing on the wall though and are looking towards a long-term future. They are divesting some of their investments in the oil industry. No government investment is going towards the further exploration for oil deposits. The future is for renewable energy and vehicles able to use renewables. Norway is a shiny example of the transition to e-mobility in Europe and the world. What about elsewhere?

Spain Lagging Behind

In comparison to Norway there’s a huge contrast to the way things look for electric vehicles at present in Spain. The take-up for electric vehicles is slow and the red tape to get the incentives are a barrier to the spread of e–mobility. The charging infrastructure across the country is patchy at best. Cities like Barcelona have a good infrastructure for electric vehicles. A city like Sevilla on the other hand has very few electric charging points. Same thing with the regions, Catalonia is looking forward and doing well, whereas Andalucia is lagging behind. Then if I go north from where I live into France, the provision of charging points is really very good. Even in small villages you find charging points. I’d like to see the European Union sending money to add charging infrastructure where it is needed.

Oh to have a Tesla

One of the reasons for buying a Tesla would be the supercharger network. I’d be able to drive from the bottom of Spain all the way to the top of Europe in Norway using superchargers. Tesla have provided a killer combination of charging network and long-range vehicle autonomy. For some drivers buying a Tesla would be the only choice which would make sense. My needs of an electric vehicle don’t quite fit in that bracket yet. I would still love to be a Tesla owner and driver. We can all dream, can’t we. Have to be grateful for the push and impetus to make the motoring world embrace electric vehicles. VW have 70 electric vehicles coming out over the next few years. Most other vehicle manufacturers are seeing the writing written large on the wall too.

Tesla

Are Electric cars too expensive?

The cost of buying an electric vehicle still has to fall drastically in order to be the sensible option for the majority of drivers. It may well be the running costs are so much cheaper with an electric car. Not everyone can afford to pay the higher price for an electric vehicle. Even if there are savings making the car cheaper in the long run. When people can buy a car for the same amount of money I paid for my fossil fuelled Renault Clio is when electric vehicles will take over. The Renault Zoe does provide a way around high purchase costs with a battery leasing option. Whether it works out financially depends on how many kilometres you do per month. With the Clio I was paying around approximately €60 per month in fuel. Battery leasing is around €50 = I was still wondering when I was thinking of buying an electric car, how much I would have to pay for the electricity on top of that. I wasn’t keen on the battery lease idea.

Secondhand electric cars

Perhaps the answer for the budget conscious electric vehicle buyer is in the second-hand market. There are second-hand Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe cars. A good way to get into the electric future of car driving. You need to know something about batteries in second-hand cars. How do you know if they are in good condition or not? Battery degradation is something to watch out for. How many kilometres can you drive in a car which has a smaller battery capacity than when it was new?
I have found when buying second-hand cars you are to a certain extent buying somebody else’s problems. The previous owner possibly had a good reason for getting rid of the car. You could be lucky and find one where the owner was just buying a new car just because he wanted a new one. Then again, a second-hand car could have been causing problems for the owner and that was the prompt for purchase of a new vehicle. It’s hard to tell whether you’re going to be lucky one way or the other. I got unlucky with a Kia Carnival which is why I decided to make sure my next car was going to be a new one. New cars can have problems, but it is less likely and there is the warranty to fall back on. With my Leaf I am good for eight years with the warranty on the battery.

How long is the transition going to be?

It depends on how long the current fossil cars are going to last for. Here we are talking about the cars already on the road as well as the new ones being sold right now. Here in Spain I’m still seeing a lot of new cars going on the road which are fossil fuelled. The government is not giving enough encouragement to early adopters to make the choice for electric power. We see cars on the road which are 10 years old, maybe even older than that. So any new cars being sold at the moment running on fossil fuels have the potential of still being on the road in 10 years time. There’s going to be a need for regulations to encourage a changeover to electric vehicles. The rules and regulations to keep old polluting cars out of city centres are good for improving the air-quality. Someone living near to the city will want to have a car they can drive in these clear air zones. This could be an example of how legislation will help to hasten the transition. There are all sorts of promises from city and national governments saying they will ban fossil fuelled cars in 2030 or 2040. It seems a long way off and sometimes I wonder if I will see much of a change in my lifetime. As I walk in the street and a diesel car goes by stinking the air around me I feel annoyed and disappointed. Maybe I shouldn’t be so impatient. Change will come when the world is ready for it. Hopefully disastrous climate change doesn’t come too soon and make it too late for the electric vehicle revolution to have an effect.

