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First holiday with the M3P - a learning experience

stonecoldrmw

Member
Feb 10, 2020
493
355
Leicester
Hello everyone

I went on holiday within the UK last week and wanted to document and share my thoughts afterwards around the M3 and the charging experiences I had. Interested to get anyone's thoughts and comments.

So, I live in Leicester and was travelling up to Heysham (near Morecambe). I charged up to 100% with the aim of leaving with full charge and getting up to Charnock Richard services with as high a % as possible. I arrived up there with around 46% having sat at around 70 mph most of the way there which I was relatively happy about. Charged up to 96% and got on our way. Reason I went so high at the SuC was because there weren't any destination chargers where we were staying and so I had to rely on what was elsewhere in the surrounding areas which was ok but not great.

Got to the destination with 79% so really happy with that. We used the car on the Tuesday to drive to Blackpool and back and there was still plenty of charge (around 35%) but I was conscious of not having a high powered charger around me, with the exception of a some 50Kw chargers at Lancaster park and ride. On the Tues eve after dropping the family back at the caravan, I went back to the 50Kw charger and charged up to 50% with the aim that that should last for the couple of days we had left. We then spent Weds and Thurs driving between our accommodation and various places.

I ended up getting a really good charge from a 22Kw charger on the Weds which boosted me up to the mid-high 30% mark. This helped as we knew we were going to be able to charge at another 22Kw charger on the Thursday in readiness for the drive back on the Friday (I'll come back to this shortly).

Here was the issue: The chargers were all Polar and I'd assumed because they said instant, that I could just slap my card against the charger and get some juice. So I roll up to the first one, can't get any joy for love nor money and I'm thinking *sugar*, the machine must be broken. Off we go to the next charger (7Kw) with a whingy child and and agitated missus in tow). Get there and basically the same thing occurs, against both points. I'm getting stressed at this point because I'm losing charge whilst driving around between chargers and my missus is getting more annoyed because it's not a 'normal car' and the littl'un is getting aggy in the back. So off to the 3rd one we go, this time, I figure, let me check my apps and low and behold, I have the Polar app and I manage to figure out what I need to do - only for the charge point to actually be off and out of order. So now I realise what's occurred, I head back to the first charger and get set up, finally getting my charge going and getting 12Kw from it. Paid for 4 hours parking knowing we'd be there for a little while so hopefully I'd have a decent whack in there by the time we came back.

I came back and I was sitting at around 66% so I was happy with this as that would get me down to Keele Services. Coming back to the drive home: The reason I needed to get to Keele and not Charnock Richard was because we needed to time the driving around my little girls' nap. She falls asleep so quickly in the M3P and so if she'd fallen asleep early and then we'd charged at Charnock Richard, we'd have been doomed for the rest of the day! So this was why the requirement for a decent charge was good, to allow us to get to Keele for a quick comfort break. I could have done the whole journey but the dog wouldn't have coped for that long without a stop.

Pros:
I got a sneaky 4% charge when I went to collect my pizza at Pizza Hut as they are directly across from Lidl and there was PodPoint 7Kw charger there.
There were a couple of 22Kw chargers which was good, however, even with a warm battery, the best I got was 12Kw.

Cons
Whilst there are a few chargers in the area, they are mostly 7kw and so they don't really offer you the opportunity to boost it quickly or to leave it for a long length of time as they are at Supermarkets, etc.
In addition, most also require you to pay and display.

Overall thoughts and conclusion:
The supercharger network is every bit as good as people say and then some. The ease of use and availability of chargers was perfect for us.
The rest of the country's charging infrastructure for me is still woefully lacking in suitable chargers, that are paired with sensible parking areas. There absolutely needs to be more higher powered chargers in convenient areas for quick stops rather than slower chargers in super market car parks with limits on the length of time that they can be used. 7Kw in an Aldi car park limited to 90 mins, isn't going to help someone who's a tourist in the area.

All in all, I was happy with the experience, I worked out that the charging for the the entire trip has cost me about £20 to get up there and back with all the driving in between. Very happy with that!
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,711
UK
The maximum 3 phase AC charge rate for the Model 3 is ~11 kW (3 x 16 A x 230 VAC). The car only has three 16 A chargers fitted as standard, and uses two of these on single phase to get ~7 kW, or all three on 3 phase to get ~11 kW. Plugging in to a 22 kW AC charger should only be able to allow the three car chargers to run at ~ 3.7 kW each, so a total of about 11 kW, although if the supply voltage was higher than the nominal 230 VAC (which it usually is) then you could see about 12 kW on a good day.
 

