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1000+ miles of public charging - thoughts

Just returned from an 1000 mile road trip after getting my M3LR last week.

Absolutely fantastic car, really pleased all round... and seeing as the car is just so damn good, I thought I'd share some of my charging experiences in the first 1000 miles....

Day 1
Departed Bristol with 80%, arrived Canterbury with 9%. No stops. Plugged in overnight to families 7kw SyncEV. Took an hour of resetting SyncEV charger and app before it would charge but eventually got it to give us some juice, left overnight and charged back to 85%

Day 2
Departed Canterbury, arrived Cambridge 46%.
One stop at a services with an Ecotricity charger that was full, with a queue. Skipped a top up...
Cambridge City Centre, found a car park with 4 EV bays. All full. Two of the four cars plugged in were not charging...
Back to hotel with 40%, no charging facilities installed.

Day 3
Departed for Wyboston Supercharger. Arrived 24% and got back up to 80% in 29 minutes. Plenty of free bays and a nice location.
En route to York. Stopped at Ferrybridge services. 3 chargers, 2 in use, 2 cars waiting. 1 unit out of order (Ecotricity).
Arrived Q-Park York (2 EV spaces in a car park of 248). Arrived to find car park was 1 in/1 out and EV spaces both occupied. No space to wait....

Departed for Leeds, arriving with 13% - Citipark Leeds Dock with 3 EV spaces.
With both fingers crossed, we arrived to find 1 available Tesla destination charger, plugged in and set to 100%. Free charge...
Next to us was a Peugeot 5008, plugged in - not charging, occupying the 1 single space that was an "any EV" Type 2.

IMG_7070.jpg


Day 4
Early morning, notification that car was charged to 100%, so being the considerate EV driver (!), I walked back to the car park, unplugged and moved my car.
Mr Peugeot was still there hogging the charger some 15 hours later, still not charging.
Took a break from driving and got about by train.
Went back to car park in the evening, Mr Peugeot had finally gone presumably after trying to charge to 300%.
Tesla destination charger I vacated was now hogged by Mr iPace, yes you guessed it, plugged in but not charging.
The other remaining Tesla destination charger now occupied by Blue Model 3 registration BN21 - and yes, you guessed it, not charging!

Day 5
Model 3 BN21 and Mr iPace still hogging the chargers, not charging, as we departed.
Stopped back at Cambridge services, briefly considered a topup but not at Ionity at 69p/kWh!

Continued onto Gridserve Braintree.
IMG_7080.jpg

WOW - What an experience! If Carlsberg did EV charging hubs... ;)
Plugged in, contactless, peaked at 180kw and we were back up to 80% in the time it took to grab a coffee and sort the toddler.

Clean toilets, good facilities... it's more like a top end hotel... The longer it can be kept a secret, the better - hope it doesn't go the way of every other motorway services in time!

Arrived back in Canterbury with 38%. More SyncEV issues but after 30 mins it trickled in at 7, then 6, then 5kw for a few hours.
Departed and got held up 2 hours on the A2, necessitating a toilet break at Maidstone - so chose to top up at the SC.
All stalls full, but we waited just 5 mins and got onto one to add 20% in 13 minutes.

IMG_7088.jpg


Was all we needed to get back home so stopped the charge and moved to allow a waiting X in whilst the family were still in the loos!

Arrived back in Bristol with 9%.

Initial impressions
  1. Ecotricity is just as reliable as I had read. Best avoided!
  2. People like to park their EV's in EV spaces, even if they are not charging.
  3. Those same people, once charged, are happy to just leave their cars parked and to hell with everyone else that might need to charge up. (thank god for idle fees on the SC network).
  4. Subject to 2 and 3, this likely exacerbates the reason all the other public chargers are full with queues at peak times (bank holiday weekend)
  5. Tesla SC network is fantastic and proves to me what I had long thought - that if you want to go electric, a Tesla is really the only choice if you want to be able to do long distances without hassle.
  6. Gridserve is seriously impressive and the 100 hubs can't come soon enough.
  7. The range of the LR means you can do a road trip like this using the SC network without having to rely on other public charging (thankfully)
  8. Road trip was great fun and stress free - and it wouldn't have been in any other EV.
 
Ah, ok, so likely either an issue with the supply or a combination of the supply issue and how the Sync EV handles that situation?

The Sync EV is on my very short list but like many chargers, there still isn’t a lot of info out there on real world experiences of them.
 
I must admit my knowledge isn't up to scratch but it appears to just be issues with the SyncEV...

I have Teslafi which logs all kind of data and the charging profile has the same voltage fluctuations as my own house - where my Ohme works just fine.