On a brighter Note

It is extremely rare for someone who has driven an electric powered vehicle to go back to driving a fossil fuelled car. It’s so much cheaper to drive an electric car. The cost of electricity is more stable than the cost of fossil fuels. This makes it easier to predict how your finances are going to fare for a year or two in advance. It is not just in the cost of the fuel, but also lower vehicle maintenance costs. There are fewer moving parts to wear out and break in an electric vehicle. You are unlikely to have to change brake pads. There are no timing belts to change in order to avoid expensive engine repairs. You don’t have exhaust systems which need to be replaced. No oil changes are required or spark plugs to change. So basically, there’s a whole lot less hassle with electric car ownership.

The use of the happy pedal

One of the things all of us electric car drivers love to pieces is the instant torque. It’s this instant acceleration we get at whatever speed we are driving which gets us to rename the accelerator pedal the ‘happy pedal’. Electric vehicle owners are highly aware of how much energy is being used to cover the kilometres or miles. We don’t tend to overuse the happy pedal as it means we are using more of the battery energy when we do. It’s really nice it’s there when we need it. It always brings a smile on my face when I have to quickly get up to the correct speed to merge into traffic. I’m always happy to have the power to accelerate and overtake a vehicle as safely as possible. Fossil fuelled cars feel incredibly sluggish in comparison. Driving an electric car is not all about wanting to save the planet. Driving electric is also fun.

EV20Q 14 Duncan – Hyundai Ioniq Electric driver

When Duncan was living in London he didn’t need to have a car at all. He tells me he went for about 15 years with not having a car and using public transport. With moving to the north of England and needing to change his method of transport he got a Nissan Leaf. Duncan was happy enough with the Nissan Leaf, but when the lease finished he had to move on to something else. He had the good fortune to find a second hand Hyundai Ioniq electric and it’s working out well for him so far. He had to go back to his native South Wales to buy the car so his first journey was a longer trip. 300 mile round trip to get the car. Having been used to driving the 24 kWh Nissan Leaf and having experience of the Ecotricity charge points you find on the motorways in the UK it wasn’t any problem.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Charging the car at work

Another good reason for changing from the Nissan Leaf to the Hyundai Ioniq was due to the need to charge up at work. The way back home was nearly all uphill and requiring more electron juice than the journey to work. That combined with the fact more people at work were arriving in electric cars and jostling for position at the charge points that work helped him decide to get a longer range electric vehicle. The Ioniq with the better range meant he had more options due to being able to get back home without plugging in at work.

Fully Electric Ioniq

One of the things Duncan particularly likes about the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is its ability to roll along so freely when switched to the coasting mode. This mode is zero on the settings changed by using the paddles on the steering wheel. The settings control how much regeneration power is put back into the battery. He finds it amazing how far you can go using such a small amount of power. This is another of the tricks up the sleeve of the Hyundai Ioniq which makes it so efficient.

Tesla model three on reserve

Duncan has paid the money to reserve a Model 3 Tesla. Like the rest of us he’s no idea when the car is going to be available. It’s probably going to take longer to arrive in the countries where the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the road. There will be Tesla Model 3 cars on the roads in Europe sooner, with the left hand drive being the same as in America. It could easily be another 18 months to 2 years before the Tesla model three arrives in the UK. Buying a second-hand Ioniq is just the job while waiting for Tesla to come up with the goods. He did have an order in for a Renault Zoe but wasn’t too happy with some of the technology available in that car.

Waterstink guides to using the Hyundai Ioniq Electric

You can find Duncan on YouTube under the name of Waterstink in which he educates the world on how to get the best from a Hyundai Ioniq Electric. I found his videos to be informative and interesting and some of them would have you yearning to buy a Hyundai Ioniq. He’s gone into great detail showing how much regeneration you get from the various settings in the car. He’s producing good quality videos on YouTube well worth checking out.