Neilman

Member
Mar 27, 2020
313
182
Southampton, UK
Good to hear about the charging situation in Lancashire - I'm planning a few visits to Preston and will no doubt be wandering around Blackpool - for the lights if nothing else :)
I see that a lot of the Booths supermarkets have Instavolt chargers available with one branch just "round the corner" from my sister's place so I will check them out at some point.
 

GRiLLA

Member
Jul 5, 2020
822
779
UK
Your life would have been much easier if your accommodation allowed you to plug in, even just a socket to use the UMC. I always ask if it's possible, very rarely get refused.
 
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Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,711
UK
Your life would have been much easier if your accommodation allowed you to plug in, even just a socket to use the UMC. I always ask if it's possible, very rarely get refused.

Mirrors my experience. In the last 7 years I've never once been refused permission to plug in, be it at hotels, guest houses or self-catering places. Invariably the request has been met with questions about charging, what EVs are like to drive, etc, and in two of the self-catering places we've stayed at they later went so far as to install proper charge points for guests.

I do carry a long, heavy duty, weatherproof extension lead in the car, plus a short lead with an RCD that I can add if there's a need (only when the supply being used doesn't already have RCD protection - best not to have series RCDs). That lead has been invaluable a few times, mostly when staying in self-catering places. A long over night charge, even at only 10 A, is usually more than enough to cover the next day's driving requirement when on hoiliday.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,145
3,100
Scotland
There were a couple of 22Kw chargers which was good, however, even with a warm battery, the best I got was 12Kw.

Hey, don't knock it, 12kW on a Model 3 is more than good since the in-car charger is only rated for 11kW! (If Glan hadn't explained how this can happen I would have been wondering if you really could get 12kW)
 
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Jason71

Active Member
May 8, 2019
2,957
2,877
Shropshire
recently stayed a a marriott for a week and was pleasantly surprised to find they has a 13amp socket in their car park that they said I could use. 250kwh later........
Superchargers are great but there really is no substitute for getting up each morning to a fully charged car. I will definitely make onsite charging a priority in future.
 
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Gatsojon

Member
Aug 4, 2019
638
621
Manchester UK
Very useful information, thank you.
It does go to show we still need a reliable plan B and an occasional plan C!

just to add I so empathise with the comments from your wife re a “normal car”.
 
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stonecoldrmw

Member
Feb 10, 2020
493
355
Leicester
Your life would have been much easier if your accommodation allowed you to plug in, even just a socket to use the UMC. I always ask if it's possible, very rarely get refused.
It was a Park Dean Caravan site (Ocean Edge, Heysham) and the caravan itself couldn't handle the microwave being on with other things too, the electric tripped twice! Besides, the parking space for our van was about 20 metres from the van itself.

Normally that would be the first thing I'd think about.

On a related note: the view at this park is quite funny as it's gorgeous all the way round until you get to the right hand side where the huge nuclear power station sits in your view...

view-of-the-nuclear-power.jpg
 
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stonecoldrmw

Member
Feb 10, 2020
493
355
Leicester
Very useful information, thank you.
It does go to show we still need a reliable plan B and an occasional plan C!

just to add I so empathise with the comments from your wife re a “normal car”.
To be fair to her, she absolutely sees the benefit of the car and how nice it is to drive in, along with the cheap travel. It was more that she was worried about the little one in the back and obviously you can't explain that to a 20 month old who's kicking off.

Side note: she's still yet to experience the 0-60mph standing start as we've not been in the car without the youngster.
 

MadScientist

Member
Apr 23, 2020
257
144
Salisbury, UK
I do carry a long, heavy duty, weatherproof extension lead in the car, plus a short lead with an RCD that I can add if there's a need (only when the supply being used doesn't already have RCD protection - best not to have series RCDs). That lead has been invaluable a few times, mostly when staying in self-catering places. A long over night charge, even at only 10 A, is usually more than enough to cover the next day's driving requirement when on hoiliday.

That’s one of my must-have accessories. £20 from screwfix.
 
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fancealot

Member
Jun 17, 2020
242
158
Doncaster & Leeds
It was a Park Dean Caravan site (Ocean Edge, Heysham) and the caravan itself couldn't handle the microwave being on with other things too, the electric tripped twice! Besides, the parking space for our van was about 20 metres from the van itself.

Normally that would be the first thing I'd think about.

On a related note: the view at this park is quite funny as it's gorgeous all the way round until you get to the right hand side where the huge nuclear power station sits in your view...

view-of-the-nuclear-power.jpg
Ah Heysham, such a lovely place in the shadow of 2 nuclear power plants, used to live not far from them and my father helped work on the construction of Heysham 2.
 
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Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,711
UK
That’s one of my must-have accessories. £20 from screwfix.

