TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

Ubitricity Smart Cable

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by EV Wonder, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. EV Wonder

    EV Wonder Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Portsmouth
    Hi

    First post but I’ve been lurking for a while….go easy on me please!

    I’ve just been told that my car (SR+, company car via Lex Autolease) is coming into the country next week (Grand Dahlia?) and to expect it by mid November latest. Apparently Tesla said it was highly likely to be before then though but wouldn’t promise. This has prompted me into looking into charging in more detail.

    For background, I can’t have home charging as I live on a terraced street. The local authority, Portsmouth City Council have several public Ubitricity charging points dotted around the city and there are at least three within five to 10 minutes walk of my house. I’m perfectly happy to use these public chargers as well as the Langstone Supercharger located 15mins from my house.

    My post is regarding Ubitricity smart cables and their viability and what cable I should use for my car if I go down that route.

    Ubitricity have various tariffs which you can see here SmartCable - ubitricity

    In short it’s 22.9p/kwh with a normal type 2 cable or, a cheaper 14.9p/kwh (+19p connection fee) with a “smart cable”. The cable costs £199.

    There’s another tariff with a monthly subscription of £6.99 with 12.9p/kwh. I don’t think this one is worthwhile as my monthly mileage is only 500-600miles

    I have been doing some sums around these figures and think it is worth getting the smart cable. For the sums I have assumed the car is being charged from empty to full (which will never happen) to keep the maths simple.

    Tesla battery is 55kwh max total capacity

    Without smart cable
    Full charge (empty to 55kwh). 22.9p/kwh
    55kwh x 0.229 = £12.60

    With smart cable
    Full charge (empty to 55kwh). 14.9p/kwh
    55kwh x 0.149 (+0.019 connection fee) = £8.39

    Price difference of £4.21

    So by my reckoning, If I used the smart cable and got the cheaper rate then the cable would be paid for in 47 full charges (£199/4.21). In reality, I am likely to charge for less kwh but more frequently and therefore incur more 19p connection fees. I will have the car for the next 4 years. Do my sums roughly make economic sense?

    Assuming I get the cable, can someone please help with advising what smart cable I would require, Ubitricity sell two:

    20 A / 4.6 kW @ £199

    32 A / 7.4 kW @ £299


    The charging lampposts can only deliver 5kw max so by my reckoning I should get the cheaper 20A/4.6kW cable?


    Hope any of this makes some sense………
     
  2. Roy W.

    Roy W. Battery running low...

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2019
    Messages:
    2,248
    Location:
    Derby, UK
    Looks to me like you've done the sums right. And for the sake of 400W it doesn't sound like it's worth buying the 32A cable. If you connect to a lampost and get the maximum 4.6kW rate you'll be adding about 18 miles of range an hour to your Model 3.
     
  3. Jason71

    Jason71 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2019
    Messages:
    2,153
    Location:
    Shropshire
    The TM3 can of course take the full 7.4 so the question is are there places to use the extra capacity of the 7.4 or will the 5kw max be upgraded at some point. if not or you don't care than yes the 4.6 cable looks fine. the 7.4 might be more future proof but whether that's worth an extra £100 to you only you can say.
     
  4. Mr Miserable

    Mr Miserable Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2019
    Messages:
    3,453
    Location:
    UK
    I think you'd soon get bored with that Ubitricity solution - it's not as if you are saving money or time.
    I would hold fire for the moment and get used to the car and its consumption - you'll soon get into a routine once the range anxiety wears off.
    You may find you don't need to charge as often as you think.
     
    • Like x 3
  5. culverwood

    culverwood Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    Herts
    I have a Ubitricity smart cable and would point out that mine at least is only suitable for low power supplies like the Ubitricity lighting column units, so you may need to buy a thicker dumb cable as well for faster charging points without tethered cables. Reading your post it seems they now do a thicker cable which may be suitable for the faster chargers so save you buying two and avoiding clutter in your boot.

    Knowing a little about the system the reason that local authorities like it is because there is relatively little cost to them compared to other systems and the cost of the clever cable is born by the user, so the authority can fulfil its green EV obligations with minimum cost.
     
    • Like x 1
  6. EV Wonder

    EV Wonder Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Portsmouth
    Thanks for your useful replies.

    My intention is to only use Ubitricity as my "home" slow charging solution. 18 miles per hour charging sounds OK to me. With my mileage I should only need to charge 3-5 times per month once the novelty of driving the thing wears off.

    I'm not that bothered about using the moderately faster Ubitricity points in other cities. I would seek out CCS or plan the journey ahead. I could always use the Tesla supplied type 2 cable and suck up the extra cost per kwh. (I think this cable is rated 11kW).

    All the points across the city are lower power (5kw) and I suspect this is a limitation of the circuit for the street lighting. I can't see the city lighting circuit being upgraded before I would be thinking about my next car in four years time.

    My employer is installing free Pod Point home chargers for all employees with electric cars. I can't get that benefit as I don't have off street parking but I will try and convince them to buy me the smart cable so at least I get a £/kwh closer to what I would be getting at home. Only seems fair to me. Getting the more expensive cable would reduce the boot clutter indeed.

    I spoke to the council and they are going to survey and hopefully install a charging point right outside my property but not until next year when the next wave of government funding for EV must be rolling out.

    Finally that street light shining into the spare bedroom window is good for something!
     
    • Like x 2
  7. Mr Miserable

    Mr Miserable Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2019
    Messages:
    3,453
    Location:
    UK
    The Tesla supplied Type 2 cable which came with my Model 3 is a Phoenix Contakt cable rated for 3 phase 32A.
    It's good quality.
     