EV20Q Euan McTurk Part Two

Euan McTurk Part Two

In the second part of this interview with Euan McTurk we talk to you on about the cars he drives more than talking about batteries. The 19 year old Peugeot 106 is in the Dundee Museum of Transport because it’s so rare. He is thinking about upgrading the battery on the car. The Honda hybrid gets taken out every now and again so that the brakes don’t seize up. Ewan prefers to drive everywhere in his Nissan leaf 24 kWh model. It does the job for everywhere he needs to go to and in any case the Honda is a good option for a longer trip. Euan is highly impressed with the Hyundai Ioniq and is tempted by such an outstanding machine. Trouble is, the Leaf is still fitting his needs and why spend the money?

Part One of the Euan McTurk Interview

Electric Peugeot 106

Dundee is the place to be for EVs

Euan tells me that Dundee is the undisputed EV capital of Scotland. It seems you can’t go around the town without tripping over electric cars and taxis. The local council is putting in electric charging hubs all around the town. I wish there were more electric vehicle infrastructure in Spain. He reckons the private companies will get in there and make money out of the opportunity. Driving Electric cars is so much cheaper than using ICE cars. Shes_Electric is in Dundee.

Photo from SRennie

Electric charging in Dundee

Why so many RFID cards?

We want to know why it is necessary to have so many RFID cards to get filled up at a public charger. It is s worry to know if you will get your car charged when you want to travel cross border. What happens when I go to France and it is all set up for the fast Type 2 chargers which only work at the fastest the port will take in the Leaf or the Ioniq which is slower. Some governments are working on sorting this problem out. It needs to be set up so there is just one card to control them all.

Electric Charging in the workplace

I mention that here in Spain there is a law saying that businesses are required to provide charging points at the workplace. In the UK you can install charge point for free. There are funds to provide charge points in the street of up to 75% of the full cost. Some councils can’t take advantage of the money if they can’t afford to pay the extra money required. Transport Scotland will top up the other money but it is not going to be the case in towns south of the border.

Other advantages of having an electric car

  • Grants to help buying the car.
  • Free parking in certain places around the town.
  • Free charging on the council provided charge points.
  • Free passage through the toll booths on the motorway.
  • Parking in car parks in Scotland are free for pure electric

Destination chargers and Petrol stations adding chargers

We reckon the petrol stations will be putting in charge points so they can have you captive to spend money in their shops. They will be selling food and drinks, as well as other bits and pieces they sell in the grocery end of things. Will it be expensive to fill up because you end up going shopping each time you stop. Destination chargers are found in restaurants, bars and shopping centres too. Good for business. Aldi and Lidl are putting chargers in their carparks. The large shopping centres put the chargers, often available for free charging. Often Type 2 or just the normal plug for slow charging. At least you get some free miles or kilometres while you are doing whatever else you are doing.

I thought the interview was finished at about 22 minutes of this part and then we continue talking for a while longer. So keep listening. I tell the story of me paying a deposit of €300 for a Leaf and 3 days later they say they don’t want to sell it yet. Unlucky or what?

I’m still undecided

Hyundai Ioniq

I still don’t know what to do about the choice between the Leaf and the Ioniq. I can save time charging the Ioniq although I won’t be able to go so far on a charge. Might not make a difference one car compared to the other. The Ioniq also has all the lane keeping like the Pro Pilot assist. It would do me well until the Tesla Model 3 is available in Spain. Or should I wait with the ICE car until the Tesla is ready? Hard to make a decision. The Ioniq is so efficient and definitely worth a serious look.

EV20Q Euan McTurk Battery Engineer

battery engineer
 In this episode of EV20Questions Euan McTurk talks about electric vehicles and batteries. Electric vehicle battery engineer and Electro chemist has a home town of Dundee in Scotland. Related to @Shes_Electric who we have already heard from in EV20Q-10. His daily driver is a 24kWh Leaf and is happy with the service it gives him.

Euan has a Peugeot 106 Electric which is a rare vehicle he managed to buy from a lecturer at the university where he studied. It is a car made in small numbers and was only available for lease. One or two of these slipped through the net and Euan got his hands on one. He also has a Honda hybrid which is totally futuristic looking and incredibly efficient. Only recently has been surpassed for the best available drag co efficient of a car.