I hear you on chargers. Not much info out there for the enthusiasts who want all the detail! I can say the Ohme "does what it says on the tin", has good settings to select from with scheduled charging, you can use it with Octopus tariffs and more importantly - it just works.
 
Nice read..Maybe ignorance but if they have already completed charge it wouldnt show it is charging right?? And they are just hogging the space. I do think there needs to be either some notes on the charger or when you buy an EV to inform of charging etiquette.
 
Nice read..Maybe ignorance but if they have already completed charge it wouldnt show it is charging right?? And they are just hogging the space. I do think there needs to be either some notes on the charger or when you buy an EV to inform of charging etiquette.
Annoying thing in the Leeds car park was there was a *massive* sign saying the spaces were monitored with a £100 fine if not charging.

The chargers flashed green when charging and flicked to a steady green when charging complete. So you can see if they are charging or not.

When I finished, I just unplugged and moved to a different space.
 
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Good thread and original poster sums up well. I always take pictures of non charging or alien vehicles and feed the detail to the controllers of the car park etc. There is always hope they get 'informed' one way or the other. Pure ignorance.
I think if there is any kind of parking attendant on site we should all make the effort to report non-charging EVs to them. They should have maybe a short grace period, but then fined. Else the EV charge point almost becomes pointless.
 
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I think you might want to reset your expectations slightly regarding destination chargers. The whole point of the lower powered AC chargers is that you plug in and go to do what you need to do. There isn’t an expectation to come back in the middle of your movie, meal etc. As such there is a chance that your car will be charged before your return - such that others may think that your not charging.

The issue is really that there are not enough electrified charging bays in most car parks to support the number of EVs on the roads these days….
 
Exactly this - there are many locations with 7kw or 22kw chargers where the whole point is to leave your car plugged in. For example at train stations, or city centre car parks near offices.

I completely agree that leaving your car plugged into a rapid charger is wrong - but in my opinion the same does not apply to slow chargers. Obviously, unplug when you can, but it’s not feasible to be right by your charger e.g. at a train station as soon as it’s finished charging.
 
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NewbieT

Active Member
Aug 16, 2019
1,536
1,114
North West
The ‘car wasn’t charging’ issue I find interesting. How does anyone know an Ev isn’t charging? The led indicator light turns off after a while on a Tesla. No idea about other makes. So unless the post/machine tells you, you don’t necessarily know. Easy to just assume the driver is a plank.

I do think arriving in the evening and leaving your car charging until after breakfast on a 7kW is perfectly acceptable. Does anyone really expect you to move your car at 4am when it finishes? Do we just dial down the amps to fill that same time period for other peoples perceptions. No we just accept that’s what chargers are for.

We should all give hotels feedback on those nice questionnaires for some (more) destination chargers. If the establishment is half decent they’ll soon get the message. Hotels that don’t will soon (and already are) losing custom to the hotels with chargers.
 

GeorgeSymonds

Active Member
Moderator
Mar 16, 2018
2,167
2,193
UK
The ‘car wasn’t charging’ issue I find interesting. How does anyone know an Ev isn’t charging? The led indicator light turns off after a while on a Tesla. No idea about other makes. So unless the post/machine tells you, you don’t necessarily know. Easy to just assume the driver is a plank.

I do think arriving in the evening and leaving your car charging until after breakfast on a 7kW is perfectly acceptable. Does anyone really expect you to move your car at 4am when it finishes? Do we just dial down the amps to fill that same time period for other peoples perceptions. No we just accept that’s what chargers are for.

We should all give hotels feedback on those nice questionnaires for some (more) destination chargers. If the establishment is half decent they’ll soon get the message. Hotels that don’t will soon (and already are) losing custom to the hotels with chargers.
I agree with most of why you say, our local railways station is a remote hub for people travelling into London, no chance you’d return to your car to move it, although I think it’s wrong to plug in on a Monday and leave your car for 3 or 4 days which some do, especially one PHEV I remember seeing on a Monday and was still there on the Friday.

The not charging can sometimes be determined from the charger depending on network/kit. I’ve come across cars where they’ve plugged in but the charger is saying ‘show card’.. something like that.
 
OK, understood, maybe leaving a car charging overnight and not moving it is fine... perhaps...
But leaving the car multiple days plugged in... not sure about that.
It's just a really pain when someone else comes along with a really low battery and there is several cars plugged in not charging.
When I had only our Nissan Leaf with it's fairly limited range it used to really annoy me, but with a LR M3 I don't worry as range anxiety is all most gone.
 
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