Not sure what the Screwfix leads are like, the nicest off-the-shelf leads seem to be these from Tough Leads: 13A weatherproof extension lead (compatible with all EVs)

Mine's similar to the Tough Leads ones, but home made, using 2.5mm² H07RN-F cable and a very similar weatherproof outlet, big enough to take the larger than standard plug that's fitted to the UMC. I also have a range of short adapter leads for the plug end, so I can plug into a commando or a 13 A outlet, and include an RCD if one's needed.
 
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Jason71

Active Member
May 8, 2019
2,957
2,877
Shropshire
Not sure what the Screwfix leads are like, the nicest off-the-shelf leads seem to be these from Tough Leads: 13A weatherproof extension lead (compatible with all EVs)

Mine's similar to the Tough Leads ones, but home made, using 2.5mm² H07RN-F cable and a very similar weatherproof outlet, big enough to take the larger than standard plug that's fitted to the UMC. I also have a range of short adapter leads for the plug end, so I can plug into a commando or a 13 A outlet, and include an RCD if one's needed.
I bought a 13a rated Screwfix cable to run a 2.8KW pool heater this summer. useless. it has a thermal cutout that kept tripping even though nothing felt remotely warm. Now I am running on a cheap Wilko cable (still 1.5mm cable of course) and it's been fine all summer.
2.5mm cable seems overkill though for a 10amp UMC unless you have a very very long cable run surely?
I would have thought a high quality 1.5mm would have zero disadvantages upto at least 10m and would be cheaper, lighter and take up less space?
 
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Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,711
UK
I bought a 13a rated Screwfix cable to run a 2.8KW pool heater this summer. useless. it has a thermal cutout that kept tripping even though nothing felt remotely warm. Now I am running on a cheap Wilko cable (still 1.5mm cable of course) and it's been fine all summer.
2.5mm cable seems overkill though for a 10amp UMC unless you have a very very long cable run surely?
I would have thought a high quality 1.5mm would have zero disadvantages upto at least 10m and would be cheaper, lighter and take up less space?

I had a feeling that the Screwfix cables might not be the best, useful to have it confirmed. Screwfix seems to have gone down hill with electrical stuff over the past couple of years or so. Bought some plastic conduit from them a few weeks ago and the wall thickness was about half that of the proper stuff.

2.5mm² is overkill, but it's also less likely to get damaged, I think, just because it doesn't kink easily, and it seems that it's often kinks that end up killing extension leads. It's also a bit of a pig to get 2.5mm² H07RN-F cable to fit a 13 A plug, but it will fit in the better brands of durable plugs, with a bit of care. Coiling up 2.5mm² rubber cable seems to feel a lot nicer than coiling up 1.5mm² cable, although it does take up more room and is a fair bit heavier.

The other advantage of 2.5mm² over 1.5mm² is that the voltage drop will be a bit lower. For the ~40m cable run I use, with both the 13 A and commando extensions connected together, 1.5mm would have a voltage drop of about 10.8 V at 10 A, so a cable loss of about 108 W. Using 2.5mm² reduces that voltage drop down to about 6.48 V, so a cable loss of about 65 W, giving a small improvement in efficiency.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,145
3,100
Scotland
I would have thought a high quality 1.5mm would have zero disadvantages upto at least 10m and would be cheaper, lighter and take up less space?

For sure if just running 10amps over a shortish distance. (Doesn't stop me perving heavy cables though! I've got a long cable that I run from a smallish generator in an outside shed to temporarily run the house during power cuts via commandos ... rolled onto a Hozelock style hosepipe reel ... actually a hosepipe reel turns out to be much better at rolling up heavyish electrical cable than it is coiling up actual hosepipe ... which can be a bit of a pain ... but I digress ....)
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,145
3,100
Scotland
2.5mm² is overkill, but it's also less likely to get damaged, I think, just because it doesn't kink easily, and it seems that it's often kinks that end up killing extension leads. It's also a bit of a pig to get 2.5mm² H07RN-F cable to fit a 13 A plug, but it will fit in the better brands of durable plugs, with a bit of care. Coiling up 2.5mm² rubber cable seems to feel a lot nicer than coiling up 1.5mm² cable, although it does take up more room and is a fair bit heavier.

Yes, I found that attaching to a 13amp plug the cable ends of 2.5mm have to have the ends of the cores an absolutely perfect length to fit ... but with a bit of patience you get a very neat result with no bunching. Having a long commando to commando cable I had made some commando to 13amp plug and commando to 13amp socket so that I have a gigantic extension reel when needed.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,211
5,733
Surrey, UK
The ToughLeads are 1.5mm H07RN-F cables. When I first got it I marvelled at how such a long cable could be so flexible and robust. Beautifully made too and second to none backup when I pointed out a potential problem using the socket with the Tesla UMC 13A flying lead
 

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