Honda Insight Hybrid

Battery Engineer

Euan McTurk is an expert on batteries (battery engineer) he has great advice on how to keep your battery in good condition. Ewan knows all about the internal workings of batteries and how to do tests on them to understand whats happening to the chemistry and heat within the battery. He did that type of work in Warwick in the midlands of England. He’s working on battery management systems with another company doing exciting development on new batteries. During the podcast we chat about the upcoming solid state batteries. Solid state will be more efficient and last longer than the current battery chemistries. In theory they will charge faster and not be killed by the dendrites. Solid state electrolytes will give better energy density which is far better for electric vehicles. Could be still five or ten years away and other battery chemistry could prove to be better and take pole position.

John Goodenough started the Lithium Ion revolution and is still working away at the at age of 94 as a battery engineer. There is a huge momentum for the development of battery technology now. Tesla working on this as is Toyota and other multi-nationals. All going toward moving away from burning fossil fuels and towards using electrons.

Euan reminds us that there were electric vehicles before the oil industry took over. It’s a huge shame that the electric cars were put to one side. If the research had gone into batteries instead of internal combustion engines where would we be now? Was it the invention of the starter motor making it easier to get the ICE car running which killed off the electric car development?

EV20Q Podcast 7 Have a BEV Mate

George is a private hire / taxi driver in the south of England – Have a BEV Mate. So I thought it was going to be very interesting talking to a professional driver who drives at least a hundred miles everyday each week. It has to be good business sense to buy a car which will need very little servicing. No need to change oil and filters or replace any of the many moving parts found in an ICE car which could wear out and go wrong. I did ask George what was his favourite feature of the Nissan Leaf and I was surprised when he told me it was the steering. Have a listen to the podcast and find out why. I thought he was going to say the E-pedal was the best thing because in one of his videos on YouTube he got quite excited about using that new technology in the Leaf.

What a cool chat with George of ‘Have a BEV Mate’ fame on You Tube


Rapidgate will have no impact on George

George takes great pride in being a really smooth driver. He’s not one to thrash the car or use excessive acceleration. Either of these things can lead to battery overheating. If you drive so the battery gets hot then you may find on the second or third rapid charge it might get throttled. So instead of 44 to 50 kW being piped into the battery from the charger it could go down as low as 22 kW. Instead of needing only 40 minutes to charge the car for the next stage of the journey you might need to stay for twice or three times as long. George like many people charges the car overnight and has enough juice in the car for the whole day’s work.

Have a BEV Mate

Have a BEV Mate

Rapidgate will not have an effect upon me either. When I’m on a long journey and I’ve driven for 300 to 400 kms I’ve had enough driving for the day. I’ll either be ready for a long two or three hours of rest and relaxation or for a good nights sleep. I am wondering if the high ambient temperatures here in Spain will have an effect upon how far it’s able to go before there is any throttling of the charging by the battery management system. The next version of the Nissan Leaf is supposed to come with active battery management to go with the larger battery. This could make a huge difference and for some drivers it would be better to wait. The only downside with getting this 40 kWh 2018 Nissan Leaf is if it was going to be necessary to sell the vehicle after two or three years. It could be the case that the resale value of this model could be lower due to the problem with the battery. Despite the phenomenal rate of improvement and change in the battery electric vehicles I’m probably keeping the Nissan Leaf for 6 to 8 years. At the end of that time I’ll have no adverse effect if I do decide to sell.

Bessie the dog

George and BessieSeeing as George’s wife lives in Spain for a few weeks at a time Georges kept company by Bessie the dog. While we were recording the audio we had a few moments on video so George could introduce his four-legged friend. In a couple of parts of the interview you may hear a sound of tapping which is the claws of the dog skittering along the wooden floor in the house.

There’s much to love of the 2018 Nissan Leaf

In the podcast George tells me which are his favourite features of the car. You can also see this in his videos on YouTube. He goes into great detail with what he likes and why he likes the various features of the car. For someone who’s driven so many thousands of miles over the years it’s good to see him getting excited about the new technology. Even though we have driver assistance and to a certain extent automation of driving coming, there are still features of the Nissan Leaf which make him smile a couple of times during the day. Basically, it’s a lovely car to drive.