    • Informative x 1
  8. NorfolkMustard

    NorfolkMustard Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2019
    Messages:
    1,994
    Location:
    M3P w/FSD
    Niiice!
     
  9. Cowpring

    Cowpring Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    London, UK
    Just be aware that if you don't have the Smart Cable, not all Ubitricity points can be used with a standard type 2 cable - some will only work with their smart cable.

    If you look at the Ubitricity map, the points that also allow type 2 charging have a little plus (+) icon on them.

    In a similar position myself - I have no home charging options, so will be doing a mixture of Polar 50kw and possibly Ubitricity, as well as Superchargers for long journeys. But am planning on testing it all out before I buy any cables, or commit to subscription services.
     
    • Like x 1
  10. EV Wonder

    EV Wonder Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Portsmouth
    Aah...good point. Hopefully soon everything will be "harmonised" with easy contactless payments!
     
  11. Yev000

    Yev000 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2019
    Messages:
    1,041
    Location:
    Knaphill
    Surely buying special cables and cards and subscriptions is not the answer for city charging....

    Drove into London only once so far in my ownership and despite having 2 charging location to where I parked I could not see any point when I can charge at home at 14p and make it there and back without any issues.

    But if you have to live there it's a big problem. Not to mention that people will block points in central London a lot more, especially if it's just a lamp post.
     
  12. Cowpring

    Cowpring Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yes this is another problem with Ubitricity (everywhere not just London) which is they don't have dedicated EV bays. So anyone can park infront of them and they are completely entitled to. There's not even any markings at all, just a very small sign on it for you to scan when your smartphone. The council don't install any signs designating it at all.

    Also a lot of the time the points will be within controlled parking zones, so they aren't an ideal destination charger because you won't have a permit if that's not where you live.

    Really they are designed for residents who don't have a driveway, and want to be able to park on their street and charge at the same time. Great for that specific purpose, useless for everyone else.
     
    • Informative x 1
    • Like x 1
  13. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    5,758
    Location:
    Suffolk, UK
    By my maths:

    22.9p - 14.9p = 8p / kWh saving

    1kWh is, say, 4 miles

    £199 / 8p = 2,487.5 kWh break-even

    2,487.5 x 4 = 10,000 miles

    Get them to install yours "at work"? (in your dedicated parking bay :) )

    (I'm surprised Employer would favour providing charging at home, rather than at work, but maybe you are out-and-about rather than at work)
     
    • Like x 1
  14. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    9,914
    Location:
    Maine
    At high volume, the long-term answer is liable to be wiring up streets, and then having the car registered on an account, like Tesla. For now, the Ubitricity approach is a good one, as it seeks to minimize infrastructure cost.

    Councils won't assign on-street parking spaces to individuals*, so a generic solution will need to have accounts of some kind..

    * I have a friend who's disabled, who has to park on the street. With little off-street parking, there would often be a car parked in the space next to their house. Their council made that space a disabled parking bay, which effectively made it theirs.
     
    • Like x 1
  15. EV Wonder

    EV Wonder Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Portsmouth
    There's two types of Ubitricity on-street charging points in Portsmouth. Some have a clearly painted "EV Charging Only" parking bay with a kerb side bollard. Some are just a bollard by the kerb without the painted bay. To park in the bay, the vehicle must be plugged in and charging, otherwise a penalty charge notice may be issued. (so the sign says)

    I've yet to see any of the marked bays ICEd but there are regularly cars parked in front of the others. Which I guess is fair enough, though I would feel bad about parking my diesel in front of them.

    The council told me that if they are aware of an EV owner living in the street, they will paint the parking bay. The other non bay points have just been installed to give a good spread of city wide charging.

    The issue of residents parking is an valid one. Some parts of the city have restrictions between certain hours (4-7). Some are two hours parking max. I'd say two hours max getting 18 miles per hour charge is reasonably fair for an in city/out of zone destination charger.

    Portsmouth is the second most densely populated city outside of London but I believe has a higher car per person ratio than London. For sure that is going to throw up some issues when EVs become the mainstream.
     
    • Like x 2
  16. EV Wonder

    EV Wonder Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Portsmouth
    They're installing in all the offices too. But I like your dedicated parking bay idea!

    Agree with the sums. I was re thinking mine on 0.25kwh/mile.
     
    • Funny x 1
  17. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    9,914
    Location:
    Maine
    Home charging is a one-time cost, no additional administration, relatively cheap to install, won't impact business electricity demand and can be provided as a useful benefit for two-car households even if an employee won't be driving the PEV to work much.

    Also, I remember some years ago reading that taxation in the UK on workplace charging was pretty onerous. Did that change?
     
  18. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    5,758
    Location:
    Suffolk, UK
    I'm impressed Kudos to your employer.

    We are very Pro EV at work (5x as many EV charging bays (free for employees) as currently have EV owners to encourage uptake), but I hadn't thought of sponsoring home charging too. I'd like to promote Salary Sacrifice for EVs, but we have a very strict "no perks" salary policy (fed up with management time being wasted explaining to intelligent people that we are the highest payer in the industry if they have to add the Perks in, so ... we don't offer any perks, just cash). So a bit of a massive hassle for us to move to offering Company Car in any guise ...

    I wonder if we would be amenable to sponsoring home-charger for employees, as well as "free charging at work" ...
     

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


    SUPPORT TMC